Imagination and Adventure

So I went on a Pixar movie binge. First Toy Story 3 in the theater and then WALL-E on demand and Up via movie rental. I'd seen all the other Pixar movies with my kids when they came out (except Cars, which hasn't really piqued my interest). (For the record, my kids watched these three with me as well, although it was my idea to watch them, not theirs. Still, they think there is something wrong with a middle aged woman watching Pixar movies without some children in attendance and so they watched with me, I suppose to provide the right ambience.) I loved them all.

What I love about these movies is that they are first and foremost adventure stories. They are not about "nothing" a la Seinfeld and its ilk, nor are they primarily ironic as in half the shows on TV now (from South Park to The Colbert Report). Not that they do not have their ironies and silly humor, but these are garnishes, not the main course.

And the message about adventure in "Up" is primarily that the best and most satisfying adventure is life itself - relationships, love, seemingly mundane rituals like picnics and ice cream and silly games. Sure, there's plenty of action and excitement (and irony and silly humor) but in the end, the professional adventurer has become a scheming, murderous old man while the man who thought he missed his big adventure becomes a hero by saving a bird and attending a little boy's awards ceremony and buying him ice cream afterwards. And his next adventure, portrayed throughout the credits via "photographs" in an album, is all about love and friendship with all sorts of people and animals. The old man and young boy bring dogs to the retirement home; they play bingo; they go to the movies together; they laugh.

Life is an adventure, if we will but recognize it, if we will be willing to imagine the fullness of life's possibilities wherever we are now. Being in relationship with others, being beholden to them not out of obligation but out of love, caring for them, laughing with them, playing with them, does indeed make life an adventure. Our job is to recognize and enjoy this now, instead of only realizing it later after we look back.