Twilight: Breaking Dawn, Part 1 (I’ll never fully get used to those semi-part names) is, well, an entry in the Twilight series and I’m not surprising anyone by saying it’s not great. It’s silly and boring and too long and weird. I haven’t seen the last part of the series but it didn’t really matter, I had no problem getting into the story, which mostly comes from the fact that there is a minimum of story. Enough people wrote about this movie, too, so I don’t need to get into the whole abortion/pro-life debate, also because I find it somewhat boring. I feel the movie is more ambiguous about it than most angry people say and it fits that it raises question it doesn’t want to answer. Just like its incredibly passive main character Bella, the movie is very good at whatever.
(spoilers ahead, which is only really relevant if you’re under 6, the movie is not that unpredictable)
The Land Before Time is a rather typical animated movie for its time, I’d say. I probably saw it as a kid but rewatched it now because I’m intrigued by children’s movies and the messages they’re sending. This movie is okay, I guess, but so clearly aimed at children, meaning it tries to be cute and soft all the time, with a fair amount of scares to balance it out. There isn’t much for adults here, which in turn means I think it’s not great for kids either. It doesn’t hurt them (depending on how harmful you view its messages), but it also doesn’t challenge them, except for emotional manipulation. It’s not a movie I necessarily would show to my kids.
Read the full post here.
I’m always fascinated (not in a positive way) by school shootings, not so much because of gun control issues (that’s a given, I guess), but because I can’t help but wonder how terrible living in our culture one must feel to decide to kill others. Especially young people. You can’t explain it away with psychological disorders or video games because it happens too often and the perpetrators are too different to allow simple categorization. All of them have one thing in common (and this includes people who have been doing this decades ago), they live in this society, in this culture. The 14-year-old boy who started shooting in the school cafeteria in Washington on Friday is no different. He is different from other shooters and I wonder if that’s a reason that this shooting is not as publicized in the media as others.
Read the full post here.
Comics are of course no exception when it comes to depicting stereotypes, dealing with authority and discussing our society. I have a long list of comics that deal with various topics and now is a good as any to start digging through my archives. And when I say “archives”, it sounds like going way back in time, so let’s do that.
It’s 1941. The world is a simpler place. There are good and evil people. The good people are Americans and its allies. The evil people are Nazis and some of the Asians. Who do we need to fight this fight between good and evil? Of course, it’s the perfect time to create Captain America, the personified patriotism. Joe Simon and Jack Kirby (later joined by Stan Lee) started Captain America Comics in 1941 to fight World War II in the “funny pages.” It’s pure propaganda of course and it might be unfair to judge those old comics nowadays. Culture in general was much more open about its racism and stereotypes and it was more accepted. I would argue that as embarrassing as some of these stereotypes are nowadays, at least there was less pretense. Today a lot of it is still there (okay, not as extreme as here), but it often seems like it isn’t. Anyway, let’s take a look at some examples from the old times.