Monday, May 8, 2017

Storks and The Dove Foundation

family approved Doe Foundation seal The Dove Foundation is a Christian based review site. It is a non-profit, that's mission is to: "promote the creation, production, distribution and consumption of wholesome family entertainment."

And yet what constitutes wholesome entertainment isn't clearly defined anywhere on their website. Their seals of approval include: family approved (all ages), family approved (for 12 and older), faith friendly, and faith based. 

While it seems that The Dove Foundation aspires to something of the Hayes code values, it's hard to know. The lack of clearly defined requirements for what is considered "wholesome" gives some freedom for the site to be vague about their own values. For instant in their review of Love Free or Die (2013):

"This is a controversial DVD for sure. There are not many people who take middle ground when it comes to the debate on homosexuality and its place in the church. Although conservative voices speak up in this documentary, it is slanted toward the acceptance of gay leaders in the church, a stand which many of our Dove conservative viewers will have a hard time swallowing."

This film did not receive a family approved rating, but the foundation also never specifies whether homosexuality in of itself is a reason a film could not receive an approval. They also specify the feeling of the Dove conservative viewers, but not whether or not The Dove Foundations own values align with a conservative perspective (one assumes that they do). In their review of ParaNorman they say:

"The use of “Sweet baby J” is one line which, with other factors included in the content, doom the picture from receiving our Dove Seal. It is certain the term is not used in respect. In addition, the ghost of a hippie is clearly seen holding a lit marijuana cigarette and, along with the strong occult themes, a young male character named Mitch tells a girl that is interested in him that she would like his “boyfriend”."

Recently Storks was granted a Family Approved seal.

Junior the stork, Tulip the redheaded human, and little pink haired baby what's-her-name.

Tangent for a moment, because Storks is a new favorite of mine. This movie is wonderful. It is about a world where Storks used to deliver babies, but now deliver packages. When a soon to be promoted Stork  gets mixed up with a human orphan (that his company has raised), they must team up to try and deliver a mistakenly created baby from the old abandoned baby factory... If that plot summary sounds odd, it is.  I don't have the words do this movie justice. Full of slapstick visual humor it is an increasingly chaotic adventure where every situation escalates to a humorous extreme. Just as I thought I would know where the plot was going, it would pivot slightly. I have, as of this blog, now seen this movie on six occasions, because I'm obsessive, and it's lovely.

Junior the stork is looking mighty happy while he hangs with the baby.

And the Dove Foundation highly recommended it also.

So, here is where things get interesting, (and a bit spoilery). At the end of this film the storks deliver bunches of babies all across the world. All different types of families are shown receiving children, including: single parents, interracial parents, and gay parents. While some other Christian-targeting review sites list this scene with gay couples as a reason for concern, the Dove Foundation does not. Which brings up the question of whether the reviewers did not notice this scene, or if there is a shift within the organization over what is considered appropriate.

Junior the stork, and orphan Tulip in a sea of babies. So many babies.

I want to be optimistic. Perhaps The Dove Foundation has changed there opinion on what they find appropriate, perhaps they are testing the waters to see how their more conservative viewers feel. But it's probably that Storks has simple done what children's cartoons have a long history of doing: sneaking things passed the censor. Recently on The Dove Foundation's Facebook page, an angry fan (whose name I've redacted) pointed out this scene.

a screen cap of a comment someone left. Saying how disapointed they are that Dove Foundation gave Storks a decent review when, quote, "same sex couples are presented as a family unit in a postive light."

There has been no reply, and no changes made to the Storks review. Take that as you will. And take the time to watch Storks, it is great fun and well worth it.

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