Monday, November 7, 2016

Toy Story

Jack Gannon
Dr. Waggoner
Writing as Inquiry
7 November 2016
You’ve Got a Friend in Me
              Every young kid has their personal favorite movie. I think that we all can admit when we look back at our life, that nothing at times mattered more than going to see Mickey Mouse or Buzz Lightyear. As children, we look up to the characters in our favorite films as someone we strive to be to like later in life. The characters seem larger than life and do everything perfectly. However, what we sometimes do not pick up on as kids are the messages these characters actually send. I will discuss the Toy Story movie and the positive and negative messages it sends.
              Looking back now at what were some of my favorite movies, I cannot believe some of the hidden crude symbols that are shown in these films. I am also surprised at some of the much deeper positive messages there are in these films. Toy Story is a film that has both good and bad messages.
The most positive aspect of this film is the overarching theme of friendship and positivity. I cannot think of one movie that is more positive than this one and displays how to develop a positive relationship. Woody the Cowboy is the head of all the toys. He is the sheriff who always saves the day. In the beginning, he is a terrific leader when talking to the entire toy group. Since Andy is moving in a week, Woody has to arrange moving buddies because he wants no toys left behind. During Woody’s speech, he makes a comment about how there is nothing to worry about in this process, but some of the other toys don’t feel the same and start to panic. The Slinky Dog soon reminds them how there is nothing to worry about saying Woody has never steered them wrong. The group calms down and they peacefully then solve things together. However, not everything goes as smooth: such as when Buzz Lightyear shows up there’s a little bit of a controversy between him and Woody on who is the head guy. Buzz wows everyone at first with his wings and flashy lights. This makes Woody believe that he does not have the same show factor as Buzz. This leads to jealousy and arguments between the two. As their journey goes on together, they move past their differences and become friends. In the ending scenes when Andy and his family are moving, Buzz is stuck outside of the moving truck. Woody sees this and sends out an RC car to help retrieve him to Andy’s car so they can be together. In the end, the two become great friends. As a whole, there are many different toys, but they are all friends, everyone one is supportive of each other. An excellent example of this is Rex the dinosaur’s famous quote, “You just have to believe in yourself.”
              However, not all movies are perfect, and this one has some negative messages. Earlier I mentioned how Woody was jealous of Buzz at first, but they then became friends. However, I see no reason for this much jealousy to be in a children’s movie in the first place. It makes it seem like it’s okay to talk down about someone just because you like what they have. When Buzz arrives, everyone is looking at him and Woody says, “You think they’ve never seen a new toy before.” This clearly shows his envy over Buzz. When Woody calls Buzz a toy, Buzz corrects him by saying, “I think the word you are looking for is space ranger.” Woody replies by saying, “The word I’m searching for I cannot say because there’s preschool toys present.” This shows messages implies that just because someone has cool stuff, it is okay to call them crude names. In one scene Woody also pushes Buzz out of a window to get rid of him then lies by saying it wasn’t him. Lying and jealous are both terrible things and this movie makes them seem okay.

              In conclusion, this movie has good messages about being a positive friend, as well as negative messages on jealous and lying.

Tuesday, November 1, 2016

 Spongebob Squarepants Movie

The spongebob Squarepants Movie is an adventure film, that features many inspiring scenes, that would most  convey positive messages to a young viewer. Although I am now eighteen, I still enjoyed the movie and could see many examples of fortitude, problem solving and courage. As there were many positive messages displayed in the movie there were also a few scenes that may have set a bad example or prematurely introduced the young viewers to more mature content. First I will dive into the good that I was in this film. As I stated earlier, this was a true adventure film. The plot of this movie revolves around spongebob going on a mission to retrieve King Neptune's crown. The crown was stolen by Plankton, a rival restaurant owner to the Krusty Krab, where spongebob serves as the loyal frycook at. Plankton meticulously frames the owner of the Krusty Krab, Eugene Krabs, for the theft of King Neptune's beloved crown. King Neptune then freezes Eugene Krabs and gives Spongebob six days to retrieve the crown from the forbidden Shell City. Spongebob in an effort to show Mr. Crabs that he is a man, sets on a mission to retrieve the crown and save Mr. Crab’s life. On this mission, is where we see the examples of fortitude and the power of love that sets a good example for the young viewers. A specific scene that vividly depicts such strong power of love is when spongebob was on his deathbed in Shell City. They were placed here by the “Shell City monster” who was actually a scuba diver, who sells mounted sea creatures. As Spongebob and his friend Patrick Star were under the hot lamp, drying there sea bound bodies to their death, they both shed a tear. As they both dried into their earthlike forms, the tears they shed dripped to the bottom of their fiery death bed and formed into a heart. This tear heart then slid down onto the cable that was powering the hot lamp. This tear slid all the way down to the power outlet, knocking out the power of the lamp. The smoke from the power outage then fills the room and makes its way up to the smoke detector, setting off the sprinklers. The water from the sprinklers then brings Spongebob, Patrick and the rest of the sea novelties in the shop back to life. The sea creatures all then team up to take down the Shell City Monster, giving Spongebob and Patrick the opportunity to take King Neptune’s crown. This display of love (the tear heart) shows how the power of love can overcome and situation, no matter how bad the situation may be. This most definitely is a good example for young viewers. As this was such an inspiring message from the film, there are also scenes from the film that do not set a good example for young viewers. The most questionable scene from this film is Spongebob’s “drunken night at the Goofy Goober”. Spongebob was very let down and hurt when he was not awarded the manager position at the new Krusty Krab 2, and goes down a spiraling path that night when he went to the Goofy Goober restaurant. To deal with his ill emotions, Spongebob goes to the Goofy Goober ice cream bar where he orders countless amounts of ice cream sundaes to cope with his pain. The ridiculous amounts of ice cream that SpongeBob eats leaves him in a disturbingly drunk state of mind. There are two very questionable aspects of this scene, in regards to young viewers. First is the display of Spongebob’s unhealthy coping mechanism for his previous let down. Going to a “bar” and ordering mass amounts of ice cream (beer) is no way to cope with a let down, especially when shown in a children's film. The next questionable aspect of this scene is the fact that Spongebob obviously seemed drunk, after eating ice cream. This does not only make sense but also makes you question what the director was trying to imply to young viewers while directing this scene. In the end, I most definitely believe that the positive messages in this film outweighed the negative ones. This movie revolved around fortitude and the power of love. Though there were a few questionable scenes, the positive takeaways are much more powerful.

The Meaning of Cars

Cars is one of Pixar's most famous movies, and most certainly one of the most successful in the box office. The movie is about Lightning McQueen, a famous rookie race car who has taken the racing league by storm, but lets his ego get in the way while trying to pursue a championship. He ends up in a town called Radiator Springs, where he is arrested for essentially destroying the town, and is required to fix it. While performing this seemingly daunting task, McQueen comes to love the town and the people in it, and these citizens prove to have a pivotal role in helping McQueen winning the championship at the end of the movie. As a child, I only watched the movie for the entertainment and because I always loved racing, but as I rewatch it years later, I pay attention to the lessons trying to be taught by Pixar.

Throughout the movie, all McQueen cares about is himself. He only wants to win the championship and become sponsored by Dinoco, the leading team in the race car world. In the beginning of the movie, he fires his pit crew because they called him stupid, and everyone else then sees that McQueen's ego goes completely unchecked. Everyone believes that McQueen is a great racer, but not the most social and friendly person. When traveling to the tie-breaker race, McQueen's agent asks who he wants to attend the race, and McQueen can't name a single person that he would call a friend. Shortly after this, McQueen's reality check begins. He falls out of his trailer and finds himself in Radiator Springs, where he tears up the town and is mandated to fix it. Doc, the city judge, says the repairs should take five days, which is the day McQueen's tiebreaker race is scheduled. McQueen hates his situation, and initially, refuses to befriend anyone and try to leave Radiator Springs as quickly as possible. However, as the five days progresses, he befriends a tow truck named Mater, who is responsible for keeping McQueen from escaping. McQueen tries to escape on numerous occasions, but is inevitably caught. McQueen also befriends the de-facto mayor, Doc, an old car whom McQueen originally despises. However, as time progresses, McQueen realizes that Doc was formerly known as the Hudson Hornet, a legendary race car who won three championships. McQueen begins to be taught by Doc, and ironically enough, by Mater, and by the time the fourth day comes around, the media come to Radiator Springs, find McQueen and take him away for him to race in the championship. The people of Radiator Springs are devastated, but not angry at McQueen. At the end of the movie, the Radiator Springs crew shows up at the championship to support McQueen and even act as his pit crew. McQueen ends up losing the race, only because he helps King, another legendary race car, finish the race because of a terrible wreck. McQueen ends up heading back to Radiator Springs, and makes it his racing headquarters in order to be with the people he became best friends with. In the beginning, everyone views McQueen as a self-centered car who only cares about winning. During the first race, McQueen refuses to change his tires against the wishes of his pit crew, and ends up blowing the back two tires, nearly losing him the race. The decision to not change tires makes McQueen look incredibly stupid. Pixar is essentially trying to prove a rather negative message during this part of the movie, saying that you really don't need anyone's help to be successful. As the movie progresses, Pixar begins to incorporate their positive message, essentially saying that everything you achieve is far greater with the help of friends. Pixar also teaches the audience that being first isn't everything. In fact, it's simply a number, and if one has to sacrifice being first to help someone out, the reward is far greater than a trophy.

When comparing each point made in the movie, the one children come to realize much quicker is the positive one. Pixar wasn't necessarily trying to prove that you should do everything alone and tune everyone else out, but that friends make your successes far better, and that first place isn't always the best award. When children watch this movie, all they see in the beginning is a cocky race car who doesn't have the word "lose" in his vocabulary. However, as the movie progresses, children come to understand that McQueen isn't perfect, and in fact, he's far from it. They realize that McQueen doesn't have any friends at first and that he is rather lonely. At the end of the movie, he has some of the best friends one could ask for, and that they've influenced him to become a better person.