Thursday, December 26, 2013

The Black and White Magic of Living Toy Stories

Two children's movies on magical worlds and living toys. Both movies were made in the same year (2007), yet the messages couldn't be further apart

Two children's movies on make-believe worlds and magic toys: one had a appalling review, the other ranks 8,2 on IMDb's rating scale. One is an original work of art, the other a century old bromide. The concept of the first movie is objective, the second is subjective. Both movies were made in the same year, yet the philosophical premises couldn't be further apart. 

Mr Magoriam paints an objective world with the message: knowledge is external and man is a being of free will. So if you set your mind to it, you too can fulfill your dreams. Evil occurs when the heroine is so sad, she no longer focuses and loses her ability to accomplish her dreams.

A small part is reserved for Albert Einstein clarifying the matter at hand: caught talking to the Einstein doll Eric asks the bookkeeper if he'd been pretending? "No, I merely was keeping my mind active". 

The Nutcracker on the other hand piles the postmodern relativism on thickly. It turns Albert Einstein into a quack (the theory of relativity has nothing to do with philosophical relativism) and portrays the psycho humbug, Freud as an actual sage.

The producers could't think of anything more original than rats and Nazis to fill the role of evil: not an idea or a state of mind, but a group of existants. It's like a bad children's version of the Lord of the Rings. 

The magic of the Nutcracker is only in the mind of the heroine, who obviously dreams up the entire episode. So Mary's knowledge is internal (heaven knows how it got there). And she is simply a helpless subject in the matter.

The message: 'reality' (and by extension good and evil) is merely a creation of our own thoughts. 

The two stories couldn't be further apart. There's black and white magic in living toy stories and make-believe worlds too, it would appear!