Be A Man - A Tribute to Walt Disney
IN LIGHT OF WALT DISNEY’S BIRTHDAY:
wrote distinctly remember writing a post about why Disney remained such a large part in my life. Surely, there are many factors that contribute, here are a couple off the top of my head:
Of course, there’s the fact that I was lucky enough to be born in the middle of the Renaissance, so I grew up with these movies. Childhood is the stage in which a large amount of cognitive development occurs, so it’s only natural that Disney became a part of me.
Secondly, more importantly, goes a little deeper: As a Christian, my life is all about redemption. (“Oh no, he brought religion into it. I’m done here.” Just hear me out and you’ll see where I’m taking this.) I believe God sent his only son Jesus Christ down to Earth to save us from our sins. He died, we were redeemed, and given a second chance. Consequently, the concept of redemption appeals to me. I’ve found that many Disney movies share a common theme of redemption: Hercules, Aladdin, Beauty and the Beast, Tangled, and even Pixar’s Cars and A Bug’s Life, to name a few.
I probably didn’t need to explain each example, but well, there you go. Two (of many) reasons: childhood roots, and redemption.
- Hercules is considered a “freak” and he tries to regain his “Hero” title - he succeeds in physical redemption, but realizes (and is told by his father) that he needs to take it another step further.
- Aladdin knows he’s more than just a street rat, but he needs to show that, especially if he wants to win over Princess Jasmine. But it’s difficult when all the palace guards know him as a thief.
- The Beast, cursed with a beastly appearance as a young prince, must prove that his character can override his hideous appearance to earn a girl’s heart.
- After violently meeting Rapunzel by coincidence, Flynn Rider is forced to take her to see the floating lights in exchange for his satchel; along the way, he falls in love with her, and she falls in love with Eugene Fitzerbert. He discovers that thievery isn’t his thing anymore - Flynn Rider dies, and Eugene Fitzherbert shines through.
- Lightning McQueen stumbles into Radiator Springs and tears apart their road, riding on his reputation to bail him out. As his stay grows longer as he repaves the road, he finds that there’s something else about this happy little town of misfits. He has a change of heart (engine?) and becomes a part of the gang in Radiator Springs.
- Flik is notorious for messing things up - his inventions fail to work properly, and he ends up ruining the harvest. However, his chance at redemption is when he is sent to the city to recruit warriors that will defend the colony when Hopper and his crew return for the second harvest. He succeeds, and goes from klutz to cool guy.
There are things that the movies themselves have taught me, but there are also things that I’ve learned from just being a Disney lover. In such a rejecting world in which it is common to be common rather than yourself, Disney has taught me how to be receptive, yet still unaffected by people’s opinions. Criticism is inevitable, you have no control over what others think or say. But taking the criticism and transforming your beliefs and lifestyle accordingly, you do have control over that. I can drop Disney to avoid further criticism, or I can stick to my guns and move forward. It’s a matter of choosing what’s easy and what’s right.
Now comes the topic of maturity. Many a time, I’ve been called “immature” for living the Disney-fied life that I do. You know, “Disney is for little children,” among other harsher and more extreme claims, etc. Yeah, okay. Walt Disney himself said, “You’re dead if you aim only for kids. Adults are only kids grown up, anyway.” Here’s how I see it: Disney makes me happy (for lack of a better word), so it’s a part of me. If it doesn’t quite have the same effect on you, that’s fine, but don’t mock me because of it. I just think the real immaturity is to reject something that was such an integral part of one’s childhood. Sure, Timon and Pumbaa say, “you gotta put your past behind you,” (or “you gotta put your behind in the past”) but that’s only for bad things. Where’s the harm in embracing something that shaped who you are as a kid?
In the world, it all started with a mouse, but in my world, it all started with you. Even though I’m a few hours late, Happy 110th Birthday (and counting) to you, Mr. Walter Disney.