Archive for the ‘ Fantasy ’ Category

The Wolverine

The-Wolverine-Movie-Wallpaper-HD

A man can run out of things to live for.

When you are immortal, that phrase has a bittersweet ring. Logan has seen and done it all. Fought in every war since the Civil war, been everywhere in the world, and even saved the world by stopping a rouge mutant. But now, Logan lives without drive, without purpose. He has nightmares every-night of the ones he has loved and lost. Of the wars he has fought. Of the hundreds men he has killed. He decides that he isn’t going to be that monster anymore.

So he lives on a mountain unkept and alone with his nightmares. His only friend is the grizzly bear who roams the mountain with him. While he may not be the killing monster on the mountain, he is anything but at peace. When some hunters come with illegal weapons, and kill the bear. Logan seeks out vengeance on them. Before he can do so however, he is approached by a mysterious japanese woman who tells Logan her employer, Sir Yashida, has a gift for him. A thank you, for saving his life many years ago in WWII.

The Gift of peace. The Gift of Mortality.

Things I Liked

Logan (The Wolverine) appears to be a man of changed heart in this film. we find he lives by himself for one main reason- so he no longer hurts others. When called “The Wolverine” he replies- “That’s not who I am anymore.” In truth, we see that change of character come out in Logan through the movie. When Yashida offers this gift, Logan goes mainly out of politeness. He respects the dying man’s wishes to thank him in person one last time.

When He arrives in Japan, he finds himself in the midst of a feud. He chooses to protect the daughter of Yashida when assassins come. And that is his prevailing purpose in the film. “Think of me as your bodyguard” Logan tells her. What makes that interesting though, is he is tricked into becoming mortal. For at time at least. During this time, he learns bullets are dangerous, and what it means to be vulnerable. “I’ve never had to ask for help before.” he tells Mariko, Yashida’s Daughter. Watching him learn to live as such was a great thing, and I appreciated again things I had taken for granted in everyday life. Logan also sacrifices much in this movie. He risks his mortal life protecting others. And through that he begins to find his purpose once again.

Things I Didn’t Like

The Wolverine isn’t the most violent of films when you add up the body count, but it could be argued it is the most savagely violent of the X-Men Series. Logan slices, impales, thrashes, and throws many would be assassins to their deaths in various scenes. He throws a man off a balcony. He stabs the illegal hunter’s hand with the man’s own poisoned arrow. We watch the man’s reaction to the poison. In his nightmares, we see him accidentally kill people he loves. Logan at one point, cuts open his own chest.

A antagonist mutant, Vyper, kills various people with kisses of poison. She kills a man with a poisoned pen. She tortures men by scratching them, them breathing poison onto their face. She also sheds her face, which results in a kinda creepy scene.

Other hordes of ninjas/assassins shoot people with arrows, rods, and swords. in one scene, Logan takes dozens to his back. In fact, Logan gets pretty beat up in the movie too. When he is mortal, he is shot several times, and he realizes that healing isn’t something his body does anymore. So wounds and such remain on him, blood and all. When he regains his power, he is sliced and cut and impaled in ways which are incredibly painful to him. Early on in Nagasaki, we see his body burned an charred while protecting a Japanese solider, and the painful process of his body instantly healing him.

Logan winds up kissing Mariko, and sleeping in the same bed with her at a secret refuge. Mariko wears a thin nightgown. Logan often goes shirtless. In one scene he is being given a bath by some old Japanese Maids and we see a bit of his rump. Another scene shows a politician who is busted by Logan, is found with three young women all in lingerie and is shown for a few seconds before they all flee.

Logan drops an F-Bomb, and several other curse words. Included are D—, B—–, and S—. God’s name is used in Vain twice.

Closing Thoughts

Your grandfather called me a ronin, a samurai without a master. Destined to live forever, with no purpose to serve. ~The Wolverine~

The tale of the Wolverine is a darker one in the Marvel series. A tragic hero, we see Logan suffer so much, even though he will live forever. It is painful to watch Logan experience such sorrow and grief over losing people he loved, because he couldn’t die with them. This movie, taking place after the third X-men, shows Logan at the bottom of the barrel with some of the most intense violence of the series.

The Wolverine rips open the idea that Eternity on this earth isn’t a gift or remotely desirable, and kills it with savage intensity. Showing that it is a curse which brings only sorrow and misery if you have no eternal purpose. Wolverine found his purpose in the movie, the credits rolled, and people moved on. What the movie fails to mention, is that purpose, when rooted in the world, will change based on circumstance.

The tragedy of the Wolverine lies not in the fact Logan lives forever, but the fact he will be forever wandering trying to find himself in the world. As Christians, we know without Christ, that walk can, and will last forever if you are immortal on the world. Only Christ can quench the thirst men crave for ultimate purpose. While Logan is lost to this fact, we can perhaps guide others to it through this film. Not to say by any means is The Wolverine full of redeeming value. But this is one rare film where the internal struggle and resulting destruction shows what a man can do without any lasting purpose in his life. That is something to definitely challenge others in, and ask if they are doing the same.

Advertisements

Monster’s University

monsters_university_ver2The lovable monsters of Monsters Inc have once more invited us to come along with them on a journey, only this time, it’s down memory lane…. And their college experience.

Mike has always dreamed of being a scarer. He can give you every fact and every scary pose in the book. However, he has a problem. He’s not really…. Well… scary. Enter James P. Sullivan, or Sully as we best know him. Sully can scare. In fact, he was born with the ability what with being the son of one of the most famous scarers ever. His problem, though, is that he’s not book smart, and he’s got no self confidence—or at least not the kind of self confidence.

Both of these monsters want to be the best, so when they stumble into one another, it’s a full out war, a war which lands them outside of the scaring program. That is until they get a chance at redemption. The scare games.

There’s just one problem… They have to work together. And if that weren’t a big enough hurdle, they have to work together with the geeks of the Oozma Kappa Fraternity.

Positive Elements

Monster’s University has two themes at the heart of its film. The first is one which every generation is in need of, especially our current one: you do not have to succumb to the expectation of others based on your size, skin color, illnesses, or, as we see in this movie, scariness.

Throughout history we have great examples of men who rose out of horrific circumstances or illness and defied what others said they would do/amount to (coughpresidentTeddyRooseveltcoughIsaacNewtoncoughEinsteincough). Now that theme is being delivered in a movie that is very kid-friendly and can resonate with a much younger audience than Einstein normally attracts.

The second prominent theme in this film is the gift of friendship and how much easier our goals are when someone’s got our back.
But perhaps my favorite part of the movie was the end, when we see our heroes own up to their wrong doings and face the consequences of their actions. And then, instead of seeing them defeated, we see them once more team up and start from the ground in order to work their way to being the Monsters we first fell in love with in MI.

Negative Elements

Dangit and son of a gun is the worst language that you will have in this movie, and the most sexualized content is when Sully’s hand falls into Mike’s face while he is sleeping and he proceeds to kiss it.

As for violence, it’s mostly slapstick, cartoony violence that doesn’t really result in anyone being truly harmed. Monster’s get thrown from a building into water, Mike accidentally runs students over with a buffer, and glowing spiky urchin looking things cause several students participating in the Scare Games to swell up as a type of allergic reaction.

The only other negative elements is Mike and Sully’s initiation ceremony (which some people might not appreciate but is done for the sake of humor), the red cups in the college party scenes (It isn’t portrayed as alcohol, but it is a college party, so some parents won’t appreciate that), some characters break into MI for a look at things and when the police come one of the group shouts that he can’t go back to jail, there is the typical college fraternity bullying issues, and obviously there are several scenes with monster’s scaring kids.

However it should be noted that all of these elements are very soft elements and as child friendly as possible.

Conclusion

I adored Monster’s Inc! It made it on my favorite’s list, actually. So when MU hit theaters, I had to go! And I wasn’t unhappy when I left the theaters.

My best friend laughed multiple times beside me in the theater, and I enjoyed watching the movie. However, it didn’t measure up to Monster’s Inc, in my opinion. As I said, it wasn’t that the movie was bad. I enjoyed it, and it had some good points. Plus, I like finding out all the back-story, so that was an added bonus. But, Monster’s Inc had a strong story line that was original and amazing. Monster’s University was not as original, nor as stunning from a writing standpoint.

However, I would recommend the movie to anyone who didn’t have an issue with watching Monster’s Inc. The movie is more about friendship and not letting the world define you than it is about scaring and college life, and that is something that is good for us in any kind of dosage, no matter how potent or mild.

Jack The Giant Slayer

jack_the_giant_killer_ver10Taking its inspiration from the classic fairy tale of Jack and the Beanstalk, Jack the Giant Slayer is set in a fictional English kingdom during the middle ages. As in the fairy tale, the main character is Jack, a tenant farmer trying his best to make ends meet.

Needing money to repair their room, Jack’s uncle tells him to go to the market and sell their horse. While there, Jack meets a mysterious monk desperate to purchase a horse and give him a handful of “magic beans.” Hesitant at first, Jack is moved by the man of God and, being a trusting sort of lad, makes the exchange.

His significantly more cynical uncle, however, doesn’t care about what the monk told Jack. All he cares about is the desperately needed money that the horse and cart were supposed to fetch so that he could sleep under a newly thatched roof without fear of drowning from the ensuing rain!!!

Shortly thereafter, a storm descends upon the kingdom, water spilling through all those unthatched holes in Jack’s roof, as well as the dirt bellow the floorboards of the house where a magic bean just happened to find its way. Before Jack knows what hit him, a beanstalk sprouts up in his living room, carrying away not only his house, but the princess within it, also.

Positive Elements

Jack is a likeable hero, both because he is rather down to earth, and also become he has some good character qualities. Despite his fear of heights, Jack volunteers to accompany the king’s rescue party up the beanstalk (and we aren’t talking a little twiggy stalk here). In the scenes that follow, we see this poverty stricken farm boy showcase traits such as humility, boldness, bravery, and resourcefulness. He saves Elmont (the brave leader of the royal guard and the man who really stole the show, in my opinion), the princess, and ultimately the whole kingdom. And there is just something very unassuming about Jack that made him a hero I could like, instead of roll my eyes at.

Jack’s not the only courageous character here, either. Elmont has pledged his life to King and Country, and we see him stand fast beside both. He often risks life and limb to protect not only the Princess and the King, but also his men and the low-born Jack.

The King won many brownie points when he chose to lead from the front (a trait that I greatly admire) when other men of power might be inclined to rush to safety. In addition, we see that he is a wise man, and one who knows his place as a true leader. In one seen we see him make the decision to cut down the beanstalk (the only hope he has of ever seeing his daughter again) in order to save his kingdom. While it is a heart wrenching call for him to make, and we see him tearfully whispers for Isabel (his daughter) to forgive him for what he must do, we feel like it is the right call for him to make.

Also, Isabel gets points for being just the right mixture of plucky and princessish. Often I am turned off by female characters, but this princess was one I could like. She lives with a desire to be the kind of queen her mother, a kind and wise woman, was, and she sees the value in learning about the people she is going to rule in order to be the best sovereign she can be.

Negative Elements

Violence is obviously everyone’s big concern. With a title like Jack the Giant Slayer, you just get a violent vibe, which is perhaps why I was shocked that the movie really wasn’t that violent. I mean, we do have lots of giants eating lots of people, but the actual act is never shown, and blood is pretty much none existent.

In Jack the Giant Slayer, there are several war scenes reminiscent of Lord of the Rings styled fighting (flaming trees get flung over the castle walls and giant boulders get slung in sling-shot fashion at the castle walls), just one a much tamer level. Also, it is safe to say that the giants are… well, man eating giants, and thus, humans get stepped on, grabbed from atop horses, and so forth, but as I said above, the action is never a focus of any shot and most of the time you only see the giants spit out someone armor, letting you know that they are now deceased.

To be fair, though, the humans do a good bit of infliction as well, on each other and the giants. The villain and his obnoxious side-kick kill multiple people (it should be noted the death is always off screen). Sword fights commence, one giant is stabbed, another skewered in the tongue with an arrow, but all in all, it’s very tame and bloodless.

Perhaps the movie’s most grotesque moment comes when someone is torn apart by a rapidly growing beanstalk coming from inside their body, eventually blowing them to pieces (the camera does focus in on a head while this happens).

A smattering of language is also included in this tale, which was, to be quite honest, the worst part of the film, and even that was shockingly few. The words “b –rd,” “p ,” two uses of “h “, and one misuse of the Lord’s name were it for the entire film.

It should also be noted that in the beginning of the film, the princess falls into a rough crowd who eyes her lecherously, but nothing comes of this and she is very quickly rescued from them. She and Jack also share a tame kiss.

Worth concluding with is the fact that the whole beanstalk mess was created by monks who, in their sinful quest to reach heaven before their time (sound like the tower of Babel?…), create beans from dark magic. We’re told that the land of the giants is located halfway between earth and heaven, and God is acknowledged by both humankind and the giants.

Conclusion

Despite the fact that this is a fairytale (albeit a more adult version of the retelling), in the end we see that fairy tale endings don’t just come about. Jack didn’t get to just live happily ever after because some magic bean came his way. No, he had to make sacrifices and put the needs of others before his own in order to get that happy ending.
I really enjoyed this movie. It wasn’t the most brilliant script, it had a few plot holes, and the villain could have been a bit more… well, less ridiculous, but all that said, it was a fun movie with likeable characters and surprisingly clean content. That, added with the stunning visual effects, and the fact that the giants were fierce warriors instead of bumbling brutes, I felt the film was worth a re-watch, which I did with my family in tow. It may not be able to contend with The Avengers, but Jack the Giant Slayer is well worth the watch, if you are as into fairytales and fantasy as I am.

Mars Needs Moms

mars_needs_momsMoms. They tirelessly work to keep everything organized, taken care of, and ensure their children are well behaved. At least, that’s what they do on the surface, which is all Mars wants to know about. That’s right, I said Mars. See, unbeknownst to the people of earth, Martians have been watching our mothers for decades. And they are looking for one specific trait; the ability to keep order in her world and do it well.

Why, you might ask? Because, instead of their children being raised by a mother, the Martian children are raised by nannybots programmed from the memories and maternal instincts of an earth mother. It’s actually quite simple to do, if you’re okay with sacrificing her in order to get those memories programmed into your nannybots. The downside for the Martians, though, is that the programming only lasts so long before the nannybots fry and they need a new breed of mother.

Enter Milo’s mom. She’s really good at what she does, despite the fact that Milo gets tire of having her rag on him to take out the trash, eat his broccoli, go to bed- you get the picture. So, in a moment of passion, Milo tells his mom that his life would be better off without her. The problem with that, though, is that he doesn’t really believe it. So when the Martians come to abduct his mother as the perfect new programming device for their hatchlings, Milo’s not going to take it lying down, so to speak. No one’s going to take his mom. She’s his mom, after all!

But Mars is a treacherous place, and he’s going to have to convince Gribble, a fellow human who has been stranded on Mars ever since his mom was abducted and killed in a similar situation 20 years ago, to help him, and maybe even change the way the aliens view families and mothers.

Positive Elements

While the movie starts out with a kid who is very much like any other kid- he whines, he doesn’t do what he’s told, and he’s disrespectful as all children are- we soon find out that Milo has something special. He has a mom who loves him, and he’s not going to let that go. So Milo begins smashing through the multilevel underground city of Mars in an effort to save her, even going so far as to put his own life on the line for her by jumping in from of a laser blast for her.

Central to the theme of the movie is the importance of a loving family (shockingly enough we see that Milo is very close to his father, completing the well rounded, and loving nature of his homelife), specifically targeting the mom in this instance. As Milo lists the thing his mother selflessly does for him, while trying to describe to some of the aliens what a mother is—she cooks, cleans, gives hugs and kisses, tucks him in at night—he comes to the realization that all these things she does, she does because she loves him.

As for Milo’s mother, we hear about how much she loves Milo, and all the thing she does for him, but we see that on best display when, while attempting to rescue her, Milo’s oxygen helmet shatters (we see him begin to gasp for air) and his mother removes her own lifeline, the oxygen helmet, in an effort to save her son. Going so far as to break off the toggle that would allow him to take it off his head and give it back to her. She is willing to make the ultimate sacrifice to see her son live.

Negative Elements

The family structure on Mars is messed up. The male Martians have been driven to the waste disposal sections of Mars’ underground society, speaking quite clearly about how the females have been raised to view them. The babies are raised by nannybots without love or warmth, and they are all ruled by the Supervisor. However, while this system is certainly messed up, it is never lauded as a good thing.

The violence is minimized to laser beams bouncing all over the place, so there is nothing to worry about there, but we certainly have some intense moments in the film. As stated above, we see first Milo begin to suffocate, and then his mother, producing a scene that had my own Mother’s water works going. We learn of Gribble’s tragic past, and see him trying to save his mom, only to watch her be vaporized (offscreen).

The worst thing you will hear in this movie is some mild name calling consisting of words like dummy and jerk, and a couple explanations of nuts.

Also worth noting is some mild bathroom humor. The cat vomits after eating broccoli (which Milo was supposed to eat), Gribble needs a new pair of underwear after a laser is shot near his feet, and the childlike romance between Gribble and Ki make his robotic dog vomit nuts and bolts.

Conclusion

The animation is incredible, done in the performance-capture technology (think, a Christmas Carol), and the voice choices were spot on. I was entertained early on, despite thinking the plot of the story sounded really out there, and I connected with the story emotionally, especially when we see the sacrifice Milo’s mother is willing to make.

Honestly, the worst thing that can be said about this movie is what I just said. The premise was really weird! But, once you get into it, it is amazing how okay you are with the premise. Even my Daddy, who is rather hard to sell on such things, liked the movie, and didn’t care about the odd premise, in the end.

But best of all, moms are never made light of in the film. They are placed on a seat of honor. The message shines clearly. Families are essential, and we couldn’t live without moms.

The Hunger Games

The-Hunger-Games-movie-posterIn the future.

74 years ago, the Hunger Games were established. Before that time, the people of this Nation grew sick and poor. They gave the government power to distribute and care for the people. After a time, the people grew stronger, and the famine gone. But the Government would not relinquish this control. Civil War ensued. And the Government emerged victorious.

To Ensure such uprising would never happen again, the Nation was divided into 12 districts and forced to live in extreme poverty. Hunting? Not allowed. Weapons? Banned. In addition, each year every district must pay tribute to the government by giving one boy and girl, ages 12-19, in the “Hunger Games” A battle to the death, and the winner giving immense riches and food for the rest of their and family’s lives.

24 participants

12 Districts

1 Victor

Let the Hunger Games Begin.

Things I liked

One of the biggest themes throughout this movie, is sacrifice. The main character (from District 12), Katniss volunteers herself during the “reaping” to save her little sister. She puts her life in danger many times to save other combatants in the games. Peeta (the guy from District 12) also, is willing to give his life for another. We see this throughout the movie, that Katniss values other people above herself, this is one of the bible’s strongest commandments, second only to to “Love the lord your God with all your heart, soul and Mind”.

Another prevalent theme shown in the movie is to stand up against what is wrong. Katniss sees the wrong in these hunger games, and is determined not to stoop to that level. It does come with a cost however, as refusing to kill someone makes it difficult to survive. In standing up for what is right, against the gladiator style game, she inspires the people watching throughout the Nation, not to be entertained by violence, but to reject and abhor it.

There is a strong focus on compassion and mercy, coming from many combatants in the game. Granted they are occasional occurrences, but present nonetheless. A guy spares one girl, merely for the fact she is helpless and not able to defend herself. Another instance includes Katniss befriending a 13 year old girl who is a possible liability to herself. Protecting the weak and helpless, in an inhumane environment, was good to see.

Things I didn’t like

The violence in the Hunger Games is some of the most unappetizing I have seen in a long time… There are so many levels of violence too. So, I will attempt to break it down in the conclusion…

The style of violence here, is one I hadn’t seen before. It was hand camera, so you would see a strike, the a the last moment spin away, so you just saw blood. Very rarely do we ever see a full hit. One girl warming herself by the fire, is surrounded by a group. We see her face, the it cuts away and we hear her dying scream. After a tribute is killed, often they would give a 5-10 second cut of the dead body. Shots included slit throats… snapped necks… bodies which were bludgeoned to death…

Cato is a 19 year old boy from District 1, there, they train for all of their life, then volunteer for the games. They almost always win. Cato is the epiphany of ruthless, vile, and tyrannical fighting. We watch him break the neck of young boy, slay thirteen year old girls, and ally with those as strong as himself. If you are weaker, you die, and ultimately he cares only for himself, others are just tools to be used.

Katniss also is not without blood on her hands. she drops a swarm of killer wasps on the allied group, and one person dies from the stings. We later see their face, swollen, disfigured, and discolored while Katniss pries a bow out of their death grip. She shoots a guy in the chest to protect herself and the girl she is with, but she kills him nonetheless. She also commits a “Mercy” killing, as a guy is getting torn and eaten to death by wild dogs… she decides to end his suffering with a shot of a bow.

Other deaths include a boy being beaten to death with a brick, we see a girl who died eating poisonous food. One rather large guy snatches a girl up by the neck, and pounds her against a wall until we hear (and see) her neck snap, and she falls to the ground. We see a girl gored in the stomach with a spear, and she numbly pulls it out.

There is a relationship between Katniss and Petta in the games, used to increase the odds/excitement/etc. It initially starts as a show for entertainment, but quickly develops from there. Back home though, there is another guy who is ready to marry Katniss. Stupid love triangles. These are made solely for the drama and entertainment of some girls watching this movie (no offense girls). After Peeta is injured, they wind up kissing a short time later. It is never shown what actually happens after they get back home, whether they stay together, not, etc. It wasn’t needed to build the story, and distracted from the overall goal. In my opinion anyway.

Cussing is in the movie, D—, H—, and God’s name is used in vain several times.

The mentor for Katniss and Peeta is drunk all the way to the city. He also tells an uptight city lady to loosen her corset and have a drink.

Closing Thoughts

After watching this movie, my brain was churning. So many ideas, themes, and moral scenarios presented… It still has me reeling four hours later. Let’s starts with the violence aspect.

It is very interesting to see what a double standard our society has in terms to life and who deserves it. I remember, when the bad guy died, there was cheering.

Did you read that?

Cheering. Over the death of a person. Several times.

Death, is never something we should rejoice in, unless it is one of a person going to meet Christ in heaven. It sickened me to my core. Moresoe than anything else, actually hearing the audience cheer for a brutal death, because that person was “Bad”.

Ironic actually, as it seemed the hunger games was made to warn against a society reveling in, rejoicing in, and being entertained by death and violence. It warns against the perils of a society that takes delight in seeing people killed. Katniss kills a girl who is sleeping, with killer wasps… and that is OK? She shoots a person who is dying to relieve suffering… Euthanasia anyone? One person kills to save another. Why is the person they saved more valuable? These are just some questions that arise when watching the arena battle.

Outside the arena, as they are preparing for combat, more items arise…

“May the odds Ever be in your favor” This is the slogan of the Government. Funny though, as the government controls those odds, since they own and control the arena. If there is anything to be learned from this movie, it is that Thomas Jefferson was absolutely correct in saying “A government big enough to give you anything you want, is also big enough to take away everything you have.” In one scene, the president is talking to his advisor about how he should manipulate the games this year. He says “…These games provide the people with one thing. Hope. The only thing more powerful than fear, is Hope. Be careful with this…”

I found it very interesting that throughout the whole movie, what happens after death is never mentioned. Not once does someone ask about what happens after, nor God (or someone like Him) brought up. Leaving it up to the person to ponder, if they cared enough, the question. Clearly, this movie supports humanity and value of life… but the question never answered is Why? Because it feels right? Because one is entitled to live? Because one is a good person? No ultimate standard results in the double standard we see in this film, one where, a person can be killed if they aren’t “nice” or stronger than others…

There are many biblical and honorable traits portrayed in the 2 hour and 20 minute “Hunger Games”, and it also provides some very good stuff to chew on.

But given the brutal teen violence and lack of moral resolution…. I’m going to have to pass on seconds.

 Disclaimer: I haven’t read the books based off of this movie, so all interpretations, observations, and notations are based off the film.

Mirror Mirror

mirror_mirrorIt’s an age old story. Evil woman becomes evil queen by charming king (what was he thinking, really?) and getting married. Then, when her position is good and established, she kills off the King and, when realizing that the daughter poses a threat to her rule, decided to kill her, too. But goodness is harder to kill than all that.

Such is the story that unfolds in Mirror Mirror. Though, this tale may be a bit different than you have read about in your fairytale book sitting on the shelf.

Positive Elements

The moral of the movie is obvious. Looks can be deceiving, and this theme is carried out on multiple levels, not just sticking to the obvious with the evil queen who is pretty, but ugly on the inside.

Many of the characters in Mirror Mirror are hiding something within. The queen her ugliness, the dwarves their… well, dwarfism (they wear collapsible stilts in an effort to be taller and, supposedly, more intimidating), Renbock (steward to the prince) wears padding underneath his clothes to make him look stronger, and the fearsome beast of legend in the forest may not even be what it seems!—all of this plays into the theme of the movie, but it does so on a rather superficial level.

Negative Elements

Mirror Mirror is very magically driven, which I know is the question many people will be asking. However, contrary to fairytale style, this movie portrays magic as a bad thing. The Evil Queen is the only one who has it, and she’s warned that sorcery comes with a grave price. And before the credits roll we are able to see what exactly that cost is.

Love is, obviously, a big deal in Mirror Mirror, and we have something of a twisted love triangle going between the Queen, Snow, and the Prince. While love is certainly not an issue for me, I wasn’t crazy about the love story in this movie, or the sub plots that unfolded around it.

As part of her schemes, the Queen gives Andrew a love potion, which accidentally happens to be a puppy love potion. We then see Andrew begin acting much like a puppy… in a man’s body. He becomes devotedly attached to her, jumping on her, knocking her over onto the bed, crawling across her, licking her face- you get the picture. While he is under a spell, the fact remains that we still see Andrew pawing all over the Evil Queen, puppy love or no puppy love.

Poor Andrew. What’s Snow to do? Well, seems that the cure for his infatuation is for Snow to kiss him. We then see a very big deal made out of Snow’s first kiss (huzzah, about time someone does), only to have it cheapened by the fact that she’s going to go kiss Prince Andrew in order to break the curse. Not that Snow and he don’t enjoy the “romantic” (for me it was very over dramatized) kiss in the process.

But our story doesn’t end there. Throughout the movie we also see the queen ogle a shirtless Andrew, and she draws out his indecent (he’s in his undergarments, but their version of undergarments are white pant-like garments) situation and tries to make him as uncomfortable as possible by making comments about how sad it is that he is going to cover up.

The violence is more like…rollicking mayhem, to be honest, and the only language is an irreverent phrase which includes God’s name, but isn’t exactly taking His name in vain. Also worth mentioning is that one of the dwarves is shown drunk at some point in the movie.

Conclusion

When I read reviews of Mirror Mirror, after having watched it, I was surprised to hear so much talk about Snow. A couple of reviews talked about how she had morphed into this formidable, feminine diplomat, as opposed to the simpering child she was to start out with… unfortunately, I can’t agree with those critics.

Lauded is the fact that Snow doesn’t passively wait for true love’s kiss. She takes charge, she initiates true love’s kiss, and she takes control of her rightful place as heir, making her kingdom whole once more. However, I can’t really laud those things (other than taking back her kingdom- that lacking detail always irked me about other Snow White stories). I wouldn’t say it is because I prefer the tried and true fairy tale, because I often like to see remakes of my favorite stories, with new plots and twists. Rather, I think the issue is that Snow is lacking in depth, as is her film. She tells the queen that she is more than she seems, but she has to do more than just say she’s more than she seems. She has to convince her audience. And I left the theater very unconvinced.

The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey

The-Hobbit-An-Unexpected-Journey-Movie-PosterIn a hole in the ground, there lived a Hobbit.
That famous phrase instantly brings back memories of one of the most marvelous books ever written by JRR Tolkien. The story of an unlikely “burglar” hired to assist dwarfish warriors. Peter Jackson, the director, has undertaken a challenge himself. To recreate the story of the hobbit in the art form of film… This is part one.
The quest of the Hobbit is to retake their ancient kingdom from the terrible dragon called Smaug. But in order to arrive at the ancient mountain, they must first travail the numerous dangers of middle earth. Trolls, orcs, goblins, and more threaten their success and their lives.
However, a darker power is making its way into the depths of middle earth. Giant spiders begin to be spotted in Mirkwood. Orcs and Trolls venture down from the northern lands. And there is rumor of a dark lord… A necromancer, who can bring back the dead kings of Morgul.
Mr. Bilbo hired, the horses saddled, and with Gandalf leading the way…
The quest for the retaking of Erebore has begun.

Things I liked

   Like the Lord of the Rings Trilogy of the past, many similar heroic traits are portrayed. The company of the thirteen dwarves risk their lives over and over for each other and the halfling. Bilbo also finds his courage, and manages to save a few of the dwarves. All the characters grow. Some learn humility, others self control, others selflessness.
Gandalf, never needing physical protection himself, is full of wisdom. He shares this wisdom with the dwarves and bilbo. He stands up for what he believes is right against the elves and white council. He is also kind and listens to the people who are considered crazy or worthless to others. A protector, mentor, and friend… Gandalf embodies all of these traits, as a true wizard of middle earth should.
The journey itself is also an honorable one. The dwarves are on a quest to defeat the evil which destroyed their home decades ago. Bilbo eventually realizes this,
“I do think of my hole, my shire, my books… Because that is my home. You dwarves, you don’t have a home. It was taken from you. I will help you take it back if I can.”
That is when Bilbo begins to add to the company, instead of hindering it.
There is never any doubt what evil is in Middle Earth. Orcs, trolls, goblins and the like are nasty beings. They live in such filth and depravity, you almost (but not really) feel sorry for their miserable existence. One thing I continue to enjoy watching the Lord of the Rings, and now the Hobbit, is the clear divide between good and evil.
There was absolutely no profanity.
Mr. Jackson introduced several songs written in the Hobbit, and recreates them in an incredible manner. It is a fantastic little addition to the film, and adds a lot more depth to the characters as they sing.

Things I didn’t like.

   The dwarves meet a lot of evil enemies. A lot. And they kill even more. Something I believe Jackson missed in making the hobbit is losing the childlike appeal. The hobbit is every bit as violent as the past films. Hundreds of goblins are killed… in every manner possible. Crushing, beheading, being thrust though. One goblins neck is slit, then stomach cut open. Thankfully though, there is no gore or blood. We do see arms being cut off and other maimings of the goblins/orcs/etc. There are large Hyena type dogs. Those are killed as well.
Amazingly, the dwarves escape, for the most and most of the time, with a few scratches.
In addition, we see Gollum brutally beat a small goblin to death with a rock for food.
The humor is a bit crude. The refer to the Dragon’s derrière in am spirited exchange of how they personally will defeat Smaug. Another makes a crude joke referencing the equipment of croquet.

Closing Thoughts

   Every director takes artistic liberties when adapting a book to film. Whether they should or not will always be debated. The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey is definitely and adaptation where artistic liberties are taken.
Not so much in the changing the characters’ personalities, not removing crucial parts of the story. Peter Jackson has brought The Hobbit to life in a beautifully done way. He does however add quite a bit of details which are not in the original book. He brings in extra characters mentioned in the Silmarillion. He tips his hat numerous time to “The Fellowship of the Ring”. He does not take away, but rather adds to what has been written.
This resulted in a movie which was the hobbit… But had a more mature feel. If anything is lost, it is the childlike feel found in the book. The added subplots take the lighthearted adventure with some dangerous moments and create a tense movie where there is more action than story building.
In my opinion anyway.
That being said, I did enjoy the movie. The complete lack of sexual content and profanity was a pleasant change from other films of late. The story is solid. The worldview sound. The dark spots are the excessive amount of fighting scenes and the added crude humor.
So, to say the least, the movie lives up to the title. The journey was unexpected, and not like you might expect.
Savvy?