Posts Tagged ‘ FIlm Reviews ’

After Earth

After-Earth-2013-Forest-ViewThousands of years in the future, man no longer lives on earth. They live on foreign planets. Full of terrible creatures and inhospitable conditions. The reason for this? Pollution of course. Destruction of the natural resources resulted in a planet barren and uninhabitable. However, Earth is a fighting planet, and through the course of thousands of years, it has regrown and rebirthed. Earth remembers what killed it for centuries- Man. So now, everything has regrown and evolved to do one thing.

Kill Humans.

So the humans live on other worlds, relying on the Rangers to protect them against fearsome beasts. The greatest of these beasts is the Ursa. A creature who cannot see, but hunts through sensing fear in its prey. They are deadly, as one look at them and instant your heart would jump into your mouth. Kitai’s father, has been the only one to “Ghost” or to be completely without fear in the face of certain death, and has killed many- protecting the remaining mankind. Kitai desires, and longs to be a Ranger like his father, but events of the past and decisions of the present have kept him from realizing this goal.

When his father invites him on a spaceship ride to accompany him on a mission, he accepts. But something goes terribly wrong, a space storm hits their ship, and they must crash land, then survive, on one planet.

That Planet, is earth.

Things I Liked

Cypher, Katai’s father, is man respected in the world, but not by his son. When he comes back from a trip, we see the divide between him and his family. His wife offers some excellent advice, when he voices his displeasure at being so distant from his son. “Katai doesn’t need a commanding officer, he needs a father.“. The next day, we see Cypher put that advice into action. He not only intentionally pursues and builds a better relationship with his son throughout this film, but also listens to and supports his wife in a sensitive way. Cypher is humanity’s best and most reliable solider, but he also has a heart who loves his family. That’s a real man.

Katai deals with many emotional wounds of the past, mainly the fact his sister was brutally mauled and killed by an Ursa when his father was away. He witnessed it at a very young age, but lived because she kept him sealed in a special case of glass. He feels guilt, anger, and confusion because of this event. He lashes out at his father, but Cypher always is there to firmly challenge him on what he thought. Never does Cypher tell him whether he was right or wrong. He treats his son like a man, and makes him figure it out for himself. To get past his fear, and to live decisively.

In the end this results in an incredibly display of father and son love and commitment to the other. It is the largest theme of this movie, and is portrayed in an excellent manner.

A solider, who just lost a leg, stands himself up to salute Cypher to show respect.

Things I Didn’t Like

There are a lot of graphic images of humans being killed, or have been killed by the Ursa. This includes men being impaled through the chest, mauled and thrown, and crushed. After the ship crashes, we are shown many dead bodies strewn throughout the wreckage. Later we see the other survivors, who left the ship, dead- impaled on trees. We see a pile of dead monkey bodies, limbs, and other appendages strewn across a clearing after a predator has done its work.

Cypher sustains some serious wounds in the crash, and he has to do some bloody work on himself to survive. This was more gruesome than the actual battles shown with the Ursa, as the blood flows freely on screen.

Kitai also has to face many dangerous things on earth. He is bitten by a leech and has to inject himself with serum to survive. He fights with a straight Sythe, which he uses to cut animals who would attack him. W In a dream he sees his sister with a bloody and beaten up face, who then warns Katai to wake up. The image is short, but creepy nonetheless.

Closing Thoughts

Fear is not real. The only place that fear can exist is in our thoughts of the future. It is a product of our imagination, causing us to fear things that do not at present and may not ever exist. That is near insanity Kitai. Do not misunderstand me, danger is very real, but fear is a choice. We are all telling ourselves a story and that day mine changed. ~Cypher~

While advertised to be a survival action flick, After Earth delivers a surprisingly rich and message driven plot. One often lost in Science fiction movies. The movie shows a type of “Rite of Passage” for Kitai. He must deal with and face his past guilt. His indecision, his anger toward his father, and his pride in his abilities. Through the journey of recovering a rescue beacon, he learns being a Ranger is more than just following orders and Having skills. It is a matter of Character.

What is most sweet about this learning process, is his dad guides him through the entire process. Even though Kitai is at odds with him, and Cypher shows barely any love for his son, in the end, they work as a team which each learns from the other. They sacrifice for the other and work towards the common goal- working out disagreements and distrust. It was great to see a semi-accurate development of a father son bond, with respect going both ways by the completion of the journey.

This movie is also devoid of innapropriate sexual content, foul language, and over the top ridiculous special effects. It tells a uplifting story of boy and father versus the wild. I will say, the battles of boy vs beasty are quite intense, and there are some graphic images of dead animals, and people killed by the Ursa. This is what earned the film the PG-13 rating, and you should be aware of that if you check this one out.

To put it simply, After earth is everything it should be, and hardly anything it shouldn’t. Strong positive messages about the importance of family over careers, concepts of fear- how misplaced it is, and the growth of a boy into a man is something not only to applaud, but also to support and reflect upon.

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Jane Eyre (2011 Film)

Jane Eyre PosterJane Eyre is one of the most frequently adapted classics of all time, having appeared on screen somewhere around 27 times to date! Why make so many films out of one book? It’s not an easy story to condense into a TV series, let alone a 2 hour feature. Despite that difficulty, directors are still working away at creating new versions of the story, each one highlighting different aspects and each having their strengths and weaknesses.

This most recent version, directed by Cary Fukunaga, is told primarily through a series of flashbacks. Fukunaga also decided to highlight some of the more gothic elements of the book, creating a dark but hauntingly beautiful film. It starts out a bit slow, but increases in pace towards the middle to end of the story.

“You transfix me quite!”

Jane is faced with some tough decisions throughout the film and, for the most part, she handles them well. She has a difficult childhood and doesn’t behave very well toward her aunt and cousins, but several hard years at school refine her into a much more sensible young lady. When, later in life, she’s asked by her aunt to forgive her, Jane willing does so and tells her aunt to rest in peace.

By far the most difficult choice, however, comes when she falls in love. And I will warn you now that the next paragraph or so will probably contain SPOILERS.

Jane is employed by a wealthy and apparently unmarried gentleman, Mr. Rochester, to be a governess to his young ward. Jane and Mr. Rochester begin to fall in love and eventually decide to get married. At the wedding, however, a man comes forward with the shocking news that Mr. Rochester is already married and thus this wedding cannot go on. Mr. Rochester doesn’t believe this previous marriage is a lawful impediment, as his old wife has gone mad. Jane doesn’t see it in this light though and leaves Mr. Rochester’s house in the night.

Her choice in this case is good, and upholds the sanctity of marriage as defined by the Bible. However, a later choice may be perceived as wrong, if the viewer hasn’t read the book. I’ll deal with that in the next section.
*END OF SPOILERS – FOR NOW*

“Keep him at a distance”

The camera lingers on a nude painting twice and there are also several kisses between unmarried people. Toward the beginning of the film, there are also a couple of instances of violence toward a child.

*HERE THERE BE SPOILERS*
One of the main plot points involves marital infidelity and deception. One character knowingly attempts to marry a woman while he is already married, claiming that his first wife is insane and thus the marriage is no longer valid.

Jane makes the right decision and flees this potentially illicit relationship. As time passes though, she begins to wonder how Mr. Rochester is doing and eventually goes to find out. This is where the trouble starts. In the film, Jane is depicted as suddenly running back to Mr. Rochester, which would imply that she changed her mind and decided to go against her previous convictions. Readers of the book (and, I suppose, of this review) will know that this is not exactly how the story goes. Jane goes to find out how Mr. Rochester is doing, but she does not seek to find him until – well, to avoid major spoilers, let’s just say she doesn’t go to him until she knows it is safe and proper to do so.

While this isn’t clearly portrayed in the film, I do think it’s worth noting that the book does continue to uphold the sanctity of marriage throughout the entirety of the story.
*END OF SPOILERS*

Conclusion

In short, the film contains mature themes and parents should definitely preview it before letting their older children see it. On the whole, however, I do think it has some positive messages and is, at the very least an interesting catalyst for a discussion on the Biblical view marriage and what constitutes a human life. It is also a beautiful film and is – at the moment – my favorite rendition of Charlotte Bronte’s timeless classic.