pasithea: glowing girl (Default)
This will be part movie review and part rant. Contains no more spoilers than you get from the trailers.

So. For the review portion, let me say the film effects are great. The world isn't defined to my taste and a lot of stuff feels hurried and it feels like a middle-movie, having the same tone as The Two Towers or Empire Strikes Back So. Nothing I particularly disliked about the film but nothing that I really loved either.

Now, on to the rant!

It's come to my attention that the film is being boycotted by various religious groups, screaming that it's anti-religion or some bloody nonsense like that. I think perhaps if I'd heard these whinges beforehand, it might have upped my enjoyment of the film as I'd have been actively doing something to piss of the religious right. Instead, I'm left having watched a film that was not especially moving and then finding out there's a bunch of self-righteous indignation about it.

So... Is the Magesterium a power-broker with a hint of a religious undertone? Sure. Absolutely. Does that make it an attack on all that is holy? Don't be stupid. Compared to most films I've seen which deal with a theocracy, this one was pretty thin on the parallels. No one was dressed up in funny gowns or waving about anything ornamented in a way to suggest they were a member of any church. No one was called a bishop, priest, cardinal, or pope. There was one person named Coulter (some rightwingnut pointed this out rather loudly) and she was even blonde and psychotic. However, she wasn't Annie's version of psychotic. No foaming at the mouth, no screaming, jumping up and down, or flinging feces, and she didn't seem like she'd ever lived in a trailer park.

If you saw your religion reflected in the Magesterium, perhaps there's something wrong with your religion and you need to address that. Certainly, this isn't the first film that's had a corrupt theocracy that the 'heros' are fighting against. Here's a few. There are many more.
V for Vendetta, Riddick, Water World, Tank Girl, The BeastMaster, Star Wars, Krull, Planet of the Apes, etc.

You can probably name a few hundred others. Of course, none of these are films 'for kids'. That's got to be what the religious groups are squawking about, right? Okay. So what about Narnia, Snow White, Sleeping Beauty? I know... Evil queens are DIFFERENT, right?

Oh very well. You know that I've kept an ace in the hole. Let's go ahead and play it. Prince of Egypt... More to the point, the story of Moses. According to the bible, the religion of Egypt is corrupt and full of falsehoods. Moses goes before Pharoh and his clerics and for each bit of magic they do, he does as well. He even transforms a stick into a snake. Rather like the daemons in a way. In fact, there's a lot of parallels. Moses (Lyra) (an orphan BTW) spends some time as guest of the pharoh (Magesterium) before he challenges their power and flees. He is found by his friends and then guides the Israelites (Gyptians) through the desert. No golden compass is mentioned but only he knew the way, and mana (dust) falls from heaven and several other parallels that you can find for yourself if you're bored.

Not a perfect parallel but there certainly are a number of similarities. So I have to ask. Is the story of Moses an anti-religious anit-christian story? How about the story of Jesus? He says some rot about the churches being corrupt too. Perhaps christian groups should boycott Jesus next. It only seems sensible. He apparently doesn't stand for anything they want to believe in these days.

Anyhow, that's my take on it. The movie is probably passible if you really need to get out of the house and will probably be better in the context of a sequel but it's nothing special. The noise and nonsense from the right wing though. Definite thumbs down. Plot holes the size of arks. (Which are an entirely different story)
pasithea: glowing girl (Default)
Ah, the time of year for lies, greed, self-importance, and gross consumerism. Now before you jump on the "Aaaa! Liberals! War on Christmas!" bandwagon, please hear me out and wait for the end. I actually more or less support the holiday. I just find it annoying.

I'm being lazy and drove to work instead of biking this morning and so I listened to the radio on the way. Between the obnoxious diamond industry ads (which are a long rant unto themselves) and the obnoxious car ads (another good rant) there was an obnoxious Duracell ad.
Did you know a certain gentleman at the North Pole uses Duracell for all those toys he has to deliver on Christmas Eve

I admit I was taken aback by this claim. Now of course, they never say Santa Claus but given that the North Pole is in the middle of an ocean and no one actually lives there, let alone flies around giving toys on Christmas Eve, it's fair to say that most people are going to fill in this particular fictional character. That's like saying Jesus's last supper was at McDonalds or something.

What a claim! He uses these batteries in all the toys! HEY KIDS, IF YOUR TOYS HAVE ANY OTHER BRAND OF BATTERIES, THEY DIDN'T COME FROM SANTA!

Okay, sure, Santa Claus is a marketing construct that's been used to pimp merchandise for the past hundred and fifty years. That's the beauty of a fake celebrity. You can claim anything you want about them and he'll never file suit against you.

That brings me to the second part of this rant. I've never really understood why parents feel compelled to lie to children every year. *Children are greedy self-serving little creatures. So why do parents go along with a lie to kids that is basically, "Magic will give you everything your selfish little heart desires!" It makes all kinds of sense for the corporations selling stuff, of course. Parents are so desperate to keep the secret that they drive themselves into debt every year to shower their children in cheap crap that the child will probably be bored of after a few days.

I suppose the other half of it is the selfishness on the part of the adults. In the month between Thanksgiving and Christmas (US biased commentary) they can pretend they're decent people and drop a 50cent can of beets into the bin at the grocery store to make up for a year of looking the other way when near homeless people and cutting in queues and running traffic lights and so on. Of course, they'll do more of those other things since traffic is bad and they have to be FIRST to get this year's MUST HAVE items.

However, it's all so they can pretend they're selfless by giving the kids a GREAT Christmas with Santa's name on every package, and mom and dad's name on every bill, quietly taking one for the spirit of the holiday.

Seriously parents... Think back to when you were a kid. Was christmas EVER fun, or was it an over-hyped day where you were disappointed you didn't get a solid gold pony with a jet engine and lasers and then you had to put on a monkey show for your relatives. Christmas is all about ego for adults. **LOOK WHAT OGG MAKE! LOOK WHAT OGG CAN BUY! OGG GREAT! OGG POWERFUL! OGG MAKE MORE OGGS! OGG LIVE FOREVER!!! It's really all about ego for the adults involved. Of course, on the child end of things, I don't know what is good. Certainly there is a difference between gifts and rewards and not everything should be rewards. I'm not even going to pretend to know what's best for children. I just dislike the lies people tell themselves at Christmas time.

I said at the beginning that I was generally in favor of Christmas and I should tie up that claim. Of course, like most christmas promises, it probably wasn't quite what you were expecting and the air of goodwill may ring a little hollow in the ears of others but... Tis the season. So yes. I like Christmas. I like the magical thinking and particularly I like the lie of the fat man, that's fed to kids year after year. I like that he's a symbol of consumerism and greed and that children are used as pawns for corporations to make a quick buck. I like it all, not for the crowds or the artificial good-will or some glowing memory.

I like it BECAUSE it's fake. I like it because it's all transparent crap and eventually EVERY child wakes up to a morning where they realize there is no Santa Claus. The great thing about this isn't death of innocence, but rather the beginning of questioning. When you learn Santa isn't real, it gets those little wheels turning. If Santa isn't real, what about the Easter Bunny? Or God? It's most fortuitous that christians co-opted old weird pagan holidays and greeting-card companies then took those icons out of context to ridiculous levels. It makes discovery of fake-magic so much more timely with regard to considering religion in the same vein. I owe the fat man much.

Without the help of Santa, Peter Cottontail, and the tooth fairy, I might never have escaped the ignorant, hateful, and self-destructive religious beliefs of my mother. Thanks, Santa. In the end, you gave me the best gift anyone has ever given me. You gave me doubt and made me think for myself. You took away magic but you gave me the entire universe on my own terms and taught me to believe in myself. You gave me the power to make my own dreams and made me who I am today.

*No, I don't hate kids. ALL animals are greedy and self-serving. We humans just learn to try and be better than our base desires and kids generally haven't quite got the hang of it.

**Shamelessly stolen from Nina Paley!
pasithea: glowing girl (Default)
Last night on the way to an appointment, I was behind a car that had a Jesus fish and one of those license plate things with words on it. This one read:

WARNING: In case of the Redemption, this vehicle will be unmanned.

... Isn't that a conundrum? I mean Vanity is the #1 sin and it seems rather arrogant to me that someone driving a gas-guzzling SUV (Single passenger, I might add) can be absolutely sure that God wants HIM specifically. If you're SURE you're doing EXACTLY what God wants, you're a pretty vain little fuck. I mean wow. You know the machinations of the creator of the universe. That's quite a claim! You paid probably twenty bucks to buy that and put it on your vehicle and proclaim to everyone how smart and how much more good you are than everyone else around you. You could have given that money to charity. You could have bought a vehicle that cost only $14K instead of $50K and given THAT to charity. You could have saved $40/mo+ on fuel and given THAT to charity. But no. Not you. You slap God on your bumper because he's not in your heart but you think you're clever enough that if you give him enough lip service, he'll somehow miss your sins. You're going straight to Hell.

Hmm. You know... If I weren't an atheist, my idea of Heaven would be spending eternity in Hell punishing 'good christians'. Particularly ones who'd cut me off in traffic. :)
pasithea: glowing girl (Default)

Gee... What was I just saying the other day?

Thanks universe. It's nice to know that I'm not just paranoid. Though honestly, I'd rather it be the case that I were.
pasithea: glowing girl (Default)
It's annual I Told You So day again.

I remember in 2001 how angry people were at me for being so cynical. I said the republicans would use the event as a way to institute martial law and build up the military. They'd use it as a weapon against liberals. They'd use it as a justification to invade Iraq. They'd use it as a weapon against immigrants and non-christians.

Everyone was outraged at me. They said the repubs were not a bunch of monsters and that surely they wouldn't be using such a horrible tragedy to their gain. No one could be that shallow.

I wish the people who said those things had been right but, I did try to warn you. :(
pasithea: glowing girl (Default)
I am deliberately misquoting Taxi Driver, yes.

So... Apparently the woods where I like to hike are being burned to the ground because some jackass decided to burn their trash instead of hauling it to the dump.

Oh, but it's okay because ya'know. Only 1.8M in damages so far and one house destroyed. No real losses compared to most fires. Just some useless forest and animals.

Want to bet the schmuck who started it gets fined a few grand and that's the end of it?

I really wish we placed similar values on all forms of life. :(


Sep. 5th, 2007 11:20 am
pasithea: glowing girl (Default)
I am SO fucking sick of seeing student films that have an end credit that says, PRAISE TO GOD especially when they're a project worked on by a group of a dozen people and the school isn't a religious institution. You know it was just the fuckwad doing the end credits who stuck that in there and their classmates were just too polite to say anything.

If I'm ever in a position to vote on any animation competitions, that will get them an automatic fail. That bugs me. All the other people who worked hard on something getting a fail because of a a few asshats. Also, I know there are lots of people who will give them EXTRA points for being so pious. If you said, PRAISE THE FLYING SPAGHETTI MONSTER they'd likely react the way I am and take offense and silently ding the piece for it.

You know, from that point of view, it's a credit that makes sense too. Most judges tend to be old obnoxious religious asshats, and everyone wants to WIN and even if there is a liberal judge, liberals are more likely to forgive your asshattery because we'd rather not think ourselves intolerant. (and in truth, after I got over being irked, I'd probably only ding them a little for it because I'd rather NOT be like conservatives)

By contrast, conservatives revel in the glory of being intolerant. Not to mention, since it doesn't offend them, they'd probably not even notice their own reaction, just nod approvingly and go on. ISo putting that credit in there helps you WIN. You've got nothing to lose and everything to gain by adding it. Hurray. :/ Isn't it nice to be reminded that you'll always be on the losing side just because you're inclined to play fair and because you're a minority?


Jul. 25th, 2007 03:01 am
pasithea: glowing girl (Default)
Ranty with lots of name-calling of people you probably know )

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