Friday, July 12, 2024

“Orion and the Dark”: A heartwarming tale of embracing fear

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Featured photo by DreamWorks

Story by Larry Rincon

From the moment I saw the trailer, I thought “Orion and the Dark” is the “Inside Out” of Dreamworks. Now having seen the movie, I couldn’t be more wrong. 

“Orion and the Dark” follows a young boy named Orion whose extensive list of fears stops him from being able to enjoy the things around him. In his world, there are creatures called night entities: Sleep, Quiet, Unexplained Noises, Sweet Dreams, Insomnia and of course Dark. Dark, tired of watching Orion be held back by his fears, takes him on a journey to overcome them.

The internet feared that this latest Dreamworks film would be a revamped version of “Rise of the Guardians” with the inclusion of Dark who many associated with Pitch Black as well as Sweet Dreams in comparison to Sandman. There were a few similarities in the journey between Orion and Jack Frost, but the overall goal of each character was different. 

Jack was searching for people who would believe in him and ended up having to save the other holiday creatures, and Orion was exposed to the jobs of the entities to understand his irrational fears. 

The biggest thing that set Orion’s story apart was that his story is literally a story that is passed down from him to his daughter. “Orion and the Dark” is a movie about a family passing down a story in order to help the future generation overcome their fears of the dark.  

Orion’s daughter, Hapatia, fears the dark as well, and Orion has created this story that supposedly happened to him in order to help her get over her fear. After a certain point, Orion abruptly ends his story claiming he doesn’t remember how it ends, allowing for Hapatia to take over and come up with how the rest of the story resolves itself. 

Hapatia enters the story and resolves everything until in her story she finds herself with no way to get home. This is where the tradition of passing on the story becomes clear. Hapatia’s son Tycho completes the story and solves Hapatia’s issues. 

The movie was endearing and heartwarming with the way it presented this family tradition, and the biggest lesson in the story is not that the kids need to overcome their fear of the dark. Instead they needed to learn to appreciate the dark, and the beauty that comes with it.

Dark was presented as a very conscious and low self esteem entity. Towards the end Orion accidentally makes the other entities wish to experience Light, and Dark feels like his friends have essentially wished he was no longer around. It isn’t until after Dark disappears that the characters find the appreciation and necessity of darkness itself.

The movie hides these deep themes and lessons behind the imagination of a child. The creativity of the world and the comedy is amplified since reality is different in the eyes of a kid. 

With this in mind, “Orion and the Dark” doesn’t feel like anything new for kids movies. The art style reminded me a lot of “The Mitchells and the Machine,” and the concept of entities still makes me think of “Inside Out.” Knowing that the sequel to the Disney movie is introducing somewhat similar characters also doesn’t help. 

In comparison to last year’s Dreamworks film “Ruby Gillman: Teenage Kraken,” “Orion and the Dark” feels far more unique and way more meaningful. The twist on appreciating the darkness instead of overcoming it as a fear feels like a better lesson for a child in my opinion. The movie also lets the audience know that fear is a human emotion that you don’t need to force yourself to get over. 

If you want a movie with a great lesson and an endearing story, “Orion and the Dark” is perfect for some quality family time.

To contact Lifestyles Editor Destiny Mizell and Assistant Lifestyles Editor Shamani Salahuddin, email lifestyles@mtsusidelines.com. For more news, visit www.mtsusidelines.com, or follow us on Facebook at MTSU Sidelines or on X at @MTSUSidelines.

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