Tuesday, April 03, 2007

Keep Moving Forward

“Around here, however, we don’t look backwards for very long. We keep moving forward, opening up new doors and doing new things - because we're curious. And curiosity keeps leading us down new paths. We're always exploring and experimenting.”

I've had numerous requests over the past few days to print the Walt Disney quote from the concluding moments of Meet the Robinsons. It was a very significant part of the film, as it ultimately focuses on Cornelius Robinson's mantra of "keep moving forward" and puts in perspective the crazy eccentricities of the extended Robinson clan and how fun and spontaneity are important components of any creative process.

While other Disney pundits are deep in Monday morning quarterbacking, analyzing box office receipts and comparing grosses, the relative financial success (or perceived failure) of Meet the Robinsons is really quite secondary to the message that is being communicated in those final frames of the film.

Walt Disney Feature Animation, and hopefully and more importantly the entire Walt Disney Company, are returning to their creative roots.

". . . moving forward . . . opening new doors . . . doing new things . . ."

For those words to emerge from a company that has been largely deemed creatively stagnant and bottom-line driven for the last ten years, it represents more than a quaint epilogue to an animated feature. I believe Ed Catmull, John Lasseter and Bob Iger are clearly telling us something. That the fundamental principles of the Disney company are still alive and well and have not been forgotten. That not all creative decisions are guided by fiscal projections and held hostage by corporate bureaucracy.

I loved Meet the Robinsons. It was happy, positive, and in my personal and very subjective opinion, very entertaining. And while the story of Lewis and his quest for family and acceptance tugged at my heartstrings, it was the extremely relevant words of Walt Disney that ultimately brought tears to my eyes.

Images © Walt Disney Pictures


David Recchione said...

Thank you very much Jeff for posting this!

John Dedeke said...

Ditto. I haven't had a chance to see the film yet, but friends who have universally cite this postscript as the moment of the film they found the most moving, and the ripple effect it's had since the film's release has just made me more excited to see it.

Thanks also, Jeff, for your comments on the context of the quote and its significance and potential significance to those of us who love when Disney does what they're best at -- I'm already a little choked up. : )

Anonymous said...

I saw the movie last weekend, and while I'm not as enthusiastic as Jeff is about the film as a whole, the Walt quote was terrific to see.

Anonymous said...

First I'd like to say thank you for your posts, they bring a lot of pleasure to my day.
I haven't seen Meet the Robinsons yet, but am looking forward to it, hoping to find someone to go with me.
Your post made me smile. The first thing I thought of was Dory in Finding Nemo and her "just keep swimming". I'm no Disney or animation expert, but I loved that movie and I love Disney.

Unknown said...


I thought the quote was very poignant. Especially the way they animated it.

I was able to see the regular (not the 3-d) version and I was thrilled by the Walt Disney opening sequence of the castle with the fireworks. Now that gave me goosebumps.

Jeph216 said...

Well spoken sir! I watched the movie after hearing you give so many good compliments about it, and it was just as good as you said it was. As I was watching it there was a part (and I don't remember where sorry) that just stood out about Lewis and how much he was like an EPCOT type of person, note the capital letters. Disney's quote at the end did give me chills and tears too.

Anonymous said...

Thank you for putting that quote up there.

I saw that movie twice, once in 3D and once in 2D. I thought it was the movie nearest to the "Classics" that Disney has produced in a long time. It was very refreshing.

As for the quote at the end. It made me tear up too. It just put that much more weight on to the movie.

The other part I really liked was that they had animated short before hand. It made me think back to when I was young and they had some of the origional cartoons on before the movies. It just brought a smile to my face.

Anonymous said...

I loved this movie. In fact, I saw it twice. I am a college student, and in a time of great stress and lack of motivation for my finals, I got up and went to see this movie again. I think in order to fully appreciate it you must still have the heart of a kid. Remember how big the world is and how you can still do anything you want. I have never left a movie so happy and so driven to "keep moving forward."

Anonymous said...

Thank you very much for posting the entire quotation! I was reminded of it today while preparing this coming Sunday's sermon.

My wife, 14-year-old daughter, and I saw "Meet the Robinsons" several weeks ago. We all were enthralled by it -- especially Jan and I, who grew up watching the original "Mickey Mouse Club".

Thanks again.

Anonymous said...

As a lifelong Disney fan, even through the tough changes the company has gone through, I definitely agree that Meet the Robinsons was a great moment in Disney animation and films. While quirky, it had many positive messages, and touched upon a theme that many movie powerhouses fear to touch- adoption. While that was a large part of the film, however, you nailed it in saying that it wasnt the only important piece. This movie stressed creativity and spontaneity in our lives as a necessary component to the pursuit of happiness. The qoute at the end summed it up, and like many others, brought tears to my eyes and a glow to my heart. It summed, in a brief moment, why so many of us devoted ourselves to the world of Walt Disney- and hope beyond hope that the powers that be are trying to regain some of those original roots. I keep this quote to remind myself of the need to press on in my daily life, and to keep finding new ways to wade through challenges. Thank you, for recognizing a seemingly insignificant message, in a significant way.

Anonymous said...

It has been some time since "Meet the Robinsons" appeared in theatres. I have since purchased the DVD because of all the positive feedback I had heard about it. I loved this film. And just like so many others, the powerful message by Disney himself at the end of the film found me tearing up. I am an English teacher of developmental students who struggle with mastering the written word. I use this quote as a first day of class writing/discussion assignment to help them see that it is okay to make mistakes, as long as you keep trying and keep moving forward. Then I have them create their own 'keep moving forward' mantra to use in my class when things are getting them down about writing and grammar.

TerrificTom said...

I did not see the film in theaters but on DVD. Perhaps like many, I found the story a bit strained at times. I was not sure where it was going or, more importantly, why I should CARE.

HOWEVER, the Walt Disney quote at the end of the film not only made the whole movie worth seeing, but told me, a little late, why I should care. I then watched the movie again shortly thereafter, and, eventually several more times.

Perhaps if the quote had run at the beginning of the film it would have helped sales because it would have given the audience a hook to hang the story on. A frame through which to view the adventures of Lewis and his future family.

But in any case, better late than never.

Tom K.