The Odd Life of Timothy Green Review – Have the Day You Have

Article by George Gensler

Walt Disney Studios recently previewed The Odd Life of Timothy Green for attendees of BlogHer ’12 and media in New York City.  At check-in, we were offered a post-it slip, as a voucher for a soda and popcorn, and tissues, with the promise that, if we cried, they would be tears of joy.  Continue reading for this spoiler free review of “The Odd Life of Timothy Green” as well as a sneak peek of Secret of the Wings and the “Paperman” short to precede Wreck-It Ralph.

(l-r) Jennifer Garner, Cameron "CJ" Adams, Joel Edgerton. Photo by: Phil Bray. © Disney Enterprises, Inc. All Rights Reserved.

Secret of the Wings

Jingles!  In honor of Sisters Day (Sunday, August 12th), we were treated to a sneak peek of the new Tinker Bell movie, “Secret of the Wings,” which introduces the new fairy, Periwinkle (my favorite Crayola crayon when I was young), and includes the song “The Great Divide” by the McClain Sisters (including China Anne McClain of A.N.T. Farm fame).  This full-length film features the fairies of Pixie Hollow and introduces the newest fairy, Periwinkle, from the Winter Woods.  When Tinker Bell meets Periwinkle it sets off a catastrophic climate change, forcing the fairies to work together to save Pixie Hollow and the pixie dust tree.  It will be available on Blu-ray and HD Digital on October 23, 2012.

Paperman

“The Odd Life of Timothy Green” is a live-action film, so there will be no animated short to precede it in the theater, but, as a special preview for the BlogHer event, “Paperman,” which will run before Wreck-it Ralph, was played for us.  A very sweet story, which includes strangers on a train platform and some very determined paper airplanes, the charm in this story stems from the animation.  Pencil drawings colored primarily in shades of graphite portray the story without dialogue.  Who needs the classifieds when you’ve got paper airplanes and a kiss?

In “Paperman,” a young man in mid-century New York City has a chance meeting with a beautiful woman on his morning commute. The animated short from first-time director John Kahrs makes its theatrical debut in front of “Wreck-It Ralph” on Nov. 2, 2012. © 2012 Disney Enterprises, Inc. All Rights Reserved.

The Previews

Finding Nemo will be released in 3D on September 14, 2012; the new Tim Burton animated film, Frankenweenie, is opening October 5, 2012; the new original film, Wreck-it Ralph, will be released November 2, 2012; Oz The Great and Powerful is coming (finally!) in March of 2013; and Monsters University, the prequel to “Monsters, Inc.,” will be released in the summer of 2013.

Oscar Diggs’ (James Franco) hot air balloon sails over the landscape of the Land of Oz in Disney’s fantastical adventure “Oz The Great and Powerful.” © 2012 Disney Enterprises, Inc.

The Odd Life of Timothy Green:  Have the Day You Have

Full disclosure:  I hate spoilers in reviews, so there won’t be any in this one.

This is the first Ahmet Zappa story to be released on film.  He’s woven a modern-day folktale around themes of perseverance, faith, and acceptance that is designed to touch the hearts of all who see it.  The story is revealed in flashbacks, weaving throughout the narration by the parents to officials at an adoption agency.

(l-r) Joel Edgerton and Jennifer Garner. Photo by Phil Bray © Disney Enterprises, Inc. All Rights Reserved.

 

Timothy Green is the magic in the tale.  He is the dream child of Cindy and Jim Green, grown from their desperate desire to be parents, appearing in their house after they’ve buried (planted?) their hopes and dreams for a child in their backyard garden plot.  His miraculous appearance oddly elicits little curiosity in the small community, but that could be part of the spell he weaves.  Timothy exerts his considerable influence over everyone he encounters, drawing out the most unique and different characteristics of those around him.  In failure, he sees room for improvement; for those in pain, he charms and delights; for those in despair, he inspires and encourages.

Cameron "CJ" Adams, Photo by Phil Bray, © Disney Enterprises, Inc. All Rights Reserved.

 

An odd note in the film is Timothy’s relationship with Joni, who appears to be a few years older than he is.  She befriends him, because she recognizes that there is something different about him, as there is about her.  Embracing our differences is one of the key themes in the film and their friendship/romance is touching (but odd, given their apparent age differences) and they draw each other out, accepting the differences in each other and reveling in their similarities (resulting in one of the most visually-stunning scenes in the film).

(l-r) Cameron "CJ" Adams, Odeya Rush. Photo by Phil Bray. ©Disney Enterprises, Inc. All Rights Reserved.

 

The main theme of the film seems to be “Never Give Up” and Timothy doesn’t and he doesn’t let anyone else, either.  Even as he completes his quest, he continues to encourage and motivate those around him.  He inspires his parents to pursue their dreams, both at home and work, even inspiring them to try to rejuvenate the failing pencil factory that is the basis of the town’s economy (which must have been fairly good in the not too distant past, considering the apparent wealth of the everyone in town).  Zappa sneaks in another lesson – be careful what you wish for, sparking, for me, the biggest laugh, but also leading to one of the most touching moments of the film.

(l-r) Common, Cameron "CJ" Adams. Photo by Phil Bray. © Disney Enterprises, Inc. All Rights Reserved.

 

Some of the highlights of the film include:

  • the opening credits, which follow the making of a pencil in the pencil factory that is the main industry of the town;
  • the acting: Dianne Wiest, who is always wonderful, but especially so, in this film, as the perpetually grumpy Ms. Crudstaff; Cameron “CJ” Adams, as Timothy Green, whose expressive face conveys the subtlest changes in the character; and Odeya Rush, as Joni Jerome, Timothy’s best friend; and
  • the camera work, especially on the vibrant natural elements of the film, which are as important as any of the characters.

“The Odd Life of Timothy Green” has fairly adult themes that are, in some spots, subtly revealed.  Timothy is 10 years old and that’s probably a good guide for the lower age range of children to bring along to the theater.  Despite the heavy themes, it’s quite a light film, engaging and entertaining.  “The Odd Life of Timothy Green” opens in theaters on Wednesday, August 15, 2012.

Are you looking forward to seeing “The Odd Life of Timothy Green,” or have you already seen the film yourself?  Please leave your thoughts and comments below.  For more family movie news, be sure to follow Adventures by Daddy on twitter and “like” our facebook page too.

Bio: George Gensler is a copyrights specialist during the week and a runner on the weekends.  She lives in New York City now, but has lived in five countries on three continents.  She grew up traveling the world, but her official residence was in Southern California and every visit home included a trip to Disneyland.  She has also visited every Disney Park around the world and sailed on board two Disney cruises.  She threw in a visit to the Disney Family museum in San Francisco for good measure, and has had the Premier Disney Park Pass since its inception.

About George Gensler

George Gensler is a copyrights specialist during the week and a runner on the weekends. She lives in New York City now, but has lived in five countries on three continents. She grew up traveling the world, but her official residence was in Southern California and every visit home included a trip to Disneyland. She has also visited every Disney Park around the world and sailed on board two Disney cruises. She threw in a visit to the Disney Family museum in San Francisco for good measure, and has had the Premier Disney Park Pass since its inception.