Do you have a four-year-old who is eerily drawn to the dark, scary, and sinsiter?
If not, you’re really missing out.
My four-year-old is fascinated with stuff that might scare her as evidenced by the fact that for her night-time lullaby she prefers to watch Michael Jackson’s Thriller (because there’s nothing more soothing than watching a bunch of Zombies dance together in a dilapidated graveyard while their appendages fall to the ground.)
Turns out that this isn’t enough for our future-Stephen-King-lover.
We kind of made a mistake.
Every morning when Anna gets up, either Wife or I is outside in the garage running on the treadmill. (Okay, I’ll be really honest here and admit that I haven’t run since Monday BUT THAT’S GOING TO CHANGE because I’m about to run right now. Outside. In November. Which counts for like 3 runs.)
Anyway, the point here is that when we’re running on the treadmill we’re watching the X-files, whose intro-music is creepy enough to give adults nightmares, and whose themes deal regularly with incest, extraterrestrials and psychosis. So, probably not appropriate for Anna until she’s at least five.
Here’s the thing though. That creepy intro music and muffled discussion of alien private parts and what not? Anna hears it and she’s drawn to it like a moth to a flame or like a meth-addict to a crappy apartment complex and is like “Can I watch, Daddy? Please? Please?”
And I’m like “NO. That’s too scary for you. Let’s find something more kid-appropriate.
Like The NeverEnding Story.“
Here is the music video which makes me feel nostalgic and filled with wonder.
So, today I decided to watch it with her.
As it turns out, the movie it is way better than I remembered and also totally
inappropriate for 4-year-olds creepier than I remembered.
Here’s a really brief recap in case you’ve forgotten why you shouldn’t show this to your toddler:
Bastion, the protag., gets lectured by his dad who makes a freaky concoction of orange juice and egg yolk which he actually blends and drinks in front of his child. Awkward.
Then, Bastion gets thrown in a dumpster.
Next, a probably predatory book-store owner shows him a book, Bastion steals the book, gets to school, and then decides instead of going to class to sit in a dark room with a fake skeleton and read the book.
The book happens to be about a dude/chick (perhaps a hermaphrodite?) named Atreyu who is asked to save his world, Fantasia, from The Nothing, which is this terrifying cloud thing that eats stuff.
So, he/she decides to do it instead of hunting Purple Buffalo.
It was about this point in the movie that Anna started asking questions. These questions helped to emphasize the extreme level of confusion (and damage?) I was inflicting upon my daughter by letting her see this film.
“Why does that rock guy eat rocks?”
“Can some doggies fly?”
“What’s her name?” (Referring to Atreyu, played by a male)
“Is that a fox or a wolf?” (Referring to G’mork, the main bad wolf guy that is now going to haunt my own nightmares (again), right before he fights with Atreyu and gashes a big flesh-wound into his/her chest (breasts?).)
“Why did he have blood on him?”
“Daddy can you die from a wolf?”
So, yeah. Nothing but wholesome family goodness in the The Weed household.
I think I should get the Father of the Century award.
Oh, but one cool thing was that, just as the theme of the movie suggests, there were totally moments when the story was NeverEnding!
Like when Atreyu gets woken up by his/her horse and pets the horse and says “I know what you want, it’s time to eat. Good idea!” in the voice of a 23 year old woman, and then it awkwardly cuts to Bastion who cheers like he’s at the Superbowl and says “No, it’s a GREAT idea” and then grabs an apple (which apple, if you’ll remember, he devours whole, including the core, which I always thought as a kid was kind of bad-A. Nothing more tough than eating an apple core.). At this exact moment, I couldn’t help but continue the story by jumping up myself and saying, “No, it’s a TRIPLE great idea” and then grabbing a can of sweetened condensed milk because it’s Saturday which is my free day wherein I eat whatever crap I want, and I wanted sweetened condensed milk because it’s literally dulce de leche that hasn’t been boiled, and thus delicious.
(Do you see how that works? If you want the story to be NeverEnding, you must now say something like “No, it’s a great idea times INFINITY!” and then get up and eat something yourself, and then document it somewhere like your journal or a $28 million budget film, so the story gets passed on and on and on, just like in the movie. If you don’t do this, it is your fault that Fantasia, the storehouse of all dreams and fantasies, crumbles into nothingness.)
Anyway, right after this is when Atreyu’s horse sinks into the Swamp of Sadness, which was so devastating to Anna and me both that I could no longer touch the can of sweetened condensed milk I was sipping from (because that’s how I roll people, I drink sweetened condensed milk from the can. Don’t knock it till you try it.)
In conclusion, the Darkness is coming. And we’re all going to die because there’s nobody on earth that can understand the actual name Bastion says melodramatically into the dark night when he’s alone in the school surrounded by seance candles, which name utterance happens to be the only thing that can save us all.
Sorry about that.
Hey, guess what else Anna has been begging us to watch that I may or may not review next week because I am a horrible parent who lets his daughter watch movies way beyond her age? The Dark Crystal!!! (Fittingly, this was lent to us by our friend Crystal.)
Update: Anna just came up to me with a random book and said “Daddy, what is this book called?” I told her what it was called, and then she said “I wish we could find the book called The NeverEnding Story. Maybe we can go to the book store to try to find it because I really want the book called The NeverEnding Story.”
Perhaps this means I didn’t just ruin her life.