27 August 2005

[sundial_life] Disney's Pocahontas, or Dentist Office Agony...

Or, how to suffer in the dentist's office without so much as a drill being applied to me.

It's come time to get a cavity taken care of. On Friday, after a night at The Company Which Must Not Be Named, after one of my 10 hour shifts, The Wife[tm] reminds me we're to take off to the dentist.

The toothache has been there about two weeks, and it's time to take care of it before it gets serious.

So, at a little after 0830, there we are, doing a walk-in at Dental Care Today! (the ! is part of the company name) at their 127th and SE Stark location. It's one we've been to before. We have a favorite dentist, Dr. Hazim, who works there three days a week, who is a maestro with the drill and the novocaine. He is the one who did a root canal I survived, feeling fine and chipper to go back to work that very evening.

The man is a miracle worker. Though my trepidation at root canals remains, my fear is, by and large, abated.

Being the first walk-in's, we'll be the first ones fit in. 0900 becomes 1000, which becomes 1100. No opening yet.

Now, of course, children come in and out all day. One group, two sisters and a brother, are a little rambunctious but smart and polite. And they want to see a video. Now, Dental Care Today! has a small TV/VCR and a selection of Disney VHS to calm the rugrats. And what gem of animation should they choose but...Disney's Pocahontas.

Many of you may be familiar with the appalling musical epic. Me, having seen the mene mene tekel upharsin (along with a whole lot of other people) on the Disney creative wall some time ago, had long since quit following Disney's output (except where Pixar is concerned, and look where they're going).

But the rugrats would be entertained. Pocahontas it was.

It's not a new movie. Man, it's been out for a few years. But I can see why kids love it, everyone with a brain hates it, and the critics loathed it. Roger Ebert, movie reviewer nonpareil, famously had a certain opinion about the movie North, and I borrow it with apology here:

"I hated this movie. Hated hated hated hated hated this movie. Hated it. Hated every simpering stupid vacant audience-insulting moment of it. Hated the sensibility that thought anyone would like it. Hated the implied insult to the audience by its belief that anyone would be entertained by it."

I wondered what sort of thing would compel a Pultizer Prize-winning movie critic to write such desparately angry prose. Now I know. This so-called musical by Disney was everything cliché about animated Disney musicals and nothing creative. The music was cringeworthy and sappy. The cartoon characters were...well, cartoon. And has anyone ever looked at a picture of the real Pocahontas? This one was sexy yet innocent, with vaguely-stereotypical native American features made into a fine mold-the Indian maiden remade for Caucasian moviegoers.

Never mind the simple-minded and preachy hash about getting along and getting together that the story made of the history of John Smith and Pocahontas. To parody this dog would have truly been redundant. The only redeeming feature about the show was the animal comic relief. The raccoon, in particular, acted just like any one our cats (always eating).

By the time I was called in to the operatory, I was ready to go under the drill, sans anaesthesia, just to get away from this waste of good electricity.

And that's how a visit to the dentist can be utterly miserable with not one sharp point applied to the gingiva. And evidence as to Disney's not merely being on the way to hell in a handbasket, but having arrived there.

Or, to paraphrase what Ebert also said about the movie Mad Dog Time, it is a film that does not improve upon the sight of the same space of blank wall for two straight hours. It should have been cut up into free ukulele picks for the poor.

The possible root canal, on the other hand, occurs next Wednesday.

(PS:It must be noted, ironically, that Ebert liked this movie, giving it three stars. Nobody's perfect, I guess)

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