We live in a world where a whole nation can be united by nothing more than a soothing voiceover from an octogenarian and stock footage of penguins fucking. And yet, there are still people willing to get all angsty about a fictional Italian plumber wearing the skin of a raccon dog. Organizations like PETA need to get off Nintendo’s back and focus on the people who are really sending the wrong message about treatment of animals to kids: the creators of our most beloved children’s films.
1. Juju – The Princess and the Frog
It’s almost hilarious how this film swings between moral extremes. It starts off with a spoiled, demanding young girl tormenting the shit out of her kitten, but she’s quickly reprimanded by her responsible adult maid. Thirty minutes later a blind, aging, and presumably drug-addled Voodoo woman is using a snake as a walking stick and loving every second of it.
There are three clear messages driven home by The Princess and the Frog:
- All black people care about is an almost masochistic obsession with hard work.
- All white people care about is playingukuleleand getting laid.
- Life as a frog sucks harder than Aquaman.
Literally everything in the Bayou tries to kill our two heroes on their quest to turn themselves back into humans, in order to do the only things they respectively do: manual labor and partying. On that quest, they meet the aforementioned blind lady. Now I’m not saying that Mama Odie acts like she’s tripping balls, but she clearly is, and after a predictable song and dance number, points out the important distinction between what a person wants and what a person actually needs. But apparently neither of them really need to be human, because guess what? You can be a more passive-aggressive workaholic than Geoffrey from The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air or a slovenly, hedonistic douchebag and be a frog at the same time.
Imagine that you’re a child watching this, and you have a shitty home life with an abusive parent: the film is basically telling you to man up and deal with it you little bitch–leave it to a complex series of events you have no control over to fix your life. And also that if you see a frog, fucking destroy it. Even disregarding that, Odie’s treatment of her poor snake Juju is criminal.
2. Abu – Aladdin
Life as a street rat in Agrabah ain’t easy because there’s no such thing as a petty crime. Sure that loaf of bread or melon looks both tasty and unguarded, but is it really worth tangling with a platoon of militia with scimitars for it? Because they seem to have nothing better to do.
What annoys me most about Abu is that he only gets irritated by one thing throughout the film: the possibility of Aladdin parking his homeless dong in the Sultan’s sultry daughter. Not, say, a life of abject destitution.
3. The Squirrelettes – The Sword in the Stone
Sometimes the aspiring animal abuser just doesn’t have time to spare from their other evil doings to give their non-human companions the level of abuse they so richly deserve. At this point, they usually send their magically inept apprentice into the woods in the form of a rodent to cocktease squirrels.
Squirrels are kind of adorable, when they’re not savaging park-goers, but this scene from The Sword in the Stone seems a little unnecessary. By this point, Merlin and Wart have already (pointlessly) robbed an innocent pike of a probably much needed meal, in order for young Arthur to learn about the circle of life. Then, in order to teach his young ward the vital maxim, "look before you leap," England’s most successful wizard turns the boy into a squirrel and does his utmost to ensure he breaks his neck.
Along the way, they both attract the attentions of the opposite sex, and instead of embracing the opportunity to teach a young’un about the birds and the bees as well, they both add some broken hearts to the trail of chaos the two have left in Pendragon’s hold. Annoyingly, I would have thought being groomed for royalty had exactly the opposite benefits.
4. Scrat – Ice Age
No animated organism in the history of cinema has received more punishment than Scrat. Another squirrel/rodent of some description, his only involvement in any of the four films is purely as an object of laughter for the audience while he desperately starves. Don’t get me wrong, it’s hilarious. As are all of the above, but for that to be true for me, something must have gone wrong in the minds of these directors.
Mother Nature’s a bitch, sure. And I’m all for kids learning that at as early an age as possible. Nurses shouldn’t just be slapping newborns on the rump, they should be screaming at them that they’ll never achieve anything in life. But Scrat is such a tragic figure, removing him in the next goddamn installment would be a mercy killing. They even introduced a romance for him, just for the opportunity to see heartbreak and a look that says, "I’m definitely not going to survive this winter" on his pathetic face at the same time. The monster who pitched this character probably knows exactly how long every major brand of hand lotion is good for before it turns to paste when he’s masturbating to UNICEF adverts. Shit. Even I felt bad about that one.