It would seem to be difficult to take a wonderful Broadway musical which extols Christian virtues and is based on a true story and turn that classic into a second-rate cartoon espousing political correctness, undermining authority, rebuking Christianity, and extolling false religion. Regrettably, THE KING AND I does just that. Featuring stereotypical cartoon characters, lackluster animation and loose plot points, THE KING AND I does great injustice to the Rodgers and Hammerstein musical.
Starting with a storm at sea conjured up by the King of Siam’s evil Prime Minister and his witless sidekick, the movie tries to tell the story of the English teacher, Anna, who is brought to Siam by the king to educate his children. Faced by this evil storm and visions of dragons, Anna throws away the wonderful song “Whistle a Happy Tune.” Thus, evil is ignored rather than rebuked, and although the evil Prime Minister does real damage, his sorcery is never condemned.
Once Anna lands in Siam, the Prime Minister tries to manipulate her into thinking that the king is a barbarian. The Prime Minister wants to depose the king, but Anna sees through his wicked ways and merely wants to neuter the king.
Sub-plots that were never in the musical are added to bring out politically correct points. The prince falls in love with a servant from Burma, and the king gets closer to Anna than in the play. Furthermore, the evil Prime Minister and his sidekick are a constant detriment to the plot. Anna tries to bring the king into the 19th century, and eventually he learns his lesson and gives up the principles that sustained his throne after a foolish act of heroism.
This cartoon version steals the heart from the play. The play had its philosophic problems but the cartoon version aggravates those problems. The addition of sorcery and false heroics are embarrassingly stereotypical and sure to plant confusion in the minds of children.
While MULAN had quality animation, THE KING AND I has nothing going for it except for a few primary colors and some excellent singing. Even Christianity is rebuked while Buddhism is misrepresented, and racism is rampant. This is less than a mediocre retelling of the Broadway musical.
Please address your comments to:
Robert A. Daly & Terry Semel , Chairmen & Co-CEO
Warner Bros., Inc.
4000 Warner Blvd.
Burbank, CA 91522-0001
Pagan worldview with many politically correct elements, some false religious elements, a few anti-Christian elements, & few moral elements; no foul language; cartoon violence including punching, balloon crash, hurdling down waterfall, & demonic characters attacking; and, attacks on tradition & undermining authority.