Category Archives: Reviews

Lost; The End Review

I haven’t talked about Lost much on here, but it is a show that I’ve watched since the very first episode, and now that it ended the way that it did, I have to comment on it. SPOILERS abound; if you haven’t seen it, don’t read on!

Ok, the main thing everyone is asking is, “Did you like the ending?” Well…that is an odd question for me. I can honestly say that I give it a 4/10…but that score requires some explaining.

First, the writers did a good job with the character arcs. They wrote a scenario that gave the audience a sense of closure without putting in much detail. So, all of our Losties wind up dead one way or another, surprise surprise, and in our world we are not sure when or where the off screen deaths took place. Take Hurley for example; we know he was the Protector for a bit, but did indeed pass away at some unspecified time and place in our future.

We know that their souls (the essence of who they were) all wound up together in what is now popularly labeled “Purgatory.”  I have to say, I think the writers kind of went PC overboard on the Universalist style church…how many religious symbols, statues, books, artwork, etc… can one crew put into one set dressing?  I would point out that to do that, but then have Christ prominently displayed outside the church in many shots, “Christian Shepherd” being the one to open the door to the “next step,” and the Christian faith of several of the Characters throughout the seasons, is an odd choice, since that is enough to get all those against the Christian faith riled up without fully committing.

Now, here’s the thing about a story…it has a plot and it has characters.  The characters are there to further a plot and to enrich it.  They are not the plot, they are a part of the plot, they are part of the story.  That is what I think the creators of the show either neglected to remember, or deliberately ignored in the finale.  So, the second part of this review is about the plot in general, not the characters.  The plot was, for all intents and purposes, completely ignored.  Think about it; we know absolutely nothing about the island or the surrounding mysteries.

We don’t know what the light is, energy of some sort, perhaps tied to spirituality, perhaps not.  We don’t know who first populated the island, who the “mother” of Jacob and “Esau” was and why we should believe anything she’d say (or her nutty sons), who built the “plug” that keeps the energy in, why certain people can see dead people, why Walt could control the island off and on the island, why did Kate see a black horse, why did the smoke beastie peer into people’s souls for no ultimate apparent reason, and on and on and on…  The island was the main setting, and the main plot device, and it was completely neglected during the finale.

Look, I like good books, movies, and tv shows that make people think and ask questions…so a lot of people really liked the ending.  But, here’s the thing…I know about the afterlife, I know about spirituality, I know about the love of a group of people, and friendship, and adventure.  I don’t need some vague reference to what happens after someone dies.  I was hooked on the show because of the mystery of the island, not the mystery of the humans on the island except as it pertained to the island itself.  I love character driven shows too; but the plot is what needs to be advanced through the advancement of the characters.  To me, the writers did a fine job on the characters, and a bad job on the plot.

Could this be for future profits and storytelling?  I do hope for future storytelling, or answers.  The writers did a bang-up job setting a scene and a world full of possibility as far as the island is concerned, they just didn’t give any answers in this series.

To be fair, I’ve seen many criticisms of the show, or aspects of the show, that are based on people just not thinking things through (surprise surprise).  For example; no, Jack did not just dream the whole island and all the people up; it really happened.  The rules put in place that people are nitpicking; who could and could not leave the island, who could come to the island, were set in place by Jacob (remember the game Jake and his brother were playing, and the brother told him someday Jake could make up his own rules for his own game?  Jake used the island to do just that). Purgatory was transcendent, and that is why they could all be there at the same time.  Jake picked who he did because they had issues to deal with and needed a life change anyway, so he brought ‘em there for his own ends, but also to try to get them to change, etc… etc…

So, there ya have it.  I’m glad I watched the show, didn’t love the ending but have my reasons why.

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Doctor Who; Time of Angels/Flesh and Stone

Okay, spoilers everywhere, so if you haven’t seen it don’ t read any of this.  I talked a bit before about Time of Angels…it did indeed contain bits that were very interesting to me pertaining to matters of faith/religion.  I have to say that Flesh & Stone took it up a notch…and I was pleasantly surprised.

Some of the themes brought up were faith and fear…how they are related and the limits of both.  The discussions back and forth betwixt The Doctor and Angel Bob were very interesting.  Bob did have some good points about the fact that the Doctor keeps making promises that he might not be able to keep; he gets people to put their trust in him, then does indeed let some of them down.  Sometimes being afraid is the most intelligent position,as Bob kind of alludes to…and of course, one can’t truly be brave without fear.

The military nature of the church wasn’t explored much further than in the first part.  In Time of Angels it is said that the church has “moved on,” whatever that might mean (kind of an odd comment seeing as how the church did have a military nature in the past (rightly or wrongly)).  The Bishop, Father Octavian (BTW, the real St. Octavian was martyred by the Vandals) was one of the most interesting characters Who has had on it in a long time.  A solid military man of moral character with strong faith in God, and a willingness to help the side of good even unto death.  No bones were made about his belief, it was pretty straightforward in the phrases he used.

I have to admit I was caught off guard by the way Moffat handled Octavian and The Doctor’s relationship.  When Octavian was caught by an Angel, he faced death with extreme courage, saying that The Doctor was seeing him at his best, “For that I thank God, and bless the path that takes you to safety.”  Eleven had actual tears in his eyes, with no witty comebacks.

It’s always interesting to speculate how many things I can spot in plots that line up with scripture are there intentionally or just by coincidence.  Two examples; the first is Octavian reply about giving up his life, he said he was content…when we look at what Paul tells us in scripture: Philippians 4:10 But I rejoiced in the Lord greatly, that now at the last your care of me hath flourished again; wherein ye were also careful, but ye lacked opportunity. 11 Not that I speak in respect of want: for I have learned, in whatsoever state I am, therewith to be content. 12 I know both how to be abased, and I know how to abound: every where and in all things I am instructed both to be full and to be hungry, both to abound and to suffer need. 13 I can do all things through Christ which strengtheneth me.

The second was the idea that the angels needed Eleven to sacrifice himself to save them…and he didn’t do it.  Again, perhaps a messiah-like allusion that actually matches the biblical idea pretty closely.  Christ, the true Messiah, did not die to redeem the fallen angels; His sacrifice was not for them, nor efficacious for them, but rather His sacrifice was for humanity.

A difference that I noted between the Doctor and Christ; a big deal was made out of the fact that the Doctor doesn’t always tell the truth, yet he expects to be trusted despite that.  God’s nature is such that He does indeed always tell the truth, and that is one of the reasons why we know He can be trusted.  It is an interesting juxtaposition.

I really enjoyed these episodes…as far as plot, Blink was better, but as far as characters, I preferred these (that is, if I leave Dr. Song out of the equation, I despise her character, not the actor, but the character).  Who else out there doesn’t believe that Song is the Doctor’s future wife?  Maybe that’s just me hoping…

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Doctor Who review; The Eleventh Hour…

This is the latest eppy of Doctor Who to air (in the US, that is), and also the first to feature the new Doctor.  This is the Eleventh Doctor (and we won’t mention Ten… *sob*), and he is played by Matt Smith.  Other “firsts” in this eppy?  The unveiling of the new TARDIS, both the outside and inside got a bit of renovation, a new companion (Amy Pond), a new sonic screwdriver, and this ep is also the first with Steven Moffat at the helm instead of RTD.

As always on the Christian Scribbler, I look into any religious implications, or discussions that arise from the actors, the writers, the script, the directors, etc… This new incarnation of Doctor Who seems it will also set up nicely for me to comment upon from time to time.  With Moffat as the showrunner, will we see as much of the Doctor’s Messiah complex?  I dunno, but we already have religious/spiritual implications creeping into the show.

A quick summary of the ep follows, with mild spoilers, and then I’d touch upon the religious bit.  Ok, Eleventh Hour sets up a plot line to introduce us to all the new stuff in Doctor Who, so we have a basic episode with a basic alien baddie.  We meet Amy Pond as a young girl who has a suspicious crack in her bedroom wall.  It is a creepy crack to be sure, and we are left to no other conclusion than the Doctor is directly involved.  Said Doctor, in his newly regenerated body, crashes the TARDIS in Amy’s back yard.

One of the funniest moments in the show ensues as Eleven tries to figure out his favorite food…MAJOR SPOILER…fish fingers and custard. hahaha…Anywho, we also find out the alien baddie of the week is; “prisoner zero.”  The Doc has to take off for a bit and promises to return in five minutes in the TARDIS…twelve years later he does manage a return and we get to meet Amy again.  Teaming up with various extras results in Eleven and his human helpers saving the day in a basic Who plot carried out very well.  Another standout scene was a montage of all the previous Doctors (including Ten…*sob*) leading up to Eleven.

So, my opinion?  Matt Smith did the role proud and I will happily tune in every week.  I really enjoyed Amy’s character  as well (played by Karen Gillan), and she seems like the perfect companion for The Doctor.  The new control room for the TARDIS is going to take some getting used to; I liked the organic feel to Nine and Ten’s TARDIS a bit better.  I also realized after watching all the Tennant specials and this episode, that the changes to the show were needed to advance the storyline past the Rose/Nine&Ten romance subplot.  I’m a fan who really enjoyed the romance aspect, and am also glad they found a way to move the story on now.

Anything really negative?  No, I just hope that Smith relaxes into the role and makes it his own…I don’t know his acting well enough to tell if the manic edge to Eleven was a deliberate overlap in the transition from Ten to Eleven, or he’s trying too hard to match Tennant, or that’s simply his acting style.  I hope that there is unifying storyline through the season, as in seasons past, and that all the writers are on the same page as to where to take the Doctor as far as character goes.  And I would absolutely love a TARDIS centered episode or two…or three..or…

As to the religious aspect, once more, it can’t be helped: the theme of the Doctor arriving in the nick of time, as if it was arranged and orchestrated by a higher power was definitely there.  In fact, attention was drawn to it by having the child-version of Amy Pond praying at the very beginning of the show for help with the crack in her wall; and what a blatant prayer it was with kneeling and prayerful hands and everything ;).  The perhaps (atheist) dig of having her pray to Santa instead of God is easily overlooked by the underlying point; her prayer was answered regardless (she was a little kid too, and these misunderstandings do happen)…perhaps she’s Roman Catholic and was indeed seeking Saint Nick’s aid?

For readers just joining in on my Doctor Who discussions, I’ve blogged about the interesting themes I see in Doctor Who, esp. when those themes that are religious in nature are coming from atheist writers; for those blogs that will help explain my interest and where I’m coming from in my reviews go here:  Doctor Who, Atheism and God pt. 1 and Doctor Who, Atheism and God pt. 2

Overall?  Two thumbs up; like the new Doc and companion and am looking forward to all the new episodes!

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Dear Agony…

Yes, it’s been awhile; major internet issues for months.  Anywho, Breaking Benjamin’s new album is out in stores and on itunes; Dear Agony is the title.  I’ll have a longer review later, but will just say that the sound is definitely different.  Not really better, nor worse, just different.  Some of the differences in sound could be due to the way it was recorded or edited or enhanced, but some come from Ben changing up his vocals.

It’s definitely worth the money, though I do have to be honest and say it isn’t my favorite album, and I will probably enjoy the songs more when they are mixed in with their other songs in my playlists.  There are several really good tracts, to mention two;  my favorite “Give Me a Sign,” gave me (the good kind of) chills the first time I heard it (I do like to hear Ben playing around vocally with the various notes), and the title track is definitely worth listening to several times.  Here is a link to an interview with Ben; if you are getting the album listen to it before reading this, then listen again afterward, it changes how you listen, and what you take away from the songs, IMO: Ben Burnley Interview

Chad, Mark, and Aaron do an amazing job on here as well, though I do have to say I would have liked to hear Aaron’s guitar a bit more, and a bit heavier in places.

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Torchwood; Children of Earth. My thoughts…

So, during the normal US seasons of Doctor Who I add my thoughts on the eppy’s quite regularly, but during the hiatus I apparently have to fill some space with a brief Spoiler-filled discussion of Torchwood‘s five part miniseries; Children of Earth.  I didn’t like it.  Pretty much that’s it.  Heh.  No, really, there were aspects of the plot that I literally laughed outright when they hit me just right, and that was not the intention of the writers, I’m sure.

If any of you have read my Doctor Who articles, you know I’m amused and intrigued, as a Christian (and a conservative) , when some of the atheistic writers (such as RTD) throw in religious references and such…well, this time it wasn’t so much a religious aspect that got me laughing, but rather a political one.

Really simplified version of the plot; Aliens want some of earth’s children.  The Aliens are using the kids in a symbiotic manner that gives them a high; yes, a drug high.  The aliens can apparently kill every human on the face of the earth (which is never really even established), but are willing to trade earth’s overall safety for 10% of the children of Earth.  Britain’s gov’t is covering up the facts, and they come to a point of sending the military out to take their populace’s share of the children by force.  Captain Jack is at first pursued by the gov’t, not to help, but so that they can kill him if they can, and if not, so they can contain him.  Of course, that doesn’t happen; Jack is freed, Ianto gets killed by the aliens and in turn…Jack kills his own grandson to stop the aliens from taking the children or killing off humanity.  Yes, yes, RTD’s fingerprints are all over this ‘un.

So, I have to mention that RTD was interviewed about the plot and one thing he mentioned was that this is like the war on terrorism…no, not that he is in support of the war, but rather that our soldiers are  basically over there fighting, doing who knows what to who knows who…hmmm…yeah, completely missed that intention (in fact I agreed with the bloke that labeled the aliens terrorists).  What kept running through my mind was; This has got to be a big advertisement for the Second Amendment of the US constitution!  For those of you who don’t know, that’s the one talking about the right of the populace to arm themselves.

Yes, the British military is shown with automatic weapons and body armor invading civilian homes and taking their children for sacrifice…I mean, to appease the aliens.  The citizenry gets to “fight back” by running away and/or throwing things like bricks and rocks at the armed personnel…really effective.  Seriously, I was distracted to the point of not caring about the actual plot so much as laughing and pointing at the TV, loving the support of the right to bear arms.

The next thing that had me laughing out loud was when Darwinism was on full display, and it was meant to be taken negatively by the audience!  I love it, as this too seemed to be completely unintentional on the part of the writers.  So, we need to trade 10% of the world’s children.  How does the British gov’t decide which kiddies get a living death being crack for the aliens?  The dumbest 10% of the young population!  In a move that should make Darwin proud, and Hitler very happy, they go through the school records and prepare a sacrifice of the “weakest” members of the species.  Flows right along with Darwinist thought, though the writers seem to be making it a point that we should be horrified over…yet, I’m laughing…

Morally that was a wrong and evil decision.  From a Christian perspective that would never ever fly, and it is indeed horrendous.  But, from the supposed position of an atheistic Darwinist, it’d be the “right” thing to do.  Not only that but one of the “tree-hugging” members of the gov’t points out that this sacrifice…I mean trading of the Children, is actually a good thing; we get rid of 10% of the young population…think about all the disappearing carbon footprints both now and in the future!

Alright, now for general thoughts and commentary.  First, shame on Jack.  I’ve lost any respect for the character, and just with the Doctor was around to put him in his place.  Let’s not try to come up with an alternate solution to the alien dilemma, such as engineering replacement drugs for them.  Let’s not blow up the lone alien present on earth after we shoot a few rounds from two little handguns at the bullet proof glass protecting it and it doesn’t work.  Let’s not figure out how to resonate something other than a child to send a return signal (the aliens did just fine with a pair of earth-manufactured speakers oddly enough).  Let’s not ask the children for their help, or consent…No, let’s needlessly murder an innocent child that doesn’t even know what’s going on.

Was there any religious elements?  Several; a mention of someone who had once had faith, but offed themselves when they found out aliens were real because the person felt so small and insignificant.  Then there was the them of sacrifice throughout, and specifically human sacrifice.  I kept thinking of: Leviticus 18:21 And thou shalt not let any of thy seed pass through the fire to Molech… and, 2 Kings 17:17 And they caused their sons and their daughters to pass through the fire, and used divination and enchantments, and sold themselves to do evil in the sight of the LORD, to provoke him to anger. At one point Gwen brings up the Doctor and how she used to wonder why he didn’t always show up to stop the evil happenings, and how she know realizes how he must look away because of the shameful state of humanity…how wonderful for us that the real Messiah hasn’t done that.

Anywho, I’ve seen a lot better.  I also don’t know what this bodes for the future of Torchwood, nor the character of Jack Harkness…

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Movie Review; The Invisible…

Yeah, I know, it was released in 07, but I just watched it, so deal with it.  ;)

I haven’t watched a movie in a long time that makes me think about it after I’ve shut the DVD player off.  This one actually stuck with me and made me ponder what the filmmakers included in the show; the point of the story.  I’ll not spoil the very end, but there will be spoilers in this review.

First, the basic overt plot; guy gets beat and left for dead…his “spirit/soul” is still quite active.  He, Nick, can interact with the world around him, but cannot change it.  What I mean by this is he is pretty much “invisible” and can, say, hurl a glass against the wall and it shatters, but as soon as he turns back, the glass is hale and whole, and right where it started out.  He can shove someone off a roof, but when he turns around, there they are.

The other main player in the movie is Annie, who just happens to be the one who beat Nick so soundly.  So, we have Nick, the nice rich boy with the overbearing mother who aspires to be a writer.  Nick is played by Justin Chatwin (who, BTW, is playing Goku in the live action movie of Dragonball).  Annie is the juvenile delinquent that has the bad home life, attitude and aggression to spare, and the loser/abuser boyfriend Marcus.  Annie is played by Margarita Levieva, a relative unknown.

Through an event in the movie, Nick realizes he’s not dead, just unconscious, thus begins his efforts to get rescuers to find his body.  He and Annie seem to have a connection, and he uses that connection to try to get help to his helpless physical form.  Annie, tough and streetwise, fights against her emotions in order to remain tough and above it all, but of course, in the end, she fails mainly due to the fact that she begins to “see” Nick.  She sees him, not physically, but by learning about him from a friend, and also by breaking into his house and scouting out his room.  At the same time, Nick begins to “see” Annie; the reasons why she is like she is, but also the hurting human underneath.  Eventually, Annie begins to sense Nick is still alive, and with rapidly rising feelings of regret, she starts to frantically find a way to save him.

Browsing different reviews, people don’t seem to grasp the meaning of the title, let alone the meaning the movie is trying to convey.  The “Invisible” isn’t so much about Nick, or Annie, but rather about the fact that the people we interact with everyday are, in effect, invisible to us.  Their inner lives, even their home lives are a blank spot.  The idea here is that there are people we physically see in our day to day lives, that we don’t really see.

Yes, the movie has cliche’s, and teenage angst.  But, it also has an interesting point that doesn’t come across to the audience as preaching.  Why aim the movie at teens?  Because they tend to both feel the most invisible, and to treat others as invisible at the same time.  If I’m digging for the sacred in this secular movie, I note the fact that Nick’s spirit/soul maintained his personality, and it obviously hinted at some kind of metaphysical existence beyond the physical.  The ideas of forgiveness and reconciliation were well played too.

A lot of reviews didn’t like the acting job by the two leads, but I have to disagree there.  Yes, Justin played Nick as being very “internal,” not a lot of emotion whilst in the land of the living, though that changed when outside of his body and fighting for his life.  I enjoyed the character of Annie very much, or rather watching her change, and loved the use of the beanie prop, covering up an aspect of her personality at the same time as it covered her physical hair.  Which brings me to another aspect of the movie I liked; the soundtrack.  Nothing like a bunch of alternative rock songs paired with teenage angst…what can I say?  I’m a sucker for noise.

The movie is PG-13, and has violence, and dark themes, such as suicide.  This isn’t a movie for everyone, and don’t watch it with high expectations.  It isn’t one that I would have went out of my way to watch, but some of the issues it raised interested me.  I’ve written many times on here that we should help out our fellow humans when we can, and sometimes that just starts with trying to “see” the other person.

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Movie Review; Twilight…

Yes, I went and watched it…I actually watched it the first weekend it was out, I was just too sick to blog about it, but better late than never.  Ok, Twilight; background info, yes, I’ve read the book(s) up to book three, I’m waiting on the forth, so that will be my perspective as opposed to those who watched the movie without reading the book.  There are mild spoilers for the movie and the book…any major spoilers and I’ll warn ahead of time.

First let me say that I’m not a huge fan of the series, I find Stephenie Meyer’s writing to be very much akin to Mary Sue fanfiction.  I’m not knocking her at all, she’s made it to the best seller list and had a movie made after her book, so, she’s definitely an adequate writer.  Going into the movie I didn’t have huge expectations, because I didn’t have huge expectations of the book either, but the movie still managed to disappoint me.

For those of you who don’t know, Twilight is a story of girl-meets-vampire set in a high school-like environment (think of a storyline not quite Romeo and Juliet, but similar).  Of course the vampire the girl meets is a dreamboat knockout that is a “vegetarian” vampire…and belongs to a vegetarian vampire family – they only drink the blood of animals, not humans (one good moral taught; killing humans is a no-no).

The focus in the book is all about relationships, self-control, and setting up the main character of Bella…this focus is lacking in the movie.  Of course Hollywood has to be much more dramatic, and if one watches only the trailers for Twilight, one would assume it is an action-packed vampire flick, but that’s not so.  The movie makers obviously attempted a compromise between teen romance and action, the result of which is that both sides lose out.

As far as acting goes, the lead (Stewart as Bella, and Pattinson as Edward) and side actors did fine in the movie, but the characters portrayed didn’t match their book counterparts; for example, Bella fit in way too easy with her peers with her Hollywood good looks, and style.  Honestly, I can’t say that any one actor stood out to me, nor was there any Oscar winning performances, though their acting did not detract from the show either…meaning, basically, that they all did a professional job.

The special effects were really distracting, on the other hand.  Someone needs to show the director and/or producers how “speedsters” can be portrayed very realistically now; you know, speedsters, like Daphne on Heroes…people that can run really fast.  Edward lugging around Bella, and climbing trees came off really fakey-fakey…not to mention Edwards “diamond-like” skin in full sunlight.  The makeup and hairstyles were a bit over the top distracting at certain points as well.

This movie is one of those were I don’t recommend it either way; I don’t think people need to rush out and see it, nor do I think they should avoid it.  If you have two hours to spend on a winter day, go right on ahead and munch some popcorn and take it in, or if you’d rather wait for the DVD then by all means wait and save your money.  It’s worth it to see the movie or read the book just to keep up on pop culture, and what the crazy kids are all into now a days ;) .

The vampire lore in this one is slightly different, though not completely original (one can sense Rice’s influence fairly easily).  For those that care about such things; there is one main scene of violence, and a dream sequence that may be considered a bit mature, no real nudity (though we do see Bella in her skivvies; another good moral; self-control, Edward style), very little profanity, and the movie is rated PG-13.  I suspect the only reason it earned that rating was for the violence that was present, and “scary” themes.

Some of the book’s content that I was hoping would be included on screen (but wasn’t) did touch upon Vampires and religion…though the second and third book delve into it a bit more.  I suppose I’ll have to save any of that conversation for a book series review.  For example, just as Rice’s vampires, these vamps don’t mind looking at/touching crosses in the least, and at least one of them has interesting ties to clergy, and hypotheses about whether or not vampires have souls and if they can make it to Heaven.

Anywho, average movie, nothing too theological to blog about either, though the book has more…ah, well, on to the next one…

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Movie Review; Lost Boys: The Tribe

Ok…first thing first, for any big fan of the original Lost Boys, you have got to already know that this movie will disappoint you.  It’s inevitable, isn’t it?  Even with that in mind, did I find it disappointing?  Yes.

Chris and Nicole Emerson have lost their parents; they died in a car accident.  They apparently have no one else in the world except a horrible aunt…so they relocate thinking she’ll help them out with a home, but no such luck.  Moving to Luna Bay, they quickly discover that the local surf scene is much more interesting than elsewhere; as the waves are ridden by a gang of blood suckers…one of which falls for Nicole.  “Hilarity” ensues.

There are good things about the movie, and bad things about it…one of the worst things is that if a few actors, and plot lines had been changed ever so slightly, it would have actually been a decent sequel.  First, the bad; it was as if the creators of the movie wished to gross everyone out.  That seemed to be the whole point of the movie.

Fake blood and guts galore.  Wonderful.  I can get that from any second rate horror flick out there; it is a disservice to the original that was all about a new and different story told with emphasis on characters and their relationships…and life, as well as a new take on the vampire myth.  Yes, the original had fake blood too, but the focus was not on the cheesy effects.  I didn’t like the overdone (and changed) makeup of the vampires in this one; the more subtle metamorphosis of the vampires’ features in the first was much more preferable.

The sex scenes.  Gratuitous.  They seemed to be inserted into the movie, not for any real plot device or any real reason…but just to try to get teenage boys to rent and watch the movie hoping for a glimpse of skin, which they would get plenty of.

The acting…I usually don’t like to say negative things about people’s acting, but they definitely could’ve gotten a different lead actress to play Nicole Emerson.  I don’t think it was entirely her fault, but I could not buy the sibling chemistry between Nicole and Chris in the movie.  Again, that chemistry pales in comparison with the original siblings of Michael and Sam.  Why do I place more “blame” on her?  Because, even in scenes with Angus Sutherland, I never lost sight of the fact that she was acting.  I saw her (Autumn Reeser) rather than her character, Nicole…to me, she seemed distinctly uncomfortable.

I suppose some would count this next bit as SPOILERS: Corey Feldman does make a return as Edgar Frog.  What upset me a bit about this was that with a few changes, the character of Edgar Frog could’ve really taken center stage and pulled the two movies together.  As it stands, it is almost as if the director just told Corey to act like he did in the first one.  The result?

Edgar Frog is now a man in a full grown adult body, but despite all the things he’s seen and done, he’s still acting and talking like an adolescent.  I get it; it was supposed to be funny…but the character could’ve really been surprising and fresh if he had indeed grown up in every sense of the word.  A good thing about Edgar’s character?  Corey Feldman himself did a great job stepping back up to the plate.

Now, other good things?  I did enjoy Tad Hilgenbrink as Chris Emerson; he fit the part, acted well, and really seem to get the “Emerson” vibe down, filling Michael’s shoes (Jason Patric from the first movie).  Also, Angus Sutherland, who is Kiefer Sutherland’s younger half-brother, did a wonderful job of helping the audience recall “David” from the original while giving us a whole new character of “Shane;” leader of the new generation of lost boys.

Shane’s character was definitely a high point…though his “tribe” was totally pathetic; which would lead to me questioning his fictional judgment.  Angus did a lovely job being “striking” in a totally different way than Kiefer was in the original…if you’ll recall Kiefer’s “David” had very very few lines, and was striking in sheer looks and attitude.  Angus has many more lines, and I enjoyed the manner in which he delivered those lines…his tone and inflections are what made Shane’s character striking. (I also enjoyed a secondary character; Evan played by Greyston Holt.)

Yes, the other boys in the tribe…who would want to live with their characters into eternity?  Bleh.  In the first movie, I got the distinct impression that the lost boys actually cared for one another, and enjoyed being together.  The new guys?  Apparently torturing each other, and being totally psychotic pigs was on the top of their lists.  They weren’t a group of guys you would even think of as “cool,” as the original ‘boys came off on screen.

Overall, you could skip this movie and not miss much; if you liked the original and don’t mind a bad sequel, wait ’til it gets really cheap to rent or comes on TV.  It does introduce new characters into the Lost Boys movieverse, and brings in old faces too…but as far as advancing any actual plot, it kind of fell flat (we are left to guess in the movie whether the Emerson siblings are Michael and Star’s children, or niece/nephew/cousins).  I do know that they released a “Frog Brothers” comic book that may enhance the story, and fill in some gaps.

For those who care about such things; this is indeed rated R for good reason; lots of blood and gore, nudity, sex scenes, profanity, etc…

If you do decide to watch it, make sure you watch into the credits for another “surprise” cameo…

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Ministry Review; Answers in Genesis

Answers in Genesis (AiG) is mainly known for its scientific approach to Creationism, and its literal interpretation of Genesis (for example; God created in six literal 24-hour days).  The founder is Ken Ham, originally of Australia.  If you want to try to find a creation-scientist’s view on something, this would be my first stop: www.answersingenesis.org

There are many Ph.D.’s involved in this ministry…and yes, the many of those degrees came from secular institutions.

One of the main teachings of the ministry is that the foundation for many Christian doctrines find their start in Genesis.  Also, that a non-literal reading of Genesis contradicts several other key scriptures.  It is quite interesting to follow along when the Young Earth Creationists (YEC’s) and the Old Earth Creationists (OEC’s) disagree.

Thus far, I do indeed lean YEC, though I’m open to many different ways of see the beginning of our world (and us), as long as it fits with scripture.  If someone puts forth a metaphorical position, it is important to make sure the it fits logically with scripture.  It also must be completely accurate.

AIG offers an extensive set of articles, and previously answered questions that you can take advantage of via their “search” on the main page.  Biology, Botany, Geology, Philosophy, Chemistry, Physics, Astronomy, etc… are all included.

Any drawbacks?  As always, I never agree completely with any ministry, just as one example, I believe that God could indeed have made starlight in transit to earth.  AIG rejects this notion, claiming it would be deceptive of God to do so, since it would contain events that never actually happened.  (Sometimes this gets thrown in with the “apparent age” hypothesis.)  Instead they favor other, alternative explanations for the “starlight” question.  Starlight in transit serves a purpose all on it’s own, IMO, and I believe it could indeed have been created on the way here for signs in the heavens, and also as a “declaration” of God’s handiwork.

Regardless, if you are interested in Creationism in the least, check out AiG; they are a very comprehensive ministry on the subject.

You can also see my Creation Museum Review.

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Star Wars: The Force Unleashed; Final Review

I gave my first impressions earlier, the day the game was released, and after I’d played two levels in a previous blog post.  I’ve now completed the game one time through on the Xbox 360.  Well…there are pros and cons.  There are some spoilers, but I will label that section when I get there.

First, a couple of pros.  One of the aims of the game was to tell a story that provides another “connection” in the Star Wars universe.  Unleashed falls before Episode IV, and does indeed provide a bit of insight into the “goings on” prior to the movie.  I have to say that while I enjoyed the story, I really did, but it felt rushed.  There was not enough character content to make me really feel for any of the characters, until the very very end of the game, and by then it is a bit wasted.

The tie-ins with other games and movies were fun, and I like the new lightsaber “styles” and colors.  It was also neat using all of the force powers, and meeting new characters in the Star Wars universe.  The game menus were also straightforward, and saving the game wasn’t a hassle.

Now, some cons.  The in-game camera was horrible.  Not only was the viewpoint off during critical fights, the angle made you lock onto targets that you are not intending to.  You go to chuck your lightsaber at an oncoming enemy, and you wind up flinging it at a barrel sitting off to the side, all the while you are getting pummeled by said enemy as you wait for your ‘saber to return.

The game was too short, and as I mentioned above, you don’t really connect with the characters until the end.  KoToR this game is not, and it shows.  If you are a fast player, you could easily rent this game and beat it before having to return it…I can’t really recommend buying it for that reason alone.  Now, if you like to play through a game multiple times and hunt down every item, as well as play Live (which at this point, I don’t believe is possible), it may be different.  I don’t fancy XBox Live, so can’t really speak to that.

SPOILERS.  There are parts of the game that get tedious very quickly.  One of these was billed as a selling point to the game; when you have to pull down an Imperial Star Destroyer.  Ugh.  The “directions” the game gives you will not get the job done…I could “hear” Obi-Wan speaking to me (not the character); “Use the force…the game is lying to you…” which is basically what you have to do to pull the blasted ship out of the sky…  There are several other parts of the game that I found quite frustrating, not because they were hard, just tedious, as I said before.

There is a morality choice in the game, but it is an odd addition, since the “light-side” ending is the only one that flows with the movies.  You can indeed watch the dark-side ending on youtube, for those who don’t like playing the bad guy…yes, that is how I watched it.

The game was disappointing, only because I had such high hopes.  It’s not a bad game, and any Star Wars fan will probably like the storyline, but it does suffer by comparison to KoToR, and its own hype.  If you get the game with neutral or low expectations, you’ll probably like it better.  In short, it is worth playing, but IMO, it’s not worth buying at this price.

For those of you that care about such things; the violence is what makes the rating “Teen.”  There wasn’t any sexual content, or foul language that I can recall.  On the good side, the story is about redemption, self-sacrifice, and fighting your anger and need for revenge.

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