Posted in Wednesday Warriors

Hero Boy

It’s five minutes to midnight. The train pulls into the street as whips of snow follow behind. Surprisingly, no one other than a little boy awakens to greet the mechanical beast. When confronted by the conductor with an, “All aboard!” the boy doesn’t know what to do. He sees the train as a curiosity. He doesn’t intend to hop aboard for a ride.

Hero Boy
Hero Boy

When the conductor (Tom Hanks) says it is the Polar Express heading to the North Pole, the boy’s willingness to abandon his apprehension escalates. After all, the North Pole is where Santa Claus supposedly lives. He’s at the point where he thinks Santa’s a fake. But it isn’t until the train begins to chug-chug-chug away that the boy calls to take him with them.

The film The Polar Express is the perfect Christmas movie. The cold atmosphere captures the essence of the Holiday season. A view inside the train offers the audience a warm setting featuring a comfy front seat with other kids eager to see Santa’s home.

Filled with adventure, the story carries Hero Boy from his home, somewhere in America, to the desolate tundra at the top of the world. All of it happening while the clock’s big hand rests at five minutes to midnight.

The Polar Express
The Polar Express

For Hero Boy though, aside from being a stranger on the train, he sees things with open eyes—not as how he’d like to see it. Ghosts would frighten other ten-year-olds, but not Hero Boy. To him, ghosts are like regular people. He can talk to them and not feel the need to run away, regardless of what anyone else says.

Halfway through the trip, Hero Boy plays a key role saving the Polar Express from utter destruction. He also attempts to aid one of the other kids less fortunate than he by lending a helping hand.

Hero Boy’s main purpose, however, is to disprove Santa. He hasn’t seen Santa. All he’s seen is a mechanical Santa in the window of a department store dropping presents in a fake loot bag. Then there is the time where he researched that the North Pole is barren and desolate. No way could anyone live there, let alone make all the world’s Christmas presents. Certainly, someone ought to have seen Santa by now.

The purity with Hero Boy’s character lies with his genuine need to find the truth. He does not take the first explanation as the truth. He digs, scours, examines carefully what he finds, then makes a logical decision of whether Santa does or does not exist.

And in spite of the overwhelming evidence to the contrary, Hero Boy extends his faith to believe. It is only then Santa becomes real to him.

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What are your thoughts about The Polar Express and Hero Boy?

Posted in Wednesday Warriors

Chuck Noland

If there ever was a time when being stranded on a desert island was a good thing, this was not one of those times. After lightning blows one of its engines, a FedEx cargo plane plummets into the South Pacific brightening the night sky with flames. The lone survivor manages to inflate one of the sinking plane’s rubber rafts to save him. He doesn’t know it, but his life has changed forever.

Tom Hanks as Chuck Noland
Tom Hanks as Chuck Noland

Cast Away‘s Chuck Noland (Tom Hanks), an employee on the clock, loses his sense of time in today’s Wednesday Warriors highlight.

When Chuck awakens the next morning, he drags his stomach along the white sandy beach to lie in peace while the sound of the waves entertains his ears. The sweater he wore on his ill-fated flight suddenly becomes much too hot to bear. He sheds whatever semblance he held of his former life and begins a journey into self-discovery.

The first thing on Chuck’s agenda is realizing he doesn’t have an agenda. The pocket watch, given to him by his wife, no longer works. He will never surrender it though. It contains a photo of his beloved, the only thing that reminds him of how things used to be.

There is no electricity. There is no civilization. Chuck quickly learns he’s alone on the island. His steady diet of coconuts and fish provides for a fraction of the nutrients he needs to survive, but not enough to prevent losing a tooth along the way.

An unlikely friend
An unlikely friend

Having trekked through the island multiple times, he comes to know his surroundings, the borders and his own limitations. He understands he can’t go beyond the tide without an adequate floatation device. His understanding also grows regarding time. In his former life, time is what made Chuck’s life complete. Without time, it’s a disorganized life. He keeps time in a cave by etching notches on a wall, presumably trying to make sense of it all.

As part of his survival, he learns how to build a fire, make shoes and work on a plan of action to get off the island.

Chuck’s biggest enemy, however, is much more than he could have ever imagined. His enemy is his loneliness. To be the only living and breathing person stuck hundreds, maybe even thousands, of miles in the middle of nowhere, makes him desire companionship with the least likely of objects.

He calls it Wilson.

And as Wilson soon becomes Chuck most treasured friend, his outlook changes to a more positive direction.

If anything is true about Chuck it’s that, he’s a survivor. He could sling a noose around his neck and end his turmoil, but he doesn’t. He overcomes all obstacles and lives each day with the hope the next will bring him the freedom he desires.

Not all things are easy for those willing to endure until the end.

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RANGER MARTIN AND THE ALIEN INVASION, on sale now.
RANGER MARTIN AND THE SEARCH FOR PARADISE, on sale October 20.

Have you seen Cast Away? If so, what do you think of the movie? What do you think of Chuck Nolan?

Posted in Women Who Wow Wednesday

Ryan Stone

I have something to say about a woman who doesn’t break down during the time most trying in her life. To see her at her worst and wonder how she’ll ever survive. To know in all that she’s accountable for, she will try her best—no matter what. It’s one thing when a woman says she can fight, but it’s another seeing it done without her ever having to speak the words.

Sandra Bullock as Ryan Stone
Sandra Bullock as Ryan Stone

Women Who Wow Wednesday proudly presents Ryan Stone (Sandra Bullock), the force behind the movie Gravity.

If you’ve seen the film, then you’ll know what I mean when I say Ryan Stone in Gravity lays it all on the line to become a true hero. How else can I describe her other than someone who relies on her ability to endure in order to stay alive?

Ryan Stone reminds me of Chuck Noland (Tom Hanks) from the feature Cast Away. In that film, Chuck crashes on a deserted island with little to live on and a willingness to sacrifice with the aim to live another day. Stranded, he does what he can to make it through storms, rain, famine, and the undisputed wall of challenge.

Much like Chuck, Ryan has her work cut out for her. As the lone survivor to a space catastrophe, she bucks the wave of destruction headed her way to push forward and live. One hit after another her determination gives her the optimism she needs to carry onward without complaining. If one challenge doesn’t spark defeat, another waits in the wings for her to recover just enough to hit her again.

Gravity's Ryan Stone
Gravity’s Ryan Stone

The film is a case study of a woman’s resilience to go beyond herself so as she can attain the highest form of praise available—to live. That fortitude within herself is what makes the movie so jarring. Multiple viewings provide the moviegoer a front seat to Ryan’s point of view as the protagonist with a penchant to last against unsurmountable odds.

The best part about Ryan Stone’s character is that no matter how bad it gets, she manages to pull herself from the devastation and fight back. Her character is such that she doesn’t recognize defeat, even during her lowest point. She doesn’t gripe. She doesn’t complain. She has her moment, but then she works through it to become stronger. That strength makes her a survivor.

This is not a review. This is my homage to a character filled with hope. May that hope inspire those who need it the most.

RANGER MARTIN AND THE ALIEN INVASION, on sale October 21.

Have you seen Gravity? What did you think of Ryan Stone?