Posts Tagged ‘Bryce Dallas Howard’

Spiderman 3

June 5, 2009

What is it?

He has fought the Green Goblin, he stopped Doctor Octavios, he dealt with his own inner conflicts with self sacrifice – now he is back to deal with a handful of bad guys and some new inner demons in what may be the final installment of the series. Spiderman has finally been accepted as a hero and his life is going well. Unfortunately, his girl friend, MJ, is going through a personal crisis, but he can not see through all his new found appreciation, to be there for her. His romantic problems are paralleled by the rise of some more unusual villains, and what is that crawling out of the space rock?

 

How was it?

This is a comic book movie. There is no attempt to make it anything it’s not. Director Sam Raimi just plays it straight and has the most fun he can with the genre. The audience isn’t given anything much deeper or more mysterious than your standard Veggie Tales episode. After we have a long set up for each one of the characters, we jump into some fun plot, then some big action, finally Spiderman’s aunt explains the symbolism and moral to you… repeat. The action is cool. You can occasionally tell its computers, beyond just the fact that “that has to be a computer”. It’s the kind of action that you have to pay attention to in order to follow. It’s often like a rollercoaster, without the track. The best part is watching Spiderman jumping and scrambling over debris as he and parts of a building plummet. Overall, not the most amazing film, but it’s fun.

 

Was it good for kids?

This is a hard one. There are a lot of things to be leery of, but it’s all presented in such a way that may not scare kids. The violence is about action, however, there is some blood, but more often just ripped masks and shirts. There is some black stuff that crawls around and (spoiler) eventually creates the villain Venom, who is a monster version of Spiderman with a big mouth full of teeth. Still they do not show him very much. When he has a close up, the black stuff leaves his face and he is human with a mouth that is somewhere between a dog and a vampire. Beyond that, there are all types of family issues. Peter of course still blames himself for the murder of his uncle, who raised him because his parents died when he was young. Then there is a villain who is estranged from his wife and steals to pay for a medical treatment for his daughter, who we see sleeping with tubes in her nose. The situation may upset children but it’s also a very ambiguous evil. This makes the character more complex, but while it is handled well, may confuse children and make them think that you can do bad things for good reasons. Peter also takes the Lord’s name in vain (prays?) when he thinks he has killed his friend who attacked him.

You can see a break down of all the elements on the screen on screenit.com.

 

What about spiritual elements?

At first I thought the  first Spiderman seemed to hold up Spiderman as the fill-in for an impotent God.  After a closer look I believe God is orcastrating the events and coincidences that allow Peter to serve others. The second makes him out to be a Christ figure (the Freedom Bringer), and in this one he needs forgiveness and it seems to start by going to God. There are two major themes to this movie (that are both spelled out by Aunt May.) The first is that if you are planning on marrying a woman you have to be man enough to put her first, and the second is that revenge in your heart will turn you into something horrible and the solution is forgiveness! We find out that everything comes down to choices. Almost every person on every level, in this film, is paired up with someone else who is in almost the same situation. We get to see one person who chooses correctly and then one who chooses incorrectly. We also get to see the reward or punishment that coincides with their choice. Both line up perfectly with the Bible. In fact (Spoiler) while Peter Parker allows himself to be consumed by revenge, his response to a character’s plea for mercy is “If you want forgiveness, get religion.” which seems like a downer on Christianity, but soon after that Spiderman is at a church (the kind with a cross on top and a crucifix inside). He has come there to rid himself of “revenge” and “aggression” in an interesting “Re-Birth” scene. In that same scene, we see someone come to God, not for forgiveness, but to seek revenge. (Big Spoiler) Of course the one looking for revenge gets afflicted with all that Spiderman has shed. The consequence for harboring revenge turns out to be death. Peter Parker, on the other hand, forgives the man who shot is uncle. (He says “I forgive you” nothing cryptic.) This action leads to freedom for all characters involved.

 

What is your recommendation?

It’s a fun movie, with easy messages and someone to explain them to you along the way. So you can enjoy the action and get the point without a lot of heavy lifting. If your child will not be negatively affected by comic book violence and can handle the moral ambiguity until it’s tied up at the end, I would bring them along. When it’s all over you will have plenty to talk about as far as the problems of revenge and the need for forgiveness, starting with the forgiveness from God. Who know’s you might even be able to use the film to tell another Spiderman Fan about God’s forgiveness.

 

Spider-Man 3

M. Night Shyamalan’s Lady in the Water

December 7, 2008

J.R.R. Tolkien wrote an essay called “ON FAIRY-STORIES”. It was Tolkien’s ideas on what fairy tales were and how they can effect, or impact, our lives. He then wrote a story about an artist called “Leaf by Nigel” to illustrate the concepts in the his essay. Having read “On Fairy-Stories“, M. Night’s fairy tale and film, could have been re-titled “Lady by Shyamalan .” You could read this review, or you could just read On Fairy-Stories and then go see the “Lady in the Water”.

What Is It?

As with Shyamalan’s “Signs” and “Unbreakable” this movie is about the genre invading our day to day life. This is a Fantasy Fairy tale. It’s about sea nymphs who inspire people to use there God-given gifts. But there are monsters whom can sometimes hurt the nymphs when they are out of the water. With the bed time story read under the opening credits, the invasion begins. A local apartment foreman/janitor (Paul Giamatti ) discovers a sea nymph named…. “Story“ (Bryce Dallas Howard who played Ivy in The Village) lives in his pool.

How Was It?

In my humble opinion, it was wonderful, with both meanings of the word. The bedtime story itself seems a bit silly at times, but it’s supposed to be something made up by someone’s grandmother. A more sophisticated tale would have taken away from the point of the movie. The characters are fun and interesting, and you learn to care about them very fast. Though many of them represent something, they still come off as real.

Is It Good For Children?

This movie is scary at times, capturing the true dark nature of the “un-Disney-fied” fairy tales. For some children this could inspire bad dreams and the fear of bumps in the lawn. (That’s what the monsters look like when they are hiding.) There is also a teen girl who is, at times, dressed inappropriately. She is not very “alluring” or shown as positive, but is lacking as a positive role model for young girls. We also saw more of the sea nymph’s legs than we needed. Finally, they use God as a cuss word a couple of times.

Though, when the nymph first comes to the Janitors house, he is not sure why a young lady is there, and tells her that he might be old fashion, but he does not want her to spend the night. The above are things to consider, however, it is a good story with a good message.

You can check Screenit.com for a complete break down of what is on the screen.

What About Spiritual Issues?

Spirituality is more at the forefront of things then in “The Village,” but less than “Signs.” Still there is a lot here, and it’s good stuff. The story is something that inspires us to be what God intended. To fight for others; to give over our pain; to grow; and even be sacrificial. There are also a lot of little comments to suggest that God is working in this.

From here on in, all the Spiritual information will be SPOILERS!

The main character was a doctor who gave that up when someone broke into his house and killed his family. He does not share that with anyone. He then finds (and gives) healing by admitting his loss, and his disconnect from God because he saw God in them, not unlike Mel Gibson‘s character in “Signs.”

There are also “Three creatures with one name” who are supposed to live in the trees. They are supposed to stop the monsters that attack nymphs when the monsters break the rules and attack when they are not supposed to. After the Nymph is attacked when she should not be, the creatures do not come. The janitor comments on the lack of justice when the “Three in one” doesn’t help. It turns out that it wasn’t a lack of justice, but that the human characters were not doing what they needed to do and that’s why they did not see the justice come from above. These creatures are though to be evil because they may have killed there parents. All we know about them for sure is that they are the rule keepers. There is also a great character who is exercising half his body. His right arm is 4 inches thicker than his left. He calls himself a scientist and describes working out as his experient. Like many scientists, when you are just looking at the physical world you will only be a half developed human. At the end he finds that there is more than physical strength.

The nymph reveals a list of people who need to be assembled to help her. Their qualities are listed, but the main characters need to figure out who fits each role. They mistake a group of burned out metal heads for the group they needed,What they really needed was a loving group of sisters. So though the group of dead beat friends looked right, they were just a poor substitute for a loving family.

A writer (played by M. Knight Shyamalan himself) is prophesied over. He is told that he should write the book he’s writing because it will inspire people and change the world in positive ways, but that he will be killed for the things he writes in his book. He is left with the decision to be martyred for doing what he is called to do, or to be safe, but not fulfill his calling. There is also a man who lives in a depression, as he only sees the bleak reality in this world, but longs to return to the faith of a child. There is so much to learn in this film.

What Is Your Recommendation?

Like I said in the beginning, read J.R.R. Tolkien’s “On Fairy Tales.” Go see “Lady in the Water.” Then go out for dinner and have a great conversation about magical stories inspiring us to seek God and His will. This is why I added it to my list of “Must See” movies.

Bonus Question:

If it’s so good, why are all the reviews so bad?

(other than this one of course)

I think there are two reasons.

One, the movie is not about the fairy tale it self but about how we deal with fairytales. So focusing on the fairy tale will cause you to miss the point.

(Just like: most people who didn’t like “Signs” say the stuff about the aliens was dumb. That is because “Signs” is not about the aliens, it’s about the family.)

Two, A minor theme in the film is “People who review movies, by and large, are idiots who don’t understand movies.” It’s a very rare person who can be told something like that and still enjoy what they are watching. Usually it’s only the Christian’s who can have what they believe slammed for 92 minuets and still say they liked the movie.

Of corse, there could also be those who heard the message and actulay grew with the chalenge. But I doubt it.

Did you know that “Citizen Kane,” heralded by the critics and film teachers as the best film ever, opened to bad reviews.