Wednesday, October 31, 2012

Spirit Blade Special Edition Commentary, Part 5!

This week I've released Part 5 of my all-new commentary for Spirit Blade!

I talk about the role music and EQ balancing play in "improving" an actor's performance, how my artistic influences have changed since first creating Spirit Blade, and the mistakes I had to undo when re-mixing "Deadly Game". Plus, how "Deadly Game's" vision of Hell compares with what the Bible actually does or does not teach.

Download it now on our Free Stuff page!

Monday, October 29, 2012

Batman: The Dark Knight Returns, Part 1

A few weeks ago, Batman: The Dark Knight Returns Part 1 was released on Blu-ray and DVD. If you're a serious comic book fan, you've probably already read or at least heard of the original graphic novel by Frank Miller. Along with Alan Moore's Watchmen, The Dark Knight Returns was one of the most influential comic books of the 80's, and gets much of the credit for the launch of the "gritty era" of comic books, which continued through much of the 90's and still leaves traces today. This animated movie attempts to adapt and condense the original story into a two-part movie series.

The story takes place 10 years after Bruce Wayne has retired from being Batman. There are suggestions that his retirement has something to do with a tragedy that befell Robin. Wayne is now at least in his 50s, although he remains in great shape for his age and busies himself with dangerous hobbies, such as automobile racing. He is clearly unsettled and still haunted by the deaths of his parents, and as a new breed of criminal takes hold of a spineless Gotham, he finds the ghosts of his past pulling him back into the persona he left behind.

While the citizens of Gotham are either victimized or willfully ignorant, Batman resumes his one-man war on the criminal element, and with more grit and ferocity than ever before. But although Batman is a supernatural creature of legend, Bruce Wayne is just a man, and his aging, battered body continually reminds him of the fact. It may be that this new breed of criminal is more than he can handle.

This is a great story with some of the most iconic Batman moments you're likely to encounter on screen. Paraphrasing to avoid offense, Frank Miller said that with this story he "gave Batman his [manhood] back". And that's certainly the sense this movie gives. Batman is more brutal and tough than ever and he is rightfully feared by criminals.

But this is not just a "tough guy" movie. An argument could be made that this is the most character-driven Batman movie ever made, as we are given a glimpse into how truly haunted Bruce Wayne is by the tragic past he can't forget. For those who felt Bruce Wayne's final status in "The Dark Knight Rises" was inconsistent with the perpetually haunted nature of Bruce Wayne's character(at least as presented in the comics), this movie will feel like a satisfying follow-up, or maybe even a pseudo sequel, to the Christopher Nolan films.

The visual design and animation is very well done. Although it has a slightly cleaner look than the art from the original comic, the color pallet helps maintain the bleak flavor, and the general scenery and character design strongly evokes the original art. The animation is also smooth when it should be, and more abrupt when appropriate. A skillful blend of both computer and cell animation that plays up the strengths of both.

The sound was also well done, though I would have preferred just a little more of the lower tones. (Of course in home theaters this can be adjusted to taste.) And in the very first scene the dialogue falls so deep into the mix that I had to use subtitles to understand what was being said beneath the roaring sound effects.

The music takes a cue from Nolan's recent Batman films with a grand, slow-moving strings melody representing Batman, aided by strong percussion and some electronic elements as well. A great score that gave weight to the entire experience.

Once again, DC does a solid job with their voice casting and direction. Although they don't quite hit it out of the park. They fall back on using one or two familiar voices from the animation world (including at least one of the "animaniacs" if you're old enough to remember that show) that took me out of the story with their easily distinguishable voices. And Peter Weller, while a good choice for an aging Batman, was not a great choice in my opinion. I think the role would have been served better by simply casting the best fitting voice, rather than drawing from a pool of actors with star power or "geek cred", as this choice seems to be motivated by.

The adaptation is done very well. Although it's been awhile since I've read my copy of The Dark Knight Returns, I didn't feel like anything important was missing. In fact, the adapters smartly removed much of the dated social/political commentary that was a product of the 80's.
That said, there is still a noticeable theme of activism. It is frustrating to watch the people of Gotham shut themselves off in a self-serving corner as the world goes to pot at their doorstep. This movie screams out, "C'mon! Get up and DO something about this mess!" Batman and a precious few answer that call and viewers may feel a small desire to do so as well.

The second part of The Dark Knight Returns will be released in early spring of 2013, but there's no reason not to watch or buy this movie in the meantime. Part 1 certainly leaves the impression that there is more story to be told, but doesn't end on a cliff-hanger either, and provides satisfying resolution to the first half of the larger story.

Rated PG-13 for some intense sequences of violence and action

Quality: 9.0/10

Relevance: 7.5/10

What do these scores mean?

Friday, October 26, 2012

Cloud Atlas Review (SBU Podcast)

A review of Cloud Atlas and an addendum to my Little Shop Of Horrors Review. Plus a look at what Genesis chapter 3 tells us about the tendencies we live with every day. 


Submit Questions, Comments or Content(written or audio file) to:



visit to leave a recorded message with your phone or computer for me to play on the show!I'd love for you to be a part of this podcast!

(For more information, visit


For Community, Free Stuff and TONS more, explore the rest of the growing "Spirit Blade" universe at-

The Spirit Blade Underground Podcast is written, recorded and produced by Paeter Frandsen, with additional segments produced by their credited authors.
Copyright 2012, Spirit Blade Productions
Music by Wesley Devine, Bjorn A. Lynne, Pierre Langer, and Sound Ideas.
Spazzmatica Polka by Kevin MacLeod ( effects provided by: FreqMan

Direct Download-

Cloud Atlas (Movie Review)

I'm a huge fan of the Matrix Trilogy. I love the way the Wachowsky Brothers combined crazy cool sci-fi action with rich symbolism and philosophy. Even though I find myself often at odds with some of the philosophies expressed in those films, I appreciate their presence in a genre that is too often based on mindless explosions and bad one-liners.

Cloud Atlas was completely off my radar until I saw the first trailer a few months ago. Since then I've been waiting to see this movie with great curiosity, and as it turns out "curiosity" is a great word with which to describe this film.

Although Larry Wachowski was not involved in this film, Andy Wachowski, his wife Lana and Tom Tykwer (Run Lola Run, The International) share the director's chair for this multi-story experience.

I say "multi-story" intentionally, rather than "multi-thread". Although the film regularly cuts back and forth between multiple stories, it never connects them beyond some extremely loose ties and the fact that each story features the same set of actors playing re-incarnated versions of the same people in different time periods.

IMDB describes the film this way:
"Everything is connected: an 1849 diary of an ocean voyage across the Pacific; letters from a composer to his friend; a thriller about a murder at a nuclear power plant; a farce about a publisher in a nursing home; a rebellious clone in futuristic Korea; and the tale of a tribe living in post-apocalyptic Hawaii, far in the future."

"Everything is connected" is clearly meant to be a theme in this film. Unfortunately, everything is mostly disconnected. Yes, we have the basic premise of reincarnated people and the different lives they live, but beyond that there is almost nothing connecting these stories aside from theme. There is no brilliant plot element that unites all of these stories into a single larger one in the last 10 minutes, as you might expect or hope. In fact, despite a few sequences of editing that show some rough parallels between the stories, I think you could just as easily enjoy all of these stories one at a time, if the film were edited to play them that way. (In fact, it might be more coherent and enjoyable experience!) As it is, the movie bounces from story to story with no significant payoff for doing so, and only makes it more challenging to follow each story and invest in the characters.

This is a shame because the film employs some all-star talent. Tom Hanks and Halle Berry are at the forefront, and are interesting to watch in all of their scenes. Additional familiar faces abound in every story. It seems only a matter of time before the same handful of actors show up one by one in different make-up and sporting a new accent. Eventually it felt gimmicky, and the novelty of wondering what make-up and accent I would seen an actor in next took me out of the stories.

The cinematic style still has that great, compelling Wachowsky vibe and alternates between cool, beautiful and epic in scope. The visual effects (though looking like visual effects) are very enjoyable and the designs of the future worlds are fascinating.

The music is also a nice touch, and the recurring musical theme the film is named after is haunting and tender.

The make-up jobs, which the film relies on so heavily, are hit or miss. They were good enough in several instances to have me guessing which actor was hiding under the latex, but just as bad in those instances because I could tell some actor was covered in latex. And the odd "asian-ating" of several cast members leaves me wondering if the Asian community will find the prosthetic make-up offensive in its representation of their facial features.

There are some quick flashes of unnecessary nudity and one brief sex-scene in the midst of a narrated montage that frustrated me a bit. I always wonder how female directors feel about this kind of objectification of women and would love to pick Lana Wachowski's brain about these bits. Of course she may have not directed those scenes.

I think there is a lot that the writers and directors want us to ponder during and after watching this movie. The primary influencing philosophy seems to be Hinduism, as reincarnation is a major part of the film's basic premise. There is also a clear theme of desired freedom in most of the stories. Either freedom from obvious social institutions, such as slavery, or freedom from a presumed fate the characters have imposed upon them by "the universe". This lines up with what some unsettled Hindus may feel regarding their "dharma", or the duty they were born into and are intended to fulfill in life.

Cloud Atlas, like American pop-spirituality, rarely commits to or defines a consistent representation of reincarnation, or a specific eastern faith from which it draws inspiration. And although the film is clearly saying some things, it never provides grounding for its values or says anything bold. It has such a strong thematic sense to it, but never commits to a primary message. (A mistake, in my opinion, if your plot and characters aren't holding the movie together.) But this is a classic representation of pop-spirituality: Affirming many ideas, but not committing to any of them. In this way, Cloud Atlas is a great representation of post-modernism and pop-spirituality, brought to life onscreen. But it also steals satisfaction if you're hoping for some answers to your questions or a plot that is ultimately unified.

In the end, this is a movie to watch someday when it won't cost you a dime and you've got three hours to kill. (Yeah, the run time is a hefty 2 hours and 40 minutes) I think it will be forgotten by most (despite how well it reflects popular thinking) and remembered by others mostly as a lengthy, unusual, cinematic curiosity.

Rated R for violence, language, sexuality/nudity and some drug use

Quality: 7.0/10

Relevance: 8.5/10

What do these scores mean?

EDIT: I mistakenly referred to Lana Wachowski as Andy's wife. Andy is married to Alisa Wachaowski, who was not involved in the film to my knowledge. It was brought to my attention that Lana is the new legal name of Larry Wachowski, who has transitioned into living life as a female using the name Lana. 

Thursday, October 25, 2012

In Search Of Truth, Genesis 3:1-7

Last time we looked at these verses from a skeptical angle. This time we'll be looking at them for application to our lives today.

Scripture later indicates that this specific serpent was Satan, the angel who rebelled against God. (Revelation 12:9, 20:2) The first thing he does is subtly manipulate the words of God, overstating God's command. Eve then falls into this pattern as well, adding that God said not to even touch the fruit, when in fact God had only said not to eat it.

One of the most harmful things we can do is alter the words of God and then live by those altered words. It's a little scary how we can spend years living by principles we think are biblical that actually do not reflect the teaching of the Bible. Yet another reason we can be grateful for the grace of Jesus, but also a reason to commit ourselves to better understanding and applying God's words to our lives.

Satan creates a very common doubt in the mind of Eve here. He leads her to consider that God does not have her best interests in mind. Sometimes it may be easy for us to believe that God is all-powerful, all-knowing and eternal, but hard for us to believe that he really loves us and knows what is best for us. Especially in the moment we are presented with a difficult choice.

Eve had likely never considered the possibility that God would command anything less than best for her, but Satan introduces this thought to humanity for the first time, and we've had to battle against it ever since.

Satan also makes something harmful look like something desirable. He tells Eve that if she eats the fruit she will have increased perception and be like God, "knowing" good an evil.

The Hebrew word for "knowing" here can also contain the meaning of "experiential knowledge", rather than purely intellectual understanding. Whether the serpent intended this sense or Eve realized this sense of his words, once Eve decided to disobey God she immediately gained firsthand, experiential knowledge of evil. Much more than she bargained for.

Suddenly, she and Adam knew that same guilt and shame we all feel after doing something we know is wrong. They felt separation from God and insecurity about themselves, as evidenced by their desire to cover themselves up when only moments before they were free of any insecurity regarding their appearance.

This is the nature and cycle of sin. It can be nestled in with some good things, much like this fruit. The fruit itself was not evil. Eve perceived that it was beautiful and would bring her wisdom. These are both good qualities! But God commanded her not to eat this fruit, for specific reasons we may never know.

This is why obedience for obedience's sake is an important skill to develop. There are plenty of times when there is something good or gratifying that we want to do or take part in. In the moment, nearly all we see is the good things about that activity, thought or action. We might see a little of the sin in it too, but in the moment we can't really remember why that sin is so bad or what the repercussions will be. So we doubt that God genuinely has good reasons for his prohibition of something, and just do what we want to. Only later do we realize that, like Adam and Eve, we got a lot more than we bargained for and now we've got a big mess on our hands.

This is when theology becomes vital. If we don't understand, trust, and then REMEMBER that God is perfectly good and knows completely and perfectly what is best for us, we won't trust that what he tells us to do and not do is the best thing for our lives.

Maybe right now there's some money you want to spend that you shouldn't, a movie or a game that looks awesome but has some things you know aren't good for you. I want to encourage you, even as I'm challenged myself by this passage we've looked at, to remember that God is perfectly good. He knows what is best for you. It may not feel good in the moment, but obeying him will result in the best for you both in this life and in eternity.

Next Time- The consequences of sin for humanity

Thursday, October 18, 2012

Out For My Game-A-Thon!

As you may have noticed, I released the podcast a couple of days early this week. That's because I'm heading out on the road tomorrow for my annual game-a-thon with a buddy in California!

We've got a TON of new board games we're going to try out together and if I think of it we may even record a few thoughts about them for the podcast.

Since I'll be driving back on Monday, there will not be a post here again until next Wednesday, but otherwise things will be on their normal schedule next week.

Have a great weekend! I'm pretty sure I will!

-Paeter Frandsen

Wednesday, October 17, 2012

Anatomy Of Fear and Troll Hunter Review (SBU Podcast)

An interview with Christian writing team Chris and Kathy Vander Kaay about their upcoming book "Anatomy Of Fear", and a review of the movie Troll Hunter. Plus a look at Genesis Chapter 3 from the angle of a skeptic.


Submit Questions, Comments or Content(written or audio file) to:
visit to leave a recorded message with your phone or computer for me to play on the show!I'd love for you to be a part of this podcast!
(For more information, visit


For Community, Free Stuff and TONS more, explore the rest of the growing "Spirit Blade" universe at-

The Spirit Blade Underground Podcast is written, recorded and produced by Paeter Frandsen, with additional segments produced by their credited authors.
Copyright 2012, Spirit Blade Productions
Spazzmatica Polka by Kevin MacLeod ( effects provided by: FreqMan

Direct Download-

Troll Hunter (Movie Review)

Review by Ken From Honolulu

Made in 2010

A group of students investigates a series of mysterious bear killings. But they learn there are much more dangerous things going on. They start following a mysterious hunter, but learn he is actually a troll hunter.

 This movie is a Norwegian film and is filmed in Norwegian. It is subtitled so you need to read the movie. There isn’t much dialogue, so it is easy to follow. You have to really watch, though, because there is a lot of visual stuff going on.

This is one of those "found footage" type documentary films, like the Blair Witch Project. Generally I’m not a fan of this type of film, but this one is really good.

Whoever did the casting for the film did a great job. The troll hunter is an older grizzled guy who is not very good looking. He is tired of his job and looks it. The younger people are supposed to be college students and they look it as well.

This movie takes place over several weeks or months. It is supposed to be late winter, early spring, so the landscape is bleak and desolate. It is obviously cold because everyone is wearing heavy coats.
It is also filmed with a blueish gray filter so it gives the film a bleak look.

They do some troll mythology. One of the things about the trolls is that they are very big. The full grown ones are 60 feet tall. The trolls have territories they are supposed to stay in. The government knows about them and has set up fences that look like high power electrical transmission lines. They also do the billy goat gruff type of thing, with the goat on the bridge as bait and the troll under it.

When they leave the area the government calls the troll hunter. If he can’t get them back in he kills them. He uses very bright light, like a sunlight lamp. His truck is covered with them and he carries a hand held one that looks like a shotgun.

This is kind of an anti-christian movie. The troll hunter asks the students if they are Christian. They say no. One of them is and gets killed because the trolls can smell Christians.

The trolls are CG. It is fairly decent. There is no sex or cussing.

The movie is well made and fun to watch. There is a lot to talk about that is in the movie. Such as if being a Christian is a bad thing and being a Muslim is not. Also it presents a new way of thinking about trolls.

Quality 7.5/10

Relevance 6.0/10

What do these scores mean?

Tuesday, October 16, 2012

In Search Of Truth, Genesis 3:1-7 (A Skeptical Approach)

I'm actually going to spend two weeks on this passage, because there are two different angles I felt compelled to approach it from. This week, the angle of approach is that of the skeptic.

I've always got a little skeptic inside of me, constantly bugging me to examine, re-examine and examine again all the things I've come to believe about God and the Bible. My doubts tend to haunt me on a regular basis until I confront them, ask the hard questions and do my research to find answers.

Doubting isn't fun, and I sometimes wish I was like some of the Christians I know who seem content to "just believe" and never ask any questions. But if I didn't have my doubts, I wouldn't confront them. And if I didn't confront them I wouldn't learn and strengthen my faith. And if I didn't learn or strengthen my faith I'd be in no position to share encouragement and truth with anyone else. So with that in mind, I guess I have to be content to doubt now and then.

We're heading into some territory now that is honestly strange-sounding to our modern ears. We've got a talking snake and fruit that changes your perception of reality. Don't these elements scream "myth"? Well yes, but ONLY if you have a predetermined bias against the possibility of the supernatural.

There's no doubt this account contains some things requiring the supernatural. It would be nuts to think this stuff is possible in a "closed system", a completely natural universe. But I don't assume we live in a closed system, because if we rule out the possibility of the supernatural in our investigation of truth, we have already decided what we are going to believe before our investigation has begun.

There is plenty of debate over whether or not Genesis, or at least its early chapters, was considered poetical/symbolic by ancient Hebrews or not. I'm persuaded that Genesis is historical and was understood to be so by its original author and audience, and that the events described in Chapter 3 literally happened as written.

Apologetics on this topic is not a strength of mine, but I'll at least say that a couple of my reasons for confidence in the literal historicity of Genesis include the historical narrative account of the lives of Adam and Eve and their descendents, and the inclusion of Adam as the literal root of later geneologies. (1 Chronicles 1:1, Luke 3:38)

I've not been presented with a good argument for a symbolic interpretation of Genesis that did not have at its core a motivating bias against the possibility of the supernatural. Of course, if you know of one I'm always interested in hearing what others are thinking.

In the meantime, when I look at passages like this and the skeptic in me says, "This is crazy! You really believe this stuff?", I have the same answer. Yes, it does seem pretty wild. But when I cross-reference all the data at my disposal, comparing all the evidence I know of (both for and against the veracity of the Bible) the most reasonable explanation of the total evidence is that the God of the Bible does exist, and now and then he does things that are out and out crazy to think about. When I try to go down the path of believing that Genesis is symbolic and non-historic, the ramifications require me to believe a number of other things that are just plain illogical and even more unlikely in the closed system they promote than the existence of God and a supernatural being of evil that can make himself look like a talking snake.

If you are a skeptic, you're in good company. And if you're interested in learning more about a logical, well-reasoned approach to belief in God and the Bible, one resource I'd recommend is and the Defenders podcast found on that site. Dr. William Lane Craig has a great head on his shoulders and stays on the cutting edge of scientific, theological and historical studies.

Next Time- What does this same passage tell us about sin in our day to day lives?

Monday, October 15, 2012

Soldier (Retro Movie Review)

Review by Ken From Honolulu

Made in 1998
Directed by Paul W.S. Anderson

Kurt Russell as Sgt. Todd
Jason Scott Lee as Cain

After being defeated and left for dead by his genetically engineered replacement, Sgt. for life Todd must save a peaceful community from destruction by the same soldiers.


This movie is an extremely violent film. There is no sex and no real cussing, but it is very bloody and very violent. So if that bothers you don’t bother.

This movie takes place in the distant future. Where the soldiers are soldiers for life. Where the children are raised to be soldiers. The children are taught not to have any emotion. The soldiers are shown in certain situations where they attack towns and villages. It shows them growing older as they go along.

This is great because it shows just because you are older doesn’t mean you are stupid. Because you are older and have more experience you are able to think things out in a more rational way.

Later Sgt. Todd is pitted against Cain in a contest of strength and fighting abilities because Cain is genetically engineered. Jason Scott Lee, who plays the role of Cain, is a very muscular man.

If you don’t like a lot of dialog in your films then this is the movie for you. I don’t think Kurt Russell has more than 10 lines in the whole film. His facial expressions are supposed to do most of the acting for him, and they do to a point. Mostly he just has this blank scowl on his face.

There are several parts in the movie you really have to suspend disbelief. Of course this is a sci-fi movie taking place in outer space. After he is defeated by Cain, Todd is left for dead and dumped into an interplanetary garbage truck. Why would they pressurize the garbage area?

There are a couple of screw ups in the film also. At one point he is fighting the bad soldiers and he comes up out of the water shooting. If you watch the flames behind him you will see they are going down, not up. (The sequence was filmed in reverse.)

All in all it is a good film. It is well filmed and well acted. This is when Kurt Russell was doing his "older tough guy" stuff.

Quality: 8.1/10
Relevance: 8.3/10

What do these scores mean?

In Search Of Truth, Genesis 2:15-25

Doing some catching up today. I realized that, although I've covered this section on the podcast already, I somehow forgot to post it here on the blog that week. So here is the "missing" segment of "In Search Of Truth". Stay tuned for this week's new segment coming soon!

This time we're taking a further look, our last look really, at the human race as it was just before a catastrophic change. In chapter 3 a few simple actions will take place that damage and corrupt humanity to the core, forever changing and redefining the human condition. But to understand that better, it helps to see who we were before that change came about, and what we were meant to be and do. Genesis chapter 2 gives us a few indications of that.


God placed Adam in the garden... to work! Working, producing and caring for resources is part of our intended purpose. We were made to do and accomplish.

Ever wonder why it feels so good to complete a side quest in a video game? I still get a strange excitement over harvesting ingredients and making potions in Skyrim or Kingdoms Of Amalur: Reckoning. Or finding that uber-economic use of my cards in Thunderstone or the Mage Knight board game. And that's because I love being productive and accomplishing!

Many forms of geek entertainment are hints of the world we lost and foreshadows of the world to come, as they point directly to our intended purpose and give us a taste of the believer's destiny.


God is not a cosmic killjoy. We tend to jump to the prohibitive command of verse 17, but we shouldn't miss the gift given in verse 16. To put food in our mouths, we have to do work that is often hard and discouraging. But Adam was given all the food he needed without serving a daily 9 to 5 sentence of labor. None of it was poisonous, or caused allergic reactions. It didn't have to be processed or filtered somehow. It was ready and waiting to be eaten. Adam could give his time to working without frustration or the need for a paycheck hanging over his head, because he already had everything he needed. (Well almost, but we'll get to that.) In chapter 3 we'll see how work becomes a frustrating, difficult grind, as we know it today. But here in chapter 2 it hadn't become that yet.


God doesn't offer many details about the nature of The Tree Of The Knowledge Of Good And Evil. (Satan takes advantage of this later, as we'll see.) He simply says, "don't eat from it, or you'll die." A command and its consequences.

Sometimes, because I enjoy puzzling through the difficult mysteries of the Bible, I forget to be content with ignorance when God chooses not to provide all the answers, and simply accept and obey what God reveals. Now, for those skeptics out there, this isn't the same as saying "check your brain at the door and just have faith". I try to search for answers as far as the available data will take me. But when I run out of data, there are some things I have to be content not knowing. There are some commands that may seem strange that I just need to obey. In the end, God is asking me, and all of us, to trust that he knows, better than anyone, what is best for us.

This trust, which the Bible calls "faith", is the foundation of our relationship with God. The message from God that makes up the entire Bible could arguably be boiled down to "trust me". Trusting God is fundamental to being in relationship with him. And as we'll see, refusing to trust God breaks off that relationship, resulting in death.

God warned Adam that in the day he ate of that tree, he would die. The Hebrew word used for "day" here (the same used for "day" when describing the "days" of creation) is fairly malleable, and can refer to a 24-hour day, a year, a point in time or an undefined span of time. The Hebrews reading this would not have been surprised or confused (after Adam eats of this tree) to see that Adam does not die within 24-hours. This verse could also mean that when Adam eats the fruit of this tree, it will be the start of a new era for mankind. An era of death.


Adam was incomplete. God new it was "not good" for him to be alone. He needed a "helper" to complete him.

It should be noted here that "helper" does not mean or imply "servant". When I ask someone to "help" me carry a heavy box up the stairs, they aren't my servant. They become my partner in the endeavor, as we work together to get the job done. This is the sense meant here.

But before God provides Adam with a partner, he lets Adam examine the animal kingdom, looking at them and classifying them with names. God seems to be doing this to help Adam rule out any kind of animal as his partner. It may seem obvious to most, but we are not meant to have the greatest intamacy (either physical or emotional) with animals.

Instead, God created men to be partnered with women. Humanity started as one being. God separated a part of that being from him to make another, but the two become one again when they are brought back together in intimacy.

Genesis 2:24 Therefore a man shall leave his father and his mother and hold fast to his wife, and they shall become one flesh.

Genesis 2:25 indicates that the human body is not something to inherently be ashamed of. Sexuality is not evil. The Bible never teaches this. Yet today it is right and good that we cover our bodies and share them only with our marriage partners.

I can speculate (though I'd stress the word "speculate") on a few reasons why Adam and Eve were not ashamed of their nakedness at this time. I don't think it was simply because they were alone. I think it was because they had not been corrupted yet by a desire to live life their own way instead of God's way. Humanity was not yet clawing after constant gratification, and so was not subject to lust. Adam and Eve didn't feel the insecure need to impress each other with their bodies.

The absence of sin meant they were removed from the endless, diseased cycle of shallow lust and insecurity that causes us, rightly, to cover our bodies today.

There are certainly more thoughts out there on this topic, and a great place to strike up conversation is on our forums!

Next time: A talking snake? What's so bad about fruit?

Thursday, October 11, 2012

Little Shop Of Horrors Retro Review (SBU Podcast)

A Retro Review of Little Shop Of Horrors, and highlights of the Seeking Truth section of our forums. 

Seeking Truth Forum Topic Links:

What Matters To God-

Jesus Perfect?-

Christianity A Jewish Religion?-

Is Science The Only Source Of Truth?-


Submit Questions, Comments or Content(written or audio file) to:



visit to leave a recorded message with your phone or computer for me to play on the show!I'd love for you to be a part of this podcast!

For Community, Free Stuff and TONS more, explore the rest of the growing "Spirit Blade" universe at-

Direct Download-

Wednesday, October 10, 2012

Little Shop Of Horrors ("Retro" Movie Review)

Long before I ever attempted to combine music and sci-fi storytelling to develop the Spirit Blade Trilogy, I was captivated by the 1986 movie, "Little Shop Of Horrors". Based on the stage musical (which itself was based on a Roger Corman flick), the story is set roughly in the 1950s and centers on Seymour Krelborn (Rick Moranis), an overlooked, under appreciated nerd who has a heart of gold, a spine of jelly and thinks he is completely unlovable. Seymour works at a failing flower shop and secretly pines for his beautiful co-worker, Audrey, the victim of poor self-image (and an abusive boyfriend portrayed sadistically and hilariously by Steve Martin).

Everything changes for Seymour and the flower shop when he discovers a strange plant which attracts numerous customers and business for the store. Soon Seymour is finding amazing success in every area of life because of this plant. The only problem? The plant's unusual diet: Human flesh and blood.

I've never seen the musical this movie is based on. The movie is my only experience of this story, and I fondly remember watching it again and again as a kid. It's been almost 20 years since I last saw this movie, and it was an incredible experience to revisit with the blu-ray director's cut released this week.

I suppose it should be obvious that if you can't stand seeing and hearing people break into song in the middle of a movie, this isn't the flick for you. But you still might consider giving it a try. The experience is very tongue in cheek and makes light of our rose-colored view of the 50's in the same way Edward Scissorhands did. It also does a great job of capturing the feel of a 50's B-movie sci-fi horror flick, both celebrating and making fun of the genre at the same time. (The alternate 20-minute director's cut ending especially plays to the genre, but more on that later.)

When I was younger, I just thought the movie was cool for combining music with science fiction. Watching it now I noticed two things. It was funnier and more moving.

There were several nuances in character performances I completely missed as a boy that made me laugh out loud now as an adult. In a brief cameo, Bill Murray gives one of his funniest performances, and Steve Martin is at the top of his game as well.

Rick Moranis and Ellen Greene both had me welling up with tears as I felt the pain of their neglect and loneliness, and I couldn't wait for them to be together and find the love that life had denied them for so long. I found it odd that I was becoming so emotional over a musical comedy (a genre I actually loathe), but I know I'm a sucker for an underdog story, and this movie is a great one.

The songs are still a lot of fun, and make use of the trappings of 50's music to great effect. The tunes are catchy, fun and even tender and moving when they are supposed to be, even while employing tongue in cheek humor. (The balance between camp and real human drama is a wonderful accomplishment of this film.)

However they missed a great opportunity, in remastering this film for blu-ray, to bring the vocals forward in the mix, or giving them more clarity. More often than not, I can't understand what the Doo Wop girls are singing. The same is true for the chorus members in the song "Skid Row". Ellen Greene (Audrey) also has a tendency to modify her vowels so much while singing that I couldn't understand a number of her lyrics. This also became an issue now and then in her spoken dialogue, as the raspy quality of her voice and slight lack of enunciation caused syllables to be dropped from words or be made unidentifiable.

In 1987, Little Shop Of Horrors was nominated for, but lost the Oscar for best visual effects to James Cameron's "Aliens", but I think it could have easily won the same Oscar most any other year, including the last five years. Why? Because the massive, singing, talking, dancing plant... was real.

I don't mean that the plant was actually alive. But it physically existed in the form of a puppet that moved and behaved more believably then any computerized creation I've ever seen. I'm still stunned at what I saw and how easily it moved, given its size. I figured that people behind curtains were involved somehow, pulling levers or moving sticks. But I found it much easier to give up trying to figure it out and just "believe" that the plant was really a living being.

Frank Oz and company are a group of geniuses, and its amazing how the effects in this movie not only hold up, but outshine the cookie cutter, easily identifiable CGI creatures of today. I'm convinced more than ever that Hollywood should change their focus toward developing better, faster and cheaper animatronic technology, rather than pumping wasted research dollars into trying to make CGI creations behave and move with more realism.

Regarding worthwhile topics for thought or discussion, this movie didn't make me think much while watching it. But it made me feel. I felt a frustrated, burning desire for justice while watching this movie, as I saw both Seymour and Audrey mistreated, abused and overlooked by everyone around them. Under the right circumstances, I think this theme can lead to worthwhile thinking in the aftermath of the emotional reaction it provokes.

The idea of a God of Justice is very unpopular today. But the truth is, we all want a God of Justice. Maybe not one who will give US what we deserve for the wrongs we've done. But one who will give "all those bad people" what THEY deserve. Underdog stories like this one can make us yearn for the wrong things to be made right in life and for those pursuing love and selflessness to be rewarded. That's certainly what I wanted before the movie was finished. And I wasn't disappointed. (At least not with the theatrical ending.)

There is an alternate, 20-minute director's cut ending that has been fully restored and included as a viewable option. If you purchase this movie and have never seen the original stage show, I would highly recommend NOT reading the inserted note from Frank Oz inside the blu-ray packaging, or viewing the director's introduction to the director's cut of the film, as both spoil the alternate ending.

The alternate, darker ending (originally intended by the director) was found to be unsatisfying to test audiences before the movie was released in 1986, resulting in the re-filming of a new ending before releasing the film to theaters. I thought I would prefer the original ending, given my tendency toward dark themes in fiction. However, I found that although interesting and wonderfully produced (involving HUGE special effects sequences that look great most of the time!) it was unsatisfying because it diverts from where the movie naturally seems to be building to until the climax.

This movie is about Seymour and Audrey, and their little story in the confines of a little flower shop. The original ending zooms out to an epic, global scale that seems to come out of nowhere. A huge plus for those interested in an unconventional, unpredictable ending. But although I usually love being thrown for a loop, my emotional investment in the main characters made the alternate ending seem strange. Not too dark or depressing. Just odd and unsatisfying.

This is a classic cult film that people who love sci-fi, horror and the occasional musical should definitely see. Even if you don't like musicals, it's worth stretching yourself to see. It's also a great underdog story that reminds me of our built in desire for justice, and for God to one day make right every wrong.

Rated PG-13 for mature thematic material including comic horror violence, substance abuse, language and sex references

Quality: 9.0/10

Relevance: 6.5/10

What do these scores mean?

Monday, October 8, 2012

In Search Of Truth, Forum Highlights

We're taking a slight detour this week as I take some time off to remodel my office and prepare for Sean Anthony Roberts ("Saolos" in the Spirit Blade Trilogy) to come and record for Spirit Blade 3 this weekend.

But rather than just skip "In Search Of Truth" on the blog and podcast this week, I thought I'd highlight some great truth-seeking conversations we've had on our forums since they launched a couple of years ago.

As followers of Christ, we are meant to grow together in community.

Proverbs 27:17- Iron sharpens iron, and one man sharpens another. 

Hebrews 10:24-25 - And let us consider how to stir up one another to love and good works, not neglecting to meet together, as is the habit of some, but encouraging one another, and all the more as you see the Day drawing near.

The Biblical intention is that we commit to "in-person" communities of believers, although online communities can be a good addition. And our forums strive to be a welcoming, fun place for geeking out, and also for seeking truth and encouraging each other.

One of our forums is dedicated to the search of truth, and forum users drop in now and then to pose a brain teaser or object of curiosity for discussion. Some fascinating and useful conversations have developed. Here are just a few that come to mind as I scan through previous topics:

What Matters To God

Jesus Perfect?

Christianity A Jewish Religion?

Is Science The Only Source Of Truth?


I hope you'll consider becoming a part of our community! We'd love to to geek out, have fun and seek the truth with you!

Thursday, October 4, 2012

Looper Review (SBU Podcast)

A review of the movie Looper, Ben Avery gives us some thought clouds on Silver Surfer, and Ken From Honolulu reviews the Kurt Russel sci-fi classic, Soldier.  Plus, a final look at humanity before the catastrophic event recorded in Genesis that changed everything for us.

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visit to leave a recorded message with your phone or computer for me to play on the show!I'd love for you to be a part of this podcast!

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Wednesday, October 3, 2012

Looper (Movie Review)'s synopsis reads: In 2072, when the mob wants to get rid of someone, the target is sent 30 years into the past, where a hired gun awaits. Someone like Joe, who one day learns the mob wants to 'close the loop' by transporting back Joe's future self.

I don't dare say much more about the plot, because a key part of enjoying this movie is watching the story unfold as new information is revealed. However, I can at least say that the plot is about much more than this basic premise.

Joseph Gordon-Levitt plays the young Joe, while Bruce Willis plays the older Joe from the future. In many movies with this kind of plot device, directors are content to cast actors that look a bit the same and leave it at that. But in Looper, Gordon-Levitt is given an incredible make-up and prosthetic makeover to look, not like a young Bruce Willis necessarily, but like a young version of Bruce Willis as he looks today. Sound confusing? It may not be the only thing that confuses you about this flick.

Maybe confusion is too strong of a word, but the movie certainly made me wonder where it was all headed. Some of this was due to marketing. In trailers, the main plot is presented as "young Joe is supposed to kill his older self, but he doesn't want to and that gets him in trouble with his superiors." But the focus of the plot zooms out from this plot thread and zooms back in on another thread directly related to the first one.

The change in plot focus is gradual, and makes the movie pleasantly unpredictable until the last two minutes. In any case, the story is an interesting one. And though this element of the script "shifting gears" felt like a lack of focus at times, I suspect this same "weakness" of the film will grow on me with future viewings.

And this movie is worth seeing more than once. It has some nice time-travel gags that are almost original ("Frequency" beat this flick to a few of them) and always enjoyable. The performances are also very engaging. Even though this movie has some great action and sci-fi elements, it doesn't rest on those, and casts people who can bring emotion and gravity to their scenes. A welcome change from standard sci-fi movie performances.

The visual effects have a nice feel to them. They are anything but flashy and instead lean toward a more "realistic" approach. Time travelers (and changes brought about in the timeline) simply appear instantly, without any crackling energy or visual warping. This approach grounds the movie nicely, in keeping with the emotional performances.

I wish the film would have made more logical sense regarding the rules of time travel and the changing timeline. Logic is used very selectively and inconsistently when applying change to the timeline in this movie. Of course, this is the case in most time-travel movies, but with the grounded feel of Looper I would have expected the "rules" of time-travel to be more logically consistent here. I think a movie like "The Butterfly Effect" is an example of time-travel being used more logically.

There is some brief, somewhat unfocused "nudity for the sake of nudity" in this film, which contributed to an overall lack of logic, as one character seems to put on her clothes again for no reason other than "our quota for flesh on screen has now been met". It's short-lived, but still both frustrating to me as a man who doesn't want to be tempted and as a story-lover who likes scenes and the actions of characters to make sense.

I think this movie could be a nice bridge into thought or conversation about logic, something vital to any search for truth. Whether deciding what doctor to go to or what God to worship, the use of logic is a vital part of making important decisions. Modern Americans seem to be lacking in our logic skills. Logic seems "boring" or "useless" to us. (This coming not from a self-proclaimed "logic expert", but from a person for whom logical thinking requires sincere effort.) But Looper could be a fun way to learn to apply logic. The movie isn't spoiled by the inconsistent application of time-travel rules, but it can still serve as a brief "logic training exercise" as we pick apart what logically SHOULD have happened when so-and-so changed "A" about the timeline.

Looper is likely not to be what you expect, which may disappoint some and thrill others. It's not a crazy action fest and is even a little slow at times, but engaging even so. It also has some interesting elements to tease your brain and keep it in working order.

Rated R for strong violence, language, some sexuality/nudity and drug content

Quality: 8.5/10

Relevance: 7.0/10

What do these scores mean?

Monday, October 1, 2012

Great Weekend! But Now I'm Sick...

I had a great weekend at the game convention, and a full report will be coming in the weeks ahead. But I came home to a bug of some kind and for now I'm taking the day off.

See you back here, Wednesday!

-Paeter Frandsen