As a parent, you do things, including go to movies you otherwise wouldn’t have chosen. For me, a movie about a tattooed Santa Clause, a tough Easter bunny, the sandman and tooth fairy, joined by Jack Frost, guarding children against the dark force of fear and doubt qualifies as something I wouldn’t have done.
Then sometimes you are surprised, especially the moment you identify with the least likely of characters. There is a funny moment in which you too may feel that you are no longer separate from the movie and these computer-animated characters, but rather you feel a connection as if you are, just for a split second, seeing and feeling yourself as you are looking into Jack’s eyes.
We All Want To Be Heard
Like every good story, Rise of the Guardians tells many tails at the same time, interweaving the different themes going on in different characters lives to make one cohesive story. So, while the movie offers the theme of believing and the importance of children’s belief in the unknown magical characters who bring forth joy and hope, there is a theme that struck me much deeper. This was the theme that Jack Frost and the antagonist, Pitch (as in pitch-black dark), had in common- and one that we all share.
In his unique after-life experience, Jack remembers nothing before the minute he was born in a dark, cold lake. The moon, a silent God of sorts who directs the guardians, has given Jack no information, save his name. Jack spends 300 years bringing cold weather and searching for a purpose or meaning in his life. Along the way he plays with children, bringing snowball fights, snow days and sledding to delight them, though he is never seen or acknowledged.
The story’s rising action is about Pitch’s return and power play to darken the world, removing all hope and belief in children. The guardians unite to fight Pitch and are directed by the moon to call upon a new guardian, Jack Frost, though he doesn’t understand the calling, especially since he doesn’t know what his special gift or offering will be.
Lost at the Bottom of a Dark Lake
We all have a talent and a gift in life that makes us unique and we all tend to develop it. This aspect of ourselves is so strong that it even helps us develop a sense of who we are and how we fit into life. The truth is we can’t help but do what we are good at, but we often want to be recognized for it, as Pitch, bringing terror and fear to the world, or as Jack who brings playfulness and joy.
In other words, we can feel invisible to the world when a sense of our belonging and our contribution seem to go unnoticed, as it does for Jack and Pitch. In this, our egos can get the better of us and get us to behave in ways we otherwise never would.
Like Jack, many of us tend to hold a false belief that if only we could fix our past or find out that we had a family that loved us, then we would somehow be whole, fulfilled or complete at which point the world would acknowledge our special talent. This is what we all do, we all chase what we think will turn around our lives, never realizing that, as Jack does, we held our unique talent or the answer within ourselves all along.
It isn’t easy to look within for the answer to anything or for our place of belonging, especially since we relate and focus on the outside world. We tend to think that the answers to our problems, especially the worst world-threatening issues, must be complicated and beyond our abilities. However, the answer to our problems are never so out of reach, and when Jack stands with the other guardians almost defeated by Pitch he finds the answer and the unraveling of Pitch in his own gift of play.
Jack’s power, like our own, truly lies in our discovering ourselves, even when we are invisible to others. It is only by being ourselves and enjoying what we do that we will become visible, at which point our visibility before others won’t increase or decrease our happiness or our place of belonging.
The ‘spiritual’ moral of the story: activating the energy you prefer creates worlds. In simpler terms, when you believe in yourself and see your own ‘magical powers’ others will too, just ask Jack.