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Nemo and Ponyo Cosplay at Otakon 2012

3 Aug


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Photos from Otakon 2012, last weekend at the Baltimore Convention Center.


Finding Nemo: A Lesson in Parenting

1 Dec

Sometimes I think FInding Nemo is the only source of parenting advice I’ll ever need.

My kid has a lucky fin. No, not really….but if you’ve seen the movie, you understand. He’s not your typical kid, and I wouldn’t have it any other way. But bottom line, there are certain challenges that come with parenting a kid who’s so uniquely blessed, and they’re not limited to the logistics that come with extra doctors’ visits, medications, and diagnostics. It’s always hard to let go of kids as they grow up; I’m just living it through a differently-colored pair of glasses

Many days, I feel like Marlin. I don’t want to let my precious child swim out on that field trip near the edge of the reef. I want to call out to him, remind him to be careful, not get in past his depth. But that’s just the sort of thing that pushed Nemo to take risks recklesssly, to swim out to the big boat, and led him into the way of the diver’s net.

Marlin: Nemo! You’re gonna get stuck out there and I’ll have to go get you before another fish does. Get back here! Get back here now! Stop! You make one more move, mister…
[Nemo lifts his fin]
Marlin: Don’t you lay a fin on that boat! Don’t you dare touch that boat! Don’t you…
[Nemo touches the boat]
Marlin: Nemo!

And as much as I want to protect him, I also don’t want him to grow up in fear. I want him to explore this big blue world, to know that he is capable of great things. I want him to choose what risks to take not out of rebellion, but out of courage and joy. I cannot protect him from every danger in this world, and it wouldn’t be in his best interests for me to try.

My BFF is a self-described Dory, and reminded me this morning to just keep swimming, just keep swimming. She’s right. In the movie, Dory also reminds me none of us are alone:

This is the Ocean, silly, we’re not the only two in here.

I find myself thinking that parenting is like a ride on the EAC, except that any given day can seem to call for Squirt’s exit advice:

We’re gonna have a great jump today. Okay, first crank a hard cutback as you hit the wall. There’s a screaming bottom curve, so watch out. Remember: rip it, roll it, and punch it.

How many days must I really spend on that screaming bottom curve? Sometimes I’m tired of ripping and rolling.

I want to learn from Gill. He’s sure not perfect, but he does help Nemo learn a little bit about self-reliance.

[Nemo is stuck in the filter intake. The others are about to help him out when… ]
Gill: Nobody touch him! Nobody touch him.
Nemo: Can you help me?
Gill: No. You got yourself in there, you can get yourself out.
Deb: Ah, Gil…
Gill: I just want to see him do it, Okay? Keep calm. Alternate wriggling your fins and your tail.
Nemo: I can’t. I have a bad fin
Gill: Never stopped me
[Turns to show Nemo his broken fin]
Gill: Just think about what you have to do.
[Nemo wriggles out of the filter]
Gill: Perfect.

I’ve got a bit of a broken fin myself, not quite like my kid’s but certainly I know what it is to walk around in this world with what some might consider imperfections. Maybe I can show my kid that my lucky fin never stopped me.

And really, Marlin’s got a bit of a broken fin himself, though it doesn’t show on the outside. He’s still struggling with love and grief, having lost most of his family in what my spouse refers to in an 9/11 allegory at the beginning of the film. His heart is broken, and he truly believes the only way to stay safe is to live in fear, to never let go.

And of course, when all is said and done, Marlin eventually learns to let go, to trust that Nemo knows how to save the fish caught in the net in the film’s climactic scene, and we see that Dory’s right, that we’re not the only two fish in the ocean, that we can do together what none of us can do alone.

I hope I can keep learning that lesson too.

Mashup: Kill Bill vs. Beauty and the Beast

21 Sep

From withonea, who’s also got a pretty sweet Finding Nemo vs. Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles trailer.

Still Looking For Nemo?

7 May

From, a close sibling of icanhascheezburger.

Shhh . . . don’t tellz sambycat . . .

16 Jan
From icanhascheezburger, bien sur. Finding Nemo fans might like this one too.

Disney on Ice: The Good, The Bad, and The Fishy

28 Dec

Finding NemoIt is a somewhat embarrassing fact of my Disney obsession: I feel the need to attend Disney on Ice virtually every time it comes to town. When Broke Hoedown Jr was younger, I could kinda pass it off on him. Everybody understands a mom taking her 5-year-old to the cute little ice show, right? But now that he’s eleven, and tall for his age, it’s impossible to hide the fact that I’m the one who really wants to go. On the way in, I asked him whether we should perhaps bring his younger cousins along next time. He saw right through my ploy, and told me that if he wasn’t embarrassed to be there without a little kid, why should I be? He even asked me why I hadn’t brought my Pal Mickey (truth is, I would’ve brought him if I’d thought of it).

Now, I wouldn’t keep going to these things if there wasn’t something good about them, and today’s show was no exception. Today, we saw Disney on Ice: Finding Nemo (or, as Mr Broke Hoedown prefers to call it, Finding Nemo On Ice). It had the excellence in costumes, choreography, and scenery to which we have become accustomed. (I wish I could have gotten a few good pictures; I’d obeyed the warning on my ticket that said “no cameras allowed,” and then watched with some frustration as everybody around me snapped away merrily with their good cameras, and all I had was my Blackberry.) While some scenes just couldn’t come across right on the ice (such as Marlin and Dory inside the whale), others were whimsical, almost delightful. The jellies came across just right, and the stage full of twirling little turtles was almost too cute to bear. And you know that I cheered and waved when Mickey and friends skated onto the stage, right?

Cute Little Turtles

Being a Disney on Ice veteran viewer, I knew what I was getting myself in for in terms of the plot. It’ll always be cute and cheesy, sometimes including a truncated version of one or more Disney movies. But something felt a little more wrong than usual about the adaptation of Finding Nemo . . . and Broke Hoedown Jr, in all his wisdom, was the one who pointed it out to me: Two key scenes of the film, in which the moral of the story becomes clear, had both been omitted, and as a result, Marlin came across as simply a worrywart, instead of a parent undergoing a serious existential crisis.

The first scene we missed was, in fact, the very first scene, which lays the foundation for the central crisis in the film: Can one survive terrible loss and still embrace life? And the second major missing scene was the “swimming down” moment very late in the film, where Marlin synthesizes all that he’s learned, and finally lets his child lead the way.

Am I being too hard on poor corporate Disney on Ice by chiding them for omitting these two distressing scenes from a whimsical production, created for the enjoyment of little kiddies? Well, I would have thought so if I hadn’t seen Finding Nemo: The Musical at Disney’s Animal Kingdom at Walt Disney World. The staging and music is every bit as child-friendly, and I wouldn’t hesitate a moment before taking a small child to see it. Yet the creators of this adaptation (better known for creating Avenue Q) kept the spirit of the movie alive, with the angst and fear providing the backdrop for the very real letting-go that every parent in fact must eventually do.

Sure, children can enjoy the fun of Finding Nemo without understanding Marlin’s essential conflict. But if they do, they miss the chance to understand the world a little more deeply, and perhaps even (gasp!) have a little glimpse into the emotional world of their parents. I asked my son what he thought parents should do if they didn’t think their kids could handle the opening scene of the film, and he told me they should just skip it until their kids were old enough to handle it. His words exactly: “If parents can’t stand the heat, they should stay out of the game.”

Making matters worse, I found myself pondering the “Disney-fication” of Broadway, about which I’m not the first to worry. The family sitting behind me kept marveling aloud (very loudly, in fact) about how inexpensive the Disney on Ice tickets were, in comparison to seeing a Broadway show. The more they went on, and the more detail they went into, the more it became clear that they saw the two as cultural equivalents. . . . and I had to wonder how far they’d take this. When their children were older, would they think they could skip the new Tony Kushner play, because their kids had seen Beauty and the Beast on tour? Would Shakespeare and Albee take a back seat to High School Musical in Concert? I need a little fabulous as much as the next person, but life would be a bleaker place without Angels in America and Who’s Afraid of Virginia Woolf. It scared me in the same way I get scared when I hear someone say (without irony) that they don’t really need to visit London, because they’ve already been to Epcot’s UK pavillion.

I’d still “FastPass” Disney On Ice: Finding Nemo, especially for Disney freaks like me who are seriously jonesing for a fix, and whose kids get exposure elsewhere to satisfying narrative and the fine arts. After all, if I’d expected real theatre from Disney on Ice, I’m sure I’ve gotten what I deserved. But please, as a note to the people sitting behind me, and to all those who care about the fine arts: Let’s remember that all that glitters is not gold, and that fancy pyrotechnics are no substitute for good storytelling.

More Entertainment Options Coming to HK Disneyland

19 Dec

From The HKDL Source:

Today Bill Ernest, Executive Vice President and Managing Director of Hong Kong Disneyland, announced four new entertainment initiatives for 2008 – Muppet Mobile Lab, High School Musical Celebration, Nemo Submarine “Turtle Talk” and The Art of Animation.

“As part of our continuing strategy to enhance our Guests’ experience, we are excited to add new attractions and entertainment offerings in 2008 that truly showcase the magic of Disney’s cutting-edge technology, its timeless stories and beloved characters, who will appeal to Guests of all ages,” said Ernest. “After entertaining millions of Guests in our first two years of operation, Hong Kong Disneyland will continue to find new, immersive ways to delight families from Hong Kong and all over Asia for many years to come.”

Starting in spring 2008, these four new entertainment offerings will be unveiled to Guests at Hong Kong Disneyland. These experiences are in addition to the already-announced classic Disney attraction it’s a small world – which will include entertainment features unique to Hong Kong Disneyland.

I’m sure none of these really do much for park capacity, but they might give Guests a little more bang for their buck, and perhaps keep morale high on those unusual peak days when lines are long.

Life Imitates Pixar

28 Nov

Spotted recently on the Upcoming Pixar blog:

The real Nemo, found at Walt Disney World

Luxo Jr, brought to life by a robotics project

Perhaps Some Balm for the Post-Traumatic Soul

11 Sep

On this sad anniversary of Tuesday, September 11, 2001, Mr Broke Hoedown (aka Collateral Damage) reposts an article from one year ago yesterday, speaking to us of Finding Nemo:

Nemo is a movie about the experience most of us had as a result of the event: learning how to live in a world filled with dangers that you can no longer deny by pretending they are irrational. It opens with a huge loss that happens in a single horrible moment — Marlin loses his wife and 499 of his children. Understandably Marlin loses all his trust in the rest of the world but still manages to raise a relatively well-adjusted son who then gets snapped up by a yet another unstoppable force. In his quest to fulfill the movie’s title he meets up with Dory who is so odd that I would argue she, too, is a trauma survivor. (And yes, I do think Ellen DeGeneres deserved the best supporting Oscar for that performance.) In the end, of course, Marlin does learn to not be so afraid of the world and to enjoy his life and he and Dory and Nemo create an odd family of survivors that wouldn’t have existed before the tragedy. Now that’s 9/11.

He speaks also in a separate post about his experiences that day, both the mundane and the shattering.

Like many frequent business travelers, I was on the road that day. and spent the rest of the week trying to get home, both literally and figuratively. A moment of silence, please, for those who were not so lucky.

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The Daily Show: Disney vs. Anaheim Housing Dispute

22 Jun

Not recommended for Disney purists or the easily offended, it’ll just get yer hackles up. (Though I’m guessing none of those folks read this blog anyway, now do they?)

And hey, don’t watch this one with the kids either, unless you feel like explaining what fellatio is.

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