Bees and Puppets

Class began with the last movie presentation on Bee Movie by Murel Baxley. They started with the background information. It was released November 2, 2007 by DreamWorks Animation and distributed by Paramount Pictures. Simon J. Smith and Steve Hickner directed the Bee Movie. The move had a $150 million budget, and they ultimately ended up making more than $287 million dollars. We were then able to watch the trailer. The presenters gave our class a short summary of the plot beginning when Barry befriending Vanessa. The overall jest of the movie consists of Barry finding out that the humans are selling honey that bees are producing. He files a lawsuit against honey industry to get the honey back. The bees win the lawsuit and get honey back. Bees don’t have to work anymore and stop pollinating the flowers. Barry and Vanessa successfully bring the flowers back to NYC and order is restored. Barry B. Benson is voiced by Jerry Seinfeld in the movie. Barry recently graduated college and is about to enter the workforce. He is curious to see the entire world, ambitious, infuriated by honey industry. Vanessa Bloome is voiced by Renee Zellweger. She is a florist who tries to help break barriers between the humans and bees. Other characters in this movie include Martin and Janet, Ken, Adam Flayman, Ray Liotta, Layton T. Montgomery.

There are three common themes in the movie we discussed in class today. The first theme is that everyone and everything has a purpose—bees no matter how small they are have a big impact on the world. The second theme is the theme of David vs. Goliath—the bees (David) are able to beat the big industry (Goliath) in the lawsuit. And the third and final theme is that working together can make things easier—when the bees work as a team to pollinate the flowers and produce the honey it worked a whole lot easier. The presenters also mentioned an interesting controversy over this movie though. Some students have claimed to come to DreamWorks in 2000 with the name of Beebylon, but the DreamWorks claimed it was too childish. DreamWorks rejected the plagiarism claims and there is not much more evidence at this point in time to figure out what more there is to the story.

After the final movie presentation, the first puppet presentations started today. The first play was Little Red Riding Hood by Roald Dahl. There was a narrator and each of the actors represented a number of different characters. There was Little Red Riding Hood, grandmother, the wolf, the house, and a gun. The wolf beat LRRH to her grandmother’s house and ate grandmother up. So when LRRH showed up at grandmother’s house, the wolf was then dressed up pretending to be LRRH’s grandmother. LRRH noticed that her grandmother had lots of fur and even a tail! But when she called the wolf out for this he said he was going to eat her anyways, but instead LRRH pulled out a trigger and shot the wolf. A couple weeks later came LRRH walking through the woods, but this time she was wearing a big fur coat.

The second puppet presentation today was on the Three Little Pigs also by Roald Dahl. There was a house, pig, and wolf. The wolf blew down the first pig’s straw house and gobbled him up. The second wolf’s house was made of twigs. The wolf asked to come inside but instead blew his house down and the wolf gobbled him up too. The third wolf made his house of bricks. The wolf wanted to eat him too, but instead said he would bring dynamite that night. The third wolf called (on a puppet telephone) Little Red Riding Hood to come help. LRRH then came and actually killed the pig to make her a pigskin purse!

Finally my group actually presented. Our presentation was based off Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs from the Classic Fairy Tales. Our group worked hard together to make this puppet theatre presentation. I enjoyed getting to look back and reflect on the different versions of Snow White. We decided to base our presentation off of the version that was most similar to the one we remember from growing up. Lindsey and I had a great time going to the store and picking out the supplies for the puppets. Neither of us would consider ourselves artists or very creative by any means, but we made it work. We decided to make the dwarfs on gloves in order to allow one person to be all seven dwarfs since we have a limited number of actresses. It was a lot harder to make the puppets than I thought it was going to be, but I am glad Lindsey and I had a great attitude about it and were able to get it done. We collaborated together to decide what part of the story we wanted to highlight in our short presentation, and then Lyndsey and Maggie did a great job creating the script. Overall I am so proud of everyone’s hard work. In class I had the two gloves of the seven dwarfs we created, Lindsey was Snow White and the mirror, Lyndsey was the narrator, and Maggie was the step mom and prince. My perspective on our performance is probably very different from an observer, but all I can say is that at least it was fun!

There was an additional presentation on the Little Prince. Their puppets were very impressive using Popsicle sticks for the prince, bird, and a number of the other characters. All of the presentations today were out of this world! I was so impressed with everyone’s hard work. It is evident people had put a lot of time and effort into not only the scripts, but also creating their own puppets. I am very grateful to have had the opportunity to dive back into these fairy tales and to see all the student’s different takes on the stories. It was a very light-hearted class today, which I thoroughly enjoyed!



Entertainment for Adults or Teaching Tool for Children?

Thursday’s class began with a Mickey Mouse presentation starting the semester off right! The presenters went through the entire history of Mickey Mouse and how Walt Disney was able to accomplish all that he did through this famous icon. We were told that mickey mouse is one if not the most influential symbol in the entire world. With all the popularity coming from this little mouse, Walt Disney decided to get it copyrighted and trademarked in order to keep its icon only within the Walt Disney Company. The presenters also showed us a cool transition of the Mickey Mouse icon starting from the first one in 1928 to the current Mickey Mouse today. Although this mouse has small parts about it that has changed, overall this little mouse of Disney is still globally known today.

After the very informing presentation, we moved on to our first discussion of one of The Classic Fairy Tales, “Little Red Riding Hood” in all its many versions. We had the joy of being able to go through and discuss all eight versions of this fairy tale. It was interesting to point out who the hero, villain, and helper of each of these versions were. Although there are aspects of the story that remain consistent throughout the different versions, I personally was very surprised by how much these versions varied. It is evident that the moral of the story is dependent on the culture’s values. For example, some authors wrote of Little Red Riding Hood overcoming the wolf and working with her grandmother to kill the wolf, but then another version of this fairy tale tells of the wolf eating the grandmother and even the little girl. Very clearly there are different lessons or purposes for these tales being written in the manner that they were.

Most Americans probably grew up hearing the Grimm Brother’s version of “Little Red Cap.” The American version of this story was to teach children lessons. To be honest, Little Red Riding Hood is one of the fairy tales I remember the least in comparison to Cinderella, Beauty and the Beast, Sleeping Beauty, and so many other stories that were able to expand, entertain, and keep my attention more so than the “Little Red Cap.”

The last version written in this Norton Critical Edition is “The Three Little Pigs.” I would assume just about every child has heard the story of the three little pigs, but I know that personally I had NEVER heard the version of Little Red Riding Hood coming to the rescue by killing the wolf, and then turning around and killing the sweet little pig. There is probably a reason I had not read that version—I know that if I had any children I would not want them to hear the gruesome and depressing ending of Roald Dahl’s tale.

The other five versions of Little Red Riding Hood have their unique quirks and morals dependent on how the author wrote. “The Story of Grandmother” has more of a focus on the mother of Little Red Riding Hood and her command for her daughter to take the hot bread and milk to grandmother. Although the wolf did kill grandmother, Little Red Riding Hood was smart enough and managed to escape her death. There were still aspects of this story like the description of grandmother’s blood in a bottle and her flesh in the pantry that I am not sure I would want my children to read, but overall the story is entertaining and at least Little Red Riding Hood survives!

Charles Perrault also wrote his fairy tale in a gruesome way, but the most interesting characteristic of his story is his separated moral section at the end of the tale. Typically authors write stories and leave it up to the reader to determine what the moral or point of the story was, but instead Perrault felt the need to clarify and explicitly lay out the lesson of the tale.

“The Little Girl and the Wolf” and “Little Red Riding Hood and the Wolf” provide a more modern aspect to this tale by providing the little girl with an automatic weapon that ultimately saves her life and kills the wolf. “Goldflower and the Bear” tells the tale of a brave little girl who kills the beer with a spear. There is the additional aspect of Goldflower’s brother presence yet no help to the little girl in this life-threatening situation. The moral of the story here is most likely to encourage little girls to be strong and brave to defend themselves.

Finally one of the most entertaining versions of the tale in my opinion is “The False Grandmother.” Little Red Riding Hood goes through all these obstacles of the Jordan River and the Rake Gate to get to her grandmother’s house, and then when she has to escape and run away from the wolf, the Jordan River and Rake Gate end up helping her out!

Little Red Riding Hood tale ranges from teaching tools for children to pure entertainment for adults. The authors of these different variants of the tale expanded and transformed the tale with their own beliefs and desires allowing this tale to be spread and used for all different means throughout the world. The now publication of these tales will hopefully help to continue the spread of Little Red Riding Hood for the rest of time.