Wonder Wednesday

There is this amazing scene at the end of Drive My car.  It won’t necessarily spoil anything to watch it now, so even if you haven’t seen it go for it (and then I totally recommend watching the whole thing!).  The setup here that of a “play within a movie” and within the plot it’s got this interesting conceit, that of that each (in-film) actor speaks their native language for their lines.  This scene is the final one of Uncle Vanya, and the (in-film) actress here does her bit in Korean sign language:

Just so deliciously powerful.  The (actual) actor and her acting is amazing, but her performance in how she harnesses the sign language to deliver it, signing both personally but also involving the other actor is brilliant.  All heightened by the expressive and nuanced sign language itself.  Absolutely wonderful.  (As is the rest, see the film!)

The Rangers Return

I am a longtime fan of Chip & Dale Rescue Rangers. During the Disney Afternoon era I saw each episode dozens upon dozens of times (since they repeated every 3 months or so). When I discovered them on the French station, I was most excited as it was like watching them anew. I collected the comics and wrote in to the letters page.* Various figurines and plush still grace my shelves. And no question, getting a photo with them in their RR garb made me giddy with delight.

So into that comes the new CDRR movie released on D+. When the first trailers for it dropped, I certainly had my reservations: If they wanted to make Roger Rabbit 2, why don’t they just do that? Will the world building be poor? Aren’t the washed up actors and estranged pals tropes already heavily mined? And haven’t we already passed both peak meta and peak nostalgia pandering? Not to mention this was being made by Walt Disney Pictures, the branch of Disney that has spent the past years producing nothing but retreads, remakes, or retellings of some sort of previous IP that have often ended up being soulless, uninteresting, or even disastrous takes on them.**

That said, I also could see that if the relationship between C&D and their interactions were well handled, it could make for something compelling and powerful. If they could tap into facets of the original series with a spirit that rings true, it could be a great new take with real rescuing and ranger-ing. There could be a path forward. Maybe!

Perhaps strangely… in the end all of the above came to pass. (Potential spoilers ahead.) Continue reading

Philosophy Tuesday

Continuing our delve into Turning Red…

The second shows up full force in one of the quietest yet most pivotal scenes in the movie, when Jin speaks to Mei in her room, just before the ritual:

“People have all kinds of sides to them.  And some sides are messy.  The point isn’t to push the bad stuff away.  It’s to make room for it, live with it.”

The scene’s very understatedness highlights the profound peacefulness in what Jin is creating about recognizing, and for sure, integrating ourselves.  Our whole selves.  It isn’t about resisting our messy bits, nor, crucially, is it about yielding to them either.  It isn’t about good/bad, right/wrong, being broken, or whatever – remember that resistance equals persistence.  Instead, it is about acknowledging, being present to, and simply being with them all.

When we recognize that we all have many aspects to ourselves we gain both peace of mind and power.  This is reflected in Mei’s own quote from the start of the movie: ”If you take it too far, well, you might forget to honour yourself.”  Indeed… if we yield to the messy self then we are not honouring ourselves.  If we instead resist it and push it away and fight it and make it wrong, we still are not honouring ourselves.  Integration, and being whole, is about recognizing all our bits, engaging with them, and doing the work needed to make them part of us such that we harness them towards productive ends.  By recognizing all our sides we remove the hooks that hijack our expression.  We gain freedom to be, freedom to choose, and it allows our authentic self to shine through.

The moment in the astral realm with the mirror, Mei remembers her time with the panda.  Crucially, she does not only remember the good times but also the not so good.  And she realizes, hey, welcome to being human.  That is when Mei chooses to cease to resist it, and why Mei also doesn’t just give into it.  She embraces it (and her fluffy tail when she returns to the ritual circle) and thus learns how to control it… well enough to even enable amazing double-jump capabilities.

As Mei invites us at the end of the movie, integration has a wonderous power.  We can blend and create ourselves and grow.  We can let go of controlling others.  And we can embrace our pandas (our wonderful, fluffy, bouncy panda!) while allowing for the pandas of those around us, allowing for glorious and authentic self-expression.

 

* Just a quick note that I added another end note to last week’s post, which I’ll also repost here:  This idea and theme of synthesis also plays out beautifully in the movie when the old school chanting is joined by, and musically merges perfectly with, 4*Town’s Nobody Like U…

Philosophy Tuesday

I noted Turning Red has some good stuff going on beneath the surface.  There’s plenty of it!  And one of the biggest that underpins the story is about integration.  It’s about yin and yang.  And it shows up most prominently in the film in two ways.

The first deals with synthesis and about how we can blend.  Mei doesn’t have to follow her mother or become her mother… or follow tradition or become tradition… but she doesn’t need to entirely abandon them either.  She can engage with both and, above all, make it her own.

Life and all of us within it are not trapped within a series of binary opposites.  The idea of “You are either this, or this” is not accurate.  Nor is the idea that our tastes, interests, attentions, fandoms, and more must be in opposition to others.  We don’t need to hate something else in order to like something.*  Instead, we can embrace broadly.

Mei’s admission of “But I’m scared, it will take me away from you,” is the crux moment for this thread.  Both she and her mother realize in that moment that it needn’t take either away.  We can all explore and grow and create ourselves (whether we’re 13 or older!) not in opposition to tradition but growing from it and even remaining in dialogue with it.  And we can pour in all else we love, mixing and synthesizing and dancing with it all as it becomes our own personal, glorious, and authentic self-expression.

* Quite the contrary, and I enthusiastically invite everyone to enjoy what they enjoy without engaging in denigrating that which you don’t enjoy.

** This idea and theme of synthesis also plays out beautifully in the movie when the old school chanting is joined by, and musically merges perfectly with, 4*Town’s Nobody Like U…

Storytelling Sunday – The Spidy Meta

I want to talk about the recent Spider Man Film, No Way Home, because there’s an aspect of it that’s super interesting to me.  I thoroughly enjoyed it, and there are plenty of cool moments within – but the why of that is what I find so intriguing.

Before I get any further, as I always say, “Spoilers Ahead.”  But unlike the usual warning, in this case I really mean no, really, pause for a second here and if you if you have some interest in this film and haven’t seen it yet then, for some of the very things I’ll talk about below, it is really best to watch the film before reading further.

If you have seen it, well, let’s swing in!   Continue reading

Wonder Wednesday

I love the graphic design on this (alternate? fan made?) poster for Turning Red!

The post by Pixar says it was a poster inspired by Turning Red, but the the artist posted it after Pixar did noting they got to make an official poster.  I’m guessing they were inspired, sent it to Pixar, who also loved it and released it on their official account, and it’s the best of all worlds kind of story.  No matter what, it’s a great poster!

Art by Juan Useche

(And if you haven’t read my review, you can find it here)