Posts Tagged ‘death’

Happy Birthday Alfred Hitchcock

August 13, 2011

Happy Birthday Alfred Hitchcock. (1899–1980)
For thous of you unfamiliar with this genius, Hitchcock had no morals, he did not believe in them. Still he loved drama and he loved story and though that they did not work with out morals. (To paraphrase) he said that to create drama, you draw a clear moral line and then have a character obviously cross it (in an entertaining fashion). Now, when there is a moral law and you break it, there must be a consequence. You are now waiting for the consequence and that creates drama. It’s funny how, as a creator he mirrored his CREATOR much more than he did as a creation. Still, not all of his films end up on the moral high ground, but he did make some of the best films ever and many of them at least land on the right foot. I suggest you start with films like Vertigo, Rear Window, Notorious and Rope. I would avoid films like “The Trouble With Harry” that were supposed to be funny because he didn’t include the “moral line.” All he accomplishes here is to prove that yes, he needed the moral line to create great film.
If you want to go modern, I would not bother with the remakes but check out M. Knight Shamalon’s “Signs” From the opening music you can tell this is a tribute to Mr. Hitchcock and from the raw genius and strong moral lines, it is a fitting one.

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True Grit

April 25, 2011

This is a review of the movie True Grit
It answers the questions
What Is It?
How Was It?
Is It Good For Kids?
What About Spiritual Issues?
and
What Is Your Recommendation?

The music is “My Darling Whippoorwill” by Mortal from their album “Wake”
Here is the link for that –http://goo.gl/EDx7F

God’s Gonna Cut You Down by Johnny Cash from America 5
http://goo.gl/PL7Al

True Grit DVD
http://goo.gl/925kz

True Grit Soundtrack
http://goo.gl/6JF1W

Hanna Q&E Review Show

April 20, 2011


Check out the review for

The theme music is “My Darling Whippoorwill” by Mortal from their album “Wake”

M Night Shyamalan’s The Last Airbender

July 20, 2010

What is it?

Based on a very inventive and fun cartoon from Nickelodeon, The Last Air Bender is an adventure in another world. This world is made up of four nations, Water, Fire, Earth, and Air. Some members of each nation can “Bend” or move their element through space. Though there may be plenty of other applications, It’s mostly used as a marshal art to fight others with.

Balance is thrown off when the Fire Nation attacks the other three, in an attempt to rule the word. In the midst of this conflict, To Teens, Katara (Nicola Peltz) and Sokka (Twilight’s Jackson Rathbone) Discover the last living Air Bender, 12 year old Aang (Noah Ringer). Aang is not only the last of his people, he is “The Avatar.” A special warrior who has the ability to master all four elements, Bridge the Physical and Spiritual world, Bring balance and understanding, as well as kick major butt with his awesome power.

How was it?
The scope and magnitude of the film raises the level of the film in such a way that the failure of the movie to do anything worth while is simply magnified to a level that begs comparisons to Ed Wood. Right away the acting is on par with a well done Christmas play over at your local jr. high. Unfortunate the dialog complements the acting perfectly. Then there is the story line, it played like a ten year old explains season one of the tv show ( and then this happened, and then that happened..) as a studio exec’s secretary took dictation. The special effects were good but the actual “fighting” was boring and confusing. Where most the fighting was done with element bending, what you see is elongated ti-Che looking dancing with stuff swirling around them. As impressive as the dancing and effects were, I often thought “oh just punch him!”
This is the problem if you only watch the movie, but if you are a fan of the show (or like me, and watched it because you were excited about the movie) you will be even more disappointed. The show is for kids and has goofy humor, but is a lot o fun. Not only is the story very well thought out, the characters are dimensional and interesting. The result is that you care about the characters (even the “bad guys”) and are very interested in the story. All the humor is gone as well as the heart. Aang himself no longer fears being the avatar because he will have to sacrifice his own child hood for the good of the world. (A pain that makes him a real character who you can feel for as well as allowing him to be a fun character.) In the film Aang does not want this duty because the avatar can never have a family. Not only is he a twelve year old boy hoping to grow up to be a family man, its even more ridiculous when you realize he was raised by monks in an all male temple! The result on the movie is it suffers more by comparison. (thus you suffer more as well.)
Just to top everything off, the last image on the screen are the words “written, directed, and produced by M. Night Shamalon. This is killer. This man is the genus behind “Signs.” intact, of his 9 films, one I have not seen, one was silly, six were nothing short of amazing films that rival the films of Alfred Hitchcock, then, the ninth is this atrocity afflicted on film and unleaded on sad audiences with overpriced tickets trying to comfort themselves with thoughts like “maybe he will fix it in the sequel” or “at least I wasn’t watching the new Twilight.” but then you remember that Mr Shamalon had the nerve to include a twilight vampire in the cast, the hurt and sorrow return like flowing water that bends into tears as you just move on to the next question.

Was it worth the extra $3 for 3D?
I think the $3 for 3D was much better spent than the rest of the ticket. The effects were the best part of the film and they looked cool in 3D. I did think the effect was not as flat as Alice in wonderland but not as good as the preview for Voyage o the Dawn treader. There was something weird going on when they has fur hoods on and it got blurry when they panned (which they did a  lot). Maybe if the movie was better, the slight defects in the 3D would detract from the story telling, but with no real storytelling in sight – the 3D helps you focus on the effects.

Is it good for children?
There are some things that may scare small children. Armies are hunting down a 12 year old. But mostly kids will be confused, and fans of the show will be disappointed that “Saka’s not funny and Aang is boring.”

Was it racist?
The tv show has all the characters oriental, though each people group is a different sub set where the group all look like each other but do not look like the other nations or tribes. So, though they are all oriental, you can tell what people group they belong to by there racial features. This seems to me to be a nightmare for casting. So what M. Night has done in this film was to make each nation a fully different race. This is not racist but racial. (If you are unsure of the difference, ask Rhett and link.) Still some point out that the water tribe are heroes and are white while the fire nation are villeins and they are dark. First, the fire nation is is a little more complex that. (That comes through despite the shallow nature of the film.) Further more, the fire nation is Indian! The same nationality as the director / writer / producer. So why would he cast his own race as the fire nation? I do think all the races he picked fit well with the look of the show but the choice was probably just so he could give himself a cameo as a fire nation soldier.

What about spiritual issues?
The show for season one uses Hindu symbolism but in season two starts to get into Hindu/buddhist philosophy as well. Though in the season finally of one, princess Yue is given Christ symbolism when the moon god is killed and she gives her life for his resurrection and the physical salvation Of her people. In the movie the scene is so rushed that the beauty and pain of sacrifice is just laborious. All the buildup that points out the symbolism is reduced to the princess putting her arms out while in close up. Aang himself is a savior of a fictional world with many links to Jesus. In the finally of the second season Aang himself is killed and redirected and along the way strikes a Michelangelo influenced Jesus pose.

 Like Yue, Aang’s symbolism is boiled down to a modification of his back tattoo.
So, even spiritually the show is complex and interesting, and the movie is confusing chunky and unsatisfactory.

What is your recommendation?
This could have been M. Night Shamalon’s “Lord of the Rings,” but ended up his “Plan 9 from Outer Space.” this is a dull trip through cartoon cliff notes is not worth it on any level. Still if you are going to bring your kids to this film or the show you will want to talk about the fantasy world’s philosophy and it’s links to the our worlds philosophies, the truth and the lies.
My real recommendation… Start at M. Night’s “Wide Awake” and keep going until you get to “Lady in the Water.” Just stop before you get to “The Happening” and you will never have to bother with “The Last Airbender.”
(I’ll get back to you after I finish season three and yes I will go to the other two sequels.)

The A Team

June 25, 2010

What Is It?

Based on the 80’s hit show, four Desert Storm Vets with a flair wild missions and imaginative strategy, are is framed…. oh just listen to the intro….

 from the 80’s

and the update

The TV show that made Mr. T. a superstar in the 80’s (and prompted me to wear a navy blue t-shirt with a picture of the Mo-hawked mussel man holding kittens) gets dusted off and finally makes it to the big screen after about 20 years of roomers.

How Was It?

This was fun like I remember the show as a 7 year old. (and much much better than what I saw when I watched it this year). The movie is built to be a ride with 4 guys you feel very cool hanging out with and it delivers. This is not going to be anyone’s favorite movie. (Well, except for the Jr. High kid who’s “Favorite Movie” is what ever he saw last where things blow up.) But it will not disappoint people especially if you are going for nostalgia. The characters were the big scene embodiment of the TV show cast. The plans “Come Together” with style, originality and nice dowses of big budget wackiness. (Example: “Are they still trying to shoot down the drones?” “No,” with a deflating sigh “they are trying to fly the tank.” Oh Ya!) The only down side for the fan boy… the theme song. A-Team had a super cool theme song that still holds up today (Though the ending needs work). They use it once during the movie in a very fun escape scene. Then at (SPOILER sort of) the end of the movie, we are brought to the point just before the show begins. So they give us a stylized version of the shows opening, complete with the title spelled out with accompanying machine gun sound effects. The theme comes up!… oh, for one verse, then they go back to the forgettable guitar rock that they have been using (instead of the theme) through the entire movie. It just made what was a fun romp through 80’s camp inflated by big budget effects, a bit of a let down at the end.

What about Political Issues?

They are in Iraq but there is little commented on the situation other than Hannibal shown praising a force of native Iraqi solders. In a hand to hand fight, the villain starts referring to B.A. Baracus as “Barac” though out the fight. I have no idea what they were thing to say by with either situation, but they were there. Finally, and most annoyingly, the plot revolves around an illegal American Money printing press that has been stolen from Saddam loyalists. There are now American Agencies trying to get the press so they can print their own money. In the dialog they say that the problem with this is that the influx of unbacked money will cripple our economy. Of course this is absolutely true the amusingly sad thing is, that’s all the Bank Bailouts were doing, adding more unbacked money into our already struggling economy. Maybe the A-Team will fix that in the sequel.

Was it good for kids?

There is a lot of violence, though very little in the way of gore. They do cuss, though at first, when ever the A-team dropped rough language, it was “bleeped” out by something exploding. The more concerning aspect is “Face.” Instead of just being a con-man with a way with the ladies, He’s a pick pocket con man who beds down all the ladies. At first I though this would be tempered as “His Achilles Heal.” But soon we find out that the opening was just a fluke and through out the film he uses sex to get what he wants. They try to soften this by telling you that he did have an affair where “[she] heard [he] was a player and [she] wanted to play, but then [I] started getting serious but [she] got scared.” This made it even more male fantasy style shallow. The idea is still cool guys should be able to have lots of sex with hot girls with no consequences and what ever benefit he wants. In the movies defense there is very little of the female form exploited.

What About Spiritual Issues?

This movie is very shallow. Still they get into spiritual discussions. Most of it is kept very much on the philosophical end of things. First of all, Hannibal, twice tells us that things happen for a reason. Though there is no mention of why, how, or who is making things happen. When Face and Hannibal first get out of Jail, Face want’s to know if Hannibal “Got Religion” because that would mean that he could not fight. (They were apparently unfamiliar with David in the Bible.) The snag for them comes when BA is broken out. He is seen reading some inspirational book (I did not catch the title) but because of it he can no longer kill. (Spoiler) Later he tells Gives Hannibal a quote from Gandhi about not harming people and Hannibal retorts with a quote about the warrior doing their job, which is also from Gandhi. This results in BA being able to kill an evil guy about to do in Face. Later Hannibal checks in with BA with “How’s the conscience big guy?” All of this is so silly that it’s hard to take serous.

Still Fighting for a cause is shown as noble and morally acceptable. Philosophical though and Religion are put on equal ground, and Gandhi is used as the moral authority. (ie: If it’s ok with Gandhi it’s ok with me.) Also the conscience may be looked at here as the ultimate judge of an action being moral or immoral.

The other thing that bothered me on two levels about the BA spiritual crisis plot line was that it felt a bit like they were making fun of Mr. T. The original BA is himself a known Christian and the show he did never had him kill anyone. (My father in law is fond of saying the A Team expended more ammunition that any other show and never hit anyone.) With all that, it does seem possible they they are making fun of Mr. T. and his Christian faith.

What About Mr. T.?

There is much buzz on the ol’ internet about Mr. T. being the only living member of the original A-Team not to make a cameo in the film. It has been reported that he was boycotting the film because of the excessive violence and sex that was just not part of what the show was supposed to be. It was supposed to be a family show. It turns out Mr. T. has not made any value judgments on the film because he has not seen it. According to his Lawyers, he did not make any of those statements.

(Thus they are probably lies put out by a “well meaning” Christian… we are not supposed to do evil to bring about good.)

It turns out that the A Team was about 4 guys. Three of the guy’s were characters that they developed for the show and cast with actors. So how did they come up with the 4th? As one of the shows creators put it (I believe it was Stephen J. Cannell) “And Mr. T. drives the van!” So, as Mr. T. himself put it, going on the set of the an A-Team film and not being the one to play B.A. For Mr. T. would be equivalent to “your ex-girl friend saying hay come have dinner with me and my new boy friend.” B.A. Is much more that a part played by Mr. T. it was Mr. T.

This brings us to the second thing that really bugs me about the possibility that this movie is making fun of Mr. T. The show is ¼ based on Mr. T. It just seems to be in bad taste to try to do a respectable take on the A-Team and at the same time, make fun of Mr. T. Point being, if you don’t like Mr. T…. It would be like starting a U2 cover band and making fun of Bono.

What is your Recommendation?

Had they shown Face’s “Flings” as a problem and dropped the “Found Religion?” stuff, I would recommend this as a fun summer film and a great trip down silly TV of the past lane. As it stands, if you are going to “higher the A-Team” you should be ready to take to your kids about the characters moral searches and failings.

The Shack by William Young: book review

April 29, 2010

What Is It?

Giving the feel of spiritual fantasy in real life; Mac, with the help of a buddy, sets out to document the time his youngest daughter fell pray to a serial killer and he was then invited back to the crime scene to spend a long weekend hanging out with the physical manifestation of the Holy Trinity…. “High Concept” is alive and well!

How Was It?
This inspirational Journey seems to even off the book shelf owned byMITCH ALBOM’s The Five People You Meet In Heaven. First time author William P. Young, isn’t going to wow you with his writing style but it’s not going to detract from the story either. (Take note Mrs. Stephanie Meyer)
The story is well detailed and the “just some guy trying to Jot down the details of an amazing experience” motif makes any lack of skill just a plot devise .

The beginning feels like you are being manipulated into liking or relating with this guy so that you will care about his interactions later. The fun thing is, it works.

When he does meet God, it smacks of “the magic minority” (where in a white centered story, the character in the ethnic minority emerges as the inspirational Yoda to cause the protagonist to have their self revelation.) God the son is literally Jesus, a nondescript Jewish man. the Holy Spirit is a mystical Japanese woman and because Mac has a problem relating to father figures, God the Father appears as a black woman named Papa. (Think “the Oracle” from the Matrix, though later in the book they seem to switch over and borrow from “Firefly“). This all “works” in the story but it’s because you are into the story and can gloss over he fact that God has been handed to you in the form of trite racial cliché. Dispute all this, most my criticism is in retrospect because this fun, interesting story informed by many devotional books and Christian rock and folk music, helps you put all that aside so you can just enjoy “hanging out” with the story.

Is It Good For Kids?
It’s reading level and straight forward attitude would make this a very assessable book for kids. (No problem if they are reading Twilight and Harry Potter.) I see two concerns for parents with the content.
First, the story has some harsh situations. Most notably is the abduction and murder of a little girl. Followed closely by the story of Mac’s childhood abuse at the hands of his Alcoholic and Christian father, whom Mac poisoned before he ran away from home as a child. It is all handled well without anything graphic and does not hold a candle to the violent and horrible acts presented in the Bible. Still it will be to much for some kids.
Then there is the fantasy vision of God but it is not couched in a fantasy world through the wardrobe. A fictional presentation of the real God could be confusing for some young people. (Of course it could also be confusing for some adults as well.)

What about spiritual issues?
The ultimate message of this book is that God is three in one, presented to the world in Jesus. God loves you, has forgiven your sins. Now that He has open the way, He wants to have a relationship with you.
I believe (from the Bible and my experience) that God is real and will have a real relationship with anyone who seeks or knocks. Therefore anything that points people to get to know God is a good thing because He will welcome them and He will reveal Himself to them in his love and his truth.

Beyond that, if taken as a fictional presentation of a real God, it is accurate to the Bible. I believe that there are some issues that are not dealt with in the book, or skirted around in a way that may make Christians uncomfortable, but it still does not constitute untruth.
Here are the four things that stood out to me:

  1. Jesus talks about how he is concerned with individuals not institutions. While all the assertions about putting your faith in Jesus not the government are true, it glazes over the fact that God chose rulers and directs affairs of state. It also seems to be down on Church in the same vain. It is down on the dead institution but wants vital fellowship between those in fellowship with God – thus asking for the church the way it was meant to be.
  2. There is a discussion of Hell and sending people there. The final word on this is that Hell is real and Jesus takes our place so we don’t have to go. The book also points out that not everyone chooses the relationship Jesus offer and thus fell the full effect of their sin. Beyond that it never tells us what becomes of those who die out side of a relationship with Jesus.Though it’s never even hinted at, I believe the description of Hell that would go best with this book is that God is not so cruel as to take some one, who has spent a lifetime avoiding a relationship with Him, now force them to spend eternity in relationship with the one they avoided in their life.
  3. Finally, (and this is very picky) there is a forth supernatural character who I think theological could have just been the holy spirit (and the story didn’t need another weirdo character to ponder over)

So, in conclusion, Spiritually, it’s packaging may give people concern, but the content is very conservative biblical information.

What Is your Recommendation?

If you like Christian booksSUCH AS The Purpose Driven Life, or spiritual books like “ The Five People You Meet In Heaven” or “Velvet Elvis” I’m sure you will enjoy this book. Beyond that it’s worth the  read to join into the conversation. As a best seller with a movie on the way, it’s a great book to have in your vocabulary when you talk to others about what it is like to have a relationship with Jesus.

The Shack

William P. Young

 

Though the book defiantly suggests Larry Norman and Bruce Cockburn, by the end, it made me want to listen to Rich Mullins and Sufjan Stevens… I think I will.

Only Visiting This Planet

Larry Norman

In The Falling Dark

Bruce Cockburn

A Liturgy, A Legacy & A Ragamuffin Band

Rich Mullins

Greetings from Michigan

Sufjan Stevens

The New Car CD for the Kids

April 19, 2010

This is what Dad, the three year old and the one year old are listening to these days.

Exodus 3 – faith comes by hearing

chip the glasses / over the misty mountains – the hobbit soundtrack (amazon The Hobbit; Rankin Bass Production)

[Beth] Javanese – Soul Junk 1960 

Hoodwinked surf theme –  

Hoodwinked

I Use The Potty

Greatest Hits, Vol. 1-2

forever sweet – Will Carson with Fear and Trembling – Angels Weeping

Day by Day –

Godspell

Stephen Schwartz

10,000 Years (amazing grace)

Reborn

Stryper

Three Little Birds – Bob Marly

I Love You – clip from Fancy Nancy (Unabridged) 

Fancy Nancy

I’m a Lion – – BEAU YOUNG WILD ANAMALZ

Onward Christian Soldiers – – God Bless America

The Whole Duty Of Children – 

A Child’s Garden of Verses

Robert Louis Stevevenson

Parable of the Gracious Master –  (Ripped from the dvd)

Godspell

I carry the Tray Like a fancy weightier 

clip from Fancy Nancy (Unabridged) 

Fancy Nancy

Poopsmith song –  Over the Rhine 

For the Kids III

Fox in Socks read by David Hyde Pierce

Green Eggs and Ham and Other Serving…

Dr Seuss

(I stuck a chunk from Ill-m-i in the middle because I always put that line in when I read it as well)

Exodus 4 faith comes by hearing

My ABC (Though, my 3 year old has let me know that she prefers Cutest Lil’ Dragon )

Fetch the Compass Kids

The Danielson Familie

This Little Light Of Mine 

You Are My Flower

Elizabeth Mitchell

Market Square 

Now We Are Six

A. A. Milne

Holy Holy Holy 

Speedwood Hymns

Lost And Found

Light of the world 

Godspell

Stephen Schwartz

Learn Your Lessons Well 

Godspell

Stephen Schwartz

Half Way Down 

Now We Are Six

A. A. Milne

Cottleston Pie – ThreeCheersForPooh

Grand old duke of york

Let’s Move

Studio Mouse

Isn’t It funny – ThreeCheersForPooh

Lines and Squares 

Now We Are Six

A. A. Milne

The Lamp Of The Body 

–  (Ripped from the dvd)

Godspell

Teddy Bear

Now We Are Six

A. A. Milne

Ephesians 6:1-4  faith comes by hearing

Children Obey your parents 

The Word & Song Bible

Stephen Elkins

When the Saints go marching in –

The Island

April 12, 2010

What Is It?

Ewan McGregor and Scarlett Johansson play characters who live in a technological wonder world of the future. They wake up to have computers picking out their clothing and analyzing their urine to determine what they can have for breakfast. They live, eat, exercise, work and recreate, while waiting for the day they will win the lottery and go to “The Island”

One day, Lincoln Six Echo (McGregor) finds that people who they thought went to the Island were really killed. Now that his friend Jordan Two Delta (Johansson) has won the lottery, Lincoln is trying to get her out of their world and someplace safe.

How Was It?

This was an interesting blend of “The Matrix”, “I Robot”, and “The Truman Show”. Still, the movie is more than a good rip off. It really brings something new to the emerging genres . The movie is a bit formulaic, but does it very well. The action is exciting, the soundtrack is wonderful, and there seems to be more than just senseless navel-gazing in the script.

Was It Good For Kids?

This film has a bunch of points where the action becomes graphic and the imagery is disturbing. It may not be the best choice for younger viewers .

You can get a complete breakdown of what is on the screen at Screenit.com.

What About Spiritual Issues?

There seems to be an amassing of offhanded comments to let you know that are the two main characters are either blessed by God or empowered by Him. There may even be some messiah symbolism with Lincoln .

Moreover , this film is about the sanctity of life. Themes and characters lend themselves so well to an anti-abortion stance that it may have been the planned intent of the film. These themes are presented in a very real and non-confrontational way, though often brutal in their presentation. This is the beauty and peril of sci-fi and fantasy.

There is a sex scene in the film. This is an odd thing. We are not shown anything we shouldn’t see. It’s more a plot point. We are told that one man is dying from a disease that God let him have because he had too much sex. Later we see the two main characters “discover” sex in an Adam and Eve / “ Blue Lagoon” manner . This may be a sticky point for some viewers . The morality of sex is not very clearly defined, though promiscuity is shown as punishable.

What Is Your Recommendation?

If you like action/sci-fi films , this is a good use of your afternoon. It’s also a great movie to help think through some very important issues.

ps

The soundtrack is very cool. Except for one unfortunate song in the credits.

The Island DVD

The Island CD

Tim Burton’s Alice in Wonderland

March 23, 2010

What Is It?

In this version, A 19 year old Alice, escaping from a public Marriage proposal, Falls down a rabbit hole to learn that it has been foretold that she will defeat the Jaberwalkie and set the land free from the oppressive Queen of hearts. Thus Tim Burten sets out on his quest to show us how he would have done “Lord of the Rings.”

How Was It?

This is a “re-imagining” sequel of sorts. The characters are mostly from Louis Carol’s books but if Mr. Burton half watched the old Disney cartoon, then skimmed the books looking at the pictures a lot … it would have been enough to come up with this movie. This is not a criticizer of the movie at all. The world Louis Carol’ builds in his books is imaginative, but the story is terrible.

This movie on the other hand, is a fun magical adventure through a land that is familiar in a way. Curly trees, Danny Elfman soundtrack, and a great Johnny Deep performance still come together with fantastic costumes and sets to make this unmistakably Burton. Still this film has heart and follow through that is sometimes missing or lost amidst the layers of his “cool pop-goth stuff.”

The other thing Burton does well is assembling a cast. Everyone fits well in their parts and with each other as well as seeming perfectly natural amidst this CGI enhanced fantasy world. The characters themselves are very creative with the perfect mix of classic archetypes and witty characterization. All of this goes together, seemingly with out effort, to create a fun movie.

Did you pay the extra $3 to see it in 3D?

Yes I did, and I’m glad. When they were in the real world at the beginning, the 3D effect reminded me of the 3D in an old view master slide. The people seemed flat but cut out and seperate from the background. It was a little less natural than Coraline 3D which was stop frame animation. When you got to Wonderland though, it was all worth it.

Is It Good For Kids?

The hard part about many of Tim Burton’s films is his mixture of child hood playfulness and fairy tale fun with dark and sometimes horrific elements. Labeling Tim Burten’s work as “Kids Films” would be like trying to put the original Grimm’s fairy tales in the same basket with the Disney cartoons they inspired.

Alice in Wounderland has Monsters and danger. The action is less harsh and more whimsical than the Narnia Movies, though This film does more things for the shock value of the action. Early on a monster has it’s eye plucked out by mouse with a needle  (mallyumkin carries a hat pin that she borrowed from the hatter*) and there was a scene where Alice crosses a mote on stepping stones that are actually the heads that have been “offed” by the Queen of Hearts. Both things have zero gore but conceptually could be disturbing.

Some parents may be concerned by Alice’s criticism of social norms. It really is a healthy skepticism of following popular fashion but could translate to younger children as simple rebellion.

We do see a married man kissing “another woman.” This is shown as offensive, but may not be “punished” fully enough for everyone’s liking.

But on a good note… Despite Alice contently changing sizes and her clothing staying just the same size, she is always filmed with modesty, even if it takes a 6 foot shrubbery to do it.

What About Spiritual Issues?

Tim Burton has explained that his childhood included being sent to church because it was the thing to do and finding nothing but empty hypocrisy there. This has translated into an insulting and belittling of Christianity in virtually all of his movies.

Oddly enough, that criticism is not only absent here, but the story at points seems to parallel Biblical concepts. Most notably is a scroll that foretells Alice fighting the Jaberwakie on the frabjous day. At one point Alice goes to save the Hatter and her bloodhound companion is afraid that this course of action will not be following the prophesy. At this point I feared that it would turn into some heavy handed message about not letting others tell you want to do, even if it’s sacred writings. Actually, where they went with it was that the more she did what seemed scary because it was the right thing to do, the more she became who she was meant to be. We are also told that her going to save the Hatter actually put her more in line with the prophesy. Prophesy was not something that could be deviated from. 2 Peter 1:19-21 This concept also made me think about Gandolf’s explanations of fulfilling prophesy from the end of “The Hobbit.” (Of course, the fact that their rendition of Louise Carol’s Jaberwalkie illustration looked just like a illustration of Eowyn fighting the ringwraith further put me in the Tolkien frame of mind. )

We also get the Absalom (Hebrew for My father is Peace) the Caterpillar giving a lesson in death being the entering into another world of life

Then there is the spiritual lesson of Alice’s belief. She feels that her defeating the Jaberwalkie is impossible. So she starts reciting all the “impossible” things she has found to be true in this world. We would be well advised as Christians to follow her lead. The next time something God wants you to do seems “Impossible” start listing off “Impossible” things you know he has done from His word and your life.

What Is Your Recommendation?

This is a fun movie with a few good things to talk about and nothing very bad to say. It even shown that living in a fantasy world is not a way to live your life. Though marketed for everyone, it’s clearly made for hip teens and above but told in the classic story book format.  Alice is worth checking out.

Alice in Wonderland

*Thank you Emily.

Christopher’s Top Picks of the Decade (1/1/2000-1/1/2010)

January 28, 2010

It took all month but here are

Christopher’s Top 20 Picks (with 3 “Ties and an Honorable Mention) of the Decade

(1/1/2000-1/1/2010)

  1. Lord Of The Rings (1 movie in 3 parts)
  2. The Passion of the Christ
  3. Unbreakable
  4. tie – DISTRICT 9 Pride and Prejudice 
  5. The Exorcism of Emily Rose  
  6.  Signs
  7. To End All Wars
  8. The Village
  9. The Chronicles of Narnia: The Lion The Witch and the Wardrobe 
  10. Lars and the Real Girl 
  11. Luther 
  12. B000JLTR8QM. Night Shyamalan’s Lady in the Water
  13. Napoleon Dynamite
  14. In The Bedroom
    Note: “The Bedroom” in the title refers to a compartment of a Lobster Trap
  15. Man On Fire
  16. I Am Legend
  17. The Lost Skeleton of Cadavra
  18. Phone Booth
  19. tie Nanny McPhee Up
  20. tie Danielson a Family Movie (or, Make A Joyful Noise HERE) Food Inc

Honorable Mention

Bella theatrical one sheet

Bella

Fireproof

This film was not the best done, or the most moving. Several films not on this list were better films. (The Spider Man films, Inglorious B——-s, Juno, Iron Man and even  Twilight, were all better films.) Still, a church got together and made a good film with a great message, and I think that should be applauded.