Tuesday, September 25, 2012
#51: In Conclusion
Winnie the Pooh, 2011
watched September 15, 2012
I'm still in shock that I made it here. My final review.
Last August when I began this crazy journey, I don't think I could have ever expected what this project would become. It's been amazing, enlightening, surprising, and a whole lot of fun.
But I still have this last review to get to before I talk about all of that. It does seem a bit anticlimactic to end on Winnie the Pooh. Had I done this a year earlier I could have ended with Tangled, which I love even more now after having watched it no less than five times since its 2010 release. Winnie the Pooh, in contrast, feels somewhat trite and insignificant. The Many Adventures collection of episodes produced in the 70s far outshines this newer film.
However, there's a good reason why Pooh endures. (Hah! I just realized what I did there. No pun or irony intended.) The endearing Hundred Acre Wood serves as the perfect venue in which to tell simple stories accessible to all ages. Though, to be honest, I felt less charmed by Pooh's selfish search for honey this time around. And I got pretty annoyed at Owl's verbose conceit. I found myself relating best to poor Rabbit, clearly the 'get it done' character of the bunch. I know how it feels, dude. (Is anyone else weirded out that Rabbit is male? I don't know why that always surprises me. Piglet, too.)
In this adventure, Christopher Robin's friends find a note at his home which is grossly misspelled. (What do you expect from a seven year old? Or however old he's supposed to be.) Jumping to the wrong conclusion, they set out to find this "Bakson" monster they believe has captured their friend. The gang finds themselves in all sorts of predicaments as they follow, well, rabbit trails and winding forest paths. It's both bemusing and slightly maddening. Maybe I've lost a little patience for these toddler-targeted Disney characters.
But the story still contains a valuable lesson: Read carefully. Make good observations. Understand the context. Only then should you draw conclusions about what's true, and what your plan of action might be. For Winnie the Pooh and friends the results were harmless, but in reality the consequences could be quite grave.
So perhaps this short and sweet film does serve as an appropriate end to this project. In my aim to tell the stories of these fifty-one movies truthfully, I've had to apply this principle to my writing. Yes, I came in with an agenda. I knew I wanted to find echoes of the Gospel narrative in these films. But my process of discovery was certainly one that involved careful observation and interpretation. Each week as I sat down to write, I never had any expectations of what would come out at the end. In that way, I've delighted in the surprises I've found in these films: messages of hope, freedom, sacrifice and redemption.
Winnie the Pooh will not become a classic, but as I wrap up this yearlong project I can't help but reflect on its commentary on how we approach all narratives. Whether it's a note written by a child, or a timeless film that endures through the ages, how you draw your conclusion matters.
Wow...this is the end!
But not quite! Stay tuned for updates coming on my EPIC Disnerd birthday party, results from a year's worth of polls, and more concluding thoughts on this entire Disnerd Adventure.