Archive for the 'America' Category

20
Dec
09

Avatar

“Everything is backwards now, like out there is the true world and in here is the dream.”

And in this quote is presented everything about my feelings for Avatar. Jake Sully (played by blockbuster newcomer Sam Worthington), a paraplegic Marine, is called in to Pandora, a planet chock full of biotic and abiotic wonders, to fill in for his brother. His brother had spent many years training in the Avatar program, a US military program designed to allow Marines and scientists to inhabit the bodies of Na’vi, the indigenous beings of Pandora. The program is used to study and interact with the Na’vi, in order to relocate them to allow the US to gain access to a copious supply of Unobtainium, a mineral that is extremely valuable for some reason. Jake “gets lost in the woods,” or “twitterpated,” falling in love with Neytiri (well portrayed by Zoe Saldana, who made her debut earlier this year in Star Trek), the daughter of the Na’vi chief. And so we see the unfolding of faith and flesh versus greed and iron.

James Cameron stays true to his reputation, bringing us a pretentious film that presents a LOT of wonders to discuss, but leaves us hanging as far as story goes. Really, a robot traveling through time in order to kill the mother of the future leader of revolution is ingenious… but why not travel back right as the boy is being born? And why not send the shapeshifting Terminator first? And why does a movie about a sinking ship need to be over an hour and a half? I’ll be sincere: Avatar is a spectacle. It really is. You know how science fiction/space movies show us completely new planets but then populate them with only one specific type of species and they all act the same (the Star Wars prequels and later episodes of Star Trek are particularly sadly guilty of this)? Yeah Avatar does nothing of that. Cameron takes the Tolkien route and completely creates a new world. The Na’vi coexist with six-legged horses, six-legged panthers, six-legged rhinoceros type beasts (yeah, they are six-legged, which would actually make sense from an evolutionary point of view), dragon-like beasts of burden, and monstrous hammer-headed leather-bodied eagle things. There’s also a nifty chameleon/dragonfly creature that flies on multi-colored whirligig wings. That aspect of the movie is certainly not lacking; Cameron really does show you a new world, as predicted.

And yet, the story feels… somewhat recycled. Is this not what Spanish conquistadors did to Aztecs? Didn’t American cowboys fight this one out with Native Indians? Is this not… what we are doing now to rainforests etc? Naturally, 14% of the earth’s surface is rainforest. We’ve cut that down to 7%. And it could be argued that what conquistadors and cowboys did to Aztecs and Indians was wrong. While these could be virtuous ideas (we are stewards), Avatar is a different beast.

Pantheistic beliefs run rampant. The Tree of Souls, the primary place of worship for the Na’vi, is linked by root systems to all the other trees, and they are sentient ala Grandmother Willow. The Na’vi chant and sing to the trees. They can even attach their tails to the trees and hear the voices of the ancestors. Neytiri even sings “Can You Paint With All the Colors of the Wind” to Jake. (Alright, well I made that one up.) But it wouldn’t be amiss. It’s the same idea. Gold is hard to get, somewhat ‘unobtainable,’ right? Yep.

Avatar does not suffer from stereotypes, as some would have you believe. And yet, its story is fairly old. So while the effects are amazing, groundbreaking, even, and the score is one of the absolute best I’ve heard in a long time, agendas, political correctness, and recycled storylines are truly present in this film. Three out of five stars.

However, I would love to see Jake descending upon that red bird one more time.

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23
Jan
09

Repost: The Patriot

I claimed that I’d do a review of four films before I realized I’d already reviewed The Patriot, which is one of them. So here’s a repost. 

 

Let me start and say I loved the movie. It was the first movie I’ve seen with Heath Ledger besides The Dark Knight. And Mel Gibson did a fantastic job as a concerned parent. But let’s get into the themes of the movie. There was definitely a respect for parents. Unlike some movies, where parents are shown to be annoying, dumb, uncool, and indecisive, Mel Gibson’s Benjamin Martin was portrayed as smart and decisive. Heath Ledger’s Gabriel Martin is also a good example of how a young man might mature. Many 14-16 year olds (and younger and maybe older) don’t think much of their parents. At first, Gabriel considers his father to make terrible decisions. But as the movie goes on, you can see the respect in his eyes. Now for the theological themes. In one scene, a church service is interrupted by Gabriel, who is recruiting for the army. The scene gives you the feeling that worshipping God is good, but doesn’t mean anything if you aren’t willing to back it up. I think that this is an excellent scene. I’m not saying in any way that churchgoers are lazy and cowardly. No, instead I think that this is a great way to say that Christians shouldn’t hide behind the Scripture. Christians should be prepared to back up what they say, whether it be fighting for our independence (which I doubt any of us will be doing soon) or evangelizing at county fairs.

I would recommend The Patriot for any one 14 or older. The movie has an R rating, but it’s for violence. I think most 14 year olds would be able to handle the violence in te movie, although some scenes are pretty graphic (a hatchet being embedded into a man’s head, a cannonball taking off a man’s leg)

14
Jan
09

PETA Renames Fish

Good grief, PETA. Your antics have slipped into the ridiculous. Wait, they already were ridiculous. OK, I guess we’ll have to go for ‘stupid.’ Fish are fish, not sea kittens. Yeah, that’s right. PETA is on a campaign to change the names of fish to ‘sea kittens.’ Yeah,after  thousands of years of humanity calling fish ‘fish,’ PETA wants to change them to sea kittens. Why, do you ask? From their website: “Would people think twice about ordering fish sticks if they were called sea kitten sticks? Would sea kitten soufflé be a hot seller at the local seafood restaurant? Does fillet o’ sea kitten sound even remotely appetizing?” Of course it doesn’t, PETA, because restaurants aren’t going to change the names of their dishes just because you say that’s the name now. Also from their website: “Given the drastic situation for this country’s sea kittens—who are often the victims of many major threats to their welfare and ways of life—it’s high time that the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (FWS) stop allowing our little sea kitten friends to be tortured and killed. Who’d want to hurt a sea kitten anyway?!” Oh dear, they’re killing our sea kitten friends! Boy, I tell you what, that’s just terrible. I think I’m going to go mull over that sad fact as I munch on some deep sea bass.

In case you can’t tell, I think very little of PETA and their constant stupid endeavors so save animals. Check out their ridiculous campaign on their website. (On second thought, don’t. You may find some objectionable stuff. My internet security actually began blocking their website because of ‘R-rated Opinion’) They have a ‘Create Your Own Sea Kitten’ tab. They also ignore science. They say that ‘sea kittens’ are as intelligent as dogs and cats. I’m sorry, but no. When was the last time you saw a fish fetch? No, dolphins aren’t fish, sorry. I’m pretty sure it’s scientifically proven that fish are untrainable. I particularly can’t stand this idiotic phrase: “Please take just a few moments to send an e-mail to H. Dale Hall, the director of the FWS, asking him to stop promoting the hunting of sea kittens (otherwise known as “fishing”).” Oh, sorry PETA. The whole rest of the world is wrong. 

Might as well go eat some chicken. Whoops, I probably meant to say prairie kittens.

26
Dec
08

Movie Review: Song of the South

Really, it’s a shame that this movie never made it to DVD. It’s definitely one of Disney’s biggest mistakes. If there were a list of “Worst Mistakes Made in the History of the World,” I’d probably put this one at number 15. (Although, of course, it could be argued that nothing is a mistake, since it’s all in God’s control.) But, this movie really should be dug back up from Disney’s storage rooms. It should be digitally remastered. It’s such a beautiful film. Let me give you the history of it. 

Joel Chandler Harris, a writer in the mid-to-late 1800s and very early 1900s, wrote several stories about the exploits of ‘Brer Rabbit.’ (Trivia: ‘Brer’ is a shortened version of ‘Brother.’) Brer Rabbit could be called the first Bugs Bunny. He constantly tricked his enemies, chief among them Brer Wolf and Brer Fox. The stories were told from the perspective of a Negro slave named Uncle Remus. In the ’40s, Walt Disney finally found a way to adapt the stories to film while using live actors. The film blended cartoon animation with living actors. Unfortunately, soon after it was released, it came under fire from civil rights groups who claimed that it represented Negroes in a bad light. If you’ve seen the movie, you’ll wonder just what those civil rights people were smoking at the time. They couldn’t be farther from the truth. 

Uncle Remus is basically an ‘Uncle Tom’ kind of character. He’s virtuous, wise, kind, and hard-working. He simply tells a little white boy some stories about Brer Rabbit. These stories have morals, and the little boy tries to follow those morals. His mother and grandmother see them in a different light however; they forbid him from going to see Uncle Remus again. They’re wrong to do so, but they boy is also wrong in that he disobeys them and goes back to Uncle Remus. Uncle Remus tells the boy another Brer Rabbit story, this time to try to induce the boy into following his mother’s instructions. 

Disney has never produced such a heart warming picture before, and it probably won’t ever again, given a look at the crap they’re coming out with now. “Follow your heart,” and all that stuff. 10 out of 10 stars for the magnificent redemptive story of Song of the South.

02
May
08

American Swiss Cheese

Our country is in need of some serious security. If there’s anything I have to complain about the Bush administration, that’s it. We just don’t have security. Some who claim to work for national security should have their jobs taken away. In this article the daily life of an illegal immigrant is described. She goes to El Paso, Texas, with a group of immigrants, and they stand outside of businesses and simply beg. And when the day is out, they simply wait to be picked up by the “Border Patrol.” I’ve gotta say, this “Border Patrol” doesn’t deserve the name. This is simply ridiculous. The Border Patrol is to keep illegal immigrants out! To make sure they stay out! These border patrol agents are seriously neglecting their duties to America. “They do qualify for jail and prosecution. However, we’ve got to look at the humanitarian factor first if we are going to have to separate the family.” These are the words of a pure idiot. The humanitarian factor is important, sure, but you are dealing with people who break the law! Law-breakers aren’t due  humanitarian respect. In the very words of the border patrol agent, “they do qualify for jail and prosecution.” Well by all means, jail and prosecute them! It’s these kind of idiotic people that get us into the mess of 9/11 and things of that sort. Listen up, Border Patrol! These immigrants are using you! They do their work and then wait for you to bring ’em home! This is astoundingly ridiculous.

I simply can’t voice my frustration enough. What America really needs to invest in is a real wall. Not like the Great Wall of China, of course; no, we need a wall of Border Patrol outposts. Outposts that are within sight of each other and anything in between them. Our security is not that at all. We have no national security. We need some. It’s hard though, when stupid people say and think things like this: “It’s good to see that the Border Patrol is showing some common sense in dealing with the reality that is life on the border.” This isn’t common sense. This is, as one of my friends says it best, “Human stupidity at its finest.”




Quote of the Amount of Time I Want to Leave it Up Here

"I've... seen things you people wouldn't believe. Attack ships on fire off the shoulder of Orion. I've seen C-Beams... glitter in the dark near the Tannhauser Gate. All those moments will be lost... like tears... in rain. Time... to die." ~Roy Batty (Blade Runner)
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