Archive for the 'Religion' 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)

21
Jan
09

Gladiator

Now for the first of the “quadrilogical” reviews. Yes, I just made that word up. Yes, it’s pretty clever, I know. Gladiator comes first because chronologically speaking, it’s set before the other three. 

This film is fast becoming my favorite film of all time. (If you socialize with me on other sites, you probably know that by now. Follow me on Twitter: MaximDecimus) I’ve maintained before that my favorite genre of film is Sci-Fi, but I’ve recently realized that all my favorite movies would fall under the “Action” category. So I’ve officially changed favorite genres. Gladiator is, IMO, on a level higher than most action films: the story is fantastic. Perhaps slightly cliched and a bit predictable, but as far as action films go, this one’s pretty good. The dialogue is fantastic, the actors give perhaps their greatest performances ever…it’s a great film.

Almost from the start of the movie, we see that the main character, Maximus, is a man of faith. He prays to his little gods (which, no, I’m not encouraging idolatry, but it’d probably be helpful to our nation if our generals prayed to God before a battle) and he’s true to his wife and son. He doesn’t want to give them up, even for being the most powerful man on earth. He’s also a virtuous man, having the chance to enter into other relationships but turning them down. Joaquin Phoenix as the evil emperor Commodus gives a good performance also, playing an extremely believable and creepy villain. I’d say that the only themes that are glorified in the film are positive themes, with no grey areas. The good is good and the bad is bad, and that’s the way it should be. 

All in all, a definite 10 out of 10 for Gladiator, starring Russell Crowe and directed by Ridley Scott.

16
Aug
08

The Patriot

Well, the first post of the new Daily Fedora. I’ve gone through and looked at several different layouts, and I chose Monotone. Not sure it works, so I may change it again. But anyway, to post my review of The Patriot. 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).

Next review: 3:10 to Yuma.

17
Apr
08

Contradictions–Or Grasping At Straws?

It’s probably the latter. Yeah, it’s the latter. One thing that atheists absolutely love to do is point out “contradictions” in the Bible. About 98% of the time these contradictions are simply a matter of dishonesty; i. e. taking the words out of context. And the context is very important. Anyone who says otherwise is a downright fool. Other times atheists simply don’t understand that times are nowhere near what they were when the Bible was written. This website gives an example of almost every type of wrong Bible reading, the first is that they used the King James Bible to point out contradictions; that Bible uses older language that many people don’t understand anymore. It’s quite easy to “point out” contradictions there. The site also lists ways that Christians justify the “contradictions;” most of which are actually legitimate. In fact, really the only one that someone wouldn’t want to use is number 6. Probably number 4 also. Anyway, any atheists out there who want to show me some contradictions? I could go through and tell you why each of the contradictions on the website are wrong, but that would take a while and come out to a very long post.




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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