Stealing an idea from George Lucas, PIXAR decided to come out with a “prequel” to Monsters Inc., which I think was genius from a business point of view. Not only will families with kids flock to the film, but the college crowd who grew up on Mike and Sulley will too.
And flock they did! After missing out on not one but TWO sold out showings, we decided we’d better go an hour early if we wanted to get the best seats in the house!
Luke doing his first movie “camp out,” but well supplied!
I’ll link to the official Kidology Review coming shortly from one of our expert reviewers, but I wanted to post some of my thoughts.
First of all, TWO THUMBS UP! As people were coming out the showing before us, I asked, “Thumbs Up or Down?” After repeated thumbs up, I had to explain the ‘thumb system’ to Luke. LOL
NOTE: I AM going to include spoilers from this point forward, so if you haven’t seen it, stop reading after this paragraph, and just go see it. It’s a great film with super messages for everyone on friendship, forgiveness, teamwork, and as my blog title suggests, never giving up.
Secondly, (minor spoilers following) I love the theme of never giving up on a dream! Along with that came the message of HARD WORK, which is not taught very well or very often in our American “get rich quick” or “I’m entitled to success” culture. That’s why I’d give the movie four thumbs up if I had that many. (I’d probably be in the movie, then, huh?)
Mike is a little monster who, quite simply, isn’t very scary. But after an experience as a young monster early in the movie at the Scream Power Plant at the heart of Monstropolis, (I’ll leave that spoiler out, for those who chose to read on), he sets his heart and all his effort on becoming a Scarer at the Power Plant. It is his dream and life purpose. The movie quickly shows him studying hard and getting good grades to get into the college of his choice, Monsters University, rather than the rivals, Fear Tech or Scary University.
Despite all his hard work, and he works and studies harder than anyone else, his lack of “natural scariness” seems to spell nothing but failure. Rather than summarize the entire movie since you’ve either seen it or will, I will to get to my point. Through it all, Mike never gives up. There is one moment of despair where he almost does, but that is when reconciliation happens between Mike and his former rival, Sulley. As it turns out, Sulley had been depending on natural talent and a family reputation rather than hard work to succeed, yet he was seeing the same amount of failure.
Working together, they end up doing the impossible. As great as that is, it isn’t what I like the best about the film. There was something else I really liked, and I’m curious if others caught it.
In the process of doing this incredible “thing” at the end (still avoiding the details), they break some rules and to my surprise, they are expelled from Monsters University. I really expected them to be forgiven and allowed to re-enroll due to the amazing “thing” they did. The intimidating teacher I suspected of being evil the entire movie turns out to be just stern and intimidating. While she admits her surprise at their success, she doesn’t extend grace. They still have to leave the school.
Could the message, especially to to college kids,be that the ends do not justify the means? You may accomplish good, but you may still have to accept the consequences?
Then came what I loved most, and my Patriotic side nearly burst. Since they flunked out of Scare School, they decided to take on what was offered once as an insult: a job in the mail room at the Monstropolis Power Plant. It reminded me of Joseph in the Bible.
First, sold as a slave, he decided to be the best slave he could be, and in time was promoted to running the entire house of the captain of the guard of Pharaoh. His positive attitude, even as a slave, earned him that promotion. Then, when Joseph was falsely accused and thrown into prison, he didn’t pout and complain Again, be decided he would just become the best prisoner that prison had ever seen, and soon he was put in charge of the entire prison. In time, he rose to become the second in command of all of Egypt! His literal childhood dream came true.
That is exactly what Mike and Sulley did. They immediately set out to beat the “most mail delivered” record. And they did. Next, we saw through some pictures put up over time in Mike’s locker that they went on to be janitors and decided to be the best janitors ever. Then they served soup, and they put their hearts into that. Finally, there was an “Employee Scare Try-Out,” and they won. Their dream came true! It took time, hard work, and patience, but they DID became official Scarers!
That is a message MUCH NEEDED for kids today in our country. Hard work, patience, humility, determination, and dedication to a dream will in time product results!
Just like John D. Rockefeller, Mark Zuckerburg, Ansel Adams, Steve Jobs, Bill Gates, Ty Warner, LeBron James, Kobe Bryant, John Travolta, Johnny Depp, Tom Hanks, Peter Jennings, Steven Spielberg, Thomas Edison, Walt Disney, George Washington, Benjamin Franklin, and even Abraham Lincoln, they fulfilled their dreams through hard work and focus, having never graduated from college! They didn’t expect anything to be given to them, they worked hard for it.
Too many young people today expect to graduate from college and be given a six figure salaried career. They aren’t willing to work in the mail room, be the janitor, serve soup, or flip hamburgers – and be the best hamburger flippers their fast food joint has ever hired. That is the secret to seeing your dream come true. I am blessed to own and run my own business, but that only came after decades of mowing lawns, flipping burgers, delivering legal documents, valet parking cars, organizing plumbing parts, and being the best children’s pastor I could be while pursuing a God-given dream I had when I was 19 and a calling I received when I was 10.
I guess you could say, “Be Like Mike.” Pursue your dream, and if one door closes, find another way. And if God is on your team, you can only win, if you never give up! He will bring along the Sulleys in your life to help you, humble you, teach you, and join you in your quest!
BE LIKE MIKE!
PS: Stay after the credits. Our family were the ones who did… and it was worth it.
Twitter and Facebook blew up yesterday with the news that George Lucas sold Star Wars and all its rights to Disney. As the YouTube video of George’s explanation spread, fans seemed divided over whether this was a good or bad thing but were hesitantly excited about the simultaneous announcement that there would be new Star Wars movies as a result.
One of the most interesting reads was George Lucas Just Saved Star Wars by Firing George Lucas. Others had fun proposing possible names for the new movies to come from a Disney-owned Star Wars franchise:
Here are a few:
– When You Wish Upon a Death Star.
– Finding Greedo.
– Song of the Sith.
– Snow White and the Seven Droids.
– The Princess Leia Diaries.
– Emperor Palpatine’s New Groove.
– The Wookiee.
– Lilo & Sith.
– Droid Story.
As I trick or treated this year in a Star Wars inspired costume…
After getting a taste of the Power of the Force on Endor, where he was first honored as a god, C3-PO secretly decided to begin to study the ways of the Jedi around him until finally in 2012 he would reveal himself as a true Jedi Knight…never again to be mocked as a mere protocol droid.
And after displaying my Yoda Jedi Master Pumpkin…
People asked me what I thought of George’s sale of Star Wars to Disney. Usually, they wanted a short answer, so I just said, “Hesitantly optimistic, and happy for my son. Hopefully there will be a Star Wars Theme Park in the future in addition to more movies.”
But I have a longer answer.
As a fan of Star Wars (just search this blog), I’ve never jumped on the “hate George” band wagon. Yes, I have been mildly disappointed with the prequels, but I’ve also believed that the fans don’t own Star Wars, they are the recipients of it. We owe gratitude to George Lucas for a lot of joy he brought to our childhood – and even if he didn’t do everything the way we would have liked it, let’s not forget, it’s just a movie people. What he gave me as a boy was something more powerful than a movie or a story; he gave me the gift of IMAGINATION.
That has been something I have carried with me ever since I saw my very first movie in May 1977 at the young age of eight. When I watched that Star Destroyer passing overhead and saw and heard those laser lights blasting away…I was hooked.
I never stopped imagining. That’s why my basement is filled with Star Wars toys and why I never stopped playing with action figures, even creating my own silly action stories for kids via ToyBoxTales.com
Star Wars took me to a galaxy far, far away…where there were two suns, robots as funny as Abbott and Costello, a walking carpet that grunted – but his dashing partner understood every word – and a beautiful princess who needed rescuing. There were spaceships and aliens and so much more… and an evil dark villain, who it turned out in time, still had good in him and could be redeemed because, believe it or not, he still loved his son.
Perhaps, in time, George lost his way and that’s why some of that original magic was lost in the prequels. But the creativity and charm and visual splendor of far off worlds and tightly edited chase scenes only got better, even if the writing grew dull and the dialogue became wooden and forced. That far off galaxy still calls children to imagine and play with light swords and dress up and dream. For that, I still celebrate Star Wars.
I don’t think the problem with Star Wars is so much with George. I think it is with us growing up. I’m not saying I don’t agree with the criticisms of George Lucas and his handling of the prequels. It’s just that when I was eight years old, they wouldn’t have mattered. Like the lights of an oncoming car, it is so much easier to see the faults of another than our own. Could I have done better? I doubt it.
We have all made mistakes and missteps and fallen short of the expectations and hopes and aspirations of others. I’m glad I don’t have millions of fans! That’s far too many people to disappoint and let down for one mere mortal man. So I cut George Lucas a lot of slack. I think that’s called Grace.
I just look forward to what he does next. I’m his fan, unconditionally. We all need fans like that – fans who celebrate us with gratitude, even when we blow it. Those who will let us dust off, learn, and move on, a better man for when we’ve fallen on our face.
And I look forward to what Disney does with the characters and planets and story that he created.
May the Force be with Disney now!
I just got home from a week at Walt Disney World after CPC Orlando. I was lucky enough to be at Magic Kingdom the same day as the President of the United States! (or was I?) When we entered the main gates we discovered that Main Street was closed to normal low class citizens such as myself and my family:
A nice wall said, “You are not important enough to get to see Main Street today.” (See the metal detector door?)
Secret Service agents and other White House personnel roamed around where we were unable to go. So how were we to get to the rides? We had to enter through a side gate and go around the ugly backstage of Main Street… not the best of circumstances… right?
But leave it to Disney to make a bad situation into something fun and unique!
Too bad a camera doesn’t capture sound (Apple, are you working on that?) There was lively music playing, employees with Micky gloves on waving us through, giant flags and floats from the parades to see.
Disney took what could have been a very negative situation and made it into something fun and festive!
They even set up some photo opportunities along the way:
Luke posed in front of a Treasure Float that was very shiny and glittery and…
I posed in front of a Giant Crocodile!
By just putting a little creativity and energy into it, they turned a boring walk through the backstage into a fun detour. Later, Main Street was open again, but we felt like we got to see some things that most visitors to Magic Kingdom don’t get to see… so it was special instead of a bummer.
(And we got to see President Obama later from the People Mover posing with the Royal Family in front of the Disney Castle, which was kinda cool!)
When things go bad in ministry, instead of considering it a negative – instead, think of it as an opportunity to be creative! People will end up thinking it was a special Sunday instead of a bummer if you just put a little time and creativity into creating an environment and experience that is unique.
BONUS: One of my pictures was Featured on MagicalTrash.com
I’m always on the look out for ministry tools in the most unusal of places… as I explain in the Kids Church Cookbook, you can’t wait until you NEED a ministry tool to looking for it, you must already have it when you think, “I wish I had a… oh! I do!” Because you are a collector of odd ball #kidmin things!
Well, on vacation I went to an antique outlet mall and saw this action figure from the semi-recent Disney release Prince of Persia (which was a pretty cool movie, by the way, if you didn’t see it.)
Now, if you’ve been a fan of ToyBoxTales.com you know I’m a collector of action figures and have a wall of them labeled by their usefulness in teaching videos. (The site now features Object Talks on the home page, the videos featured in DiscipleTown, the kids church curriculum I write, so search the archives for nearly 100 videos with action figures!)
I picked up this dude because I think he looks like he could be a Bible Character!
MY QUESTION TO YOU: Which Bible Character do YOU think Prince Dastan could play in a ToyBox Tale? And why? Who does he look like, biblically speaking?