FROM NOW ON 2 - fly zone

by Susan Weber

I can be a snob when it comes to written word, so when I saw this mini-movie on the wide screen down the street at the Cedar Lee, I was surprised, and a bit nonplussed. How could a herd of ostriches and a CGI team bring me to tears and plaster a grin on my face? Stories made of words cast their spell on me routinely, but a potpourri of images, sound effects, and a pop song from the seventies? How could this even come close?

Here’s the culprit. See for yourself.

The internet calls it, “easily the best TV commercial Samsung has ever made.” My husband says, “whoever thought of it’s a genius.” Just how do all those geniuses make me feel so good?

I roll this around my skeptical brain and come up with two ideas. Number one, apparently from now on I’ll be examining various art forms through a writer’s lens. Number two, of course this little masterpiece moves me. It’s a pitch perfect fiction writer’s dream.

Take the plot. A classic marriage of comedy (triumph over adversity) and rebirth (chance event inspires the protagonist to become a better, uh, ostrich). Consider the setting. Vivid details activate our senses — tasty snacks, undulating wind, soaring Elton John, beckoning clouds. The images alone would satisfy, even if the story were a bust.

But this story wins us over right down to the central metaphor. The ostrich may be our culture’s favorite meme of head-in-the-sand cluelessness, but it turns out big goofy flightless birds are utterly relatable. And then comes this one with curiosity, and a VR headset, and imagination! What would we do with a sneak preview of our ultimate destiny? Would we be as emboldened as the fluffy hero of this tale?

The best stories have untethered endings. They let the reader wonder what comes next. Here we see the earthbound ostriches clamoring after their weightless friend. Will one of them follow her lead? Will all of them? Will we?

Photo by AngMoKio CC BY-SA 2.5
Video by Susan Weber CC-BY-SA-4.0