We Are All Wild Things

By: pbcmedia

May 31 2010

Tags: , , , , , , , , ,

Category: Fears


Focal Length:16mm
Shutter:1/0 sec
Camera:Canon EOS 5D

I watched Wes Andersen’s “The Fantastic Mr. Fox” with my seven-year old grand-niece on Saturday night.

To say I loved this movie is to understate its charms as they are limitless where as my love sometimes get distracted by IPADS and cameras n’ things.

At the end of the movie (which is a liberal not literal adaptation of Roald Dahl’s children’s book)  the mid-life crisis of The Fantastic Mr. Fox is successfully resolved but not before putting his whole community’s survival in environmental  jeopardy (feel free to look at the headlines for relevance of theme), he and his buddy Mole drove by an open area where a wolf was on a rock.  The Fantastic Mr. Fox has a phobia about wolves, just plain ‘scared of them” he tells Mole in the beginning of the movie and if anyone mentions “wolf” or “wolves” he yells “to quit the wolf talk, will ya?”

Mole, his sidekick, whose eyes go into pinwheels when he doesn’t understand what is being asked of him (which is most of the time) answers that his phobia is lightning just before the two of them get lit up by an electric security fence as they are stealing chickens.

The wisdom of this movie about fear fightin’  kills me.  Wrapped in old-time stop motion animation (think Faye Ray’s “King Kong”) the look and substance of this movie makes  3-D look like all sizzle and no steak.

Anyhoo, the wolf is on the rock looking out, standing tall and arched.  The Fantastic Mr. Fox stops the motorcycle and calls out the equivalent of small talk, wild animal style: “How’s the weather?”

The wolf just looks.  Quizzically looking, taking in this request for socialization.

Mr. Fox (who is on two legs that look like stilts but have hooves for feet and wears pants with a hole for his tail which by the end of movie has been chopped off in a fight and worn as a tie by his adversary– but I go on and on, don’t I?) raises his paw/arm straight up in the air, fist clenched, sign of we are the wild world solidarity and waits for the wolf to respond.

After a long pause and more wolf quizzical looks, the wolf raises his paw and holds it straight up, holds it there a beat or two, and then, moves off the rock back into the wider landscape.

I gulped.  My grand-niece and I looked at one another.

We both said simultaneously, “That’s my favorite part.”

So, when I asked her the next day to stand in front of the big American flag in Boston,  she did–and just before I clicked the shutter (totally unprompted)- her arm shot up, fist clenched.

I gulped again.

On this day where we remember the presence of others in our shared national and personal life, bedeviled along the way by private and public fears, I can’t think of a better image nor a better movie.  Rent it– buy it even better.  Giving one to a friend, better still.

©Pat Coakley 2010


8 comments on “We Are All Wild Things”

  1. As I read about your thoughts about wild things, I was reminded of the old turtle and scorpion fable.

    I couldn’t help but think about how we as species like to anthropomorphise. It’s almost like we can’t handle the fact that other lifeforms as so alien to us. Sometimes I think we are so alien to even ourselves.

  2. Razz, the amazing thing about this movie was that it was not as much as humans making sense of animals by making them into humans, but animals trying to make sense of humans by making them into animals. Does that make sense? Still, much wisdom in your “I think we are so alien to even ourselves.”

  3. Love this picture. Am downloading the movie from iTunes :).

    • O, Goodie!! I am sending my copy to a friend tomorrow so I can spread the wisdom and fun. Let me know how you like it, OK? Except…thinking about it…if you don’t care for it don’t tell me, cuz it’s like saying you don’t like one of my children.. if I had any that is.

  4. I will have to watch this “The Fantastic Mr. Fox”.
    Quintessential movie moments just don’t happen that often enough during any one movie … for some reason. hee hee!

    • Ross, I feel totally 100% confident that this movie is a right bloomin’ match for your sense of the goofy and the profound. Yes, I used the word profound in addressing you.

  5. A great photo on its own merits, Pat — but made even more meaninful by the story of Mr. Fox and the wolf. Probably one of the best Memorial Day messages for me yet.

    • Oh, this was a sweet sweet moment Don, along with 20 custom made cupcakes that took up much of Saturday. I cannot look at another cupcake until 2011.

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