Wednesday, August 26, 2015

Inside Out - A Film 12-Year-Old Girls of All Ages Will Enjoy

I was pumped to see Pixar's latest offering, Inside Out last week. I wanted to see how they turned being inside the "Control Room" of a young girl's brain with all her emotions personified into an engaging film.
Girls, you are gonna love this.

They certainly had surprised me with Big Hero 6 and Up and Monsters, Inc., so I settled in to see how they did it once again.

Sadly, I was not impressed. In fact, I began to get irritated of the stereotyping of men as either rude or clueless in this heavily female film [yeah, yeah, all CGI - but 90% female characters.]

Like Brave and Frozen, it is a film designed for girls to watch in large groups with other girls. Boys will be disappointed. There is nothing for them to see except girls causing trouble with other girls.

Yippay. Whoop de doo. Except... well...

There was one redeeming feature, but it had a back-handed slap in it.

There is a figure in the film who sacrifices himself to save the day. He is male - sort of.

He's warm and friendly and sweet. He's loving but he is lonesome, since his girl no longer plays with him.

This one character saves the film from pure disdain in my eyes. He's the girl's old Imaginary Friend, Bing Bong.

He's a ludicrous assortment of all the things she likes that are warm and fuzzy and nice. He's made of cotton candy and even produces candy when he cries. He has the tail of a cat and the snout of an elephant.

But while she's forgotten him., he's not forgotten her, and like Shel Silverstein's The Giving Tree, he will not stop giving all he has to help her.

That's the spoiler folks, so you can read on if you wish.

You'll see the scene of his giving and you'll see why I cried in the theater, over a girly-girl movie that did very little for me otherwise.

I saw The Gift, given for a child who had let her emotions wreck her memories and her relationships. What emotionalism does to all of us who feel wounded.

I saw Jesus in Bing Bong.

The back-handed slap? Well, he's her Imaginary Friend. He's not real, except in her mind and emotions.

But isn't that the case in real life? How many children had Jesus in their minds and hearts and let Him be destroyed by the world, or their other desires?

Even as I wept, I saw a bit of Biblical warning. You see, the film ends with her emotionally re-connected and even looking forward to building new memories and emotions - based on Boy Bands and Clothes and other Very Important Things to Girls - at the expense of the eradication of Bing Bong.

Her Imaginary Friend had to be destroyed to accomplish this. The one who really loved her self-annihilates to save her and she never knows it.

What she lost and got in return made my blood run cold, even in the theater. While it was supposed to be a happy ending, it glorified cheaper wares over a sweet relationship she'd had.

Am I reading too much into a film for kids? Oh, most certainly. We have to grow up, right?

But when you know Christ - and I do - and when you see Him sacrificed as a funny and tragic figure - and He was - and the resolution is : oh boy, I'll build NEW memories and cast off childhood like a used paper plate, you suspect something about the Happy Meal you just ate.

It had something unsavory in it. It rings true and tragic at the same time.

I wanted to rejoice in her restoration, but I didn't. I wanted to say, "Wow. She made it!"

But she didn't.

In the crisis of her emotional life, she sacrificed the one childhood friend she had who loved her more than his own existence. The one she had utterly forgotten.

Bing bong was no ding dong of silliness.

He was her heart's best friend. He was Jesus. The same loving Jesus in every child's heart, killed by puberty and "growing up" that so many of us profess to have done that removed the "childish fantasy" of faith.

If you believe that, you didn't "grow up" as much as you gave in. To the world. To its values. To its foolishness. Jesus tries to catch us before those loud and insistent voices demand allegiance. He even commands us to get children to Him as soon as possible, I think.

Matthew 19:14 
Jesus said, "Let the little children come to me, and do not hinder them, for the kingdom of heaven belongs to such as these."

Christ loves little children, and they come to Him. But the world comes after them, too.

If we let the world tell us to leave Christ, to not trust Him like little children do, then it is we who will be turned -

- inside out.

And that is a sad ending, not a happy one.

Sorry, Joy.

Amen.

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