Friday, September 7, 2012

For the Record, I Remain Fairy-Agnostic

As Disney sequels go, "Return to Neverland" is not a bad one.  That is faint praise, and the fact that I have seen enough Disney sequels to make that call says something.  But what I'll always remember "Return to Neverland" for is a truly strange plot twist that sent my brain into a mad philosophical quandary.

In the film, Wendy's daughter Jane winds up in Neverland somehow, where of course Peter Pan has never grown up or aged.  Jane is much more skeptical than her dear mother, and at one point in the film, petulantly declares that she doesn't believe in fairies.  At this point Tinkerbell suddenly gets weak and faints.  Peter and/or the Lost Boys (it's been a while) explain that Tinks life force comes from people's belief in fairies, and that she will only be healed when Jane truly believes.

Now 'ang on a minnit.  I highly doubt that Jane believed in fairies at any point, so her declaring this should have had no effect on Tinkerbell.  This implies that Tinkerbell does NOT draw her power from peoples' belief in fairies.  Rather, Tink gains her power from her own false delusion that people believe.    She must now must confront the not-so-shocking truth that this cynical, boring little girl doesn't believe in her.  Clearly that is just one shock too many.

I am a little surprised that the headstrong Tinkerbell would have such a fragile psyche and/or belief system.  While I'm sure this was just a poorly thought out plot development put in by a hack screenwriter, it sure is fun to let your brain run with the implications of it all.  Do YOU believe in fairies?  Your answer could have consequences... unless you just keep your mouth shut.

FOOTNOTE: My friend Jeremy Duffy (a.k.a. The Geek Professor) raises an interesting counterpoint.  He argues that the film is based in a belief system in which words have power.  Therefore, the act of speaking the words "I don't believe in fairies" is an act of violence.  I hadn't thought of this, and there are many people even in the U.S. who believe this, which is why some people claim that people listening to music about Satan isn't harmless.  Food for thought!

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