2016, Uncategorized

The Good Dinosaur is a Good Movie.

Two days ago I took my sister to see The Good Dinosaur. Just a nice Disney movie, I thought. No big deal. 

If you’ve seen the movie or read about it in articles like this one, you’ll already know how gut-wrenchingly sad it is. Can I just say, I was not ready for that kind of emotional trauma on a Tuesday afternoon. For those who haven’t seen it, let’s just say it’s the saddest thing from Disney since The Lion King.

But amid all the concerned mothers warning their friends about taking their kids to see it; surrounded by the misery and the outrage at such an unexpectedly tragic kids film; I realised that no one is giving this movie the credit it deserves.

Yes, the film is sad. Yes, I teared up and my sister had to hold my hand for support. We already know all of this. But despite that, the movie had a few great themes that I thought would be valuable to anyone.

*Warning: spoilers ahead.*

1: Fear
Protagonist Arlo is a worrier from birth. Prone to fly into a panic at a moments notice, it’s easy for his family to laugh at him. But as a member of the audience, I was encouraged to laugh with him – to empathise – and this is such an important lesson to teach kids. It’s okay to be afraid. It’s okay to be nervous and worried and uncertain about things. Fear is not unnatural or something to be ashamed of. This movie teaches kids how to be okay with their fear – and that courage is not an absence of fear but a mastery of it. Courage is doing the right thing, despite being afraid.

2: Forgiveness
When he loses his dad chasing after Spot, Arlo is devastated – any kid would be. So when he sees Spot again, he’s ready for someone to blame. Vengeance is the first thing on his mind, until Spot helps him through some elemental struggles, trying to win his friendship. Arlo doesn’t want to forgive Spot, maybe because he doesn’t want to forget his dad, but he comes to the realisation that what happened was an accident, and that Spot isn’t to blame. Kids should learn that anger and grief are perfectly okay feelings to have, but that at the end of the day, to have a friend is better than to have an enemy, and forgiving someone is anything but weak.

3: Friendship
As Spot and Arlo begin their journey, there is some tension – Arlo is unsure of whether to place his trust in Spot. But together, they brave a disturbing collection of oddly-named forest creatures; a pack of hungry carnivorous birds with an unhealthy interest in the weather; three T-Rex’s with Southern accents; and some hippie velociraptors. They share the heartbreaking truths about their families and dance together through a field of fireflies. Arlo does the unimaginable – braves his fear of storms and the river to save Spot. “He’s my friend,” he says. “I love him.” Kids need to know that bonds as close as this one should be treasured – and expressing love and affection for your friends is awesome.

If you don’t want to deal with your child (and yourself) bawling in the cinema, wait until this film comes out on DVD; but don’t fool yourself into avoiding this movie altogether. Sandwiched between incredible animation and a stellar musical score is a beautiful film that everyone can learn from.  The Good Dinosaur is a masterstroke from Disney Pixar – don’t miss it.

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2014, Uncategorized, writing

Being a Butterfly

“I went to the woods because I wanted to live deliberately… I wanted to live deep and suck out all the marrow of life! To put to rout all that was not life… And not, when I came to die, discover that I had not lived…”
Dead Poets Society, 1989

Live deliberately. Because when it is all said and done, what else is there to do but live in hope of avoiding the regret of never having lived at all?

Because no one is perfect, but everyone is rare, and beautiful, like a butterfly. And if we strive to perfection, to conformity, do we strip our wings of their colours so that we may fit in? Or do we paint on thick disguises so heavy they pull our hearts to our knees and we can’t get off the ground at all? And when you are a butterfly, with not more than a few days to live, is it worth it? Or are we wasting our time trying to be something we are not when people tell us, “This is the mold you are to fit to.” And so we bend ourselves until we break to fit the form we are shown and hide our heads thinking that maybe, if we keep our heads down, no one can throw rocks at us for being different.

I was asked a week ago, “Are you artistic or logical? Pick your path.” And after panicking for several minutes, wondering which path to take, wondering “Will I strip, or will I paint?”, I drew a path in the middle of my page and said “Screw it, I am going through the forest.” I went to the woods because I wanted to live deliberately. I want to be a butterfly with my own wings and yes, there are days when I conform. There are times when I strip myself of colour so that I may sink into the crowd and slip throught the cracks like the light I so desperately need. There are days when I paint on a happy face because I’m afraid my true colours aren’t the right ones. But even if I am only alive for a few days, even if my shoulders break from holding my head above water, I am a butterfly and I refuse to be a moth.

Please understand that your wings are beautiful.

Xx Loony

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