Archive for the 'Animals' 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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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.

15
Nov
08

PETA and Lindsay Lohan

I’m no huge fan of Lindsay Lohan. She had a great career ahead of her, she was a cute kid actress, but she botched it all by becoming a scandalous party girl (as most girl kid actresses inevitably do). She was an alcoholic for a while, she went to rehab for drugs, her life was going down the drain, and all that fun stuff that celebrities do. (And we look up to these people?) But now, all of a sudden, she’s saved her career by claiming she’s bisexual. Ick. That’s gross. All of a sudden she’s back in the spotlight because she’s bisexual. But recently, she ran into PETA. Now, if I’m not too big a fan of Lindsay Lohan, I’m even less a fan of PETA. They have no respect whatsoever for humans. Animals are gods to them. And recently, while on her way to a Paris nightclub, Lohan was hit with a flour bomb thrown by animal rights activists. (You know they’re PETA people, why are they being protected by being called ‘animal rights activists’?) A flour bomb is merely a lot of flour thrown at someone. Now why did they throw it? Lohan was wearing a fur stole (an accessory made out of animal fur). Come on, idiots. Let people wear what they want. For thousands of years people have eaten animals and worn animal skin. The animals are still around, right? Right. So we definitely aren’t going to be the people to send all animals to extinction. Let people wear animal fur and you keep your flour and bake bread and be good vegetarians.

21
Oct
08

Actors in the Lime: Jeff Goldblum

Well, if you’re any kind of a prophet you probably saw this coming. I made the Director Spotlights so I’ve got to do something for actors. The first one is quirky actor Jeff Goldblum. He played mathematician (chaotician, CHAOTICIAN, actually) in Steven Spielberg’s excellent science fiction films Jurassic Park and Jurassic Park: The Lost World. He also played David Levinson in Roland Emmerich’s blockbuster Independence Day (good, solid summer fun if you haven’t seen it yet). However, after 1997, he kind of fell from star status. He receded into the background. He’s still a very solid actor, however. He brings to life so many quirky quotes, and his character Ian Malcolm is unforgettable. Perhaps his most famous Jurassic Park line, as he walks up to a pile of dino-droppings: “That is one big pile of s**t.”

Personally, I think he would be an excellent choice to play the Riddler, should the sequel to The Dark Knight actually get made. He has the quirkyness yet intelligence to do very well in that kind of role. (The Riddler was never a Joker-like character in the comics, by the way.) He’d be TONS better than the overrated Johnny Depp, as much as I like him.

25
Jun
08

PETA, Once Again

Wow. I have been gone from here far too long. I leave for a while, and everything’s gone to pot! Haha, that’s a Jack Sparrow quote. Anyway, what with all the stuff I’ve been doing during the summer, I’ve had plenty of time to post, but sitting around doing nothing is too much fun. Anyways, I apologize from having stayed away so long. So now here’s the story. At Wimbledon (it’s a tennis tournament, if you don’t know) pigeons have a bad habit of swooping down and distracting the players and disrupting patrons at the open-air restaurant nearby. Wimbledon uses two live hawks to scare away pigeons, and it usually works. But the pigeons got out of hand, and the hawks couldn’t take care of them all. So what did Wimbledon do? They employed marksmen, I assume with pellet guns or the like, since using anything more powerful than a .22 is overdoing it for pigeons. The Wimbledon spokesman says that pigeon droppings on the restaurant table were deemed to be a health hazard, which they very much are. But PETA has to completely come in and do their thing. (In case you didn;t know, PETA’s thing is trying to get humans in jail and trying to get animals glorified. It is a very good example of mankind’s most common trait: stupidity.) Wimbledon employd the marksmen after the hawks failed to do their work. But PETA says “Since the use of marksmen to kill pigeons appears to have been carried out as a first, rather than a last resort, and not out of concern for public health, but rather because the animals were deemed inconvenient by players, you appear to be in violation of the law.” PETA needs, to put it bluntly, to shut up. PETA is simply ridiculous. They’re pigeons, for gosh sakes! The most undesirable birds on the planet besides crows and ravens! PETA doesn;t care about public health or the law, unless it has to do something with animals. Now, had Wimbledon been killing the pigeons because they were disrupting matches, I would call that a drastic measure, but they were doing it because of health hazards. (That probably is an excuse, but still.) PETA has no right to even exist.




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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