Sorry, Disney. “The Nutcracker and the Four Realms” Is A Mere Show of CGI and Costume

Mackenzie Foy as Clara Stahlbaum. Photo by comicbook.com

Clara Stahlbaum (Mackenzie Foy) was turning over an internal part of a long-shaped musical box that had been taking her undergoing a thrilling adventure in the Fourth World. Her face turned positive as she found out the part was a small mirror reflecting back at her beautiful countenance. “Everything that you need is inside,” her mother, the late Marie Stahlabaum said to her. It was her mother’s words that were carrying Clara following her curiosity looking for a key to unlock the box.

Little did Clara know that her initial motive would lead her into something frightening, intriguing yet liberating. She quickly caught the point of the words; it was all herself that she needed to conquer Sugar Plum Fairy, a devilish regent of the Land of Sweets.

As much as Clara was expecting the answer of “what is inside the box” as the movie started, I, too was waiting for the thing the Queen Marie brought up. While Clara was relieved that she finally found her strength, and that she was her only resource to defeat the Sugar Plum, I was disappointed.

It wasn’t about the mirror. It was more on the acting and the expression of Mackenzie Foy that, in my humble opinion, was flat. That scene was supposed to be the essence of the overall movie yet the way she was telling audiences about that was just that.

 

Throughout the entire film, I was hoping the actress’s way of delivering the emotion of Clara as a teenage girl; a shy, clever yet rebellious person, would wow me. Sometimes, Clara did make it, such as when she was conversing with her father at the beginning of the movie. Her sadness and misunderstanding over her father’s apparent ignorance over her mother’s death was smoothly felt. Mackenzie did well on this part.

But when she was entering the parts that faced her with Keira Knightley as the Sugar Plum or the Mother Ginger (Helen Mirren), I can clearly tell the difference aside from the different roles each of them was playing.

In addition, the peak battle scene between the toys made by the Sugar Plum and the rats of the Mother Ginger didn’t run as epic as I initially expected. In fact, it didn’t frighten me as much as when Clara was attacked by the king of rats early in the movie.

I was completely stunned looking at this scene given the very colorful, contrast view that makes the film a very modern, artsy one. Picture by disney.com.au

Thankfully, thankfully, despite the overall disappointing performance from the leading actress, I loved the transition of Mother Ginger and the Sugar Plum. The way the director switched the perceptions of the two characters successfully surprised me. I didn’t expect the story would turn out at the very right moment with no clues at all. I salute the acts of Keira Knightley and Helen Mirren for this very swift transition.

As a die-hard fan of the Victorian era, I admit I was fully, completely entertained by the CGI, costume and settings of the movie. The scenes were wonderfully crafted to have resembled those in the era, at least as I watched so far in movies or imagined from Victorian-based novels.

I admire the editing team of the movie for the making the film is such a pure, beautiful art to enjoy. The castle, the forest, the streets both in London and the four realms were made in great details. And of course, the nutcracker itself with his peculiar costume that marks the identity of the fiction. Not to forget kudos for the team that managed the costumes and the accessories of the casts. And definitely the fantastic ballet dance!

Some minus points there yet a few positives here from The Nutcracker and the Four Realms. I hope my next anticipated movie, Mary Poppins Returns, will do me better than this one.

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Menjaga Kewarasan di Era Digital

Awal pekan ini saya mendapat undangan mengetes ponsel cerdas salah satu produsen ternama dunia. Saya dan rekan media lainnya diajak menginap di salah satu hotel di daerah Puncak, Bogor, untuk berburu foto memaksimalkan fitur unggulan kamera pada produk tersebut.

Beberapa saat menjelang keberangkatan, saya melihat kembali urutan acara selama dua hari tersebut. Di salah satu lokasi foto hati saya langsung kepincut dengan DeVoyage, wahana wisata baru di Bogor. Pada lembar daftar acara tersebut, pihak agensi menyertakan beberapa foto obyek wisata ini yang “saya banget”.

Aneka rumah model klasik berwarna-warna a la Eropa yang selalu memikat saya. Sudah dari dulu saya mempunyai mimpi jalan-jalan ke Benua Biru demi memuaskan hasrat saya memandangi bangunan tua, kastil atau kanal. Berhubung hingga sekarang saya nggak punya duit buat ke Italia atau Inggris, cukup lah ya pergi ke Lembang sekadar membayangkan berada di sana seperti di Eropa. Berhubung Lembang cukup jauh dari Jakarta, baru tahu sekarang ada DeVoyage. Lumayan lah ya, di Bogor saja. Tidak sejauh jika saya harus ke Lembang.

Ketika sampai di sana mata saya langsung jelalatan melihat dari jarak agak jauh, warna-warni bangunan khas Eropa sudah menyambut. Begitu masuk ke dalam, tangan sudah gatal mau berswafoto atau meminta tolong ke teman untuk memfoto diri saya. Tempat paling saya sukai tentu saja rumah mungil klasik yang cantik. Sudah terbayang deretan kata bijak sebagai caption-nya.

Tetapi saya malu pas saya hendak meminta tolong ke teman sesama jurnalis. Mereka cekrak cekrek tanpa wajah sendiri sebagai sang model utama. Entah untuk keperluan pribadi atau untuk bisa memenangkan lomba foto (sebab saat itu kami ditantang untuk saling berkompetisi sehat), yang pasti tidak ada satu pun yang narsis rebutan spot untuk berfoto. Dari situ saya jadi mengurungkan niat lalu fokus ke pekerjaan saya.

Di sela memotret dua model yang menjadi subyek bidikan kamera, saya menyaksikan obyek ini ramai dikunjungi pencinta foto. Kebanyakan sih kalangan perempuan, baik ibu atau nenek. Riuh rendah mereka girang berfoto, bergaya sendirian hingga berkelompok.

Sedangkan kami? Hmm.. ada yang masih fokus memotret para model, ada yang sudah terlihat sibuk dengan gadget masing-masing. Saya yang tadinya masih berhasrat berfoto akhirnya makin kehilangan minat. Akhirnya saya paksakan diri meminta tolong ke teman untuk memfoto saya. Itu pun cuman di satu tempat dengan niat untuk meninggalkan jejak saja.

Entah bersyukur atau tidak bersyukur saat itu saya berada di rombongan yang kurang suka berfoto diri, yang pasti saya belajar banyak hal hanya dalam beberapa jam di situ.

Tempat yang ketika masuk terlihat wow seiring berjalannya jam menjadi tak sekuat menarik saya untuk menikmatinya. Kemudian, saya jadi teringat dengan badan saya yang mulai kelelahan, dehidrasi dan masalah pribadi yang saya coba paksa kesampingkan saat itu.

Lalu, jimat saya buat move on itu perlahan muncul, “Ah nikmat duniawi..” Kalau sudah muncul kata-kata itu artinya saya harus mawas diri agar tidak terlalu terlena dalam hiburan ini.

Buat saya, tidak membagikan hasil foto jepret pribadi saya ke media sosial menjadi prestasi tersendiri. Belakangan, butuh usaha agak ekstra untuk tidak membagikan foto saya saat bepergian lengkap dengan caption semi curahan hati di media sosial. Alhamdulillah, saya sudah mulai jarang sekali menulis status di Facebook, tidak seperti dulu. Hanya untuk Instagram saya masih berusaha mengeremnya.

Mengapa?

Bagi yang memang berkepribadian terbuka dan ramai, membagikan status pribadi atau keluh kesah di ranah publik bukanlah hal yang aneh. Hanya buat saya yang setidaknya berusaha tertutup untuk urusan pribadi, terlalu sering menceritakan perasaan di media sosial membuat saya merasa aneh pada diri saya sendiri. Dulu saya nggak begini deh, kurang lebih seperti itu.

Alasan kedua terkait dengan pengalaman saya balik lagi ke dunia media, yang sekarang bergelut di teknologi dan gaya hidup digital, termasuk media sosial. Cukup mengerikan bagaimana aksi korporasi para raksasa Silicon Valley merancang bisnis mereka. Terlalu naif menyebut misi mulia Facebook masih ingin menghubungkan kita dengan teman, menjalinkan tali silaturahmi dan sebagainya.

Kenyataannya, Facebook semakin mempercanggih algoritmanya, membaca perilaku kita. Setiap kali kita melakukan aktivitas apa pun, kesemuanya terekam dalam mesin mereka. Belum lagi, Facebook mengembangkan aplikasi serupa Tik-Tok yang memfasilitasi remaja berkaraoke ria. Intinya sih satu, semakin banyak dan semakin lama orang berada di Facebook dengan tujuan melanggengkan bisnis mereka. Saya ingin berbagi di sini bahwa harta yang paling mereka incar dan harus kita jaga adalah data pribadi kita, cerita kita, emosi kita. Jika itu pun sudah tak lagi kita lindungi dan diketahui semua oleh mereka, apalagi yang tersisa?

Google, Instagram, WhatsApp, YouTube.. semuanya mengambil langkah korporasi yang kurang lebih sama. Membuat sebanyak mungkin orang “terhibur” dengan fitur ini dan itu, stiker yang ini kemudian yang itu, update dan terus update. Kita lama-lama serupa anak kecil yang secara tidak sadar meminta hiburan baru dan baru. Senantiasa tidak puas dengan yang sudah ada. Celakanya banyak yang terlambat menyadarinya. Hiburan yang dulu berfungsi membantu orang melepaskan penat dari bekerja seharian kini berbalik, orang membutuhkan hiburan, bahkan saat sebenarnya mereka tidak memerlukannya.

Beberapa bulan yang lalu, saya meliput konferensi pers rilis kompetisi game tingkat pelajar. Baru saya sadar esport menjadi salah satu mata pelajaran ekstrakurikuler sebuah SMU di Jakarta. Jujur, saya tercengung. Tidak dipungkiri esport menjanjikan karir yang gemilang bagi yang serius menekuninya. Tetapi menjadikannya sebagai kurikulum?

Tidak hanya bagi pelajar, saya juga pernah meliput rilis kompetisi game yang sudah seperti liga sepakbola musiman. Hadiahnya menggiurkan. Status pemain pun sudah berlabel profesional. Jika kamu tidak bisa bermain, kamu masih bisa ambil bagian dengan menjadi komentator, analis atau pengamat.

Menjadi influencer atau selebgram dengan ribuan atau jutaan followers bisa membuka ladang pekerjaan tersendiri. Awalnya, saya suka mengelik selebgram yang kerap jadi model makeup atau baju, cuma lama-kelamaan jadi mikir, ya kali pulsa saya habis cuman buat melihat baju yang nggak mungkin saya beli karena mahal. Terus, apa hidup hanya sebatas berbagi tips makeup atau jajanan yang sedang hits?

Belum lagi, jika melihat akun dengan tebaran foto-foto mengagumkan pergi ke suatu tempat yang Instagrammable. Ke gunung, ke pantai, ke laut atau ke kafe yang penuh kalimat berbunga-bunga buat difoto. Jika sedang khilaf timbul hasrat ingin ke tempat tersebut (pernah loh saya melakukan ini demi eksistensi di Instagram). Untungnya sekarang sudah mulai berhembus mantra lain, “Kapan aku nabung kalau tiap ada duit berlebih hanya mau mengikuti hawa nafsu atas nama kekinian?”

Saya tidak menentang media sosial atau perkembangan teknologi. Saya sekarang hidup dari situ. Hanya bagi orang yang sudah beranjak tua seperti saya, tren saat ini sudah kadang di luar nalar. Ada yang rela naik gedung tinggi tanpa pengaman demi selfie atau mencoba aneka rupa makanan demi klik, viewers atau jumlah komentar, entah sadar makanan itu baik bagi badannya atau tidak.

Sudah tersedia banyak platform untuk mengekspresikan diri, hiburan menjadi lahan bisnis menguntungkan hingga kuantitas menjadi standar ukuran kesuksesan. Belum lagi, perusahaan IT global memang membuat manusia susah sekali untuk lepas dari ponsel cerdas.

Kalau susah mengendalikan diri, perkembangan teknologi bisa membuat kita, setidaknya saya, menjadi gila. Yang bisa menolong kita mengerem ya hanya Alloh swt dan Alqur’an. Banyak berpegang pada-Nya solusi akhir yang saya coba terapkan..

Sebuah Undangan dari Alqur’an yang Tak Bisa Lagi Aku Abaikan

Setelah sekian puluh tahun menulis, 11 tahun terakhir di antaranya untuk mencari nafkah, tibalah aku di tahap menulis topik yang paling ingin aku hindari. Tema tersebut adalah tentang agamaku sendiri dan Alqur’an, media dimana Alloh swt melalui sunah Rosululloh saw membimbing hidupku selama ini.

Aku paling takut menulis tentang Alloh swt, Alqur’an dan Islam selama ini, setidaknya dalam tulisan panjang yang Insya Alloh akan mulai aku hadirkan di blog ini berikutnya. Aku mempunyai beberapa alasan yang ingin aku bagikan di sini.

Alasan pertama adalah aku tidak mau terlihat atau terdengar seperti penceramah. Kesampingkan dulu ilmu soal Islam dan agama yang masih sangat minim, ide memberitahu, mengarahkan orang lain untuk berbuat baik dan benar sesuai tuntunan Islam (percaya atau tidak) kadang masih terdengar munafik di telingaku. Bagi yang sudah kenal aku, mereka mungkin menganggap aku orang baik tetapi sesungguhnya aku mempunyai sifat keras kepala.

Belakangan baru sadar ternyata keras kepala dan tidak suka diperintah memang sifat alamiah manusia. Butuh waktu untuk sadar. Salah satu orang yang susah diberitahu itu aku. Aku saja susah memberitahu diriku sendiri, bagaimana mungkin aku akan mengajak orang lain pada kebajikan?

Aku juga nggak mau terdengar bijak. Senantiasa berpikir positif menurutku solusi yang terlalu pintas untuk beberapa kasus tertentu. Dunia ini penuh dengan cerita kejam, kawan. Apa cukup hanya dengan berbaik sangka kepada Alloh swt lalu segala masalah akan selesai?

Diriku yang begitu skeptis akan hidup dalam setahunan terakhir menghadapi hantaman masalah pelik hingga aku nggak punya tempat pergi selain kepada-Nya. Bahkan aku nggak bisa lagi menemukan kedamaian dengan mempercayai diriku sendiri.

Di suatu hari pada Oktober/November 2017, babak baruku bersama Alloh swt dimulai. Aku nggak bisa cerita persoalan apa yang aku hadapi saat itu. Hanya saja hal tersebut begitu berat hingga aku tak bisa lagi bercerita kepada sahabat dekatku. Aku pernah di posisi yang kurang lebih seperti ini sebelumnya tetapi kali ini rasanya lebih sulit sebab lawanku adalah kesedihan, keputusasaan dan hilangnya harapan. Sedangkan dulu musuhku adalah kemarahan pada seseorang.

Tetapi justru dari cobaan ini, babak baru hubunganku dengan Alloh swt mulai lebih mendalam dari yang sebelumnya. Melalui proses yang cukup panjang justru aku belajar melakukan hal yang paling susah untuk aku lakukan selama aku hidup selama ini: percaya pada rencana baik-Nya.

Iya, buatku khusnudzon sama Alloh swt itu paling berat. Kenapa? Sebab aku dari kecil terbiasa berjuang memperoleh yang aku mau. Usaha segini, harus dapat segini pula. Aku juga tipikal perencana. Segala harus sesuai jadwal. Kalau sedikit meleset aku stres parah. Berhubung hampir semua yang aku mau terwujud, lama-kelamaan rasa sombong itu mulai membesar. Tanpa disadari aku alfa bahwa semua karena Alloh swt yang memampukan aku.

Titik puncak itu datang di bulan tersebut. Ibarat berpegang pada seutas tali yang tadinya sangat erat, perlahan genggaman itu aku lepaskan. Tali di sini maksudnya segala hal yang di luar kendaliku, termasuk masa depanku sendiri. Segalanya (sampai sekarang) aku percayakan kepada-Nya. Aku banyak belajar meyakini-Nya. Konsep iman kepada Alloh swt seperti terlahir kembali buatku.

Semakin aku berusaha khusnudzon ke Alloh swt, cobaan tak hentinya datang. Dimulai dari kehilangan pekerjaan akhir 2017, menerima pekerjaan baru yang kurang pas, hingga ayahku sakit berbulan-bulan mampir ke timeline hidupku.

Namun malah dalam ujian besar itu aku belajar agar memfokuskan hidup pada hal yang memang penting yang sebelumnya aku abaikan, seperti keluarga dan kesehatan. Di situ aku merasa sangat terharu saat tetangga dan saudara menjenguk bapakku yang sedang sakit. Subhanalloh.. kalau bukan karena Alloh swt yang menguatkan aku, entah apa jadinya aku waktu itu, yang di tengah bapakku yang sakit aku masih harus bekerja dari jarak jauh. Ajaib dipikir aku bisa sekuat itu.

Aku turut membaca dan mempelajari Alqur’an dengan mata yang baru. Aku memang beberapa kali khatam membaca Alqur’an tetapi jujur, aku nggak merasa apa-apa selain kalimat perintah dan larangan.

Alhamdulillah, ceramah dari Nouman Ali Khan mengajakku mempelajari Alqur’an dari dalam hati. Dari proses ini aku jadi paham mengapa belajar Alqur’an yang sesungguhnya hingga memperoleh manfaatnya secara langsung itu teramat sangat sulit. Hingga sekarang aku terus berusaha menjadikan Alqur’an obat penyejuk hati dengan proses refleksi diri. Masih kesulitan sebab memerlukan hati yang bersih dan ikhlas agar bisa benar-benar terhubung langsung ke Alloh swt via Alqur’an ini.

Atas khutbah-khutbah Nouman pula lah serial tulisan ini ada. Jika atas alasan ingin meninggalkan jejak baik di dunia maya, rasanya aku terlalu mulia. Padahal ilmu nggak seberapa. Jika hanya ingin memanfaatkan hadiah titipan dari Alloh swt berupa menulis dan membaca kok rasanya terlalu pendek jika aku hanya berhenti di situ.

Akhirnya, aku menemukan alasan yang pas akhirnya berbagi tulisan seperti ini. Lagi-lagi terinspirasi oleh Nouman Ali Khan (terima kasih banyak pak Nouman), aku memilih menulis serial tulisan ini sebab ingin berbagi kearifan Alloh swt dalam Alqur’an melalui hal-hal kecil yang aku amati, rasakan, dan refleksikan. Tentang hidupku sendiri atau orang lain.

Sebab setiap dari kita adalah bagian dari rencana besar-Nya. Tiap dari yang ada di muka bumi, langit, laut dan seisinya adalah bukti keadilan, kekuasaan dan kehendak-Nya. Ayat-ayat dari-Nya bisa kita rasakan dan saksikan setiap saat, jika kita benar-benar menggunakan akal kita. Dan akan lebih baik lagi jika kita mengimani-Nya.

Bismillahirohmanirrohim.. semua yang benar datang dari Alloh swt, yang salah semuanya murni dariku, hamba yang serba lemah dan penuh khilaf.

Reading ‘Homo Deus’. I Hope I Am Not Only Following Mainstreamers

Thank you amazon.co.uk for the picture

Before I get acquainted to Yuval Noah Harari, I firstly know Franklin Foer thanks to LitHub.com. Foer’s articles on the big threats of social media, artificial intelligence completely steals my attention. I like the way his crafts his opinion, fear as well as advice helping modern people coping with the age of digitalization  before it gets too late.

From his writing, I am transferred to The Atlantic because he is one of the contributors there. I regularly check his story at the Atlantic then find out that the website is full of interesting, thoughtful articles. Once upon a time, I stumble upon an article by Yuval. The theme is similar to the Foer’s main focus.

Yuval’s writing is very long yet I enjoy digesting his idea very much. Unlike Foer, Yuval’s point of view is wider because he takes consideration from history and philosophy to support his core idea on what humans need to do to survive in the era ruled by a few technology giants.

Then, I am curious with this author. Later on I find out that he is a historian, a thinker and yes, a writer. It turns out that he is an international best-selling author thanks to Sapiens and Homo Deus.

In the midst of the excitement after finding good author, I tell my friend about him. And guess what? My pal buys his book first. I think I am among the first who know him but when I attend the Jakarta International Book Fair 2018 this weekend, I totally wrong. Because my senior says he reads the book already and Sapiens. At first, my mind says, “Oh my.. Where the hell have I been?” Which is promptly answered by another mind statement, “Well, you can’t blame yourself because you are the faithful lover of fiction, classic novels, in particular.”

Despite three unfinished books, I purchase Homo Deus during the book fair. I just start reading it today and I can’t put it down. Yuval’s writing technique is well-ordered to convey his opinion. Although I can predict the overall essence of the book, I can’t help feeling amazed by his reading list, knowledge that he needs to put them here and there, weave them neatly to later support his entire opinion.

From history, science, social, religion and philosophy, Yuval mixes them all into this thoughtful piece that I thoroughly enjoy reading it. Some strikes me in the face, like when he talks about the diseases modern people face because of lifestyle compared to hunger and virus outbreak back in the 1300s or 1500s.

Or when he touches issues on knowledge-based economy instead of resource-based on.

After years of reading fiction this is my first try reading non-fictions in thick book as Homo Deus. I love reading long writings on opinions and ideas about culture, social issues and literature, but this is actually my first real non-fiction deal. So far, I completely love the book and I hope I can get many insights from it for feeding my mind, not to follow with what mostly readers read out there.

Currently-Reading: “The Professor” by Charlotte Bronte

Picture is taken from za.pinterest.com

I have been 10 days reading ‘The Professor’ by Charlotte Bronte. The title wasn’t into my to-be-read list before I went to Kinokuniya bookstore in Central Jakarta after I covered an e-sport-related press conference last Thursday.

I was expecting I would buy ‘The Woman in White’ by Wilkie Collins despite the relatively expensive price. But when I got there, the novel was gone. Someone probably had bought it. I couldn’t believe that I was so disappointed at that time that I was encircling the literature section of the bookstore to tame the sadness.

I finally bought ‘The Professor’ after I read its first page via Gutenberg online reading. At least the first page was impressive, so I thought at that time. Then I bought the novel without much excitement as when I purchase ‘North and South’. But at least (again) I will have some good readings to accompany me wherever I go. It’s Charlotte Bronte’s book, by the way, though it isn’t as popular as ‘Jane Eyre’ but it must show me her wonderful story telling.

And you know what? I was awed by the book because of the author’s very bold, brave stance. On the back of my mind, “Oh! This is indeed Charlotte Bronte!” The protagonist, William Crimsworth, is a very interesting character to study. He quickly gets my heart because of his courage wrapped in his silence when it comes to dealing with his own brother, Edward Crimsworth, who is more like his authoritative boss.

By the time William is eventually able to get rid of his brother although he is poor, I am so relieved. There is nothing more gladdening than reading your hero or heroine finally makes up his or her mind leaving people or situations that put them living like in a hell.

When I mention William is an intriguing figure to study, I tell you bluntly. Because actually, by the time I write this I seem don’t understand his real trait by the time he moves to Brussels to teach students there. Why so?

It’s too early to conclude that William changes because of the new environment he now lives in. All I feel throughout reading the new chapter of his life is that he is no longer that quiet. He in fact is a very careful person whom he deals with, for instance with Mlle Reuter, a headmistress of the school William teaches at. He also studies the characters of his young female students, physically and characteristically.

I can read his sarcasm, his way of protecting himself from, say, one of the female students who wish to get his attention in classroom. William attempts to be himself, guard his personality amid various types of traits, mostly are women, in his new surroundings. It’s surprising to get to know this mysterious hero written by Charlotte. I can’t now tell he is a simple man because he in fact reads people. I can’t also conclude he has no ambitions in his profession or romance as he simply flees to Brussels to earn a living. Teaching isn’t his chosen work as he works as a translator at his brother’s mill.

What rather distracts me reading the book is because many French conversations are in it. I am lazy to open the last few pages of the novel to find out what they mean. Other than that, I am interested to know what William life will end up. And I will discover that after I have to read ‘the map reading’ by William which is quite hard to grasp.

 

Like Christopher Robin, I, Too, Need to Take a Vacation

 

Oh Pooh.. Source: YouTube.com

“It’s always a sunny day every time Christopher Robin comes to play’

Like Winnie-the-Pooh who suddenly feels his gloomy days are over after meeting with adult Christopher Robin, so does my weeks of whirlwind problems concerning romance and job, my future life, to summarize it into a much simpler term.

Like Madeline, Robin’s only daughter, who feels so much relieved in her heart after knowing his father won’t put her in a boarding (Pooh says it as “boring”) school, so does my heart as the movie concludes. No sorrow, bleakness left in my chest despite the tearful scenes here and there, in spite of the dark comedy I was afraid of potentially creating another “hole in the heart” as I commonly feel after watching Adam Sandler’s films.

I prepared myself that I would watch a dark, depressed movie given the thriller of the movie some weeks before that Sunday afternoon going solo to a nearby cinema in Blok M area, southern side of Jakarta. On the back of my mind, I would see another mid-life crisis one, which would suit me best given my current age and all problems happening in my life. It was going to be a “normal-life” film, Eny, so bear it.

Thank God, I was wrong, so much wrong, that I didn’t mind spending quite much money for paying ojek fee, snacks inside the theater then eating special dinner for myself. Because that movie turns out to be very sweet, even Pooh’s most favorite honey is inferior to the joy of the film.

Again, thank God, I forgot that Winnie-the-Pooh is always an enduring children classic literature, that no matter how “normal” Robin is with bills to pay, mouths to be fed, the classic is for kids, or for family to watch together.

Christopher Robin (Ewan McGregor) plays the grown-up Robin, a 30 something man who works days and nights to make ends meet, provides best education for Madeline, like common married men do.

He seems to have lost all the happiness he shares with Pooh and friends at Hundred Acre Woods after he receives the news of his father death when he is a teenager. All his life after that is filled with works, study because he is now the breadwinner of the family. He battles in the Second World War not long after he marries Evelyn.

His post war trauma coupled with cost efficiency job at the company he works at makes him hardly to smile again. In the middle of his confusion, the long-lost friend comes, which is no other than Pooh.

Unlike Pooh who is very glad to reunite with Robin, the protagonist doesn’t really care with the presence of the toy that used to entertain him when he was a boy. So every time Pooh acts silly, murmurs words for mere game play, Robin is disturbed because he has works to do. So much so that Robin takes Pooh back in the Woods, which is behind the cottage where his wife and his daughter spend a weekend before Maddy goes into the boarding school.

Just when Robin thinks he will work peacefully, the actual vacation begins. And you have to find it by yourself what sort of holiday Robin experiences. *I have to end the spoilers here, my dear friends*

This movie touches me deeper than I thought. I think that is because of the very strong traits each and every figure in the classic has. Pooh’s simple way of thinking becomes my most favorite of the film because his words get me thinking the hardest.

For instance, he says, “They say, impossible is nothing. But I do nothing every day.” Or “Sometimes doing nothing can lead you to a great something”.

His silly questions, like “Why is he in the cage” referring to a train ticket-selling man”. Or, “Is your suitcase is more important than your daughter?”. You know, the kinds of questions asked by your kids or nephews or cousins regarding your adult life that somehow make you evaluate your own life then.

When Robin or us, as adults, have gone far, far away in life, say when you are 30s or 40s then things get tough, tougher than you imagined, we may like Robin. Burying our minds in the problems that we face that we forget we need to take a break. Taking vacation doesn’t mean going somewhere Instagrammable but as Robin here experiences, he unexpectedly revisits his past, very happy past time, to remind himself that no matter what happens, best friends are always there waiting for him to return.

And that is the finale note that I take back home with me. I need to take a vacation just like Robin. What and how? I will share my vacation with you, my friends. Here.

 

 

 

Stung by the fever of Asian Games 2018

Me at the main stadium of Gelora Bung Karno on Monday, 27 August 2018, cheering for Indonesian athletes.

My life in the past two weeks turns upside down thanks to Asian Games 2018. In case you haven’t heard anything about Asian Games 2018, my country, Indonesia, once again hosts the world’s second largest sporting competition after 56 years. This year’s event takes place in two cities, Jakarta and Palembang. I myself reside in Jakarta.

Alhamdulillah (praise to God) that I have time to get involved in all the excitements during the festivity thanks to my freelancing job. I can’t imagine if I work at office from 9 to 5, I wouldn’t be able to follow all news let alone watching my favorite sporting events.

I can tell you that long before I know classic novels and devote much of my time for reading, I am a huge sport fan. I learn about nationalism from sport, especially badminton. I even wish I were a badminton player back then.

So, whenever there are any sport competitions held in Jakarta, particularly global ones, I am so thrilled. I am so excited with the 2011 SEA Games, now Asian Games 2018. I couldn’t be happier!

Indonesians are very fond of badminton, probably second most favorite sport after football

I start and end the days within the two weeks by catching up news on Asian Games 2018. I check the news on daily events involving Indonesian athletes and I head on to purchase tickets if still available.

I am a little bit sad because I am only able to watch four events; 1 badminton (my most favorite match), 2 athletics and 1 baseball match. I am mistaken about Indonesians’ enthusiasms. I thought people wouldn’t care coming to the stadium by paying much money. But I am so wrong, very wrong. Tickets are sold very fast, especially favorite sporting events (my favorites as well), which are football, badminton, basketball and volley ball.

So I manage to buy one badminton ticket only, the second round of preliminary session of individual badminton. At far distance, I am joyful to witness the performance of local badminton player, Liliyana Natsir or Butet, probably for her last time. She and her partner, Tontowi Ahmad or Owi, are 2016 Olympic gold medalists. They eventually lose at the tournament but never mind though because I catch their playing at that session.

Asian Games Super Store with super queue. I can’t enter the store because you know, the very long line as you can see from the pict

I purchase two tickets for athletic games during the Asian Games 2018 as this is “the mother of all sports”. This is the sport at which I can witness new records, open my mouth wide open every time I see athletes jumping at the highest surpassing the pole. And of course, my adrenaline runs quickly every time running-theme events take place.

The best moment of all is shouting the loudest while jumping off the bench when the fourth runner of the Indonesia’s 4 x 100 m men relay is approaching the last few meters of the race. I won’t ever forget the moment that lasts for only a few seconds because it has been a very long time I didn’t experience that. The four runners eventually snatch silver medal. I am so, so blessed to be there at the moment, cheering for them at the stadium.

That’s the wonderful part of becoming a supporter for the host team. As a spectator and sport fan in general, I am amazed by my fellow citizens who are enthusiastic way more than I imagine. If they don’t like sports, they can bring along their friends and families enjoying Asian Fest who offers culinary, music shows and games. Either day or night, Gelora Bung Karno sports complex in the heart of Jakarta is full of visitors.

Then, I am so delighted to see a lot of families bringing their kids watching live at the stadium. Then, the children should or clap their hands while saying, “INDONESIA”, “INDONESIA! I bet that must be their once-in-a-lifetime experience that will leave unforgettable trace in their minds. Who knows one day one of them will be national athlete?

Also, it’s a pleasant view to see many employees who go to the stadium to support local athletes along with their office mates after their job is over at that day. For myself, I’d love to head on to the stadium across the city to watch pure entertainment called sports.

Sport mixed with entertainment and culinary

Tomorrow is the last day of the Asian Games 2018. The much-awaited party is over within some hours from now. The hard work from the Indonesian government eventually is completed and what they do deserves a massive applause. I can’t imagine how the organizing committee of the event does the mass job for years. Minus poor ticketing system, all parts of the event run very well; security, public facility, venue-related things, service for spectators and participating athletes and officials and many aspects.

After months of news about corruption, political rivalry among presidential candidates, deeply stung by the fever of Asian Games 2018 is such relieve and refreshment. Looking at the atmosphere, I am sure that I’m not the only one who feels this way.

Best thing is our country bags 31 gold medals, yes! This is way better than just four gold medals we get during the 2014 Asian Games Incheon, South Korea. The achievement also surpasses the targeted gold medals from the government (around 20 gold medals if I’m not mistaken). Gold, silver, bronze or doesn’t belong to top circles doesn’t matter for me. Because as a sport fan, again, watching world-class sport games here, just a few kilometer from my lodging room, is already a gift, a very great entertainment. I am very, very thankful for all the local athletes, coaches and officials who work super hard to whatever result they get from this event. May your sweat and tear will bring in best results in more events to come. Thank you, thank you very much once again.

Thank you very much Asian Games 2018 for giving me wnderful stories to cherish as long as I live

And last but not least, Alhamdulillah (praise to God) that I become a tiny part of the history for Indonesia as a citizen, spectator, sport fan and huge supporter for local athletes. This Asian Games 2018 adds a wonderful chapter to my already beautiful life. And for my country, this proves that we can be a good host for this huge event despite problems occurring in the country. Alhamdulillah..