Friday, April 30, 2010
I didn't grow up watching the "Elm Street" flicks like many of my friends. Although throughout the years I've caught bits of them on TV and figured out pretty quickly that they aren't my kind of movies anyway. In early college I did finally see the first film in the franchise(the only one Wes Craven planned to make at the outset) which I thought was not so bad.
My problem with the original franchise is that it failed to remain scary. From the get go, Freddy was a villain who was there to entertain the audience as much as he was there to scare them. Before long, he failed to be scary and turned into a walking bad one-liner machine, breaking the fourth wall to connect with the audience in a way that drains power from any movie monster. This couldn't have been demonstrated much better than in the last Robert Englund Freddy movie, "Freddy Vs. Jason", which I saw in theaters out of morbid curiosity. (And yes, it was about as bad as you're imagining.)
Seven years later, Hollywood is taking another crack at reinventing the character. (The first attempt was in "Wes Craven's New Nightmare".) And this new vision is one I can say I really enjoyed! Jackie Earl Haley is unsurprisingly wonderful as Fred Kruger. He shows an unexpected softness in the flashback sequences about his origins and couldn't be more different as the genuinely frightening nightmare creature that haunts and stalks the protagonists.
The changes in make-up for Freddy were a big plus, as he now looks much more like a real burn-victim. There is a strange touch of sympathy I felt for Freddy as I looked at his scars, but this was vastly overwhelmed by the way he creeped me out. Freddy is not here to entertain in this movie. He is here to torment and kill. Although he does have a few lines flavored with gallows humor, they weren't designed to make the audience laugh, but to remind us of how disturbingly evil Freddy is.
There are no big names (aside from Haley) in this film, but a few familiar faces. For a film of this genre, the performances are solid and certainly a vast improvement over the standards set in the 80's. Special effects are also enjoyable, without many tell-tale CGI moments.
A downside of this movie is that it is a remake, rather than a re-imagining of the original "Elm Street". Several scenes and shots have been pulled from the original film and redone with new effects and from different angles, but there are not any creatively original effects gags in this movie. The plot is also nearly identical to the original film, though with a better script that focuses more on Freddy and his motivation to do what he does.
There are no strong philosophical themes in this movie, but one reference is a bit peculiar. One character is wearing a cross of some kind. Non-typical in design, it is not a cross that evokes traditional Christianity. When the character is asked why he wheres it, since he doesn't seem like the "religious" type, he says that "you've gotta believe in something, right?" Near the end, this character gives the cross necklace to a friend before she attempts to do something she is frightened of and he again says, "you've gotta believe in something, right?" Neither the necklace nor cross play any role in the resolution of the story. It just seems injected without purpose, except perhaps as a subtle nod to the "Freddy Jump-rope Song" used in this movie: 5, 6, grab a crucifix. The line is a reminder again that in the self-defeating philosophy of "pop-spirituality", belief in itself is what is important, while the object of belief is irrelevant.
This is a genuinely scary move that both fans and non-fans of the original franchise should check out if they are in the mood for a fright or if they just love a good monster movie.
Rated R for strong bloody horror violence, disturbing images, terror and language.
Earlier this week I posted the next video journal about the production of "Pilgrim's Progress: Similitude Of A Dream"! The video is titled "Music For Despair" and it is part 1 of 2!
Musical scoring plays a big role when I put a scene together and this was no more true than with the "Swamp Of Dreadgloom" sequence!
Check out the latest video journal to get an idea of how I strategically make use of music in my audio dramas and how some of the selection process is handled!
You'll find a link to our Youtube channel with a bunch of other free goodies at:
Or you can jump
straight to the Youtube page at:
Wednesday, April 28, 2010
Heath Ledger’s last movie seemed to sneak in and out of theaters somewhat quietly, and I missed my chance to see it the first time around. So when it was released on DVD yesterday I jumped at the chance to check out what looked like an imaginative modern fairy tale.
Doctor Parnassus made a deal with the devil over 1,000 years ago that grants him immortality. But in exchange, his daughter belongs to the devil on her 16th birthday. He now has two days to make good on a new deal with the devil that will spare his daughter: Find five souls who will choose good over evil before the devil does.
Subjects are put to the test by entering a fantasy world created by the mind of Doctor Parnassus. They are given a choice between something self-serving and something more pure or noble.
The race to find five who will make the right choice drives much of the movie, but as is common in Terry Gilliam films, the experience is more about strangeness and spectacle than it is about plot. Fans of Gilliam’s earlier work like Brazil and The Adventures Of Baron Munchausen will find “Parnassus” to be a welcome return to a style they enjoy.
The visual design of the film is very inviting. The rickety old stage-wagon of the traveling troupe and the renaissance inspired wardrobe of the performers serve up a portion of timelessness that will age the film well. The special effects of the dream-like Imaginarium are by no means realistic, but the film doesn’t require them to be. The world of the Imaginarium is filled with unexpected yet very fitting imagery. A major highlight of the movie.
Christopher Plummer delivers some of his finest (and possibly most sympathetic) work as the title character. He is supported by Heath Ledger (who turned in a fine, if not memorable performance), Tom Waits (an excellent “Gilliam-type” devil and great casting choice!) and model turned actress Lily Cole. But the standout performer for me was supporting cast member Andrew Garfield. He is the love interest of Cole and a fellow troupe member and figures prominently in the story. Every scene he was in seemed to elevate the realism of the characters around him. His scenes seemed marked by improvisation that gave credibility to the awkwardness and emotions of his character.
As you may know, Heath Ledger died after filming only one-third of the movie. But the decision was made to move forward and recast Ledger’s role with Johnny Depp, Jude Law and Colin Farrell, who played the same character as Ledger as he traversed the dream-like Imaginarium. With a subtle change to an early scene in the film, it is quickly established that one’s personal appearance can change while inside the Imaginarium. So the transition to new actors for the same role is prepared for. Even so, the change is a bit distracting to the film, especially knowing the reason for it. Though all three guest stars perform admirably and are fun to watch.
Gilliam does not seem interested in having people understand his films from top to bottom and often leaves things unexplained. The same is true of this movie. But none of these unexplained elements are crucial to the plot and it seems as though Gilliam doesn’t want you to take his film that seriously anyway.
Thematically, this movie deals with death, morality and even the foundational nature of the universe.
It is explained early on that the existence of the universe is sustained by stories. As long as someone somewhere is telling a story, the universe will remain intact. Combine this with numerous architectural reference to Eastern religious tradition and you can take a guess at the philosophies that inspired this story. The concept of human-told stories sustaining the universe would indicate that humans are the ultimate power in existence. In another scene, the deceased are even referred to as “gods”.
Morality is murky at best and the line between good and evil is pretty blurry in this movie. These are further indications of Eastern religious influence or at least relativism in general.
The lack of logical consistency is fitting for the fairy tale nature of the story and Gilliam is probably not trying to “say” anything with this movie. But it still never hurts to recognize the weakness of relativistic philosophy when applied to anything outside of fairy tales.
This is an enjoyable movie that combines both dark themes and light-hearted fun into a modern fairy tale worth checking out. The characters and story are fairly forgettable, but the experience created by the visuals presented and the carefree atmosphere of the film is easily worth a one dollar rental. Probably a five dollar rental, too!
Rated PG-13 for violent images, some sensuality, language and smoking.
Some of you may have heard me mention the name "Ryan Emenecker" a couple of times. Ryan is a friend of mine and the very talented guy who designed the main website (www.spiritblade.net) and also the CD art for Spirit Blade, Spirit Blade: Dark Ritual, and Pilgrim's Progress: Similitude Of A Dream.
A little over a week ago, Ryan's mom passed away after a sudden cancer diagnosis and just a few months of fighting the disease. She was only 54 and had been a big part of Ryan's life and the lives of his wife and daughter.
Ryan's mom was not a woman who trusted in her own strength and goodness to be made right with God. She made the decision long ago to trust Jesus with that job. So Ryan and his family are not sorry for his mother anymore. Her suffering is over. But the loss to them is extremely painful and they miss her very much.
Because of this, I wanted to give a gift to Ryan. It would be insulting to imply that a material gift could remove the grief he is feeling, but it can still be a reminder that he is loved and appreciated by a community that he has impacted.
I want to invite you to be a part of this gift with me if you have enjoyed anything you've found at spiritblade.net and if you feel inclined. If you have enjoyed the atmosphere of our website or if some element of Ryan's CD art has attracted you to the story it represents, you're invited to join me in reminding him that he is appreciated, cared about and valued.
I've created a donation button using my wife's paypal account that you can use to donate a gift for Ryan. 100% of your gift will go to Ryan.
Whether you donate or not, you can also send a message that I will include with the gift for Ryan. Send any messages to Ryan to: paeter(at)spiritblade(dot)net
The deadline for all e-mails and donations will be Friday May 7th.
You will find the donation button below. Any amount would be greatly appreciated.
NOTE: This post has been edited and the donation button is no longer available. Thank you so much to everyone who donated.
Monday, April 26, 2010
The tone of Paul's letter changes so much here that some scholars believe the rest of the material in 2 Corinthians is from a separate letter. Other scholars conclude that Paul received some new information about the Corinthian church just before writing this section, or that he chose to save the boldest part of his writing for the end of the letter.
He begins to urge change to come about in the Corinthians, though he urges them with an attitude of gentleness and meekness. When the word "meek" is used in the New Testament, it doesn't imply "weakness" as it might in English. In the original Greek, the word for meekness describes a grounded emotional state. One that accepts the way God is dealing with oneself in both good and bad times. A state in which one is angry when appropriate and contained when anger is not appropriate. In the New Testament, meekness is a virtue that displays considerable maturity and strength of character.
Paul says that he is meek toward the Corinthians in person and more direct and bold when he is writing to them, though some translations indicate that he is stating the Corinthians perception about him rather than his perception of himself. (v.1)
Paul is urging the Corinthians to make changes among them so that he will not HAVE to be bold with them in person because of some among them who are spreading the idea that Paul is living a life patterned on ungodly habits.(v.2)
The Greek word for "flesh" (sometimes translated as "sinful nature") refers to that which is common to or identified with the corrupt world. Paul acknowledges that he is surrounded by corruption (his own body and the world in which we all live) but he does not wage "war" based on the corrupt patterns and philosophies common to the world. The weapons he uses in his "war", by contrast, are fueled by God.(v.3-4)
So what is this war Paul is waging and who or what is he aiming to destroy? It's a war of ideas. For Paul, the enemies and obstacles in this war are not people. (Ephesians 6:12) The harmful forces in this war include "speculations" (or more literally "imaginations") and ideas that oppose a true knowledge of who God is. The captives Paul is taking and making obedient to Christ are not people but thoughts (more literally "concepts of the mind"). (v.5)
Paul is more than ready to exercise his rightful authority and deal out consequences to those who are damaging the church from within. But he assigns this action to the time when others in the Corinthian church community become obedient. (v.6) Why he says this is unclear, but it may be that he wanted to give them time to correct themselves to avoid any consequences Paul might bring. It may also be that Paul wanted a clear line drawn between those who are loyal to Paul's teaching and those who are not, since the influence against him in the Corinthian church may have left the church in directionless chaos.
The issue of loyalty and the Corinthian's perception of Paul may seem petty at a glance. It may seem vain that Paul would want to defend his reputation as much as he does. But keep in mind that during this time, scripture was still being written and Paul was one of a very small group that was given authority by God to speak on behalf of Jesus. The Corinthian's loyalty to Paul should not be compared to a modern day Christian's loyalty to a preacher or leader. The appropriate comparison today would be a Christian's trust of and loyalty to the words of the Bible.
There are many things that divide believers that shouldn't. I'd even wager that most division between Christians is based on things that should not cause division. However, a belief in the trustworthiness of the Bible is foundational to any form of Christianity. Unreasonable doubt being cast on the Bible from within a church community (whether from members or leaders) cannot be tolerated and must be addressed.
Note that I said "unreasonable doubt". The Bible continues to stand the test of time and has repeatedly shown that it has no reason to fear even the most in-depth, logical investigation. Doubts based in reason should be expressed and worked through, since they lead to a deeper investigation of truth and will ultimately result in a more firm and reasonable faith. But doubts that are spread divisively, "behind the scenes" without open and reasonable discussion, or that are based on imaginative ideas made appealing by a charismatic delivery, cannot be allowed to spread unaddressed in a healthy community of believers.
Next Week- Perceptions Of Paul
Coffee House Question- Do you know someone who you'd say is "meek" as described above? What example can you give of their "meekness"?
Wednesday, April 21, 2010
Although I’m a huge comic book fan, I never got around to reading the original comic book version of “Kick Ass”, so I can’t review this movie from that perspective, only on its own merits. And this movie merits a ton of praise.
The story centers on a shy high school geek who decides that the best way to attract girls and attain meaning for his life is to dress up in a costume and fight street crime as the superhero “Kick-Ass”.
The movie starts out feeling like a small, quirky, high school comedy with a healthy dose of realism regarding the practicalities of trying to be a superhero in the real world. But little by little, the movie has more money thrown at it until it becomes a hugely explosive action-fest in the last third of the film.
A number of other heroes and villains enter the story and help to flesh out a small but interesting “comic book world”. The movie does not seriously attempt to create a realistic depiction of superheroes in the real world, but contains far more realism than any mainstream superhero movie.
The performances are a strong part of this movie. Aaron Johnson plays the title roll and it fits him like a glove. His awkward personality and breaking voice made me forget I was watching an actor many times. Nicolas Cage flexes both comedic and dramatic muscles well enough to make me literally both laugh and cry. (He also has some really cool superhero moments!)
The actor I walked away most curious about was 11 year old Chloe Moretz, who played the ninja-like “Hit Girl”. Her acting chops are very good for her age and she pulled off some incredible action choreography, not counting what may or may not have been handled by a stunt double.
The song selection in the soundtrack of this movie is very clever and added to the already brilliant execution of the visual material in a way that made me want to jump up and applaud. Not since “Iron Man” have I had this much fun watching a movie in the theater.
The action is fun and at times crazy-cool in the way it is choreographed and displayed. In more than one scene I laughed out loud for the sheer joy of watching the action unfold.
The story is funny, but also very touching at times. Of particular interest is the relationship between Hit Girl and Big Daddy. Although their introduction is strange and off-beat, as their back-story is revealed their subplot becomes a very touching part of the movie’s core.
I have to shave a little off my score for this film for the use of some brief, sexually themed humor that was a little overstated and wasn’t necessary for the kind of story being told.
Justice is the undercurrent of this movie, although it never quite makes it to the surface as a purposeful theme. Still, the problem of evil is presented well and it is extremely satisfying to see the bad guys get their due.
What I thought would be a fun, quirky little movie turned out to be a fun, emotionally involving, intense and funny ride with some added thrills and extremely cool action that I never expected to see.
Rated R for strong brutal violence throughout, pervasive language, sexual content, nudity and some drug use - some involving children
Wednesday, April 14, 2010
I do not consider myself a fan of Woody Harrelson. Outside of his character way back when on "Cheers", he seems to play creeps and unlikable types. But in "Defendor" he breaks from this pattern to play the role of a mentally handicapped man who is driven to fight crime on the streets as a superhero.
The first thing you should know about this movie is that it is not a comedy. Although it has been marketed as a dark comedy, it is actually a dark drama with a few comedic moments.
Arthur Poppington (AKA "Defendor") is possibly mildly retarded, although I lean toward seeing him as autistic or clinically insane given that there are some things he creates for his super-heroics that require high functioning mental capacity. He lives under the delusion that he is a superhero seeking out the arch-villain known as "Captain Industry". His sole purpose is to find and defeat this villain. As the story progresses, we learn more about Arthur and how he came upon the delusions he suffers. And with every further insight to his character, I wanted to root for him more and more.
Although it would have been easy to play his character for exploitative laughs, the movie never does this. Instead, Arthur is a character who sees the world as we all should, in one sense. He has not adjusted to the fact that there is evil in the world. His sweetly innocent and naive personality is a constant reminder that although we have worked for centuries to create efficient systems of justice, our system is broken and flawed. It may be the best we have, but it is still a tragedy that we are unable to do better and justice is often left undone.
This movie would be a great jumping off point to talk about the concepts of evil and justice. I think we have largely become numb and deaf to these concepts in our day to day lives and this movie serves as a wake-up call, pointing out the existence of evil and lack of justice while pleading for a better world. Several times in this movie I felt moisture gathering in my eyes as I empathized with Defendor. I mourned the presence of evil along with him and cringed as he was unsuccessful in his attempts to vanquish it. Arthur repeatedly pays a high price for his efforts in this movie, and it is discouraging to watch. His ideals are pure and good, but he lives in a very dark world. Our world.
In many ways, this movie is a great compliment to "Watchmen", though it doesn't contain the same kind of flashy action as the Snyder film. This movie is down to earth and steeped in realism from beginning to end. And sometimes the realism is brutal. You may not want to live vicariously through Defendor, but you will likely root for him from beginning to end.
The performances are wonderful across the board and Harrelson especially shines. It's early in the season, but I hope the Oscars don't forget about Harrelson and this movie.
More than any film I've seen before, this movie captures the concept of a superhero in the real world effectively and realistically. It also serves as a wake-up call, reminding us that the world is not such a great place to live in much of the time. We are in desperate need of rescue.
Don't miss this one.
Rated R for drug use and language throughout, violence and sexual content.
Well, the trial is now over and it was a very interesting experience serving on the jury. I found a great deal of relevance to my desire to seek out truth in scripture and in the details of my everyday life. I may blog about it sometime, though I don't have the time for it today.
Unfortunately, even though I am now returning to my normal schedule as of this week, I will already be going out of town this Friday and will be gone all of next week. There will be a podcast this week which I will release sometime on Thursday, but there will be no podcast the following weekend. I will also not be posting on either of my blogs next week or checking my e-mail very much, if at all. So my HUGE thanks for your enduring patience with me!
The good news is, when I get back, it will only be a week or two before the school semester is finished, which means I will soon be able to take a three month break from my side gig (substitute teaching) and give all of my time to finishing these remixes and heading full throttle into the Secret Project!
You can plan on an announcement of what the Secret Project is on the same day that I release the song bundles for Spirit Blade and Dark Ritual. So stay tuned! It won't be too long!
Monday, April 12, 2010
While encouraging the Corinthians' generosity, Paul quotes what is likely a non-Biblical proverb, but one that harmonizes with Proverbs 11:24-24, 2 Corinthians 5:10 and Matthew 6:20. God will reward a believer's generosity. Potentially with a foretaste in this life, but completely in eternity. (v.6)
When deciding how much of our resources we will give to efforts dedicated to God, we should decide on an amount that we can give with pleasure and satisfaction, anticipating what God will do with it. (v.7) Giving out of social obligation or guilt is a sign that something is not right. Either we're giving too much, giving to the wrong thing or our heart needs an adjustment. (In my own experience it is rarely the first, sometimes the second and most often the third.)
Whatever our level of giving, God is able to favor us, even when we don't deserve it (that's called "grace"), with all we need to serve and give. (v.8) God will also reward us for the giving he enables us to do! (Now THAT'S what I call grace!)
Paul quotes Psalm 112:9, which refers to the reward a generous believer is given. This believer has a perfect standing before God (righteousness) that lasts forever. And while this is true of all who trust in Christ, the rest of Psalm 112:9 says, "his horn will be lifted high in honor". ("Horn" was often used as a metaphor for dignity.) If we take into account the other passages of scripture that teach the concept of eternal rewards for things done in this life, Paul seems to be implying here that the good we do now will not only be rewarded in eternity, but will be in some way recognized and celebrated. ("his horn will be lifted high in honor") Our "righteousness" will be celebrated forever, including the righteous things God enables us to do now.
God is the ultimate supplier of our material possessions. He supplies us with the means to give and also supplies the reward we gain for giving.(v.10) Add to this the fact that when we partner with a God-honoring church or ministry by giving, they are able to put our gifts to use in ways that result in people thanking God, in addition to meeting their needs! (v.11-12)
As Paul has taught previously, genuine love and faith are demonstrated and validated by action. But Paul also teaches here that our actions do more than validate our faith. They provide fuel for another believer's worship of God!(v.13) People also feel an extra measure of love for those they can tell are being used by God to accomplish good. They tend to pray with more enthusiasm as a result of seeing God work through them.(v.14)
Giving can seem like a difficult thing to do. But in summary of what we've read here, God provides the resources to give, God provides our willingness to give, God rewards us in eternity for what we give now, God is worshiped more when we give and we are more often prayed for as we give! It's no wonder Paul blurts out in verse 15, "We should all thank God for this mind-blowing gift!"
Next Time- What we can learn from how Paul "does ministry".
Coffee House Question- Can you think of an instance where someone's service or generosity, toward you or someone else, motivated you to thank God or to pray for that person?
Thursday, April 8, 2010
Monday, April 5, 2010
The trip to facilitate and safeguard the gift from the Corinthian church to the suffering Jerusalem Christians was a joint effort. The group traveling to Corinth for this purpose included a representative of Paul (Titus) and two other unnamed men who were chosen by several churches and Paul.(8:23)
Paul urged the Corinthians to demonstrate their love through action toward the visiting men so that none of the churches (who would hear a report from the man they sent) would doubt their sincere generosity.(8:24) Paul knew that in all this talk about giving he was "preaching to the choir". He knew how the Corinthians felt and that they wanted to give.(9:1) The Corinthian church had previously led the charge in giving to the suffering Jerusalem Christians. (9:2) But Paul also knew it was important that they follow through and not appear slow or reluctant, now that their previous initiative had inspired others to give.
So Paul sent these men, not to strong arm or pressure the Corinthians (and the nearby churches in Achaia that this letter also circulated to), but to help them follow through with what they had committed to.(9:3)
In ancient Greco-Roman culture during this time period, there was tremendous emphasis on obtaining honor and avoiding shame. Paul had staked his reputation on the Corinthians by boasting about them.(9:4) He was ultimately only interested in his standing before God, but he likely cared about the impact his own shame might have on his teaching and the Gospel message. (See last week for the definition of "Gospel".)
With this in mind, Paul urged Titus and the other two men to go and help facilitate the collection and transport of the gift, to make the work efficient and the experience fulfilling for the Corinthians, instead of being drudgery.(9:5)
These verses are an example of what Christian relationships can and should be. The Corinthians were inspired and set a high goal for themselves. Then other Christians became involved to encourage them and help them move forward with their goals after their initial "mountain top" experience.
Next Week- What helps us give and what keeps us from giving.
Coffee House Question- Do you have a Christian relationship in your life in which you can openly share your personal goals for growth and maturity? If so, who? If not, who might you be able to develop this kind of relationship with?
Friday, April 2, 2010
Although the original "Clash Of The Titans" was among my childhood fantasy movie favorites, my memories of it are dim at best. Though I've seen enough clips of it in my adult life to be reminded of what the movie looked like, it's general feel, and the state of special effects. Because of this, I was able to make a few comparisons to the original when I saw the 2010 remake, but not enough that the original, or it's plot was constantly on my mind. I went to see the new "Clash" because I'm a die-hard fan of fantasy sword and sorcery flicks and this looked like it could be one of them. And it was. With both the good and bad that comes with that sort of movie.
Despite the sometimes edgier dialogue and advanced special effects, Clash Of The Titans feels much like several fantasy movies of the 70's and 80's. The characters are 2-dimensional with Sam Worthington's Perseus and Liam Neeson's Zeus being the only two with any discernible traces of character development. The acting is generally shallow and the plot extremely simple. But there are many classics in this genre that share these traits. Nostalgia may cloud our judgment, but if we're honest, these attributes were the rule, not the exception of fantasy movies in the 70's and 80's.
The action sequences are very cool and have the visceral flair common to fight scenes since "300", though without the same extravagance. The creature effects look very much like CGI and the Medusa painfully so. To my eye, this new Medusa looks just as artificial as the original, only for different reasons. A considerable let down. However, the magical effects in this movie were stunning in their best moments. Hades looks awe-inspiring in the midst of his dark, smoky splendor, and this movie may end up on my shelf someday for that reason alone. Make-up effects are also fascinating to look at, the witches and the D'Jinn being among my favorites. On the whole, this movie has a dark, slightly washed-out feel that conveys a bleak despair uncommon to film portrayals of Greek myth. A welcome change of pace from the sterile white togas common to classic depictions of Greek mythology.
Despite these strong points, the movie needed 15 minutes more of something. Either more character development, or more special effects and adventure. After some exciting opening sequences, the movie slows down and introduces characters without fleshing them out before they die or leave. And although the giant CGI scorpions were cool, I would rather have seen less of them and made more time for an additional unique obstacle for the heroes to overcome.
Regarding 3D. I opted to see this movie in 2D when I learned that, unlike Avatar and other recent 3D films, "Clash" was not intended to be in 3D but was hastily converted to 3D in a mere 8-weeks. Multiple reviewers (and my parents) mostly agree that it's not worth the money to see it in 3D and some have said it even makes the movie worse because of the poor conversion and the unintended side-effects it has on the film. I apologize for not braving the 3D experience on your behalf, but before a reviewer I am a geek first and foremost. I wanted every chance to enjoy a new fantasy film as much as possible.
A very strong theme in the first act is that of "humanity verses the gods". The gods are blamed for every ill that comes upon man and deservedly so. The way the gods are portrayed in this movie likely paints a good picture of how many people view God. I would wager that for many people the only difference between the "Christian God" and the gods in this movie is that all of the character traits split up between multiple gods in this movie are present in one God in Christianity. A great question on the drive home from this movie might be, "If God exists, in what ways do you think we are like him and in what ways do you think we aren't?" To a certain extent, we have to see God in human terms, comparing his characteristics to human ones. But if this is taken too far, we wind up with a view of God very much like the gods of this movie. Impotent, needy, petty, and ignorant. In other words, more like us than we'd like to admit. And by contrast, we view ourselves as basically good. Maybe we even feel, as the humans do in this movie, that a certain deity needs to learn a lesson and we are the ones to teach him. "Clash Of The Titans" provides an easy springboard for finding out a person's view of God's characteristics.
Rated PG-13 for fantasy action violence, some frightening images and brief sensuality.
I've been brewing up an idea for some "Spirit Blade Productions" t-shirts that I think would be cool, though my graphic designer has his hands full right now. But if you're handy with graphic images, you might get yours for free!
Those participating in this contest have until the end of April to send me their submissions. Here's the deal:
I know conceptually what I want, but need someone else to bring it to life. The concept is simple, quirky and attention getting. The image I'm looking for is a stacked addition math problem. It has a "Christian Fish" symbol at the top, a retro 1930's-1950's space ship or flying saucer below that and a dragon at the bottom. Then of course you've got the long horizontal line dividing the problem and the solution and a plus sign off to the left indicating an addition problem. Below the line, as the answer to our math problem, is "spiritblade.net". (no "www")
So when someone looks at this unusual shirt, the idea is that they will put together the following in their mind:
"Christian + science fiction + fantasy = spiritblade.net"
All images should be simple "clip art" type symbols. Nothing complicated. Just enough to be indentifiable. And the complete design should be using only the color white. My plan is to put this on a dark blue shirt.
I will take my three favorite submissions and test them out on several online t-shirt printing websites, so it may be handy to test it on two or three yourself(not actually printing any of course) before submitting to me so that you can see if it is compatible with the formats typically requested by these sites.
I'll use the winning design to make our t-shirts and the top three submitting designers will get one sent to them free!
Submissions (and any questions) can be sent to- paeter(at)spiritblade(dot)net. (Please note that all submissions become the sole property of Spirit Blade Productions.)
I could really use your help! You've got until the end of April to be a part of Spirit Blade Productions history, and get our first T-shirt before anyone else! For free!
Thanks and good luck!
Thursday, April 1, 2010
Well, I've been dropping hints about the "Secret Project" coming from Spirit Blade Productions for several months now and I'm finally ready to let the cat out of the bag!
I have long been a fan of classic musical comedies like "Hello Dolly" and "The Music Man". What makes them so great is that everyone is always smiling! And even when they are sad or angry, it's all in good clean fun.
Over the years I've seen a tremendous shortage of family-friendly Christian entertainment. There just doesn't seem to be anything safe for me and my loved ones to enjoy together. So for the last several months I have been secretly toiling away at developing "Spirit Blade: The Musical Comedy"!
The story will pick up where "Spirit Blade: Dark Ritual" left off and involve several hilarious rag-time numbers at the beginning to get things started. In the second act, Raan will be cured of his cyberneticism and Ebony will become an emotionally healthy Christian just in time for the two of them to be married. Vincent and Merikk will have hot cocoa and talk over their differences and then share a very warm hug with Saolos. Best of all, everyone will stop using all those offensive fictional cuss-words that I'm pretty sure the Bible speaks out against.
The nice folks we thought were dead turn out to be alive and the bad people all say they are sorry and humbly go to jail. The bad news is that the Sheida are still bad. But the good news is at the very end, Merikk wakes up and finds out it was all a dream. He is actually not in the future and instead lives in Grand Forks, North Dakota, where he teaches children's Sunday school using a flannel graph.
Well, I better get back to work! I can't wait to share this with all of you!