Archive for the 'Racism' 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.

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.

12
Oct
08

Director Spotlights: Spike Lee

I decided to add a new category to the posts I shall make: Director Spotlights. In these posts I will talk about a specific director. In this one, I shall (obviously) talk about Spike Lee. for those of you who aren’t familiar with him, he’s an African-American director. Most (actually, all) of his movies have African-American themes. He used to be a very respected director. Note I said ‘used’ to be. Now, I respect every director out there (save for maybe Uwe Boll) but Lee I respect the least. Why? He’s incredibly racist. Ridiculously so. Perhaps you heard of his little spat with actor-turned director Clint Eastwood. Eastwood made two World War II films: Flags of Our Fathers and Letters From Iwo Jima. These two films were centered around the raising of the flag in Iwo Jima, especially the first one. What was Lee’s trouble with it? It didn’t give African-American soldiers their due. He claimed that it showed no African-American soldiers whatsoever. First of all, the films did show African-American soldiers. Second of all, there were no Afican-American soldiers in the group that raised the flag. Lee subsequently called Eastwood racist, and Eastwood, in Western cowboy-type attitude, fired back that Lee needs to “shut his face.” Now, most recently, Lee has made a film called Miracle at St. Anna’s, which tells the story of a massacre in Italy. The only problem is, he shows African-American soldiers in the film where, historically, there were no African-American soldiers of any kind. When the modern day citizens responded (many of whom lost loved ones in the massacre) with things like “you are rewriting our history” Lee told them they “need to come to grips with their history.” So he’s making up history! He’s probably the most racist person in Hollywood. Not to mention probably one of the most arrogant. He tried to sue Spike TV because they were “capitalizing on his fame” by using his name. He also thinks that his passion for Knicks baseball has cost him Oscars before, because the Oscar voters are usually Los Angeles based. “That’s definite bias right there,” he claims. Face it, Spike. You missed Oscars because your films aren’t good enough.




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)
July 2017
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