Monday, March 12, 2007

And, crash-landing at a video store near you....

Was on my way somewhere yesterday when I heard one of those uplifting radio spots for the latest re-release of Disney's Peter Pan DVD. "It's the movie that taught us to believe," said the softly euphoric voiceover. "And now you can share its inspiring message with your children...."

Question: What inspiring message? In what did this film "teach us to believe"? That if we commit to the existence of fairies and fairy dust and Neverland*, we can fly? But...we can't fly; we can't even hover outside our beloved Wendy's window, as shown. Flight, at least the unassisted kind, is not one of the attributes with which homo sapiens as a species are endowed. What's more, if you take the movie at its word and try to fly—say, off the roof of a building, as at least a handful of kids invariably will, or so urban legend has it, after each new release of movies like Peter Pan and Superman... Let's just say the experience is not apt to end well.

Please don't start telling me how depressing I am, OK? I don't want to hear things like, "Geez, Steve, it's just a metaphor, dammit, and you're not supposed to take it literally... Why do you always have to be like that??" Because, see, it's not "just a metaphor." The whole point of the film (and certainly the ad campaign) is that in order to keep that spirit of childlike wonderment alive in you as you grow up, you have to be able to believe in things that defy common sense. Except, the very thing the film uses as an example in making its case is not only impossible but dangerous. Even lethal. Therefore, the movie has no point. It is not inspirational. It is simply a fantasy.

I have no problem with adults who enjoy watching Peter Pan (I've enjoyed watching it) and/or who want to buy this latest version for their kids. Just do yourself (and your kids) a favor and don't make more out of the experience than is there. Forget about the "life lessons" we're supposed to take away from a movie like Peter Pan (or a book like The Secret), because there aren't any.

P.S. Also watch out for the peanut butter.

* And not the Michael Jackson variety, either, which is a story unto itself.

7 comments:

Anonymous said...

Though I almost always agree with you, Steve, I think you're reaching a little bit here. It's a children's movie, and I don't think we want to take the magic out of children's movies, even if or when those movies send a somewhat distorted message about life. I do get your point, but that's how I see it anyway.--Alyssa

RevRon's Rants said...

Steve -
Gotta agree with Alyssa here. The message in the movie (at least, the one I got) was that we should always hold on to a sense of wonder, and if we are to believe anything, it is that there are possibilities beyond what we perceive as our limitations.

As children, the physical limitations placed upon us are significant; beyond the laws of physics, we must also obey the laws of parents and society. All too often, those parents have their own demons helping them write those laws, and society in general is an instrument of the level of control that a child cannot fully grasp, much less, exercise. In a very real sense, a child's freedom exists solely in the realm of dreams.

There's plenty of time for growing up, and I regret that our children are being pushed to do so at an ever-accelerated pace. I say let them have their dreams. And if we as adults are able to get some joy out of remembering those dreams, more power to us. Barring those who choose to experiment with hallucinogens (or whose bodies make their own), I doubt that any of us are going to take it seriously enough to attempt to fly.

I, for one, still experience the joy of spotting Spanish Galleons and dragons in cloud formations. :-)

Dr "Swill" McGraw said...

this isn't directly relevant, but for a good laugh, check out this hilarious rant about "the secret":

http://mikesweeklyskepticrant.blogspot.com/2007/02/heres-secret-blame-victim.html

Anonymous said...

Steve, afraid I gotta go with Connie and even my old nemesis Rev Ron here. Peter Pan? Out of everything there is to talk about that's going on, you come up with Peter Pan? Did you take an unusual amount of sun to the head in Las Vegas? (just kidding!)
-Carl

Steve Salerno said...

All right, all right, I meant well--and Carl, I think you meant Alyssa and not Cosmic Connie--but your points are well taken. And now, I shall go out to search for a Spanish galleon in the evening moonglow...

Cosmic Connie said...

I agree with Alyssa and The Rev. Even so, I have to admit that on numerous occasions, upon reading something about "manifesting" or using the Law Of Attraction, I think about Peter Pan. Or more accurately, I think about Tinkerbell. If enough people believe in fairies, Tink won't die. I especially think about Tink when I read that if LOA (or any other New-Wage trick) isn't working for you, it means you just don't believe in it enough. So you see, there is kind of a SHAM connection.

Anonymous said...

Funny, Peter Pan never was my favorite... It reminds me of a very funny scene of the movie "Adams Family" where the children are sent in cottage to watch disney cartoons and movies for hours as a punishment for their "weirdness";-)) and resistance to displaying "happiness" all day long;-))

Vanessa from Paris