A Movie Fan’s Dream
(Hidden in the random and ridiculous story below are sixteen movie titles. Can you find them all? [Hint: Titles may be spread across words and punctuation. Prefixes such as ‘The Lord of the Rings:’ and ‘Harry Potter and the’ do not count as part of the titles])
It was a normal weekday night. I was at home, alone, watching my favorite movie in my cozy armchair. Rain pattered softly outside, and the steady beating of drops on the window was punctuated by the banging of the shutters every second or so.
I had a mug of hot cocoa in my hand, and a fire was roaring in the hearth beside me. I closed my eyes, thinking of how much I loved my cozy, quiet life. But then I thought, wouldn’t it be nice if I could go on an adventure like people do in movies, just once?
My musings were interrupted by a loud knock on my front door. I opened my eyes and frowned. Who could it be at this late hour, and in the rain, too? I placed my cocoa on the coffee table, paused my movie, and went to answer the door.
When I opened the door, I thought my eyes were playing tricks on me. There, standing on my doorstep, was Gandalf, with his hat, staff, and everything! My shock must have shown because he smiled and said, “I know you were not expecting me, my friend. But many unexpected things happen in this dark time.”
I had no idea what to say. Gandalf took my hand. “Come, my friend; come with me on an ADVENTURE!” With a roar Gandalf crashed his staff against my porch, and the wind and rain whirled around us. I was thinking that this was pretty awesome when I felt the ground fall away from under me. I screamed and closed my eyes. I felt the wind taking us up, and then I felt firm ground under my feet.
When I opened my eyes, I was in for the surprise of my life. I was surrounded by all of my favorite movie characters! Aragorn stood in front of me, leaning on his great sword; behind him was Captain America. In the back I spied Dorothy, holding Toto in her arms. She smiled at me and waved. I waved back.
Gandalf raised his arms, and the babble of talk that had broken out upon our arrival died down. “Friends,” he said, “today I bring glad tidings. I have found the chosen one who is going to help us win this war!”
Everyone whooped and hollered. I wondered what in the world Gandalf meant. “The chosen one does not yet know who he or she is,” he continued. “So now we will explain our plight.”
Professor Minerva McGonagall stepped out of the circle to address the crowd. “As most of us know,” she said, “within that fortress is Mousina the Princess, bride of our ally Reepicheep’s brother Brownacrown.” She gestured behind me, and I turned around. Looming over the barren, rocky land on which we were standing was a formidable stone fortress. It was taller than anything I had ever seen, and the walls looked like they were twenty feet thick.
I turned back to the professor. “We need the chosen one to break into the fortress and unlock the gates,” she said. “Then he or she will give the signal, and we will infiltrate the fortress and save Mousina.”
There was scattered applause as McGonagall re-joined the crowd. I was still wondering who the chosen one was. I didn’t need to speculate for long because Gandalf announced “And now Jedi Master Yoda will reveal to the Chosen One who he or she is.”
The crowd parted for Yoda, who hobbled into the middle of the circle. “Dark times, these are,” he began, “yet in this dark time, a new hope arises.” He closed his eyes as if deep in thought. “The chosen one is–” After a moment’s pause, Yoda opened his eyes and pointed directly at me. “This youngling here, the chosen one is.”
I gasped. Me? How could I be the chosen one? I couldn’t fight in a battle, much less sneak into a fortress.
No one else showed any surprise, however. They all yelled their war cries, and I couldn’t help grinning at the sight of all my favorite movie characters cheering for me.
But then I remembered: I had to sneak into the fortress and open up the gate somehow. I also remembered that Gandalf was right next to me, so I turned to him for guidance.
“See the two towers on the northern side?” he asked, pointing. I nodded. “Under one of those towers you will find a tunnel. Follow it, and you will come to the passage which leads to the gatehouse.” That sounded easy enough. “Oh,” he said, “I almost forgot. Remember to make good use of your disguise.”
I looked down at myself and realized that I was wearing some kind of weird guard uniform. I figured it must be the same uniform that the guards in the fortress wore.
After bidding me luck and godspeed, Gandalf suddenly vanished. I looked behind me and saw that the other movie characters had vanished, too. I knew they (or at least most of them) were not cowards, so they must had gone to wait by the enemy gates until I gave the signal.
Slowly, I advanced towards the fortress. After what seemed like an eternity, I was standing next to one of the northern towers. The incredible stronghold seemed even more formidable when I stood by it, and I became afraid of the horrors that might await me inside.
Then I remembered that Legolas and Jack Frost and countless others were depending on me to do this so that they could rescue some princess I’d never heard of. That gave me more courage than anything else could have. With new resolution I knelt down and began to dig with my bare hands. Sure enough, I soon came upon an open space that I assumed was a tunnel.
I dug until the hole was wide enough for me to fit into. Then I stood and jumped into it. I landed with a thud on the floor of a stone tunnel. I didn’t like the tunnel. It was damp and eerie. So I hurried along as fast as I dared.
When I had gone about 100 feet or so, I came to a round door, kind of like the door to Bag End except it was brown instead of green. I hesitated only for a moment; then I grasped the shiny golden knob in the middle and gently pulled.
The door swung open with ease, and I stepped into a dimly lit chamber. Looking around, I saw walls lined with shelves that were overflowing with dusty books and rolls of parchment. It looked fascinating, but I knew I didn’t have time to linger.
I saw a door at the far end of the chamber. I crossed to it and opened it a crack. A stone passage illuminated by torches was visible; I figured it was the one Gandalf had been talking about. I stepped into the passage and closed the door behind me.
Now that I could see the whole passage, I realized that it had many different side-passages branching off of it, and it forked about twenty paces from where I was. I had no idea what to do! Which way should I go?
As I was trying to decide the best course of action, I heard footsteps approaching from the fork on the right. It was not the pit-pat of one man’s footsteps, but the march, march, march of a company of soldiers. The sound grew louder as I stood there, frozen in fear.
Then that little voice that is always right screamed inside my head: Go back in the chamber! Go back in the chamber, you fool! I turned and grasped the doorknob, but it was too late. A loud voice behind me shouted “HALT!”
I knew I was caught. I could enter the chamber, but from there I had nowhere to run –except back to where all my favorite movie characters were hiding. I couldn’t do that. If I gave them away, I would feel worse than I already did.
Releasing the doorknob, I turned and faced the soldiers. There were about twenty of them, led by a captain who was striding toward me with a frown on his face. Trying to act brave, I looked him right in the eye and stood up as straight as I could. But in my heart, I was thinking “I failed Gandalf. I failed Harry Potter. I failed Iron Man. I failed them all.”
The captain stopped about two feet from me. I could no longer stand his hard gaze and looked away. He frowned at me so hotly that I felt as if my heart was melting like a stick of butter. This was definitely the worst thing I had experienced in my entire life.
After several moments (which, to me, seemed liked several hours), the captain spoke.“Tell me, soldier,” he said, “why have you deserted your company?”
My heart leaped like a bunny on Easter. I had completely forgotten about my disguise! Maybe I hadn’t failed after all. I grinned and breathed a sigh of relief.
This did not impress the captain. He grabbed my arm and roughly shoved me into the squad. “Get in line!” He barked. “And don’t you dare think about deserting again! You’re lucky that we need everyone for the battle, or I would slice that smirk off your face.”
My arm still ached from where the man had yanked on it, but other than that I felt great. Now that I was with a company of enemy soldiers, I could get to where I needed to go without looking suspicious–-that is, if they happened to be going to the gatehouse…
As we marched along, the soldier to my right began to talk to me. He was a pleasant, good-looking fellow; I was surprised that he was on the enemy’s side.
“I’ve been at this job for two months,” he said. “It’s tangled up my entire life!”
I tried to look sympathetic, but it must not have been very convincing, because the young man gave me a strange look. Then he surprised me be asking, “Why were you trying to get in the Chamber? Is it full of secrets, like they say?”
He saw my puzzled expression. “They say that the Chamber that you were about to go in is crammed floor to ceiling with the secrets of the stronghold,” he said. “It’s probably just a myth. I used to think the Chamber didn’t exist at all, until today.”
I said nothing. The soldier shrugged his shoulders. “Well, I guess I was wrong about the Chamber. Of secrets I know nothing, however, so they’re probably not in there.”
Although I was pretty sure I knew otherwise, I nodded in agreement. He continued to talk about his life, but I did not listen because we had just entered the exact room I needed to be in–-the gatehouse!
Slowing my pace, I allowed the other soldiers pass me and lagged behind. Not even the one who had been chattering to me seemed to notice my absence. I stole behind one of the many barrels that were scattered throughout the room then waited until the footsteps had died away.
Creeping out from behind the barrel, I took in my surroundings. There were many more barrels stacked from floor to ceiling on the edges of the room. The only thing I saw that wasn’t a barrel was a large lever in the very middle of the room.
This must open the main gate, I thought. I grasped the level and pulled it down with all my might.
Nothing happened. The lever wouldn’t even budged. Harder and harder I pulled. I even stood on the lever and jumped up and down. Still it would not budge. After my third try I missed the lever and landed on a stack of barrels, which tipped over and made a huge mess.
I slammed my fist into the ground in frustration. How could this happen? From the main courtyard, I could hear the enemy leader giving the soldiers a speech. From what I could hear, it was evil stuff. I caught the words “in the dark,” “world dominance” and “dispose of them.”
If I continued to sit and do nothing, the speech would end, and the enemy would attack before the plan was carried out. I sat on the floor with my head in my hands, trying to think of a solution.
This darn lever…if only I could discover its secret. Wait –secret…secret! That was it! I could look for it in the Chamber that was crammed with the secrets!
I sprang up and ran back down the stone passage until I came to the Chamber door. I eagerly flung it open and gazed once more at the shelves of dusty parchment.
Now I just had to find where the secret of the lever was, which would be no easy task. Then, I saw that the shelves were labeled – labeled with the name of a room. Each room seemed to have a whole shelf of secrets dedicated to it.
It didn’t take long to find the shelf for the gatehouse; it was to the immediate right of the door. I began to rifle through the parchment. The secret of the stack of barrels in the far corner…the secret of the creakiest floorboard…Aha! Here it was. The secret of the gate lever.
I read the scrap of old paper. To move the letter and thus open the gate, place your right thumb at the lever’s base, close your eyes, and hold your breath for three seconds. Then open your eyes and say, “Move.”
That sounded really weird…but easy enough. I sprinted back down the passage to the gatehouse. Rushing over to the lever, I placed my right thumb at its based, took a gulp of air, closed my eyes, and counted to three. Then I opened my eyes and said the magic word.
Outside, there was a loud boom of cheers as the leader finished his speech. I could hear the soldiers bustling about, preparing for the attack.
They had no idea that the attack would be on them.
The lever moved on its own. It swung downward with a loud CLANG. The movement stopped in the courtyard; I could picture the astonishment on their faces as the gates swung open, and all my favorite movie characters rushed in…
I wanted to see this so badly. As fast as I could I ran up the sloping passage that led to the courtyard. What I saw was the awesomest thing that I will ever see in my entire life.
Everywhere there were enemy soldiers, locked in combat with movie characters. To my right, Gandalf clashed his staff to the ground, and a whole squad of soldiers were knocked off their feet. To my left, Obi-Wan Kenobi used the Force to push another ten against the wall. In the very middle of the battlefield, Legolas and Hawkeye shot arrows at a group of trolls while Reepicheep slashed at their feet and Hermione Granger bombarded them with spells.
And that was only the beginning. There were so many characters doing so many awesome things that I knew I would never be able to take it all in. If I had stood there forever, watching the ensuing battle, I would have been more than content.
Suddenly I heard something very strange, very out of place…the sound of music was floating out of a tower that was about twenty feet to my left. It wasn’t battle music; it was a merry tune, not at all fitting to something as epic as this battle.
I immediately strode over to the tower. Looking up, I had to crane my neck to see the top, and I realized that it was the tallest tower. I saw a wooden door at the tower’s foot. Curious, I tried the handle. It was not locked.
The door opened to reveal a spiral staircase going steadily upward. I climbed, and I climbed, and I climbed some more. After what seemed like forever, I finally reached the top.
There was a small, stone room, and the only thing in it was a mouse with long black hair who was playing the violin. I thought I recognized the tune as a song from The Wizard of Oz.
The mouse did not look up from her playing. I waited a moment, then cleared my throat.
She jumped. Then she saw me and smiled.
“Well, hello, there,” she said in an extremely fitting high-pitched, mouse-y voice. “You must be here to rescue me!”
I realized that this must be Mousina! Before I could say anything, Mousina began to talk.
“It’s actually not that bad in here,” she said. “The food’s good. And I get to play the violin all day, every day!”
This was one crazy mouse princess.
“And they never discovered my secret power,” she went on. “I can make lights with my hands – look!”
She waved her gray paws in the air. As she twirled them around, rays of colored light formed strange designs in the air.
That was cool, but kind of lame at the same time. I noticed that there was a window behind her. Looking out of it, I saw Elsa bury three burly officers under a pile of snow with a casual flick of her hand. I looked back at Mousina making weird patterns of light. Yeah, her power was…well, lame.
Just then I heard feet thundering up the staircase. Mousina did not react but continued to wave her arms. Four men burst into the room. One of them had a crossbow. He aimed at Mousina then fired.
Without thinking, I jumped in front of her. It was natural instinct to be heroic after being surrounded by so many heroes for this long.
I thought the arrow would be painful, but it just felt like something plopping onto my stomach. Everything went dark…
I opened my eyes. I was sitting in my own arm chair in my own living room. The TV remote had fallen off of the arm of the chair and onto my stomach. My favorite movie had ended; the screen showed the main menu.
The rain had stopped. The light of morning shone through the windows. I stretched and yawned, then got up and deposited my empty cocoa mug on the kitchen counter.
Wait until my friends heard that I had been on an unexpected journey last night. True, it had all been a dream, but I didn’t need to tell them that. Just that I had waved to Dorothy and talked to Gandalf, and I regretted that I had not gotten Dumbledore’s autograph for them.
(The movies hidden in the story are: Home Alone, Up, Captain America, The Princess Bride, Star Wars: A New Hope, The Lord of the Rings: The Two Towers, The Incredibles, Frozen, Brave, Iron Man, Tangled, Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets, Thor: The Dark World, The Sound of Music, The Wizard of Oz, The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey)
By Frodo Baggins