Movie Review: Pacific Rim

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Godzilla, are you taking notes?

In the near future, seven years in fact, Humanity is at war with huge creatures called the Kaju. Huge, giant beasts from another dimension. They have been fighting these creatures, and winning, with the Jáeger. The Jáeger are the result of the world pooling economic resources to create giant mechabots. These bots are strong enough to defeat the Kaju. And while not perfect, a solution is found.

Until that is, one day a class four Kaju comes from the depths, and it is scientifically predicted that more will be rising from the depths. Bigger, meaner, and smarter. The only way to save the world is by closing the portal with a nuclear bomb. Which means first getting to the portal. With only a few Jager left, and the dual pilots drifting as one to command the robot getting killed by the Kaju already on earth… Things look grim indeed.

But as we have seen in the past- the human spirit is not so easily extinguished. A plan is made, and the fight begins to save the world and humanity once and for all… In this dimension anyway.

Things I Liked

As in all films of the epic nature- Sacrifice is a prevailing theme. Many Jager Pilots die protecting the mainland- and the people there from the Kaju. But it isn’t just a physical sacrifice, they make mental ones as well through the drift. They have to be willing to open up their soul to the other, and then deal with the consequences of this. When one dies, the other feels it as well. The bravery of the people willing to risk it all to save the people was good to see

One girl desired to pilot a Jager not out of service, but of vengeance. There is a very good point made regarding vengeance and the final result of it. Even if it is vengeance on a monster. The desire for this makes it hard for her to pilot the Jaeger initially, but she figures out how to let go and is the better in doing so.

The “against all odds” camaraderie shown in this movie with the workers, pilots, and administrators is something worth noting as well. Though many struggle with each other on a superficial level, when it comes time for the metal to meet the brain, everyone pulls together and does what needs to be done. They set aside differences- for the greater purpose of defending the city.

I’ll touch on this too. The GCI and special effects in this movie are quite simply- outstanding. The epic battles between Jaeger and the Kaju are an impressive sight to behold. They are quite original as well, so hats off to the folks who made this film in terms of creativity and originality.

Things I Didn’t Like

To be expected in a movie like this, quite a few people die in the movie. The cities are evacuated when a Kaju comes from the drift, so in all the building smashing, it is implied that no one is in those structures. I thought this was a tasteful move by the director. That being said though, the pilots in Jaegers do not fair well at all. We see one ripped out of the cockpit yelling and screaming. Perhaps the worse part is though when we watch the other pilot experience what the first is feeling when he dies. Other pilots are drowned, crushed, and eaten by the Kaju. A civilian who gets to close to a Kaju he thinks is dead, is eaten alive by it. (Later we see him cut his way out with a pocketkinfe.)

Drifting is incredibly hard on neural pathways, so we hear about people dying in early experiences, or when they tried to fly solo. One Jager is detonated by the pilots in it, so that another may complete their mission. A sacrifice of suicide.

This movie is full of crude language. The word A–, D—, B—–, Hell (of out context) and more are used. God’s and Jesus’ name are taken in vain  quite a few times as well.

Closing thoughts

“In order to fight monsters, we created monsters of our own.”~Beckett~

Pacific Rim was a movie that had a lot of potential. Which is why I went to see it. The concept of drifting- where two minds become as one in order to operate the Jaeger is completely original and a good one. I was hoping to see a story based upon the effects of this, and some moral and mental repercussions of the act. With a little beasty beating on the side.

Instead, this is a cliche megaMonster flick. The story is battered and bruised by pretty much non-stop CGI monster Vs. Robot mahem. Don’t get me wrong- the animation and action sequences are top notch and incredibly cool to watch. The fact that cities have been evacuated and no people die amidst the wreckage is a very nice touch as well. There are some underlying themes of sacrifice, letting go of revenge, and moving on from the past… But when you try to get into the heart of this movie, those themes are as weak as the buildings which are crushed by the Kaju.

This movie is a mindless flick made for people who just want to view citywide apocalyptic destruction. Add on top of that some pretty intense and personal deaths of the co-pilots and some unnecessary, forced sounding profanity… You’ve got a movie that is wanting of less monster punch, and more substance to chew on.

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Movie Review: Turbo

Turbo-2013-3D-Movie-Poster-Download-1When you want to be in the fastlane, being a snail can make that difficult. Turbo has that problem. A humble garden snail, he dreams of going fast. He tells his brother it is “in him”. He also dreams of racing in the real world.

These dream are met with laughs and cynicism from the other snails. Until that is, one day Turbo is sucked into an engine flooded with nitros… and something inexplicable happens. He is able to reach speeds of 200mph+, and has hope once again to race in the the Indie 500.

Many snails are still cynical though, including his brother. Tito however, a young guy who works at “Dos Bros Tacos”, believes in Turbo, along with a small group of racing snails tricked out in some fancy shell gear. Now there is just one problem. Turbo is going to race in the indie 500, but can a supercharged snail really win a race of this magnitude?

Things I Liked

Turbo/Theo is truly a heroic snail at heart. He wants to be something more than just a garden snail living  a menial existence. He rejects the standard snail worldview of “The sooner you accept the dull, miserable reality of your existence, the happier you’ll be.” and is determined to be something more. He doesn’t settle for the bad, good, or even acceptable. We see him pursue the great throughout the entire movie. Good enough isn’t good enough to him, and that’s an example which is definitely one which is worth commending.

Turbo’s racing team are impressive as well. Though they talk tough in terms of competing with each other, they are a team which has the best in mind for each other, and work together to achieve things which they could not do on their own. Even when Turbo is prideful and arrogant about his newfound speed, the team outsmarts him in a competition- showing that racing isn’t all about speed.

Chet and Turbo have been at odds since day one. Not just the standard brotherly bickering, but serious clashes of personality and thinking. Chet is a play it safe kind of guy. He follows the procedures, focuses on safety, and above all- cares immensely for Turbo. Chet doesn’t downplay his brother’s dreams because he doesn’t believe in him, but because he wants to make sure nothing happens to him. “What if you wake up tomorrow and your powers are gone?” Chet asks Turbo. In the movie we see this relationship evolve into a strong and uplifting one, and see Chet lessen in fear, and Turbo learn to listen to advice. Advice that eventually saves his life.

Turbo adores Guy Gagné- a famous racer who appears to be the perfect sports role model. Until we see him in person, and realize he is a self absorbed, egotistical, jerk. I thought it was a nice touch, to show that the heroes we see on TV often really aren’t that heroic. And that we have people who care for us right in our home, who should be our real heroes instead.

Things I didn’t Like

There is truly very little to be wary of in this film, two things I had problems with. The first is Tito steals money from the Taco Restauraunt to help fund the entry fee to the Indie 500. This isn’t shown as bad or  negative at all, which is worth mentioning. The other thing was a girl snail named “Burn” has this thing for Chet and they exchanging romantic (and Cheesy) dialogue.

Something else to be aware of, which I didn’t mind but younger kids might, is the final racing is pretty intense for a kid.

Closing thoughts

~No dream is to big, no dreamer to small.~ Guy Gagné

This movie could have gone wrong on so many levels. It is like Dreamworks took Pixar’s Ratatouille, Cars, and Bug’s life and combined them into one. But you know what? After viewing Turbo and walking out of the theater, I was quite impressed with the flick I had just watched.

This movie is incredibly devoid of inappropriate toilette or crude humor, no foul language, and a sliver of relationship stuff which is harmless. There is some intense racing that you might want to be wary of for the youngsters. Perhaps the biggest issue in the movie is the justified theft of some money by Tito to pay for the Indie 500 Registration fee.

If you can get past the impossibility of a snail going the speed of a racecar, you’ll find this film to be a fun and rousing tale about many commendable life lessons: To never settle for good enough, To dream big in the face of impossible odds, then work to achieve those dreams, the value of brothers, and to live each day to its fullest. The traits and lessons taught provide the slimy foundation of Turbo’s adventures. Add to that some well written, clean laughs and a nicely twisted and mature finish, this movie has definitely found its way into my winner’s circle. Dreamworks did indeed dream big about this small little snail. And they delivered with flying colors.

Why I Reject Calvinism & Armenianism

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So many people have asked me in the past why I won’t talk to them about T.U.L.I.P. So many people have asked why I won’t talk about free will in depth. I usually stay away from these topics, and the reasons I will explain to all of you in this post. So if you do wonder why I clam up when this topic is introduced in any circle of discussion… you are about to find out.

Let me first say what this post isn’t. This isn’t about what view is right. This isn’t about which view is wrong. In case you are wondering, both have right, and both have wrong. That’s all I’m saying in regards to these concepts, as people have talked for centuries until they are blue in the face, and never resolved anything pertaining to this. It will be argued about until Kingdom Come.

Few things in the Christian community have been as divisive, compartmentalized, analyzed, and rationalized as these two topics of Calvinism and Armenianism. I’ve seen friendships broken, read about churches splitting, and heard the world mocking us over these subjects which many of us so gladly bicker about- under the guise of “discussion”.

I’m typing today to voice, maybe alone, my incredible disgust with the treatment these two topics have been given, and how destructive these things have become in the unity of the Christian church as we know it. Why do I reject both of these titles? Because these titles are flawed, divisive, and prideful. So let’s begin.

I am of Calvin, not Christ.

These men’s words often are treated as the only method in which the scripture can possibly be interpreted. These men’s words and thoughts are themselves worshiped and focused upon. Anytime it seems when I am asked by a strong professing Christian if I am a Christian, then I reply “yes”… The follow up is immediately- “So are you Calvinist?”

When people ask me that, I think of this passage. Paul is talking to the Corinthians. Telling them to stop rallying around these people preaching the gospel. These people were dividing the church, as members began to follow these individuals, rather than turning their focus on Christ. He talks about this in two places in the same letter, as it was so important.

Now I plead with you, brethren, by the name of our Lord Jesus Christ, that you all speak the same thing, and that there be no divisions among you, but that you be perfectly joined together in the same mind and in the same judgment. 11 For it has been declared to me concerning you, my brethren, by those of Chloe’shousehold, that there are contentions among you. 12 Now I say this, that each of you says, “I am of Paul,” or “I am of Apollos,” or “I am of Cephas,” or “I am of Christ.” s Christ divided? Was Paul crucified for you? Or were you baptized in the name of Paul? I thank God that I baptized none of you except Crispus and Gaius, lest anyone should say that I had baptized in my own name. Yes, I also baptized the household of Stephanas. Besides, I do not know whether I baptized any other. For Christ did not send me to baptize, but to preach the gospel, not with wisdom of words, lest the cross of Christ should be made of no effect. ~1 Corinthians 1: 10-17 ~

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I, brethren, could not speak to you as to spiritual people but as to carnal, as to babes in Christ. I fed you with milk and not with solid food; for until now you were not able to receive it, and even now you are still not able; for you are still carnal. For where there are envy, strife, and divisions among you, are you not carnal and behaving like mere men? For when one says, “I am of Paul,” and another, “I am of Apollos,” are you not carnal? Who then is Paul, and who is Apollos, but ministers through whom you believed, as the Lord gave to each one? I planted, Apollos watered, but God gave the increase. ~1 Corinthians 3:1-6 ~

It seems pretty clear to me, we are to identify with no one other than Christ. When people say “I’m a Calvinist” or “I’m a Baptist” or “Insert title” they are exhibiting what Paul calls Carnality. This is where so many of these divisions and strife come from the in the Christian church. And it isn’t even on matters imperative to the christian faith.

The Foolishness of God.

If that alone wasn’t enough, Paul, in the same passages, goes into the futility of man’s wisdom concerning things of God. He also again tells the church not to boast in man and their ideas, but in Christ and that the wisdom of man is utter foolishness to God.

Where is the wise? Where is the scribe? Where is the disputer of this age? Has not God made foolish the wisdom of this world?  For since, in the wisdom of God, the world through wisdom did not know God, it pleased God through the foolishness of the message preached to save those who believe. For Jews request a sign, and Greeks seek after wisdom; but we preach Christ crucified, to the Jews a stumbling block and to the Greeks foolishness, but to those who are called, both Jews and Greeks, Christ the power of God and the wisdom of God. Because the foolishness of God is wiser than men, and the weakness of God is stronger than men. For you see your calling, brethren, that not many wise according to the flesh, not many mighty, not many noble, are called. But God has chosen the foolish things of the world to put to shame the wise, and God has chosen the weak things of the world to put to shame the things which are mighty; and the base things of the world and the things which are despised God has chosen, and the things which are not, to bring to nothing the things that are, that no flesh should glory in His presence. But of Him you are in Christ Jesus, who became for us wisdom from God—and righteousness and sanctification and redemption— that, as it is written, “He who glories, let him glory in the Lord. ~1 Corinthians 20-31~

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Let no one deceive himself. If anyone among you seems to be wise in this age, let him become a fool that he may become wise. 19 For the wisdom of this world is foolishness with God. For it is written, “He catches the wise in their own craftiness”; and again, “The Lord knows the thoughts of the wise, that they are futile.” Therefore let no one boast in men. For all things are yours: whether Paul or Apollos or Cephas, or the world or life or death, or things present or things to come—all are yours. 23 And you are Christ’s, and Christ is God’s. ~1 Corinthians 3:18-23~

Let me add a note here, I’m not saying we should not pursue the knowledge of who God is and what scripture says. Not at all. If we are to grow in our walk with Him, we must delve into the scripture with hungry souls for His teaching. To desire wholeheartedly the improvement Christ is ready to work in us. The disqualifies comes, when we start using man’s uninspired teachings as the starting point and identifier of what we claim to understand.

The Divided Church

The bottom line is that these two ideas, these concepts, have done much more harm than good in the Christian church. They aren’t unifying, they are divisive. We have let so many things, based solely upon man’s interpretation, tear us apart. Calvinism and Armenianism are just the tip of the iceberg. You can apply similar principles to bible translations, denominations, and more. We have become lost in the depths it the interpretations of interpretations, instead of simply rejoicing in the fact we are indeed saved.

So did I choose to write this article? Or was I predestined to? That’s the question  forever argued about isn’t it? The truth is you can interpret scripture one way, and I another as long as it does not explicitly go against other passages. We will never know who is right until we meet together in heaven. Paul says we see in part- as in a mirror. We’ve got to stop spending days and months quarreling and debating these topics. Christ told us to make disciples, not sit in the temple all day discussing the matters of what each person thinks God is.

If we spent more time sharing that joy with others and those who are lost, instead of debating these ideas which have no bearing on the state of our soul eternally and focusing on identifying with labels instead of Christ… We would be better off indeed. I say start showing the world our Joy in Christ’s gift and investing in other’s real lives- instead of professing our divisive foolishness to men.

Not While I’m Captain

PicardCaptain Jean Luc Picard. Anyone who’s seen Star Trek knows he is one of the most upstanding and respectable men to ever grace the galactic series. To give you the context of this quote, a sentient and moral Andriod- Data, has made a daughter with his own hands. He does this as he is programmed to desire to become human.

While doing this however, a Higher Ranking officer commands Data to hand over his child for the purpose of experimentation and work. Data begins to comply, as that is what he is programmed ot do, but Picard belays that order.

“There are times sir, when, men of good conscience cannot blindly follow orders. You acknowledge their sentience (The Androids) yet, you ignore their personal Liberties, and their freedom. Order a man to hand his child over to the sate? Not while I’m captain. “

Sometimes orders from authority are indeed immoral, and should not be followed. The episode “The Offspring” is a perfect example from which we all can learn. And remind us of all the children which are commanded to go to school by the state…

Something to think about.

Movie Review: Monster’s University

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It has been Mike Wizowski’s dream since first grade to be a scarer. Finally, he has made it to Monster’s University. the Ivy League school in scaring careers. When he gets to the class though, he find monsters much scarier than himself. One in particular names James P. Sullivan.

Sullivan is a famous name in the scaring world, and James is pretty sure becoming drafted for a scarer is a walk in the park. Mike however, is determined not to be sent home. The study begins. Mike spends the time reading books and doing all kinds of prep. Sully Spends it attending parties.

When the day of the exam comes, each are prepared in their own way. But do they have enough to be one of the best scarer’s of the class?

Things I Liked

After 12 long years, the greatly anticipated sequel for Monster’s Inc. has been released. It is great to see some well known characters, albeit in a younger fashion. Of course, the two main characters are Mike and Sully. Mike is a nerd and Sully is the cool guy on the block. We know theses guys are best friends, and this movie tells the story of how that happens.

Mike is the cliche perfect student. He gets straight A’s, is super friendly (though no one like him much), and even has a retainer to boot. Mike’s work ethic is something to be commended. We see him study and put his whole self into whatever it is. That can be a book, a game, or a competition. There is no halfway for the passionate Wizowski. Something we definitely can learn from.

Sully is the opposite of Mike. He is big, scary, a cool guy, and lives life with the entitlement of the last name he carries. His father was a famous scarer, and he thinks that is enough to get him to work for Monster’s Inc. He doesn’t study but instead parties. He hangs out with the cool kids at the expense of other Monster’s feelings getting hurt. What he learns however is- a last name does not a good monster make. We see him learn, often the hard way, that if you want something in life, then you have to work for it. Cheating, partying, and degrading others will get you places in the short term, but that’s it.

These two guys start off on the wrong foot, and generally go through the whole movie fighting each other for the position of scarer. Mike has the wits, Sully has the brawn. They learn through some bad choices they make (which get them trapped again in the human world) that both of them are imperfect, and both have specific strengths. They learn what being a “team” means, and is is quite cool to watch how that happens.

There is no profanity nor is God’s name taken in vain.

As always, Pixar dazzles you with bright colors, creative creatures, and a charming screenplay in terms of humor, story, and characters. This Prequel tips it’s hat to many things in the first movie. It tells why Randall hates Sullivan so much. It shows characters we know from the past like Roz. It explains how the doors work and are made. And more. It is a very well thought through and developed film, and very enjoyable to watch.

Things I didn’t Like

Perhaps the scene I have the most issue with, occurs when the Scare games are taking place. The Scare games are a series of challenges designed for competition among groups in the University. After a particularly hard loss, Mike breaks his team into private property for Monster’s Inc. After they are inspired, they get caught, and they race out of the property and get away. There is no consequences for this action, nor is it even implied that it  was wrong.

This movie is full of slapstick humor and scaring (of course). Monsters are pricked with urchin-like objects and swell to immense size. They get thrown out of a building, run over by a cleaning machine, and are spanked with wooden paddles. In order to return to the monster world, Mike and Sully have to scare people. They way they do this can be frightening for younger children- so bear that in mind.

Other minimal things include a pretty cruel prank pulled on Mike’s team at a sorority party. There are some awkward comments about a guy telling a college student who is marrying his mother “Just view me like an older brother married to your mother. Wait- No…

Closing Thoughts

“You aren’t scary Mike, but you are fearless.” ~James Sullivan~

Unlike so many other movies, Mike is not happy being good. He wants to be great. He wants to succeed and is passionate in working to that goal. What he finds though, is he is not cut out to be a scarer. Through the whole movie we see him trying to be someone he is not. And the results on a personal level, are devastating. To often we hear the phrase “You can do anything if you believe in yourself.” in modern society. This is incredibly false. There are some things people can’t do which others can. We are designed to do specific things. Mike believed with all his heart he could be a scarer, but when push came to shove- he couldn’t do it. We can’t do things which we weren’t designed to do, and this movie shows that incredibly well.

In the Monster World, scarers are the equivalent of our sports and hollywood stars. They are elite and worshiped by many. Scarers are put on immense pedestals of importance. And if you aren’t scary, well, you’re worthless. This film shows that just because you aren’t “famous”, doesn’t mean you are worthless. We see Mike, after not being a scarer, choose to excel in “menial” jobs, and he is rewarded for it. It was a perfect example of being faithful in the little things, because they are just as important as the big things.

While not quite topping the original Monster’s Inc. , Monster’s University is a more than adequate prequel and welcome addition to the monster world pixar has created. Monster’s University has everything we’ve come to expect in a Pixar film- A touching story, some great laughs, and memorable characters. Solid values and minimal potty humor make this one I’ll not only be recommending to others, but adding it to my collection.  We don’t need to be scared of this film- it definitely passed the test.

Why Ratings are Overrated

RATED-REver had that moment?

That moment where you are telling someone about a movie, and that it is actually pretty good. Then you tell them what it is rated.

Then- the gasp *Gasp!* (added for effect) and you get the “Terrible Person” look. Awkwardness.

I think pretty much everyone has had that experience, and I think it is telling just how much our culture puts stock into what is an acceptable movie, and what isn’t.

All based on one little letter.

History and Method of Ratings

Back in 1968, a guy named Jack Valenti replaced the existing system of movie censorship with a new one he called “Ratings.” Included were “G”, “PG”, and “R”. In 1984, the rating of PG-13 was introduced to quote “Not intended to be tied to any specific age, the rating is a stronger note of caution suggesting to parents to further investigate the content of the motion picture before allowing their children to see it.” (source: mpaa.org) These letters came about to aid parents in determining what they desired their child to watch.

These ratings were developed to reflect solely the content of the movies produced. Violence, sexual content, profanity, drugs, alcohol use, and more are taken into consideration when a movie is given a rating by the Mpaa. Their standard however, is wishy-washy at best. See, Their standard changes based on the current culture which is watching the films. What is PG-13 today, could be PG in just a few years. A “R” movie twenty years ago could very well be rated a PG-13 movie today. With a flexible standard of rating things which the culture deems acceptable, they have, in essence, defined the current morality of the culture.

Ratings should not be our Standard.

That’s why it is my opinion the whole culturally based rating system is so incredibly flawed. A movie is not just content, but rather how that content is portrayed. There are many PG-13  rated movies I would rather my younger bros watch, than some PG rated movies I can think of. If your standard of watching movies is based upon the letter the MPAA gives it, then that is flawed.

Our standard is to take every thought captive for Christ- especially in media. Just because something is rated “G” doesn’t mean it is instantly OK to watch. Terrible and destructive messages can be shown through a “G” movie. The Little Mermaid anyone? Now, I realize a “R” rated movie is done so for a reason, often for showing violence in war movies, and sexual content in pointless “comedies” (I use that word to describe a genre- not to say I think they are funny). We should definitely approach these with caution, knowing beforehand what is in the film in terms of content.

That being said, this idea boils down to personal conviction on what you can view without stumbling. Viewing is only half the battle though. Thinking is the other. We need to focus just as much, if not more, on what a film is telling us through the story. Let’s find that balance of  viewing the content and analyzing the message, and stop putting this flawed cultural standard on such a high pedestal.

Flashback: Let’s have a Car Sale!

Credit: Photograph by Timothy Archibald for Bloomberg Businessweek
Credit: Photograph by Timothy Archibald for Bloomberg Businessweek

I don’t know about you, but when I was a young boy, I loved Hot Wheels cars. I asked for them for my birthday, for Christmas, got them with allowed extra money I had… I loved them. I still enjoy playing with them with younger kids. There is something about a shiney metal car you can drive. You can drive it anywhere. Make it do anything. A little hot wheels car is an adventure waiting to happen.

While this grew less as I aged, I remember something which I did with the hot wheels which stands as some of my fondest childhood memories. It wasn’t building the huge tracks with the rolly launcher. It wasn’t organizing them based on color (yeah- I did that). It wasn’t even racing them with my younger bro.

What I loved to do most, was to setup a car sale. When I setup a car sale, that meant my most loyal customer would come and do business with me. And that was my dad. He would bring a handful of change, and come do business. He would take half the cars, and I would take half the cars. Then, we would work deals, trades, and more. There was never a time limit on this, sometimes we played this for 15min, sometimes for an hour or more. When we were done, I would give him the change I had, and he would give me back the cars. We did this countless times as I grew up, and those times have stuck with me today.

I remembered this particular flashback as I was in Target, and saw a young boy picking out a brand new hot wheels with his dad. It made me wonder why I still had such fond feelings whenever I passed that blue isle. I think this is why… See, Hot wheels, like any other toy, by themselves are pretty boring. Add a little imagination and you get somethign playable. Add another person, and you’ve got an afternoon of activities. I don’t remember car sales because it was something I played with. It was because dad took the time out of his busy schedule, and invested in me.

So I guess the point of this flashback isn’t to advertise for a certain toy brand, but to simply ask-

“Who are you investing in?”

Because as petty as something may seem, like playing with a young kid and his favorite toy, it makes an impact. An impact that will, more likely than not, stick with them for the rest of their life.

Movie Review: Jurassic Park

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What if we somehow, someway, could bring back dinosaurs? What color would they be? What would they sound like? How would they act?

John Hammond has found a way to bring dinosaurs back. With all of their secrets. Through DNA preservation, filling, and extensive scientific genius he has created a park. It is filled with Dinosaurs of all kinds, and has grand and glorious expectations of making it an incredibly profitable theme park. Think of a Zoo, on steroids.

So he brings in a panel of people to review his masterpiece. Some love it, some hate it, and some… want to steal it. Regardless of their opinions however, a storm comes through and kocks out the power grid containing all the dinosaurs on the island. Including the T-rex, and Velociraptors.

Now it is a perilous and mad rush to escape the island. The predators have other plans however. It becomes a fight of survival of the fittest. And who is more fit? Man, or Dinosaur? These poor folks are about to find out.

Things I Liked

While the first thing you think of when hearing “Jurrasic Park” may be Dinos eating people, there are some postive elements in this movie. The largest one is probably the view of man manipulating nature. John is accused of Playing God in the movie. Taking an extinct species, rebuilding the DNA, and releasing them back into the wild. All for the purpose of making money in an amusement park. The consequences of these actions are profound, and it is very telling of what happens when man thinks he knows better than God in how the world should operate.

Another character, Dr. Alan Grant, had this thing against kids. Through the movie however, we see him stuck with two children and he learns kids aren’t that bad. He also risks his life on several occasions to save the children, which takes guts, when the attacker is a T-Rex. He and his assistant, Ellie, are people of character who continually put themselves in harms way to protect others.

Things I Didn’t Like

This movie is famous for a reason, and that reason is not from acting, a powerful story, or otherwise. It is famous because digitized Dinosaurs run around, chase people, and eat them. In this movie, I was surprised how low the body count was, but revolted at how those few bodies went. One guy is poisoned in the face, and then jumped on by little dinosaurs. A man hiding in the bathroom is picked up by the T-rex and viciously shaken back and forth, we hear his back snap, and then watch and the T-rex swallows him whole. Another guy, hunting a velociraptor, is tricked by the beasts and pounced upon. Lastly, we see the remains of a man. That is- his bloody arm, in a particularly tense scene.

Otherwise, there is a lot of chasing in the movie. People are always running from something, and while it may sound ridiculous on paper, the music score combined with dark sets makes a particularly scary experience. There is cursing, and God’s name is used in vain as well. Some derogatory crude speech is used, and a man is reprimanded for saying he should go outside to get something, instead of a girl.

Closing Thoughts

“God creates dinosaurs, God destroys dinosaurs, God creates man, man destroys God, man creates dinosaurs.”

Jurassic park has three prevailing themes. One, just because you can, doesn’t mean you should. Two, never try to play God. Three, don’t fight dinosaurs- they always win and get lunch at the same time.

John had an idea and pursued it wholeheartedly. However, he failed to think about the impending consequences of such a plan. One thing we can be reminded of when watching this movie is to really think through our actions and to take the feedback we are given. He didn’t, and the results were terrible.

The idea of “playing God” as quoted in the movie was fascinating to me, as they clearly rejected such a Creator when speaking of evolution. When things got serious though, it was incredible how quickly they resorted back to the idea of a supreme creator who has a hand over all nature. In our age of incredible scientific advancement, it would be wise to consider this movie when attempting to do this which indeed are unnatural. They disrupted the state of nature, by bringing from the dead dinosaurs using genetic manipulation and cloning. Something our society is pursing today.

But while these themes are excellent to consider and put forth in a persuasive fashion, it is that persuasive attempt which makes this movie about as appealing as meeting a velociraptor in real life. Granted, most of the time people are being chased around with great background music, the few deaths which are shown are gruesome and terrifying indeed. And if you aren’t careful- you start to enjoy seeing these massive beasts “live” in the world which they are placed. The hunting, and the aftermath.

In short, Jurassic park is a great idea conceptually, but when it hits the picture, instead of seeing a film focused on man’s mistakes and learning from them, you see for about an hour people getting chased, killed, and eaten by dinosaurs we have only imagined. The message, already small and weak, is crushed by the prehistoric predator’s actions in relating and dining on humans. The movie is no walk in the park, more like a mad rush through a dark alley.

Expecting at any moment, that one predator is going to jump out, and get you.

5 Myths of Buying a Macbook Pro

macbook-pro-with-bad-credit

I am a shameless advocate of purchasing Apple computers for one’s personal use. I’m not a fan boy, I don’t stand in line for the most recent released products, and I definitely recognize no computer is perfect. Including the Mac.

But for those who are in highschool, college, or want something reliable that works simply, yet efficiently… I cannot say enough how I believe a macbook pro is the perfect choice. When I do recommend these computers however, I usually get a negative response. I’ve found this is due to lack of knowledge regarding these computers, or a simple hating of Apple in general for some vague reason. While the second can’t be changed, the first can be resolved.

So, here is a list I’ve made (and explained) of 5 “Myths” people commonly believe about buying a Macbook Pro when I talk to them about these computers.

#1 Too expensive

Probably the first and largest outcry I hear against Macbooks, is that they are too expensive. If you buy new,I would agree that they most certainly are. However, you shouldn’t buy new, when you can get an excellent mac for thousands less, just a year or two behind. The great thing about MacBooks is they will last six plus years. Buying a 2010 model is a great route to go, and you can get those on ebay and craigslist for $500-$700.

Is it more work than just going to a store and buying a windows? Yup, it is, but if you are serious about spending money wisely, then buying a used, refurbished older Mac is by far the best option for those on a budget and want a computer that lasts.

#2 Incompatibility

Another popular myth I hear, is the one regarding incompatibility between going from Windows to Macintosh. While it is true, any program made to function on a windows won’t function on Mac OS, the majority of files people care about transfer without issue. I transferred years of Word Documents, Excel files, PDFs, Images, Movies, and more from my old windows. The only files which were incompatible were .wmv movies (fixed in five minutes with a google and a plug-in) and publisher files- which are still unreadable.

If you care about programs, read number 4. If you care about all your years of documents, the majority work fine on a Mac. The Apple Computers have upgraded immensely the past years in terms of compatibility. It is no longer an issue.

#3 Confusing Operating System (OS)

Any new operating system will take a while to learn. Unfortunately, most people grow up using the complex and messy windows interface. Mac OS is designed to be simple. Sometimes so much so I have seen people confused by how easy to use it is. A recent quote from a guy “It can’t be that easy. Really?

Anyone who spends an afternoon learning the Mac OS will have it down by supper time. Or at least by the time they are ready to go to bed. If you can use windows, Mac OS is a piece of cake comparatively.

#4 Can’t run Windows Stuff

Unless you want to play a lot of video games, and have some special windows only programs (ie Publisher) I would be confused as to why you would want to run this on your Mac. Nevertheless, you can easily setup a dual boot computer, where one part is designated for Apple OS, and the other Windows. It is incredibly simple to do. Mac even gives you an application to do so.

You can run windows stuff if you absolutely need to, but most software applications come in Mac OS now, so it truly is not absolutely necessary.

#5 Can’t Customize

This comes from more of the techy people, but I would say just look up “Terminal Mac” in google. Terminal gives you a window into changing anything you like in the operating system. With preferences included in every program you can control defaults, looks, colors, and more. Macs are indeed customizable on a code and application basis.

iPhones however, yeah, you got me there. ;)

So I hope that helps in dispelling some common myths about Macs and Apple computers in general. Do I think Mac is for every person on the planet? No I don’t. But they are great machines for any everyday user, and with the life span of these things, you’d be hard pressed to find better bang for your buck.

The Devil Made Me Do It!

Red Snake and REd Apple
Photo Credit: http://www.animalsw.com

We’ve all heard it before haven’t we? I recently heard this phrase at work, and have been pondering it quite a bit the last few days. The phrase is used in movies, our culture, and in even in our life. The ulitmate blameshifter and justifier of sin.

“It’s not my fault! The devil made me do it!”

We shouldn’t be surprised really- the phrase has been around since the beginning of time. Eve was actually the first one to use it, albeit in a manner which sounds a little nicer…

And the Lord God said to the woman, “What is this you have done?”  The woman said, “The serpent deceived me, and I ate.” ~Genesis 3:13~

Even in the dawn of time, and sin freshly conceived, the Devil has been taking the brunt of blame for all kinds of sins which humanity commits on a day to day basis. Is it any wonder though he gets the blame? He is the father of all lies, the master of deception, and the prince of this fallen world. I think though, the Devil gets way to much credit for the sins going on in the world. People think he causes them to sin.

Trust me, we don’t need any help.

We are conceived, born, and live in sin. The idea the Devil makes us sin, puts him on a pedestal which he doesn’t deserve. He isn’t all powerful. He isn’t omniscient. He isn’t all knowing. He is a fallen angel who prowls the earth under God’s jurisdiction. Ultimately, he will be destroyed.

Why don’t we give credit to sin where credit is due? Probably because when we start rolling those credits, we see ourselves. Over, and over, and over. James tells us where sin comes from. It comes from our heart’s desires.

“Let no one say when he is tempted, “I am tempted by God”; for God cannot be tempted by evil, nor does He Himself tempt anyone. But each one is tempted when he is drawn away by his own desires and enticed. Then, when desire has conceived, it gives birth to sin; and sin, when it is full-grown, brings forth death.” ~James 1:13-15~

When Eve ate that fruit, she didn’t eat it because the Devil made her. She ate it because she wanted to be like God- at the expense of disobeying a direct command. She trusted herself more than God’s words. We do the same.

Does the Devil have a hand in this world? You bet your big black attack bible he does. But does he cause us to sin? No. He doesn’t. We are incredibly sinful beings, and when we sin- that comes from our heart and our choices. Let’s take responsibility for that and stop trying to push it off on Mr. Lucifer. He already has a huge ego- as do we. Humbling ourselves and owning our depravity is the first step to conquering our natural desires.

Care to take that first step with me?