Wednesday, December 10, 2014

Dragons and pegasi

If you promise not to give away the surprise, I'll tell you a couple of things that my kids are getting for Christmas: How to Train Your Dragon 2 on dvd, and My Little Pony: Friendship is Magic on dvd.

The family just watched HTTYD2 for the first time this past Saturday night, and we all enjoyed it. The turning point at which (SPOILERS) the alpha dragon hypnotizes Toothless and forces him to turn on Hiccup was fairly traumatic, eliciting actual uncontrollable crying from the single-digit demographic of the audience (yet another reminded why it's often better to wait for home releases rather than take these particular younguns to the movie theater) but by the time the happy ending was reached it seemed universally agreed that the flick merited inclusion in the ever-expanding children's wing of our movie library.

My Little Pony is a slightly different case, since by and large its inroads into our home has been entirely via three-minute clips on YouTube that are in pretty heavy rotation in the bedtime unwinding rituals. My wife will be the first to admit that breaking down and purchasing a four-disc set of full episodes is as much an act of necessity to satisfy her own curiosity about the elaborate backstories and continuity of Equestria as a concession to any of our children's demands for on-demand entertainment.

Also, I would be remiss if I didn't point out that while this probably sounds a lot like we are enforcing retrograde gender roles with the adventures of a boy viking for our son and the saga of super-femme ponies for our daughter (and in point of fact the HTTYD2 dvd under the Christmas tree will no doubt have the little guy's name on the gift tag, and MLP will have the little girl's), in truth both kids like both franchises almost equally. The little girl likes Astrid and her dragon Stormfly, and the little guy doesn't necessarily have a favorite pony (his sister does: Rainbow Dash, obvs.) but he enjoys noodling around with the concepts of their world, e.g. figuring out what kind of cutie marks he and his sister would have to represent their special talents, or trying to stump me and his mother by asking us whether Princess Celestia is a winged unicorn or more of a horned pegasus. (We are still working on that one. Leaning toward "winged unicorn", though.)

It occurs to me that at some point down the road the bino will develop his own taste in shows and movies and request his own dvd's (or whatever video data storage format we're on to by then) for Christmas, and all else remaining constant we will have surpassed the number of dvd players in the house with the number of potential audiences with different agendas competing for different screens. I can only hope that by then, circa the dawning of the magical year 2017 or so, that everyone has their own WiFi-enabled Cloud-connected wearable holographic VR immersion projectors. Or something.

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