Maleficent - the movie

Last week I saw the movie "Maleficent" with Angelina Jolie. I liked the retelling of an old story.

Still, I saw our own time in it whereby many are building a wall around fantasy and wonder to stop it. Indeed, there are adults who find it ridiculous to have stories about for instance Santa Claus, a man who walks around with a beard 'scarring' children and threatening them to give them nothing if they misbehaved. But, how many children don't get anything? Most of the time they get a general amnesty and often the worst children get the most as they understand that adults no longer punish badly-behaving children but hope they will improve their manners if they receive what they want while the children of the poor are told it is a disgrace their parents give them something as little as 'unhealthy' food such as biscuits or chocolates. Other parents tell their children 'the thruth' and thus don't need to give anything. Similar for saying valentine day is too commercial; a good excuse not to give anything because people could agree to celebrate it a few days before or after that day. Indeed, loving someone is for everyday but that one day forces people to remember it and do something special. Nevertheless, people should do as they think is best. But also simply looking to the sky to relax is regarded as a waste of time for losers.

But there are more comparisons: greed. Indeed, Stefan, a human child who is poor, always wanted to live in the palace and maybe even become king of the humans. But to become this, he had to do something very evil: betray the person he loved and who loved him, i.e. Maleficent, the elf. There are two huge countries: a human kingdom where people always try to get more and a 'fairy tale' country that doesn't need a ruler as the inhabitants live peacefully together, i.e. the Moors; these two places don't really like each other. One day, Maleficent rescues Stefan from prison after he entered the Moors to try stealing a stone from it that he would be able to sell for a large sum of money in his own country. Stefan and Maleficent even fall in love with each other. After some years, the Moors is under attack by the human king who wants to unite both countries under his rule so he will become more powerful and can plunder the fairy tale country. He fails but Stefan sees an opportunity to get the throne by betraying his beloved Maleficent. She becomes very angry and separates both countries by building a wall of trees with thorns while she makes herself queen in her own. Now the division is total: one country where no-one is allowed to dream while another country where no-one lives in reality and thus in both places the inhabitants are unhappy. Maleficent also curses the innocent newly-born daughter Aurora of now king Stefan and his wife. But in the course of the story, Maleficent becomes gentler again and even protects the daughter Aurora while the greedy king becomes ever more mad. How the film continues and ends, go see for yourself.

To me it illustrates that when greed and power obsession become too large, people no longer see beauty and forget to dream; they build a wall around them so they only notice money and power. They no longer notice a beautiful sunset while destroying nature to make more profits is considered good. They no longer want to know the stories behind the people such as why some people are poor or why poor people buy what is now considered as unhealthy food (if people earn too little to eat three times a day, they need high-calorie food or they starve to death while they too want to make their children happy by giving something nice such as an ice-cream. But many people nowadays watch those stories about sacrifice and ridicule them as nonsense.

An example are scientists. In order to be a good scientist they need to be able to dream without living in a fantasy world in which they make their own world. Indeed, some scientists are people who want to discover the magic of space and how to discover all its secrets, maybe one day even fly to other stars or build telescopes to see even further. Other scientists look closer to home and try to discover how life can maintain itself, for instance how our cells function or how our body fights evil forces that can kill us. They want to know how cells function, how our body can fight and defeat illness but also how it is possible that two cells can unite to form a new organism such as a human. They discover genes and proteins and different cell types that function separately and as a whole. Others are more attracted to the negative side of life and investigate the side that can kill such as ill-making bacteria and viruses or cancers. They try to do good by inventing cures such as antibiotics; they dream of a planet where people no longer die from illnesses and thus they try to find defence mechanisms. But some become fanatics and see in everything a potential danger and thus want to destroy by using too many antibiotics so that even good bacteria that are beneficial to us die while others become resistant. Or they fear every drug has the potential to kill humans and thus start opposing medicines. Other scientists investigate the climate and how to build a sustainable future while they battle with those who pretend not to believe in climate change so they can continue earning from the old industries.

I think people should listen again more to stories. This doesn't mean watching well-made cartoons shown in cinemas and TV if people don't want to understand them. People should also listen to stories of real people so they understand the meaning of the stories told via films. People should listen to dreams of young people when they talk of a better society instead of telling them to live in our current reality of greed. Then people can talk again about girls or boys who are (dreaming of) riding horses against the speed of light so no-one can follow them except their own friends who believe in the same stories (until the day comes they too (have to) stop dreaming for earning money to stay alive). Parents should also accept they are not always in the stories of their children and that sometimes children flee their parents by living in their own world. Of course, controlling parents will then try to destroy the stories of their children so they are always part of their children while if parents allow children and young people to dream, children will start sharing their stories with the parents. Finally, dreams can lead to great things.

And for parents who don't like to tell stories in which there are strange creatures, you can use science (the series 'Onces upon a time ...', originally 'Il ├ętait une fois ...', is a very good cartoon on how to tell stories based upon history, science and the future). In this way, parents can use, again, strange creatures such as dinosaurs and start stories with 'Ones upon a time, long, long ago, there were some very strange animals walking on our planet and ...' as this was indeed very long ago. But also other stories can be told: our body is a castle that needs to be protected against invasion forces such as bacteria (for instance, the king of the E. coli wanted to invade ...) while defence forces within the castle fought against the attackers. The invaders were successful but only for a short time when parts of the castle were destroyed and the person felt very ill. Also many soldiers (immune cells) died but in the end, the defences of the castle were stronger, also because the Head of the castle (the brain) used its power to help in its defence by taking antibiotics. But he ordered this defence mechanisms would only be used for a short time because also good external forces (e.g. bacteria living in our guts) would be killed while the attackers may develop their own defence mechanisms (i.e. resistance). Another story can be about the betrayal from inside whereby some of our own cells start to attack the castle by becoming cancer cells whereby the Head and defences (immune cells) have very big difficulties controlling this this attack.

Another story can be about flying into space to discover other planets and stars, even galaxies. And history can be used to tell stories about kings and queens who used their own people to remain in power or protected their people against attacks from others. Whatever, so many stories can be told. And when a good story has been told, children will continue by making their own sequel.

And thus, indeed, the stories of the past can still be told with their gods doing things to change the course of history to explain why certain things happen in live, even against all logic. Other stories can be told, involving present day situations and even science and history so children learn from stories. Indeed, telling stories and not simply reading them will force everyone to use their imagination and thus have more fun. Later, children can still read the books.

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