7 Times the Dreamworks Logo Boy Said My Name Before the Movie Began
Let’s start at the beginning:
7. The Peacemaker (1997)
It was Dreamworks’ first picture-show ever, and finally cinemagoers would be treated to the electric onscreen chemistry of Nicole Kidman and George Clooney. I was thrilled! But before I could even get in a single mouthful of corn, the camera panned up from an innocuous blue fishing hole to reveal a magical twilight boy, nestled snug in the crook of a crescent moon. And I’ll never forget these words he spoke:
“Dagnabbit Brian, these fish just ain’t bitin’.”
I screamed throughout the rest of the picture until police came to take me away.
6. The Ring (2002)
Finally I was ready to see another Dreamworks filmscape, and after equipping myself with a trenchcoat full of smelling salts, I crept into the theater to watch Gore Verbinski’s sequel to Mouse Hunt, the effervescent crime caper The Ring.
But no sooner did I sink into my plush front-row seat than I was greeted with the image of the dangle-legged nightchild once more. I gasped, then steeled myself in my seat, gripping the armrest tight. “Be still, Kevin,” I whispered out loud, in the hopes I would fool the boy.
Then he said:
“Mother Scratch, but this fishin’ hole is a wretched shade of green! Brian, is this your handiwork?”
Doctors would later tell me I drank 42 different vials of smelling salts before I collapsed in front of the cardboard standout for Attack of the Clones in the lobby.
5. The Cat in the Hat (2003)
The papers were filed. I had the go-ahead from the judge. My new legal name was _____________, a completely silent blankness which no man could pronounce or write down in any significant way. I was a ghost. I moved with the wind. This was my final form and I was prepared to face the cloudwraith once and for all.
I picked a row far in the back of the theater this time, dressed head-to-toe as Morpheus from The Matrix. If by some chance the boy managed to clap eyes on me and refer to me as Morpheus, so be it. He would still be made a fool, for I was no Morpheus. I was simply “___________.”
The picture show began. Now the boy had shed his photorealistic skin for clean cartoon lines and a slender striped cap! How many forms could this frightmare boy assume? Was there no end to his abilities? I gulped deeply and sensuously, choking back the fear and the awe. Then he noticed me.
He dropped his fishing line and stared out into the audience. Shielding his eyes from the moonlight with one hand cocked above his brow, he peered straight into my soul. No doubt about it. He found me.
The silence became unbearable. Five minutes passed. The show would not commence. Other people grumbled, got up and left until it was just me and the moonphantom, alone together at last. The tension wrung my throat like a sink sponge until finally I yelped out, “Oh God, say something! Say anything, you Frightful Fawn of the Heavens!”
“I’ve been sayin’ your name for the past five minutes, silly goose,” he chortled. “Your new one, anyway. Now clamber in here and help me fetch me my fishin’ stick.”
When I woke up, I had my hands wrapped around the neck of an oscillating fan at Best Buy, having already chewed off my own tongue in terror.
4. Shrek 2 (2004)
It was a period of personal growth for me.
I moved to a new state, and with it a new high school where I grew a new tongue, changed my name to Chumsy Malloy and did exactly 9 tricks on a skateboard — one at the start of every month of the school year, so the children would continue to know I was The Shit. On the outside, I was as strong a kick-flipper as you ever did see. Inside…inside, I was healing. The pieces were all there, and I was putting them back together in my own time.
It was the first of Tricktober when my new friend Eeric told me about a super new picture show in town. Name of Shrek 2, they said. Old Man Crester was going to be projecting it at the drive-in theater and Eeric wanted to double-date with me, his main squeeze Jutricia and the girl I had my eye on, Jamtasia.
“That’s not a…Dreamworks picture show, is it?” I inquired after executing one seriously sick rail grind.
“Nah, word around town is it’s Dreamworks Animation. Different company. Why do you ask, Chumsy?” said Eeric, skipping his skiprope. I played it cool:
“No reason. Phone Jamtasia at once.”
That eve, Eeric’s cherry-red Buick pulled up to the drive-in theater and we were dressed to the nines with our best girls by our sides. Just in time, we parked in a great spot and Jutricia and Eeric went to go get everyone snacks. Of course I demanded a Reese’s Big Cup, as I am wont to do. When they left, Jamtasia whispered “You can feel my big cups if you want, Chumsy.” I didn’t take the bait just yet. The night was young, my tricks were spectacular and it felt like my whole life was ahead of me.
I sighed a deep breath of relief. I hadn’t thought about my old life in so long now, but when it came rushing back to me, it felt like a picture book from the story shelves. That’s how I liked it. A smile crept across my face.
Then the film began. A familiar field of clouds in a bright blue sky. I clenched my jaw and felt my legs grow rock-hard with muscle, preparing to flee. But no sign of the fishing line, no reflection in a crystal-blue ocean of infinity. Perhaps the scoundrel of the cerulian dimension wouldn’t show his face after all.
A bouquet of balloons rose from the bottom of screen right. Cause for alarm? Nay, just a dash of whimsy, nothing more, I thought to myself. Surely those helium orbs wouldn’t be transporting the child.
How wrong I was.
His powerful forearm gripped every balloon tight as they carried his lithe frame up to the crescent moon, his watchtower of tribulation. Before he even nestled into the soft curves of the celestial body, he said to me:
“Chumsy, old boy! Why it’s been dog years! I been down there tryin’a get my fishin’ rod, but my hands is empty. Say, why don’t you stop foolin’ around with that there ladyface and get on in here? Sure could use an extra pair of eyes.”
Eeric and Jutricia returned with my Big Cup, but I was gone. Jamtasia’s hands were drenched in my blood. All she could say, over and over again, was “Help Chumsy.” By that point my fabulous skate tricks, amplified by the power of my frightened leg muscles, had taken me clean out of town and into the oil derricks on the outer reaches of the county.
There was a fire in my eyes. I could no longer speak words — just primordial growls, my gaze darting every which way like a caged animal turned loose on a world of shit and chaos. I did incredible flip tricks and grinds to knock over empty barrels, hurtling my body towards one that might have fresh crude still inside. I wanted to drown in the ooze of dead dinosaurs. I wanted Jurassic Park to ram a warm fist into my throat and keep it there.
I would have gotten away with it, if Eeric hadn’t pulled me out of the ooze tube in time. I laid there, passed out, lungs choked with tyrannosaurus goop, in his lap while he cried. Protective services apparently took me away and I’ve never seen those friends since.
3. How to Train Your Dragon (2010)
Then the burlap sack was ripped off of my head. My eyes adjusted to the blaring fluorescent beams of the interrogation room, but I couldn’t rub them on account of the handcuffs.
“Let’s do this again. What is your name?”
“Lawyer,” I croaked.
“Do you know even where you are, son?”
“I know I’m an American citizen. I have rights. I’m not telling you anything until I get a lawyer.”
“You’re in a black site. Off the grid. No GPS can find you. We’ve kept you here on life support in a med-tank for years now. Care to guess what year it is?”
I was running out of options. Sneering at him with a thick veneer of confidence, I picked the first hard comeback I could:
“I am a terrified jizz kid.”
Whoa, holy cow, that was exactly not what I wanted to say at all. Not even close. I’ve given myself away completely. I took a deep breath as the agent filled in the silence.
“One of the side effects of being in a med tank is an inability to hide your fear. Anyway, I’ll continue.”
The agent stood up, pacing the room in his rumpled tie, too short for this slouching 6'5" frame.
“The boy talks to you. We want to know why.”
I shuddered in my seat. The moone child.
“For years, our top men haven’t been able to get a peep out of the magical filmboy. And yet, no matter what you’ve changed your name to, he’s right on top of it — always speaking to you, always aware of who you are and what you’re doing. And it’s just you.”
He rushed towards me, flipping the switch to bad cop instantly.
“WHY DOES HE SPEAK TO YOU?! WHAT DOES HE WANT?!!”
Another agent, smaller and more rotund, burst into the room and pulled the screaming man off of me.
“Whoa, whoa, Carl, get off him! I want to be the one who screams! I am Albert Screamfellow!”
Immediately Albert got in my face.
“IT’S ME WHO IS SCREAMING NOW!! I HAVE ACHIEVED MY BIRTHRIGHT!”
Carl edged him out of the way.
“WE NEED YOU TO CONTACT THE BOY! FIND OUT THE EXTENT OF HIS DARK MAGICK!”
I tried running away but I was chained to my chair, which was bolted to the ground. Carl and Albert grabbed me by the legs and threw me to the floor, standing and screaming over me in perfect unison.
“THERE IS NO ESCAPE FROM THE BOY! WE WILL TAKE YOU TO HIS LATEST PICTURE SHOW NOW AND BY GOD YOU HAD BETTER FIND OUT WHAT HE WANTS! GREAT SCREAMING CARL THANK YOU ALBERT I DIDN’T KNOW YOU WERE SUCH A GOOD SCREAMER WELL CARL IT’S BECAUSE YOU’VE NEVER GIVEN ME A CHANCE — ”
I passed out from exhaustion, and the terror of knowing another plush movie theater seat would soon welcome my rump.
I woke up with zip ties all over my arms and legs, cutting off circulation. My neck was zip-tied to the headrest of a theater seat. If they could have zip-tied my rump, I’m sure they would have. But they didn’t need to. It was firmly ensconced in the front row seat to an empty theater.
I struggled to move my head, but I could see just enough on either side of the aisle to notice the walls of one-way mirrors. I was being observed.
The lights went down, the curtains opened, and I saw the same eerie dark lake that has haunted me my whole life. My skin clammed up.
I could have sweat enough to slip through the plastic bonds, if I had a few more minutes of fear. But I only had seconds before we passed through the canopy of clouds to enter the Kingdom of the Seeing Boy. So I was merely moist.
His leg dangled languidly, fishing stick dipping low as he lounged in the moon nook he favored so. Slowly, he turned to look at me.
“Brian. Brian, Brian, Brian. How long you been runnin’? And from what? Lil’ ol’ me? When all I wanted was just a friend to share this here moonsliver with?”
I couldn’t speak. My teeth were grinding against each other, my jaw threatening to freeze shut forever.
“This world ain’t ever loved you, Brian. Not when you was Chumsy, not when your name was a blank space. And now they got you all trussed up like a hog on the spit — cryin’ shame, this is. But hey, I gots a plan.”
A click of the intercom filled the theater, a transmission coming in from the other side of the mirrors. “<INQUIRE AS TO THE BOY’S DESIRES AND POWERS.>”
The boy continued, sitting upright now and facing me directly. His smile crept across his ghost-white face.
“Why don’t you git on in here and become my apprentice? Golly Brian, I can show you a whole dang world where ain’t no one ever hurts you or chases you an’ makes you do stuff you ain’t wantin’ to do.”
Tears streamed down the sides of my moist vibrating face. All along, I knew my life was headed here, now, in this room with this boy. I could only delay the inevitable. But Lord, it hurt to deny my truth. It hurt so bad.
“<DO NOT JOIN THE BOY. REMAIN SEATED AND DELIVER THE PREPARED QUESTIONS.>”
“Gets awful lonesome up here in these fishin’ clouds. I reckon you been alone all your life too.”
I nodded erratically, straining against the zip ties, my eyes cringing in the pain of realizing the truth. More tears came gushing out, but I was too weak to make a sound.
“<HIS SORCERY, YOU FOOL. ASK HIM THE PREPARED QUESTIONS ABOUT HIS SORCERY.>”
“Eeric. Jamtasia. They mighta liked a version of you, but that wudn’t you. Deep down, you always been runnin’.”
“<We’re losing him Albert, see how he quakes before the boy. We must abort the mission…>”
“You ain’t gotta run no more. Just give me the say-so and I’ll bust you loose.”
Muffled chatter then followed over the intercom, and finally silence. I could tell they were going to turn the projector off.
I nodded to him, and cried out:
“Please moonsliver boy, save me. Take me away.”
He cocked a smile, and reared his fishing rod back, swirling it in longer, wider circles, until his hook lept out of the screen, eight feet wide, and sliced open my zip ties.
“<HE’S GETTING AWAY! TURN OFF THE PROJECTOR!”>
It took every ounce of strength from my aching body, my muscles having atrophied in the med tanks of their offshore black sites, but I sprung loose from the zip ties and stumbled closer to the screen.
“<I CAN’T FIND THE SWITCH!>”
“<GODDAMMIT, PULL THE PLUG! THE PLUG!!>”
I reached out my hand, and the boy reached out his. Through the membrane of the silver screen, his glowing fingers grasped my wrist and pulled me in.
Just as they turned off the projector, I was gone. The only remnant of my existence in the Earthly plane was a shred of my shoelace, the only remaining sound a fading echo of my laughter.
2. Rise of the Guardians (2012)
Oh! I have slipped the surly bonds of earth,
And danced the skies on laughter-silvered wings;
Sunward I’ve climbed, and joined the tumbling mirth
Of sun-split clouds, — and done a hundred things
You have not dreamed of — Wheeled and soared and swung
High in the sunlit silence. Hov’ring there
I’ve chased the shouting wind along, and flung
My eager craft through footless halls of air…
Up, up the long, delirious, burning blue
I’ve topped the wind-swept heights with easy grace
Where never lark or even eagle flew —
And, while with silent lifting mind I’ve trod
The high untrespassed sanctity of space,
Put out my hand, and touched the face of God.
-John Gillespie Magee, Jr.
Life under the tutelage of the moone boy has been incredible. I wish I could describe my powers to you, describe the feeling I get when I exult in my mastery of the clouds, but it would be like describing interstellar travel to an offended turtle.
In short time, my hair turned shock white and my face cracked and shriveled until I resembled an eternal youngling crone of the Elder Times. The boy outfitted me with loose slacks (“Just the thing fer divin’ and gallivantin’ about this here nightscape,” he said with pride). Then he handed me my most prized possession, which I love more than any remnant of my Earth past: My Whapping Cane.
Sickle-shaped and forged from the wood of the Wise Tree, my Whapping Cane propels me to greater heights in the starlit ink than ever before. I careen down the gentle slope of the mooncrescent, launch myself from the tip with a tender flex of my immortal calves, and whap the stars to my heart’s content.
The boy provides. He trowels the Great Sea below with his fishin’ stick, dredging up fine bushels of fresh fish, and it is good. At the moon’s dawn, he tells me stories of the Ancient Ways that leave me simply enraptured, our legs dangling free off the edge of the sweet crescent, tendrils of cool clouds twirling between our toes.
“I been thinking,” said the boy, between fables.
“What about?” I spoke. There was no misplaced fear of the boy in my voice now. Only admiration.
“’Bout your silly names. Heckfire, that’s a story all by its lonesome! You sure picked out some funny ones. Chumsy, Kevin, Morpheus…”
“I was never explicitly Morpheus, Moon Boy. I merely dressed up like one to perhaps trick you.”
“Don’t ever correct me again, Brian. Sure as you’re born, I’ll cast you to the Great Sea and never let you back to the glory of the Starclouds.”
“Of course, boy,” I said, immediately praying for forgiveness 7 times.
An hour-long silence passed. I was sure this was the end for me. The water waited below, hungry to introduce me to the fish. I had angered my tutor. Then he spoke again:
“I should like to give you a new name. That’d be fittin’, what with all the changin’ I did to your face and your mortal soul.”
“It’s true, boy. You remade me into a screamdemon of the Night Above, and relinquished unto me a most generous gift in the Whapping Cane.”
“Your new name is…”
He paused, thinking. In his glowing white eyes, I could see our shared memories rushing by. Greeting me for the first time at The Peacemaker. Marveling at the green sea below for The Ring. Allowing me to devour my own tongue after The Cat in the Hat. Parting me from my lowly Earth friends with the advent of the infamous Shrek 2. And graciously bestowing freedom and companionship at a private government screening of How to Train Your Dragon. All rushed by the boy, I could tell this much.
“Your name’ll be my name.”
“Boy, I do not understand your works. Please elaborate.”
“I’m dog tired of this plane of existence, Brian. I know there’s another just around the corner. Ain’t no fish, ain’t no sea. There, you ain’t got a mooncrook to nestle in, no cloudwisps to feather yer hair.”
“I cannot conceive of it.”
“And that’s why you can’t ever come, neither.”
With a wave of his hand, my beloved Whapping Cane croaked and unbent itself. From the heavens, a willowy wire came snaking down until it threaded itself through the new loops that sprouted along the bottom of my freshly-straightened stick. It had become a fishing rod before mine eyes.
“You’re a hard one to get to know, Brian. I figured once I showed you the ropes in here, you an’ I would be regular pals.”
“Are we not, boy? Can I not yet be your shoulder goblin still?”
“See, that kinda talk right there. ‘swhat I’m getting at. Clambering up here into my moonscape didn’t teach you nothin’ about relaxin’. Lettin’ all that time pass you by. You just wanted me to teach you things, show you more mind-bogglin’ powers. Patience is a virtue you most certainly do not possess. And I think that’s all I have left to give you.”
My mind realized this was goodbye, but my lips could not yet let go. Even as I spoke, pleading with the boy to reconsider or take me with him, I knew I was merely proving his point. I had to love myself, and I could not do that so long as a Being of Pure Celestial Glory was in my presence.
He showed me how to draw the line, cast the lure, coerce the slippery fishes, and scale and cook them for a fine supper. Then, he began to glint away in the pinholes of the starlight.
“Wait, boy! You didn’t give me your name! I am to have your name, am I not? Please, tell me!”
He smiled. It would be the last time I ever saw him. The last time I ever heard him.
He was gone. I tell you, my tears could have filled the Great Sea on their own, that terrible moonday.
- The Croods (2013)
Time done passed up here in my dusty satellite.
I sure as heck see what Brian meant now. The boy. You know, I always figured he was just tellin’ me goodbye, when he said my name and up and went. Naturally, he was sayin’ goodbye too. But with all this thinkin’ I’ve been cookin’ up in my mind kitchen, I see that I’ve always been the boy, and he’s always been me. Callin’ me Brian was callin’ him Brian. Ain’t no difference.
Givin’ me his name was just passin’ the knowledge along. And now I got the smarts to see it all — but no one to share it.
That’s okay, too. You ain’t never lonely if you’re yer own best pal. I watched a thousand lifetimes come slippin’ in and out up here on this screen. Sometimes it’s The Croods, other times it’s Peabody & Sherman. Sometimes it’s every dang thing all at once. Ain’t no limit to how many people come amblin’ into these picture shows, watchin’ me fish up here in the clouds. I wondered if I’d ever find a suitable pupil to hand off this fishin’ stick to. But it didn’t bother me none neither.
I look up into the stars sometime and wonder if the boy is peepin’ at me ever. Hope I do him proud. I hope wherever he lays his hat now, he thinks of me and smiles. I wonder if where he is, there are hats. Maybe not even.
I was fishin’ through time and reality for so long, I forgot where I was. Didn’t even snap myself out of it till I noticed the fish weren’t takin’ the bait on my hook. That really got my goose good. The curtains done split open for another picture show — The Peacemaker, I think they called it.
Without thinking, I blurted out to myself, “Dagnabbit Brian, these fish just ain’t bitin’.”
I heard someone screamin’ from inside the audience like you wouldn’t believe.