Posted by: consigliere5 | April 23, 2010

April 23 2010

Political Content in this week’s new movies: The Losers, The Back-Up Plan, Oceans… plus a couple of new dvds: Avatar, and Lord, Save Us From Your Followers… rounded out by some old dvds: Minority Report, Appaloosa, Miami Vice, Collateral, V For Vendetta

1. The Losers (2010) [Rated PG-13 for sequences of intense action and violence, a scene of sensuality and language.]

summary from imdb.com:

After being betrayed and left for dead, members of a CIA black ops team root out those who targeted them for assassination.

starring: Jeffrey Dean Morgan, Zoe Saldana, Chris Evans, Jason Patric

Conservo-Libertarian Reviews:
John P. Hanlon at Big Hollywood
Kyle Smith
Kurt Loder
movieguide.org Christian reviews

Poli-Bits:

from movieguide.org:

Finally, Max’s evil, covert shenanigans shed a bad light on the CIA which that outfit definitely doesn’t deserve (despite its slightly checkered history). In fact, Max’s plot to fake a terrorist attack on U.S. soil is a typical liberal/leftist conspiracy theory. This kind of radical political sensationalism, like all the kooky leftist theories that the Jews or President Bush (not Osama bin Laden and his Muslim henchmen) blew up the World Trade Center on 9/11, is mean, mendacious, unpatriotic, and Anti-American, if not seditious and treasonous.

Happily, however, despite the movie’s depiction of the CIA and Max, the good guys are not wacky leftist pinheads. In fact, they are shown to be heroic, mostly upstanding American soldiers who care about children, family and country.

from Kyle Smith:

Even the superweapons — “snooks”? — are, like the dialogue, silly without being funny. They’re green bombs that delicately implode large areas without pollution. Lots of carbon-emitting life forms wiped out and zero emissions? Maybe Max is an underappreciated Savior.

the character Cougar wears a Che shirt at one point…

2. The Back-Up Plan (2010) [Rated PG-13 for sexual content including references, some crude material and language.]

summary from imdb.com:

A romantic comedy centered on a woman who conceives through artificial insemination, only to meet the man of her dreams on the very same day.

starring: Jennifer Lopez, Alex O’Loughlin, Michaela Watkins, Eric Christian Olsen, Anthony Anderson, Tom Bosley, Linda Lavin, Robert Klein, Cesar Millan

Conservo-Libertarian Reviews:
Carl Kozlowski at Big Hollywood
Christian Toto
Kurt Loder
Parcbench
movieguide.org Christian reviews

Poli-Bits:

from The Vancouver Sun:

As luck, and the screenplay, would have it, that same day she runs into Stan (O’Loughlin, from TV’s Moonlight and The Shield), who is also unaccountably single even though he is handsome, hunky, runs a cheese farm, arranges romantic dinner dates in starlit gardens and dreams of opening a sustainable gourmet food shop featuring only locally grown produce. […] with a new-age approach to motherhood that culminates in a natural childbirth sequence – chanting, drums, the need for a mirror – which will, I expect, play very well to the moms in the audience.

from Kurt Loder:

Jennifer Lopez, at her most appealing here, plays Zoe, the owner of a conscientious Greenwich Village pet shop — not a “puppy mill,” as she disdainfully puts it, but a store that offers up proudly un-bred mutts for adoption. […] Zoe and Stan — whose crunchy vocation is creating artisanal cheeses at an upstate farm — are of course made for each other.

from a blog commenter:

As to why studios would make dreck like “The Back-Up Plan”: Simple. Anything to attack the family, devalue marriage, and glorify the ’60’s hippie “anything goes” ethos.

3. Oceans (2009) [Not Rated]

summary from imdb.com:

An ecological drama/documentary, filmed throughout the globe. Part thriller, part meditation on the vanishing wonders of the sub-aquatic world.

documentary narrated by: Pierce Brosnan

Conservo-Libertarian Reviews:
Kyle Smith
movieguide.org Christian reviews

Poli-Bits: [not playing near me] but here’s what I found in some reviews:

from Kyle Smith:

The movie ends with the usual alarmism about how endangered all of this is by man, and it interrupts its own majesty with some bizarre images, such as a rocket taking off and a Cutty Sark-style sailing ship going by, but these interludes are brief.

from the Boston Phoenix:

Despite the talents of Jacques Perrin and Jacques Cluzaud — the Oscar-nominated duo behind Winged Migration, who once again contribute their amazing, in-the-midst-of photography — the most striking thing about Oceans is its banality. Blame the perfunctory narration by Pierce Brosnan, the superficial science, the random vignettes jumping from dolphins to sea slugs and then to sea lions.

Or blame the requisite preaching to the choir about pollution and overfishing.

from Cole Smithey:

The filmmakers are careful to spend the majority of the film celebrating the dramatic and peaceful rituals of a wide variety of ocean animals, while punctuating the film eloquently and briefly with the enormous problem of plastics and pollution being dumped into the oceans. Most disturbing is satellite footage that shows the dark streams of pollution emanating from American rivers directly into the sea. […] In an effort at improving an essential part of the ocean floor Disneynature is donating a portion of the film’s first week proceeds to save our coral reefs. Without Jacques Cousteau’s lifelong contributions to oceanic exploration, a film like “Oceans” would not be possible. When asked what he saw as the biggest threat to our planet, Jacques Cousteau said, that by far it was our population explosion. America’s population has more than doubled since Cousteau made that statement. If anything, “Oceans” makes us aware that sea creatures are people too.

from movieguide.org:

and there are some strong environmentalist elements showing polar icecaps breaking off in the wake of alleged global warming. If the viewer can see past that, they will find a beautiful, lush view of God’s creation waiting for them here.

NOTE: This is a “Participant Media” production… which means you can expect to be encouraged to help out in the fight for Social Justice!

and, well, what do you know? here’s the “action hub” for Oceans: http://savemyoceans.com/
click here for 10 things that they want you to do…

4. Avatar (2009) [Rated PG-13 for intense epic battle sequences and warfare, sensuality, language and some smoking.]

summary at imdb.com:

A paraplegic marine dispatched to the moon Pandora on a unique mission becomes torn between following his orders and protecting the world he feels is his home.

starring: Sam Worthington, Zoe Saldana, Sigourney Weaver, Stephen Lang, Joel David Moore, Giovanni Ribisi, Michelle Rodriguez, Wes Studi, CCH Pounder

Conservo-Libertarian Reviews:
John Nolte at Big Hollywood
Tim Slagle at Big Hollywood
Carl Kozlowski at Big Hollywood
Leigh Scott at Big Hollywood
Parcbench
Hollywood, STFU.
John Boot at Pajamas Media
Andrew Klavan
Jack Cashill
Sonny Bunch at the Washington Times
Kurt Loder
Rebecca Cusey
Peter Suderman at Reason.com
John Podhoretz at the Weekly Standard
video review: Roger L. Simon and Lionel Chetwynd at PJTV

articles:

Daily Gut: Some ‘Subversive’ Movie Ideas for James Cameron by Greg Gutfeld at Big Hollywood

“AP: Palestinian Protesters Pose as Na’vi From Avatar” at Big Hollywood

“L.A. Times: ‘Brave’ James Cameron Takes on Right-Wing Critics” by John Nolte at Big Hollywood

Doing the Research the ‘L.A. Times’ Won’t: James Cameron’s Own ‘Avatar’ Script Contradicts His Latest Spin by John Nolte at Big Hollywood

‘Avatar’ and Hollywood’s Traitor Obsession by James Hudnall at Big Hollywood

Where Will James Cameron Stand When His Terrorist Chic Eco-Revolution Begins? by Kurt Schlichter at Big Hollywood

James Cameron: ‘Avatar’ is a ‘Tribute’ to Marines — PLUS: What the Sequels Might Look Like by John Nolte at Big Hollywood

‘Avatar’ and the Myth of the Noble ‘Blueskins’: Part One by Dan Gagliasso at Big Hollywood

‘Avatar’ and the Myth of the Noble ‘Blueskins’: Part Two by Dan Gagliasso at Big Hollywood

‘I Believe In Eco-Terrorism’: Does James Cameron Live In a Malibu Mansion? by Pam Meister at Big Hollywood

The Wrap: Cameron Claims Anti-American ‘Avatar’ Isn’t by John Nolte at Big Hollywood

Time to Call Out James Cameron by Kurt Schlichter at Big Hollywood

‘Avatar’ and Boycotts: When the Left Does and Doesn’t Champion Free Speech by Frank DeMartini at Big Hollywood

Why Does Cameron Infantilize Native Peoples By Portraying Them as Helpless? by Kurt Schlichter at Big Hollywood

James Cameron: Marxism For Thee, But Not For Me at Big Hollywood

Avatar: What If Cameron’s Na’Vi Found Christ? at Big Hollywood

Spoilerific Thoughts: ‘Avatar’ is No ‘Dances With Wolves,’ and More… by John Nolte at Big Hollywood

Cameron’s ‘Avatar’ Shows Hollywood How to Trash America and Make a Profit Doing So by John Nolte at Big Hollywood

Easterbrook: ‘Avatar’ Trashes America and the Marines by Big Hollywood

How Disney’s ‘Pocahontas’ Became Avatar by Big Hollywood

Avatar: Film Art as Cultural Suicide by Noel Anenberg at Big Hollywood

Avatar and Shuster’s Shame Culture by Adam Baldwin at Big Hollywood

Joe Klein on Avatar: Americans Are the Bad Guys at Big Hollywood

Paranoid Elements Think Hollywood Has Proactive Agenda by John Nolte at Big Hollywood

Marine Official Slams ‘Avatar’: ‘Disservice to our Corps’ at Big Hollywood

A Veteran Speaks: ‘Avatar’ Demeans Our Military by Jack L. Treese, CWO US Army, Retired at Big Hollywood

Is It OK for Conservatives to Enjoy ‘Avatar’? at Big Hollywood

Obsessive ‘Avatar’ Fans Suicidal and Depressed at Big Hollywood

James Cameron: ‘Like the Redneck NRA Supporters They Are’ by John Nolte at Big Hollywood

‘Avatar’ Contrarian Round Up: ‘The King of the World is Naked’ at Big Hollywood

James Cameron Responds To Right-Wing ‘Avatar’ Critics
‘It’s high-quality left swill,’ writer/director jokes about his movie.

from mtv.com

Poli-Bits:

from John Nolte:

Giovanni Ribisi’s sweaty weasel of a corporate executive never moves beyond that and Col. Quaritch is all ‘roid rage, no humanity and his Big Speech about the necessity of “a pre-emptive attack to fight terror with terror” was as surprising as Cameron‘s use of a military “shock and awe” campaign to level the Na’Vi’s precious “Home Tree” as a tacky metaphor for the 9/11 attacks on the World Trade Center.

Oh yeah, he went there… […]

but it’s always back to the film’s dullest characters: the one-dimensional Na’vi. You would think that with 15 years and a half-billion dollars, Cameron could come up an alien species that doesn’t drip with every Indian and African sacred-cow cliché imaginable. These are creatures who worship the Great Mother Eywa, have a sacred relationship with the earth, shoot bow and arrows, ride horse-like animals, whoop it up in battle, and talk like this: “It has only happened five times since the time of the first songs of our ancestors.”

The Na’vi also apologize to animals after killing but before butchering them. So I guess that’s okay. Maybe if Quaritch had gotten on the loudspeaker and spoken a little mumbo-jumbo before dropping a daisy cutter on Home Tree all would be forgiven.

On top of that, the Na’vi are an awfully stupid species. After years of dealing with the “Sky People,” for some reason they still haven’t figured out that arrows are useless against giant military aircraft. And is it okay to mention how hard it is to keep track of who’s who, because the Na’vi, uhm … all look alike? Twice I was sure Sully’s avatar had been killed. Twice I was disappointed.

Cameron’s brainchild tribe is boringly perfect and insufferably noble … I wanted to wipe them out. […]

Think of “Avatar” as “Death Wish 5” for leftists. A simplistic, revisionist revenge fantasy where if you freakin’ hate the bad guys (America), you’re able to forgive the by-the-numbers predictability of it all and still get off watching them get what they got coming.

from Jeffrey Weiss

So where are the politics? Start with the recapitulation of the invasion of the Americas by Europeans, and the subjugation of the indigenous peoples by outsiders with better technology. Move to the demonization of corporations and profit. Take a few swipes at President Bush 43 by invoking “shock and awe” and “preemptive war” to justify a brutal attack on the Na’vi home.

It’s broad allegory, to be sure. Aimed at having the viewer think about how we want to treat people whose lives, customs and values are different than our own. But allegory is only effective if we can see ourselves in it — if behind the inevitable distortion and artistry there are situations that we can apply to hard choices in our real lives. For all the otherworldliness in Gulliver’s Travels, for instance, Jonathan Swift was careful to embed many details that would have grounded the readers of his day in their everyday world.

Now for the religion. For a lot of the movie, I thought the description of the film as a love note to New Age faith was pretty accurate. The Na’vi claim a link with all living things on Pandora. They have sacred places where they say they feel the deepest connection. When they kill an animal they speak a ritual “prayer” of thanks for the use of the creatures as food.

All of which sounds a lot like a mash-up of American Indian and less specific earth-based faiths we can find around us today. (For another angle, here’s a reviewer in the India-based Hindustan Times who sees Hindu elements in the Na’vi.)

But then Cameron takes another step: It turns out that the Na’vi deity that they call Eywa is real as rocks. Trees, plants and many animals have literal connections to each other, forming synapses in a giant world-mind. A mind that manifests itself at a key point of the plot in a way that leaves no ambiguity about whether “she” is real or not.

Academics will argue about exactly how you define “religion.” But one element is common to every definition I’ve ever seen: faith. A religion requires its adherents to have faith in some aspect of the transcendent that cannot be proven using the material stuff of the ordinary world.

Explaining Eywa is a matter of neurophysics, not theology. So it’s not about religion.

from Martha Bayles:

In another sense, though, “Avatar’’ does introduce a new element: a hard-edged political message that, unlike the indirect and largely symbolic messages of previous blockbusters, is aimed at a specific target – namely, American foreign policy under the Bush administration (and, for some viewers, the Obama administration as well). […]

But Pandora is being invaded by a multigalactic corporation, backed by a heavily armed mercenary force, seeking to extract a valuable mineral called unobtanium (get it?). The hero, a paraplegic ex-Marine named Jake, is recruited to spy on the Na’vi in a hybrid body called an “avatar,’’ remotely controlled by his human brain (don’t ask). Taken up by a lovely female warrior called Neytiri, Jake grows alienated from his mission, and when the mercenaries destroy the sacred Hometree of the Na’vi, he leads Neytiri and her people into spectacular battle against his fellow earthlings. […]

“Avatar’’ does point the finger, and crudely, too. The corporation ravaging Pandora is clearly American, and while the name “Bush’’ is not uttered, the film portrays the mercenaries as culturally obtuse aggressors itching to “fight terror with terror’’ and drop incendiary bombs on the “tree-hugging’’ Na’vi. This is extreme, because however one feels about America’s current wars, neither the Taliban nor Al Qaeda is a tribe of idealized noble savages living in perfect harmony with nature. Further, there is something unseemly about caricaturing American soldiers as mindless goons at a time when they are fighting and dying far from home.

Avatar wasn’t quite far-leftist enough for this person:

Then of course there’s the whole colonial/imperialist fantasy where not only does the white man become the native, but he’s 1) better at being one of them than they are and 2) nessecary to save “the People” because the savages can’t manage it themselves. I dunno, after reading Always Coming Home and other similar pieces in my Linguistics and SF class last year, the attitude toward native cultures (both in terms of the superficiality of it all and the last thing I mentioned) really digusts me. It’s bad SF, lazy writing and it’s just plain offensive.

from Carl Kozlowski:

But worst of all is the fact that the RDA forces dress, look and act like US Marines, and their assaults play out like a greatest-hits collection of America’s worst military atrocities, from napalm-style bombings to driving the Na’vi away in a sequence that resembles depictions of the Native Americans’ Trail of Tears. Col. Quattrich resembles Donald Rumsfeld in both appearance and tone, particularly a ridiculously heavy-handed speech in which he tells his forces of the need for “pre-emptive war” to get what they want, and another character’s statement that the military assault will be “shock and awe.”

SPOILER ALERT: It all adds up to crossing a line that I’ve never experienced in a major American film: drawing the audience to cheer the brutal deaths of Americans who are clearly symbolizing the military. The RDA forces are shot, thrown off their planes, crushed by heavy objects and eaten by Pandora’s flying creatures, as their helicopters are brought crashing down in flames.

Which leads me to wonder who really wrote this overpriced pile of cliches and anti-Americanism – James Cameron or famed radical-left historian Howard Zinn? I’ve defended movies like “Brothers,” which some conservatives branded as anti-troop because it depicts the tragedy of post-traumatic stress disorder on the life of a US soldier and his family, but “Avatar” takes its message into almost outright hatred of our forces while hiding behind the slightest of smokescreens in its bare mention that they’re “mercenaries.”

Call a spade a spade, and call a uniformed fighting force composed entirely of Americans and led by a Colonel the military. Why couldn’t Cameron have left his agenda at home and crafted a non-political story in which Americans could be heroes, as they have been in countless situations anyone can agree on, even assuming Iraq is divisive?

from far-leftist Jeffrey Wells:

The political import of Avatar — and there’s no waving this aspect away because it’s right in your face start to finish, and especially in the third act — is ardently left. It is pro-indigenous native, anti-corporate, anti-imperialist, anti-U.S. Iraq War effort, anti-U.S.-in-Afghanistan (and anti-troop-surge-in-that-country, or strongly against the thinking of President Barack Obama and Gen. Stanley McChrystal), anti-rightie, anti-Bush-Cheney-Rumsfeld, etc.

Yes, it’s very teenaged adolescent in its super-imaginative wacko visions and exuberant energy levels, but politically it’s pure Che Guevara (more the Motorcycle Diaries or Che-in-Cuba version than Che in Bolivia), Naom Chomsky, Hugo Chavez, Howard Zinn, Gore Vidal, Oliver Stone, etc. Cameron is an earth-hugging lefty from way back (the flagrant despise-the-arrogant-rich current in Titanic being but one example) so this should come as no surprise to anyone. I for one am cheered and heartened.

If Sarah Palin sees Avatar and then sits down and actually thinks about what it’s saying (which is always a dicey proposition, I admit), she’ll hate this movie. Because Avatar hates her and her kind. Some righties will pretend to like it (“great popcorn flick! took my kids!”), but they’d have to be in major denial mode not to recognize that Avatar is much more MSNBC than Fox News. It really spits on the Fox News philosophy/worldview. If Cameron had for some inane reason put a Fox News-type character in the film, he/she would end up with a Na’vi arrow through his/her chest, trust me.

Call it the most flamboyant, costliest, grandest left-liberal super-movie anyone’s ever seen — a political tract that cost Rupert Murdoch God knows how many hundreds of millions to make and yet is totally pro-loincloth, pro-native, despise-the-greedy, hug-the-earth, worship-the-earth, down with the soulless short-end, down with the us-first, masters-of-the-universe thinking behind the Goldman Sachs/Timothy Geithner culture and up with the eternal/spiritual in all cultures and all corners of the globe. The tragedy of the Vietnam War echoes all through this film. Somewhere Ho Chi Minh is smiling.

Cameron explains the anti-imperialist current to John Anderson in a forthcoming N.Y. Times Sunday piece: “I’m…a child of the ’60s. There’s a part of me who wants to put a daisy in the end of the gun barrel. I believe in peace through superior firepower, but on the other hand I abhor the abuse of power and creeping imperialism disguised as patriotism. Some of these things you can’t raise without being called unpatriotic, but I think it’s very patriotic to question a system that needs to be corralled, or it becomes Rome.”

Spoiler: I leave it to the community to decide whether there’s a huge 9/11 metaphor in Avatar or not, but I felt one (although politically it makes no sense in the context of the film.) Call it a reverse 9/11 image. I’m not talking about the destruction of a man-made super-structure but a natural one. I’ll leave it at that and wait for reactions.

from Hollywood, STFU.:

In fact, after a decade or two of perspective, I fully expect that this groundbreaking work will be studied in the best film schools, right about the time they are covering Riefenstahl.

Seldom has a film been made which combines cutting edge technology, the highest standards of quality, and a deep, self-indulgent loathing of all things which The Left despises about America. I honestly don’t remember the last time I found myself booing and hissing at a film as the end credits started rolling.

Here’s “Avatar” in a nutshell. America is an evil place which: will not provide healthcare, even for its vets injured in combat; picks fights wherever it’s profitable, even in Chavez’s socialist utopia of Venezuela; has a bloodthirsty merc military which, at the beck of evil corporations, commits business-as-usual horrific atrocities while screaming “Git Sum!”; has no respect for any environment as they “kill their mother”; will take whatever they want whenever they want from whomever they want by any means necessary, the weaker the victim, the better. Let me be clear, this is one deeply hateful and offensive movie. It also happens to be great, which is why I mentioned Riefenstahl. Good job, and congrats, Jim.

If you go to see “Avatar,” be prepared to be amazed, and be prepared to be bombarded with all of the hate and bigotry which Hollywood has to offer. I, for one, will not be seeing this film a second time…

quite a few bits of dialogue featuring Jake Sully being called a moron:

Dr. Grace Augustine: [to Jake, just before he connects to his Avatar] Just relax and let your mind go blank. That shouldn’t be too hard for you.

Jake Sully: Neytiri calls me skxawng. It means “moron.”

[Jake gets down from the ship with a gun. Wainfleet follows]
Dr. Grace Augustine: [to Wainfleet] Stay with the ship. One idiot with a gun is enough.

Neytiri: Don’t thank. You don’t thank for this! This is sad. Very sad only.
Jake Sully: Okay, okay. I’m sorry. Whatever I did, I’m sorry.
Neytiri: All this is your fault. They did not need to die.
Jake Sully: My fault? They attacked me! How am I the bad guy?
Neytiri: Your fault! Your fault.
Jake Sully: Easy. Easy…
Neytiri: You are like a baby. Making noise, don’t know what to do.
Jake Sully: Fine. If you loved your little forest friends… why not let them kill me? What’s the thinking?
Neytiri: Why save you?
Jake Sully: Yeah, why save me?
Neytiri: You have a strong heart. No fear. But stupid! Ignorant like a child!
[Neytiri walks away and Jake follows after her]
Jake Sully: Well, if I’m like a child, then maybe you should teach me.
Neytiri: Sky People can not learn, you do not see.

Moat: It is decided. My daughter will teach you our ways. Learn well, “Jakesully”, and we will see if your insanity can be cured.

5.  Lord, Save Us From Your Followers (2008) [Rated PG-13 for thematic elements and some language.]

summary at imdb.com:

Why is the Gospel of Love Dividing America? Filmmaker and follower Dan Merchant donned his Bumpersticker Man suit and set out across America in this funny and moving look at the collision of faith and culture.

hosted by: Dan Merchant

Conservo-Libertarian Reviews:
movieguide.org Christian reviews

Poli-Bits:

this documentary is all about Social Justice or the “Social gospel”… and not the true Gospel

from Youth Worker:

For all its goodness, Lord, Save Us does have a glaring weakness in this critic’s opinion: Merchant mentions “The Gospel of Love” several times, but he never gets around to sharing what that gospel is. In fact, if one ignorant of the core doctrines of Christianity were to watch this movie, they likely would walk away thinking the gospel is equivalent to doing nice things for others, such as donating to charity (considering Merchant spends much time highlighting the good works of Rick Warren, U2’s Bono and several other philanthropists). The wrath of God against sin, justification by faith, substitutionary atonement, salvation in Christ alone, the reality of hell—none of these topics are touched on or even hinted at in this film.

Also, the final line of the movie could leave some believing Merchant is a universalist. Merchant says at the close of the film, “Sometimes I feel like a river trying to make its way back to the sea. And though the journey is long, I know the sea refuses no river because I belong to the sea, and I believe you do, too.” It almost sounds like he’s saying, “You’re OK no matter what; we’ll all be together with God someday simply because we’re human. What religion you are or aren’t doesn’t matter—blah blah blah—truth is relative.” Just to be clear, I’m fairly positive Merchant does not believe this, so why he would choose to end his movie with this vague quote is baffling.

from The Independent Critic:

While it might be tempting to assume that Merchant would come down hard on the non-Christians, the opposite actually happens as Merchant repeatedly points out how Christianity is often devoid of Jesus’s core teachings and values.

At one point early in the film, Merchant heads to the street to ask people what they think of when they think of Christians…the answers are, at times, refreshing. Often, they are rather appalling as words such as “Crusades,” “theatrics,” “snobby,” “killing off non-Christians” and others are spoken.

from movieguide.org:

Merchant opens his movie by saying, as child, he was a strong, charismatic Christian but rejected some of his Christian upbringing when he realized that the apocalyptic scenarios of Hal Lindsay and other pre-trib theologians were not coming true. This disappointment with the false doctrines of some pre-millennialists made Dan a cynic regarding Christians.

He follows this introduction with an interview with Tony Campolo, who quotes Augustine, “The Church is a whore but she’s my mother.” Then, for a long period of time, he reviles evangelicals for taking moral stands on issues such as abortion and homosexuality.

Merchant finally ends up in a confession booth at a homosexual fair where he apologizes to homosexuals for how horribly the Church has treated them, then apologizes for all the alleged sins of the Church as well as his own sins. […] as he talks to a slew of liberals from George Clooney to Al Franken, who contend that Christians are unloving.

from C.W. Ross:

The movie also uses their own version of the popular game show “Family Feud” that they call “Culture War,” that first pits the ‘Christian Conservatives’ against the ‘Liberal Media Elite’ and the ‘Young Believers’, against the ‘Agnostic Scholars.’ The game showed that while the non-Christians were very in touch with issues related to today’s culture the Christians were completely out of touch.

from CrossWalk:

The film points out a major contributor to this cultural conflagration—the Church. Merchant compares the body of Christ to a Frankenstein-like monster. An institution started by Christ for good purposes, the Church is now going awry and frightening unbelievers.

6. Minority Report (2002) [Rated PG-13 for violence, brief language, some sexuality and drug content.]

summary from imdb.com:

In the future, criminals are caught before the crimes they commit, but one of the officers in the special unit is accused of one such crime and sets out to prove his innocence.

starring: Tom Cruise, Samantha Morton, Colin Farrell, Max von Sydow, Kathryn Morris, Tim Blake Nelson, Klea Scott, Neal McDonough, Steve Harris, Anna Maria Horsford, Joel Gretsch, Mike Binder, Arye Gross, Peter Stormare, William Mapother

Conservo-Libertarian Reviews:
James Bowman

Poli-Bits:

from spiritualityandpractice.com:

Americans are a fearful people. Years ago, residents of big cities were frightened to walk the streets at night because of rampant crime and drive-by shootings. Since 9/11, the public is reeling from fear of terrorism. People in all parts of the country report having panic attacks, sleepless nights, and dreams of death. The old amenities toward strangers have vanished. We are distrustful of people we don’t know, and even of some we know. God forbid, but what if that person is a terrorist? The media fuels this paranoia with constant warnings of likely targets and plausible weapons. The fact that most of the threats cannot be confirmed and few arrests of suspects since September 11 have stuck does not diminish the warnings’ power to scare the living daylights out of us.

In this post-9/11 world, we have settled into the house of fear. The results: The public seems willing to accept any policy that promises greater security and safety. Americans are handing over to those in power permission to spy on people, abrogate their human rights, and even to consider a military first-strike against suspected terrorist nations. Fear is one of the most effective tools in the hands of those who want to control us.

In a time when fear has taken on apocalyptic dimensions, the release of Steven Spielberg’s Minority Report arrives like a blessing. Scott Frank and Jon Cohen have adapted the screenplay from a story by Philip K. Dick (Blade Runner). This science fiction drama takes place 50 some years from now in Washington, D.C. The citizens have become convinced that “that which keeps us safe also keeps us free.” Sound familiar?

The best sci-fi tales have always been an early warning system of the dangers inherent in present-day values, public policies, technological developments, and societal trends. This one enables us to witness the possible consequences of our fear-based way of living where we are willing to sacrifice our freedoms for a pipe dream of safety and security. At the core of this powerful and profound movie is the all-important question: What are we prepared to give up in order to have a crime-free society? […]

Although Spielberg’s A.I. Artificial Intelligence was a substantive sci-fi thriller, this one is even more poignant and powerful on a visceral level because of its relevance to the current reign of fear in America. It is interesting to watch how the citizens open themselves up not only to the surveillance cameras and mobile robotic spiders that take eyeball prints but also to the corporations and stores who use talking billboards to customize messages to consumers. Even more interesting is watching the maneuvers of those in power who can’t allow any questioning of the system. You can’t help but wonder how much of this is also a projection of the present into the future…

from Slate.com:

The year is 2054, and in and around Washington, D.C., murder has been eliminated by a private corporation with governmentlike powers of detention. The company, Precrime, has developed technology to tap into the minds of “Pre-Cogs,” psychic humans who float in a sort of sacred amniotic pool, their synapses wired to video terminals. What they visualize, and what shows up on screens in the company’s control room, are not “thought crimes” but crimes that definitely will be committed. Sounds invasive, no? […]

I must admit that I find elements of this future attractive—and so, according to Minority Report, does the populace of 2054. A political advertisement for Precrime is stunningly effective: It shows people who would have been murder victims expressing gratitude for their lives. As the movie begins, Precrime is on the verge of a referendum that would make its policies the law of the United States, and a smirky Justice Department honcho called Witwer (Colin Farrell) has arrived to scrutinize the company’s inner workings—to ensure that the data that sends would-be culprits into suspended animation for the rest of their lives is reliable. The movie presents us with a classic totalitarian trade-off, upgraded by technology and the paranormal: Would you surrender a slew of civil liberties for a world without crime? Assuming that the right people were always jailed for the right reasons, I’d think about it long and hard.

dialogue:

commercial narrator: Imagine a world without murder.

various voices: I lost my best friend. I lost my aunt. I lost my dad. My father. I lost my wife.

narrator: Just six years ago, the homicide rate in this country had reached epidemic proportions. It seemed that only a miracle could stop the bloodshed. But instead of one miracle, we were given three– the Precognitives. Within just one month under the Precrime program, the murder rate in the District of Columbia was reduced 90 percent.

various voices: They were gonna be waiting for me in the car. He was gonna rape me. I was going to be stabbed. Right here.

narrator: Within a year, Precrime effectively stopped murder in our nation’s capital.

Lamar Burgess, Director of Precrime: In the six years we’ve been conducting our little experiment, there hasn’t been a single murder.

narrator: And now Precrime can work for you.

Vincent Nash, U.S. Attorney General: We want to make absolutely certain that every American can bank on the utter infallibility of this system. And to ensure that which keeps us safe will also keep us free.

various voices: Precrime? It works. It works. It works. It works. It works. It works.

shouting children: Precrime! It works!

narrator: On Tuesday, April 22, vote “yes” on the National Precrime Initiative.

Iris: I can’t help you. No one can. The Precogs are never wrong. But, occasionally, they do disagree.

Anderton: What?

Iris: Most of the time, all three Precognitives will see an event in the same way. But once in a while, one of them will see things differently than the other two.

Anderton: […] why didn’t I know about this?

Iris: Because these Minority Reports are destroyed the instant they occur.

Anderton: Why?

Iris: Obviously, for Precrime to function, there can’t be any suggestion of fallibility. After all, who wants a Justice system that instills doubt? It may be reasonable, but it’s still doubt.

Anderton: You’re saying that I’ve halo’d innocent people?

Iris: I’m saying that every so often those accused of a precrime might, just might, have an alternate future.

Fletcher: Alright, here’s where we’re at. Three men in a room. The victim is here. John is here, and this unidentified male out the window. Now, the adjacent building suggests public housing, but I can’t make out the location. which means…

Witwer: There’s thousands of units like this one.

Fletcher: They’re everywhere.

Witwer: I’m sure you all understand the legalistic drawback to precrime methodology.

Knott: Here we go again…

Witwer: Look, I’m not with the ACLU on this Jeff. But let’s not kid ourselves, we are arresting individuals who’ve broken no law.

Jad: But they will.

Fletcher: The commission of the crime itself is absolute metaphysics. The Precogs see the future. And they’re never wrong.

Witwer: But it’s not the future if you stop it. Isn’t that a fundamental paradox?

Anderton: Yes, it is.

7. Appaloosa (2008) [Rated R for some violence and language.]

summary from imdb.com:

Two friends hired to police a small town that is suffering under the rule of a rancher find their job complicated by the arrival of a young widow.

directed by: Ed Harris

starring: Ed Harris, Viggo Mortensen, Renee Zellweger, Jeremy Irons, Timothy Spall, James Gammon, Lance Henriksen

Conservo-Libertarian Reviews:
Kyle Smith

Poli-Bits: nothing in the movie bothered me, but Kyle Smith writes:

Ed Harris plays a new marshall in town in 1882 who, together with his loyal deputy (Viggo Mortensen) tells the town elders that he is going to need Draconian new security laws in order to defeat the villain, Bragg, who cold-bloodedly murdered the previous marshall.

My interest was piqued: Was this to be a War on Terror allegory, with the outspoken liberal Harris as a hero who functions as a stand-in for President Bush? That could be interesting. “That’s the law,” says the marshall. “Your law?” he is asked. “Same thing,” he replies.

But the parallel doesn’t go anywhere. The idea of a security clampdown is dropped and the marshall becomes indistinguishable from many another movie lawman.

from the Village Voice:

Appaloosa has the shifting boundaries of friendship and love on its mind, but this isn’t a movie likely to raise comparisons to the tortured revisionism of Unforgiven, or even to last year’s hyperactive shoot-’em-up, 3:10 to Yuma—and that’s surely fine by Harris. He and his collaborators are playing it straight with a timeless male fantasy—horse, hat, six-shooter—a traditional approach that will please moviegoers like my dad and yours: men who walked out of No Country for Old Men puzzled, feeling like they’d been cheated out of a climactic gun battle between lawman and villain.

8. Miami Vice (2006) [Rated R for strong violence, language and some sexual content.]

summary from imdb.com:

Based on the 1980’s TV action/drama, this update focuses on vice detectives Crockett and Tubbs as their respective personal and professional lives become dangerously intertwined.

starring: Colin Farrell, Jamie Foxx, Li Gong, Naomie Harris, Ciaran Hinds, Justin Theroux, Barry Shabaka Henley, Eddie Marsan, Isaach De Bankole, Oleg Taktarov

Conservo-Libertarian Reviews:
Peter Suderman at National Review
Kurt Loder
movieguide.org Christian reviews

Poli-Bits:

dialogue:

Fujima: yeah, deal goes down another time, another place…

Crockett: So, what? No HRT weapons team out there?

Fujima: That’s right.

Crockett: Columbians? Russians?

Fujima: White supremacists […]

Crockett: Aryan Brotherhood? Mongols? Nazi Low Riders? what?

Fujima: We think Aryan Brotherhood, but we don’t know for sure…

He’s AUC, y’know… Columbian right-wing paramilitaries…

Tubbs: this is the type of stuff the CIA does… in Baghdad…

Crockett: what’s it doing on a dope deal?

9. Collateral (2004) [Rated R for violence and language.]

summary from imdb.com:

A cab driver finds himself the hostage of an engaging contract killer as he makes his rounds from hit to hit during one night in LA. He must find a way to save both himself and one last victim.

starring: Jamie Foxx, Tom Cruise, Jada Pinkett Smith, Mark Ruffalo, Peter Berg, Bruce McGill, Irma P. Hall, Barry Shabaka Henley, Richard T. Jones, Klea Scott, Javier Bardem, Debi Mazar, Jason Statham

Conservo-Libertarian Reviews:
movieguide.org Christian reviews

Poli-Bits:

dialogue:

Max: you just met him once, and you kill him like that?

Vincent: what, I should only kill people after I get to know them?

Max: no, man…

Vincent: Max, six billion people on the planet, you’re getting bent out of shape because of one fat guy…

Max: well, who was he?

Vincent: what do you care? Have you ever heard of Rwanda?

Max: yes, I know Rwanda…

Vincent: tens of thousands killed before sundown… nobody’s killed people that fast since Nagasaki and Hiroshma… Did you bat an eye, Max?

Max: What?

Vincent: Did you join Amnesty International, Oxfam, Save the whale, Greenpeace or something? No. I off one fat Angelino, and you throw a hissy fit…

10. V For Vendetta (2005) [Rated R for strong violence and some language]

summary from imdb.com:

The futuristic tale unfolds in a Great Britain that’s a fascist state. A freedom fighter known as V uses terrorist tactics to fight the oppressive society. He rescues a young woman from the secret police, and she becomes his unlikely ally.

starring: Hugo Weaving, Natalie Portman, John Hurt, Stephen Fry, Stephen Rea

Conservo-Libertarian Reviews:
Megan Basham at TownHall.com
Ace at Ace of Spades HQ
a commenter at Ace of Spades HQ
Kurt Loder
Michael Karounos at ChristianAnswers.net
Peter Suderman at the National Review

Poli-Bits:

from Peter Suderman:

Unsurprisingly, the film’s backstory has been rigged to promote a slew of contemporary causes. Vendetta takes place in a futuristic, totalitarian Britain where, after the implosion of the U.S. and a series of bioterror attacks on major British targets, a fascist regime with theocratic overtones rules in malevolent, dictatorial style. In this future, the British Conservative Party, led by the bombastic High Chancellor Sutler (John Hurt), has sprouted a pronounced authoritarian streak. Not wanting to depart from the long history of dystopian fascist states in 1984, Brave New World, and Fahrenheit 451, they roll out the greatest hits of futuristic fascism: revoking privacy rights, banning most art, restricting homosexual activity, disseminating lies and propaganda through the media, and generally treating the citizenry with total disdain—all in the name of God and country. […]

The Wachowskis take every opportunity to stroke their pet issues. Government sponsored homosexual discrimination figures heavily in the film, but for all the time devoted to the subject, it provides very little significant plot movement. It’s strongly hinted that America’s downfall was caused by its military presence in Iraq. The British government uses a color-coded curfew system as a method of keeping the citizenry in check. None of these elements does much for the central mystery, but they inject themselves into the proceedings with annoying regularity.

The film seems to have a special disdain for religion, portraying the British state as a sneering den of religious hypocrisy. A government puppet figure blasts the U.S. for being “godless,” blaming America’s downfall on “God’s judgment.” In one totally outrageous moment, a priest tries to rape a young girl. In cased anyone missed the point that religious belief is just a tool for manipulation, the government continually preaches “Strength through unity, unity through faith.” […]

On the subject of terrorism, the confusion reaches almost frenzied levels. Governments that attack their own people are bad, of course, but the proper response to it is apparently to—surprise—attack one’s own people. “Blowing up a building can change the world,” V says, and somehow we’re supposed to sympathize with him when he wants to use London’s subway system to blow up prominent buildings.

It would be one thing if the Wachowskis had constructed their narrative in a way that allowed organic integration of these issues. Instead, they seem to have poorly retrofitted Moore’s original story, ripping out sizable chunks of his plot to make room for their pretentious gabbing. Particularly noticeable are the changes made to Chancellor Sutler. In the movie, he’s a fire-breathing Hitler caricature, the sort of Saturday-morning cartoon villain you expect to see shaking his fist and yelling, “I’ll get you next time…” Moore’s graphic novel made him an honest believer in the necessity of fascist rule to preserve his beloved country—a far more compelling, complex enemy. Changes like this abound, and they are telling: V for Vendetta may be the first movie to come off more one-dimensional and cartoonish than a comic book.

from ChristianAnswers.net:

The movie also repeats the cross motif that each of the other movies uses to denigrate Christianity. The particular cross in “V” is what is called a papal or archiepiscopal cross, with two transoms of uneven length. It serves as an ever-present red symbol of oppression and decorates the backdrop of a viewing platform before which goose-stepping troops march in American-style desert camouflage. This association of Christianity with an oppressive military has become a common motif in Hollywood productions, more recently in “Ultraviolet”. […]

The movie is preachy to say the least, and harps on three major themes and one minor one: 1) the evil of America; 2) the government control of media; 3) the evil of Christianity; and 4) the innocence of Islam. These themes are portrayed so frequently in American films that it’s become necessary to rebut them as a counter to V’s assertion that “Art is fiction that tells the truth.” This is the movie’s transparent attempt to claim authenticity for its own fictions.

The first fiction portrays the United States as an evil society, racked by civl war; suffering from riots over medicine shortages; and as the source of the deadly virus that conservatives in England used to kill 80,000 of their own people.

What is remarkable about such Leftist fantasies about the presumed guilt of the United States is that all of those evils are in existence today and employed by regimes which were enemies of the United States, such as Sadaam Hussein’s Iraq. Just this past week, a Russian Communist accused the U.S. of inventing the avian flu (Center for Disease Information). Yet, reality is found in the disturbing revelation of the viral weapon the Communists in the Soviet Union developed (Technology Review).

The second fiction of the movie is that of a government-controlled (or supported) media which brainwashes its populace. In reality, this is true only of oppressive regimes and socialist societies like England where the media is, in fact, already Leftist. In the United States, we have a freedom of speech that is so wide-ranging in its liberties that it permits our media to print blatant forgeries libeling our President. Although Dan Rather was fired for publishing propaganda just before a national election, he can take comfort in the fact that he got a nice severance package and was tortured only by his attempts at explanation.

Thirdly, it is difficult for Christians to take seriously the hysterical fictions of Christian totalitarianism by those on the Left who make movies like this and contribute to organizations like Moveon.org or the Democratic Underground. The only totalitarianisms we have known in the modern era are either secular or Islamic, precisely the ones that the United States is trying to protect the world from. It is not Christians who blow up buildings, chop people’s heads off, or issue rewards for the death of Danish cartoonists. This is another case of wishful and perverted projection on the part of the Left. The movie further portrays the Anglican bishop as a pervert who preys on young girls and who has made a fortune from drug company graft.

Lastly, the fiction of Islam as a religion of peace is directly or indirectly referenced twice in the movie. The first is with the suggestion: “What if the worst attack was not the work of religious extremists?” This echoes the fever-swamp accusations by those Americans who think our own government was responsible for 9/11 and not Islamic terrorists. The second reference to Islam is when a TV entertainer is arrested and executed for having a Koran in his possession.

In no Christian land across the world is it a crime to have a Koran or even to preach death to Christians from it, as the imams regularly do in England, Italy, Germany, and the prisons of New York ( Newsday article). In fact, in Muslim Saudi Arabia the persecution of Christians is well-documented, as when two Philippino Christians were arrested, tortured, and deported in 2002 for privately practicing their faith. There are many such instances documented at The Voice of the Martyrs Web site or at Christian Persecution.

The movie further shows the pseudo-Christian regime arresting, torturing, and killing lesbian and gay couples. But in the real world, it is Muslims like the Grand Ayatollah Ali Al-Sistani of Iraq who say that “gays should be killed in the worst possible way” (Web reference). By no means are such Muslim comments limited to him, nor are they necessarily meant maliciously. It is simply what Islam teaches.

I saw “V for Vendetta” with nine Christian college students and was struck by their immunity to issues which I found offensive. I believe the reason for their neutral response is because our media have done a thorough job of tainting Christianity and exonerating Islam. While Hollywood is busy making movies about the fictional evils of Christianity, it is just as busy ignoring the real evils of Islam to gays, women, and Christians.

What is important for Christian viewers to remember is that movies are not just entertainment; they are ideological statements. And when movies persistently portray our country and our faith as evil, even skeptical believers who think that Hollywood is too shallow or too objective (!) to make anti-Christian movies should sit up and take notice.

What distinguishes Christianity from all other belief systems is the overwhelming message of grace, forgiveness, and redemption that we have through Jesus Christ. It is a mystery that this is so; it seems fantastic and a stumbling-block to non-belevers that it is so; but we live in a remarkable time when even the co-founder of string theory, Michio Kaku, can say in his new book, Parallel Worlds, that the universe is ordered according to a still-unknown theorem and that where there’s a theorem there must also be a Creator of that theorem. We live in a world of true and false statements, of good and evil deeds, and we must learn how to distinguish one from the other by the fruits of their practitioners.

“V for Vendetta” is a political speech disguised as a movie, but it affirms nothing positive, spending its time engaging in juvenile fantasies about the thrills of anarchism and the evils of Christianized regimes. […]

…it is even better to understand that 400 years later it is neither Catholics nor Protestants who are a threat to our country. Rather, it is a union of leftist secularists and Islamic jihadists who have joined together to attack the values of our faith and the security of our nation through precisely the kind of propaganda and violence that V advocates.

“V for Vendetta” producer Joel Silver clings to the old canard that “One man’s terrorist is another man’s freedom fighter” in defending the anarchy in this movie. For these people, there is no difference between real Muslim terrorists and fictional Christian ones; between real totalitarianisms of the left and Christian ones. For them, it’s all one, and it’s all true so long as the truth is in the eye of the individual beholder.

While the English remember the 5th of November, let us in the U.S. never forget the 11th of September.

from Ace at Ace of Spades HQ:

Let’s cut to the chase. Even ignoring all the brain-dead ham-handed sledgehammer-subtle political text-messaging in the film — white male Christian conservatives are just plain evil, gays are lumious beings strong with the force whom the Sith want to eradicate, terrorism is often justified, but there is actually no external terrorist threat at all, as the government did it all […]

Moving on to the poltical criticisms:

This movie’s politics aren’t as odious as I’d been lead to believe. They’re far, far worse.

V says of destroying a building (as best I can remember): “A building is just a symbol. So is the act of destroying it. Without people to witness it, the symbol has no power. But if enough people see it, blowing up a building can change the world.”

Osama bin Ladin just couldn’t agree more!

The ham-handed leftist politics are just everywhere. One minor character, played by Steven Fry, you know little about. When Evey shows up seeking his aid, there is a moment’s curiosity — will he just turn her into the authorities, who will kill anyone who gives her shelter? But at the very moment he reveals he’s a homosexual, all such doubts vanish. In this sort of movie, if you’re gay, you’re good. And of course he is good — very good indeed. He’s so good that he has a secret room where he stores objects and paintings and books censored by the state — incluing a poster reading “Coalition of the Willing — To Power” (joining together Bush’s “Coaltion of the Willing” and Hitler’s Will To Power, of course), and — get this — a KORAN! Because the Koran has now been banned by the government, and all Muslims, presumably, rounded up into concentration camps. […]

Homosexuals and Muslims have been rounded up, but no Jews, apparently. Probably because the film didn’t want to give these bastard Zionists the coveted status of victim. So we are to guess that Jews are full collaborationists with the fascist regime.

The fascists seized power after terrorists (presumably Muslim; not sure if the film makes that explicit, but it’s definitely suggested) release a deadly plague and kill 100,000 people in England alone. (America is far more devastated; apparently it’s in a state of civil war.) But the Big Secret in the movie is the fascists released the plague themselves, then put the blame on poor innocent Muslims, in order to grab power.

So, the film feeds into 9/11 conspiracy theories that the Twin Towers were destroyed by the US Government itself.

Further, the fascist stay in power by spreading fear through the television, showing fictitious threats from terrorists, subversive undesirables rioting, the Avian flu (! — hey, that’s happening now, right?), etc. Suggesting, of course, that the Michael Moore “fictitious threat”/”fear keeps them in power” claim is accurate.

Displaying riots in the US, a shot shows an anti-Bush poster. But the film is set in 2020 or so — suggesting that perhaps Bush has remained in power by cancelling democratic elections and appointing himself President for life.

And on, and on, and on. Evey’s parents are good, we know, because the father was a writer (an artist!) and the mother was, presumably, a school teacher or social worker. Both were of course political activists, so Evey grew up right.

The complaint isn’t that one can’t feature writers or activists as heroes; it’s just that this film is so by-the-numbers and obvious in its effort to flatter every single interest group in the leftist coalition.

And if every lefty interest group gets flattered, so every lefty enemy gets insulted. The radio talk show host is a racist, homophobic jingoistic fearmonger. The bishop is of course a pedophile — a heterosexual one, because, as we know, gays never do anything bad. The head cop is brutal and stupid. The soldiers are all willing to fire on a crowd of unarmed civillian protestors without much compunction about doing so. And etc.

V for Vendetta is a revenge play, all right — it’s a fantasy vengeance of every leftist loser who dreams of slitting the throats of those who “oppress” him.

from filmsy.com:

The movie remains true to the book only by its plot progression, not by its inherent insinuations. The fascist government of the novel is based on Nazi Germany. The fascist government of this film is obviously based on the typifications of the Bush administration and neo-conservatism in general, thus flipping the original “Anarchy versus Fascism” motif into that of “Liberalism (Good) versus Conservatism (Evil).” The Koran is mentioned as being appreciated for its “beauty” and later on as being the possession which warranted a character’s death, thus insinuating that this is a fascist government based on a demonized view of Christian fundamentalism. Homosexuality is also depicted in this film as something beautiful and condemned by the government as being a sure ticket to the concentration camps. The problem with the shift from the fascism of the Nazi party to the slippery-slope fascism that some see in conservatism is that the Nazis detained and executed homosexuals not due to the morality of gays but because the nature of homosexuality interfered with the plan for racial purity and the propagation of the Aryan ideal. The shift from racial ideology to fundamentalist ideology gives the film a definite anti-Christian spin and implies that to not accept homosexuality, even on a moral basis, automatically puts you on the side of the concentration camp scientists.

The novel’s government, Norsefire (an allusion to the Nazi’s attachment to Norse mythology), is a full-blown fascist regime replaced here with the laughable typification of how liberals currently view the Bush administration. The black hoods over prisoners, the mentions of wire-tappings, the allegations that the government was responsible for terrorist attacks on its ownpeople , and the consistent screaming and shouting of the head chancellor are all vicious and ham-fisted mockeries of the Bush administration. Every character has an articulate voice and a chance to develop except the fascists: they’re not even characters, they’re stereotypes. Not that fascists should be given the moral equivalence of our protagonists, but you still want to establish character perspective (even with villains).

The supposed “uncompromising vision of the future” that the tagline suggests is more like “the slippery-slope, liberal-conspiracy-loving-theory-of-the-future” that the uninformed college student would write about in his angst-soaked, teary essay to a board of college professors who would hail his essay (and the other 3 million essays by “oppressed” college students across the nation) as the equivalent of the proverbial finger against the wicked and mean conservative government. When you unveil this film for what it is, it’s nothing more than a person fighting shadows.

from Megan Basham:

I have seen the terrorist, and he is me. And you. And all of us. So says Evey (Natalie Portman), an acolyte of V (Hugh Weaving), the swashbuckling savior of future England who disguises himself as Guy Fawkes.

But don’t worry, because being a terrorist is now a good thing. As we’ve been told by the media, one man’s terrorist is another man’s freedom fighter…or masked superhero as the case may be.

In fact, according to The New York Daily News’ critic, Jaimi Bernard, even the term “suicide bombing” is now relative. “One person’s idea of social liberation through symbolic fireworks is another person’s suicide bombing,” she insists in her review of V for Vendetta.

So even though V threatens to detonate a load of explosives strapped to his chest, killing dozens of innocent people at the BBC (oh, excuse me, BFC) if they don’t give him air-time, just think of him as Batman — a little overly-dramatic and conflicted perhaps, but also sexy and an undeniable force for good.

I can see him this way because of all the Wachowski Brothers have taught me. My eyes have been opened, and I am no longer an automaton of the Right-wing religious-military-industrial complex.

Thanks to this “parable about terrorism and totalitarianism” (Roger Ebert) I have been “prodded to think” (The San Francisco Chronicle). And I now think that the Bush administration blew up the twin towers and tried to blow up two other U.S. targets on 9/11 in order to scare Americans into giving them more power. I think that conservatives hate art, literature, and music—especially jazz music—and want to lock it all away because, well, they’re just mean like that.

I think that Catholics are in league with Republicans, and that together it is they, and not radical Islamists, who would like to exterminate all homosexuals and execute anyone that produces material critical of the Church-State. I think it is Christians who persecute people for reading the Koran and not Muslims who persecute people for reading the Bible.

I think that the West’s military personnel are the ones who place hoods over innocent people’s heads then mercilessly torture and kill them, and that broadcasts of Islamo-fascists doing so are so much laughable propaganda.

But most of all, in true V style, I think that documents, like buildings, are only symbols, and that burning them can change the world. Therefore, I propose that we storm the National Archives and torch the Constitution—the document responsible for unleashing the Great Evil that is America.

After all, that’s what the Wachowskis want, isn’t it? When [spoiler alert] the English masses gather and cheer as Parliament, that British symbol of representative government burns, aren’t we too supposed to cheer? Aren’t we supposed to want to run out of theater ready to don our Osama Bin Laden masks, ready to confront the world’s biggest terrorist mastermind on the White House lawn?

Oh, but wait, the movie is “dystopian” and therefore has nothing to do with current events. The “yellow-alerts” the vile dictator employs are a coincidence. The campy television show in which vaudevillian Al Qaeda operatives torture busty blondes, suggesting that the threat of terror is as fictional as it is ridiculous, means nothing. The balding talk show host with a pill-popping problem isn’t intended to smear a real person.

And the fact that the script takes glee in constantly referring to the “former United States of America” and “their war” that left them “the world’s leper colony?” Umm, okay, that’s a little hard to explain…let’s just call that comic justice.

I could go into more detail, but really, there is no point. The fact the film’s release had to be postponed when V’s final heroic act of loading explosives onto a subway car in the London underground proved too realistic illustrates how in-sync the Wachowski’s are with actual terrorists. Forget not being worth the price of admission, this ode to Al Zarqawi and his ilk certainly wasn’t worth the price of pretty Miss Portman’s flowing mane of chestnut hair.

But the worst part of Vendetta isn’t the anti-Bush/anti-Blair agenda it pushes so feverishly. It’s the legions of film critics who have lavished that agenda with praise.

To be fair, some admirers claim that it’s only entertainment: “If you find a way to apply it to George Bush or Tony Blair, it’s only because the film’s themes are so universal.” (Cinema Blend) But most argue that the ideas it brings up are “important”: “That it so cannily reflects specific concerns of this moment in history makes it an almost important movie.” (Los Angeles Daily News)

The hangdogs can’t have it both ways. Either the movie has nothing to do with the War on Terror and it’s awful, or it has everything to do with the War on Terror and it’s appalling.

Incidentally, after reading the script, creator of the V comic book, Alan Moore, insisted Warner Bros. remove his name from the project. He told MTV, “[My comic] has been turned into a Bush-era parable by people too timid to set a political satire in their own country… [The film] is a thwarted and frustrated and largely impotent American liberal fantasy of someone with American liberal values standing up against a state run by neo-conservatives — which is not what “V for Vendetta” [the comic] was about.”

Thankfully, cartoonish acting and a juvenilely self-reverential plot means no one except teenage boys (the ones in the row in front of me kept muttering, “Yeah, anarchy!” as London blazed) and crazed George Clooney disciples will take this movie’s “important ideas” seriously.

Those are the people who are this very moment wailing, “Free speech! Free speech! The Wachowskis have every right to promote their beliefs!” To them I say, yep, they sure do.

And I have the right to unmask them for the ignorant, irresponsible, paranoid filmmakers that they are.

from Alan Moore:

“V for Vendetta” was specifically about things like fascism and anarchy.

Those words, “fascism” and “anarchy,” occur nowhere in the film. It’s been turned into a Bush-era parable by people too timid to set a political satire in their own country. In my original story there had been a limited nuclear war, which had isolated Britain, caused a lot of chaos and a collapse of government, and a fascist totalitarian dictatorship had sprung up. Now, in the film, you’ve got a sinister group of right-wing figures not fascists, but you know that they’re bad guys and what they have done is manufactured a bio-terror weapon in secret, so that they can fake a massive terrorist incident to get everybody on their side, so that they can pursue their right-wing agenda. It’s a thwarted and frustrated and perhaps largely impotent American liberal fantasy of someone with American liberal values [standing up] against a state run by neo-conservatives which is not what “V for Vendetta” was about. It was about fascism, it was about anarchy, it was about [England]. The intent of the film is nothing like the intent of the book as I wrote it. And if the Wachowski brothers had felt moved to protest the way things were going in America, then wouldn’t it have been more direct to do what I’d done and set a risky political narrative sometime in the near future that was obviously talking about the things going on today?”

counterpoint from David West:

Yes, the original graphic novel, and Alan Moore, wrote the book as anti-Thatcher. The movie, however, came out differently and it became much more of a libertarian movie than I think Hollywood wanted. That’s why I use the V mask as my avatar in many places.

Let’s take a look at the plot:

1) Government uses a trumped-up crisis in health care and a mocked up virus in order to take control of health care.

2) Government uses further crisis to take away more and more of the people’s freedoms.

3) Government takes control of the economy.

4) Government arrests those vocal opponents and tries to make them ‘disappear’. V, the antagonist in the movie, is one of them. He is experimented upon, but like Number 6 in the Prisoner, he resists.

5) V strikes back at the government, not because he wants to, but because the sheep have no guts to do so. Eventually, like the original tea party in Boston, people wake up.

6) V eventually destroys the Parliament building (thus the Guy Fawkes mask), as he dies, passing along his job of taking down the government to Evey. However, as he is doing so, the people take to the streets…PEACEFULLY, though wearing the masks. Look at the movie – they don’t act. They are showing they are a formerly silent majority that are fed up. Sound familiar?

V was created long before anyone knew who Osama Bin Laden was. Don’t fall for the bs that there is a correlation between the two. V does act as a terrorist, but isn’t that what the tea parties are already being labeled as, even though we are that peaceful, formerly silent majority.

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