In fairy tales there are answers, in fairy tales there are inspirations, imagination and advice. The new “Mr. Click Academy” directed by Maciej Kowalski presents us with fairy tale clichés, but it's hard to find any answers in them.
The answers and imaginations are found in the classics, in the myths that explain the world. Some cartoons age better than others. The one about the princesses he saved with a kiss in their sleep had aged terribly. Sometimes you can go back to the classics and change and update some of these old elements. Sometimes it is better to shelve fiction and leave it alone, as a document of its time.
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sow Mr.Clicks Academy The main character Adaś Niezgódka was replaced by the heroine Ada. A simple solution, but actually a good one, because if only boys studied in the school, the school today would be unbearable and would look like a theological school for priests, not even a military academy anymore.
Ada lives in New York. Her father is missing. Mom is constantly looking for Dad and neglects her daughter. One day, Ada is invited to the academy, where she experiences various adventures. The academy is a fairy tale, in which wonderful characters live, and near the school there is a space with entrances to various fairy tales.
If Mother Ada, who is going to the academy, told that there are answers in fairy tales, let's see what kind of fairy tales the film shows us and what answers they give us.
The fairy tales and fairytale characters we meet at the academy include a unicorn, a mermaid, dwarves, Daedalus and Icarus, Snow White and the Little Match Girl. Movie references also include the fairy tales that the story refers to. The Academy is like Hogwarts – it's an obvious reference, and Pyotr Wronczewski is like Morpheus when he tells Ada she has to choose something. The fairy tales that the film presents are a mixture of classics and films that have shaped fiction in recent years, and ultimately they are classics as well. However, this classic has never been reinterpreted or revived. It is simply quoted. So, in fact, these fairy tales do not tell us anything new.
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Example containing spoilers: Ada and Albert, her friend from the academy, are looking for a friend who came out of nowhere and why. For a moment, they find themselves in different fairy tales. Here Snow White is eating an apple, and there Alice is searching for a rabbit. By the way, the apple was a funny joke. “If I were you, I wouldn't eat it,” Ada says, but not to Snow White, but to herself. Why they met Alice, I don't know. Why did they end up in the fairy tale about the little match girl? Maybe to show dark scenes, because it's basically a dark and horrific fairy tale about the death of a poor child.
Once again, a spoiler: Albert gets lost in the fairy tale of the little match girl. How did this happen? For what purpose? Ada later finds him frozen, sitting on an ice floe. It looks like something out of a movie about the Titanic. Overall, a classic novel, but I don't know what the story is with Albert. Maybe the sequel will talk about that.
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Well, but since adapted fairy tales offer few answers, perhaps the fairy tale we currently watch in cinema, the story of Mr. Clicks and his school, will provide some. I think the goal of this school is to save the imagination.
Ada lives in New York. Maybe in some Polish areas, because he shouts at the taxi driver on the street in Polish, and his neighbor is also Polish. It looks like a modern-day Greenpoint, although his neighbor, a doctor played by Piotr Fronczewski, who lives in an apartment filled with old books, doesn't look like a typical Greenpoint man, but that's the point of fiction.
Ada goes to the academy with several other children. We meet a Ukrainian woman sitting on the steppe wearing a white dress embroidered with red flowers, a Japanese woman coming to school straight from oriental martial arts classes, and a boy from Spain playing the guitar and singing songs. Once they arrive at the academy, the children drink water from a magic fountain so they can begin speaking a common language. Ada doesn't drink because she doesn't have to. This common language is Polish.
Fantasy is fantasy, but do we really need to use so many stereotypes in 2023 so that a group of children with different appearances can study in one school? Isn't it a fantasy, even a fairy tale, to imagine that children with different skin tones and straight or curly hair study at Mr. Clix's Academy?
Mr. Clicks' lessons are learning or exercises in imagination. In practical terms, these stories sound like a fairy tale about positive thinking, about taking deep breaths, focusing and not looking for excuses. The first few chapters are about not saying “but.” It is better to say “so” – says Professor Klix. If you want to talk to animals, first learn to listen to them.
Then a boy in a wheelchair said he would like to become a rugby player. Unfortunately, we cannot recognize Klix's informed answer. Or perhaps it is: convincing the rich to pay higher taxes so that the state can provide also great mathematical education for those children who find it more difficult, and a great health care system and welfare state that supports people with disabilities and their caregivers. Then every child in a wheelchair will be able to realize his sports and other dreams. Imagination is imagination!
We recently posted Text about the idea of a Council of European Citizens, in which randomly selected EU residents participate. The idea is similar to the ideas of citizens' assemblies or the “third chamber of parliament” that Simon Holonia spoke about before the elections.
That randomly selected people would discuss what the country looks like? Well, it sounds as fanciful as the idea of an eight-hour workday, universal education, voting rights for all citizens, or the right to abortion. No, the latter still sounds like a fairy tale to some.
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Mr.Clicks Academy It is an entertaining family cinema. Not very interesting, unfortunately. It's a shame, because the potential for this story is huge. However, it is not enough to validate multiculturalism and give a boy in a wheelchair one lesson on empathy. Imagination has great power. But sometimes that's not enough, when we don't know why characters do something, why and what the end result of it is.
It's unfortunate that between the product placement and the racial or national stereotypes, we couldn't add anything more than Colching's talk about Professor Klix. This film will serve as a document of a time that was unfortunately lacking in imagination.
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