The Story of Two Wolves and Tomorrowland

A grandfather from the Cherokee Nation is teaching his grandson about life. “A fight is going on inside me,” he says to the boy.

“It is a terrible fight and it is between two wolves. One is evil – he is anger, envy, sorrow, regret, greed, arrogance, self-pity, guilt, resentment, inferiority, lies, false pride, superiority, and ego.” He continues: “The other is good – he is joy, peace, love, hope, serenity, humility, kindness, benevolence, empathy, generosity, truth, compassion, and faith. The same fight is going on inside you – and inside every other person, too.”

The grandson thinks about it for a minute and then asks his grandfather, “Which wolf will win?”

The old Cherokee replies: “The one you feed.”

I first came across this great story only last night when I was watching a film called Tomorrowland. And as films go, it’s grand, as we say here in Cork, which is a bit like Alexander Pope’s damning with faint praise. No, it’s better than that and you could do a lot worse than watch it. I’m glad I did since I love that stuff.

It’s made by Brad Bird who’s a Pixar dude and made Ratatouille and The Incredibles, which is good enough for me. And he does okay here too.

George Clooney is in it and he’s George Clooney and he plays a grump and the camera loves him and so do I (there, I’m out now, feels liberating too) and Hugh Lawrie, the king of the grumps, plays some kind of alien with responsibility for keeping Earth on an even keel… or something.

We have a stunning looking child, Athena (I wonder if she’s wise, ha ha), played by Raffey Cassidy (where do they come up with these names) who seems to have super powers and the heroine of the film is a young inventive and brilliant girl Casey Newton (again a very carefully chosen moniker) played brilliantly by Britt Robertson (in this case Mr. and Mrs. Robertson could have done a bit better at the Christening).

Anyway, Britt lights up the screen – she totally kills it. A young Julia Roberts doesn’t do her justice. She’s the bees knees and she will save the world, have no fear. She saves the film too, God bless her inventiveness and energy and positivity. And she gets to wear the coolest of cool T shirts. See here:

Britt Robertson

So, as I say, it’s grand and it would be better if the robots weren’t so robotic, and the aliens didn’t have to wear such ridiculous costumes, and if everything didn’t have to be explained at the end. Or if the explaining could be shown and not told (as in Bridge to Terabithia or The Spiderwick Chronicles – I have a soft spot for both of those, in fact I love family based PG fantasy/science fiction films generally – hey, another outing, I’m on a roll today).

And why do bad guys have to look ridiculous when the ordinary looking ones are far scarier? For me, the best Terminator robot by a long chalk was Robert Patrick because he was so bloody ordinary and impassive. Take note, JJ Abrams as you ‘big up’ Darth Plagueis as Supreme Leader Snoke.

Anyhoo, there is the tricky bit where one character stays the same age, while another or others grow old. It happens. We in Ireland know all about it from Tír na nÓg and Oisín’s three years there, while three hundred years pass in the ‘real’ world.

And remember Elrond’s warning to his ageless elf daughter Arwen in Lord of the Rings as she sets off to be with the human Aragorn. She’s an adult but it gets really tricky when the never-aging character is a child. One example is in the film Let Me In, where Chloë Grace Moretz (now there’s a name destined for great things) plays a child vampire, who never grows a day older. And in the book of that film there is a distinctly sinister trope about that – it’s hinted in the film too.

In Tomorrowland, this dilemma gets solved by the usual means, so all’s well that ends well and it usually does in these films. Which is maybe why I like them.

Which brings me back to the two wolves. Feed your good wolf and he’ll look after you. Feed him every day. Feed him every single opportunity you get to make a choice in how to respond to situations instead of how to react.

And watch PG family centred fantasy/science fiction films – you’ll be glad you did.


Word of the Day: “Pixarian”. Which I hereby commit to using on a regular basis to show off that I know it, having stolen it from Christopher Orr’s review of Tomorrowland in The Atlantic Magazine here.

As in: “For much of its running time, Tomorrowland plays as a lighthearted techno-conspiracy thriller, Men in Black by way of Nancy Drew with the occasional whiff of Philip K. Dick paranoia and Pixarian high concept.”

Now what the hell could be better than that?

Thanks Chrisopher, I owe you one.


Images: and


Novelist, short story writer, essayist, sports writer. Crime novel: Whatever it Takes due out 31 July 2020. The First Sunday in September, debut novel, published in 2018. Mercier Press, Stinging Fly, Irish Examiner, Irish Times,, Holly Bough, Honest Ulsterman, Quarryman, Silver Apples.

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