Sunday, July 31, 2016

Ghostbusters (2016) Erin vs. Rowan: What is their Differential?

The unbelievably entertaining remake of the iconic 1984 comedy premiered on July 15, 2016. It gives a modern look to a classic comedy. It must be no easy task to successfully improve upon such an iconic film, but it happily was by honoring the spirit of the story while providing its own flavor.

I love the way that Ghostbusters (2016) honors Ghostbusters (1984). Yet, it stands on its own. The new Ghostbusters are women. They are more brilliant, more passionate about ghosts, better equipped, and much more scrutinized.

Erin Gilbert is a brilliant and renowned physician. Jillian Holtzmann is a bizarre and brilliant engineer. Abby Yates is a scientist, die hard ghost researcher, and Erin's childhood best friend. Patty Tolan is a security guard and self-taught expert on the history of New York. Each member brings something unique and productive to the table. They work together with passion, loyalty, teamwork, and hard work.

Ephesians 4:16 says, "He makes the whole body fit together perfectly. As each part does its own special work, it helps the other parts grow, so that the whole body is healthy and growing and full of love." (NLT)

Kevin is their terrible receptionist. Though physically fit and gorgeous, he is not very bright. However, he is sweet and passionate to the cause, and the team is loyal to him.

Last but not least, Rowan North is a brilliant and vengeful janitor who shares Erin's difficult past. He is angry, bitter, and destructive. He is also alone.

Both Erin and Rowan are bullied and teased as teenagers for their belief in ghosts. Above all, this new Ghostbusters illustrates a question that can apply to anyone in any situation. How do two people with the same background and experiences end up on different paths? What is the fork that divides their paths?

Answer: Abby Yates, her best friend.

Ecclesiastes 4:9-10 says, "Two people are better off than one, for they can help each other succeed. If one person falls, the other can reach out and help. But someone who falls alone is in real trouble." (NLT)

Erin grows up with support, encouragement, and friendship. Despite the resistance of those around them due to their belief in ghosts, their loyalty keeps them on a constructive path. They write a book together, they become scientists, and eventually start their own ghost-catching business. They do these things in each other's support and company.

No one ever believes in or supports Rowan. His loneliness drives him into a vengeful attitude. He struggles to succeed in his life and earns his living as a janitor. His colleagues dislike him. He has no family, and his only friend is Erin and Abby's book. This path leads him an end of complete annihilation.

Rowan's evil and brilliant plan nearly destroy the city of New York. He focuses on a life of causing death, destruction, and sorrow instead of spending his valuable time on Earth contributing to the welfare of humanity. He is sneaky, he is dishonest, and he breaks the law. He risks everything including his own life. He does it alone, and he falls alone.

The Ghostbusters on the other hand work together to save New York. They do it selflessly, They do it  for truth and justice. They do it lovingly. They do it together. Ghostbusters is more than a copy of an iconic film from the 80's. It is a brilliant illustration of the importance of friendship, teamwork, and the pursuit of truth.

Sunday, July 17, 2016

Childhood Stories Due To Hit the Silver Screen

This has been an exciting year for films. Many serve as a call back to a story that guided me through my childhood in one way or another. Each one sends me back to a happier, simpler, and less stressful time in my life. The memories make me happy. Let us take a trip down memory lane.

JUNGLEBOOK - 15 April 2016

The 1967 animated film is an exciting story about a young boy raised by wolves, befriended by a bear, kidnapped by monkeys, hunted by a tiger, and eventually freed back into the hands of humans. The family that raised him realized that the child remains in danger as long as he's alone. They love him enough to let him go.

In 1999 an exciting animated adventure premiered about a boy taken by a family gorillas in an uninhabited part of the world after his ship wrecked parents are killed by a leopard. He grows to be a strong, acrobatic, kind, and curious man. After meeting a beautiful explorer, he faces the decision of staying with the family that raised him or returning to civilization to live with humans. 
The Legend of Tarzan explores the consequences of making the decision to return to civilization. The live action effects take the excitement to a whole new level.

THE BFG - 1 July 2016
The children's book by one of my favorite authors Roald Dahl is a story about an young orphan taken from her unhappy conditions into a mystical, adventurous world with the Big Friendly Giant. He gives her clothes. He gives her food. He gives her a look into his beautiful world. He show her his peaceful way of life. They eventually work together to save the London from an invasion by evil giants.

GHOSTBUSTERS - 15 July 2016
The original film premiered in 1984 and became an instant sensation. It is the story of three scientists and a trainee stumble upon a huge break in their research of the existence of ghosts existence and turn it into an ghost catching enterprise. The million dollar question is where do these ghosts come from after such a long dry spell? The answers differ in the original and its remake. However, the moral remains the same. Ghostbusters are heroes regardless of their origins, gender, office location, or level of recognition.  

PETE'SDRAGON - 12 August 2016
The original film and musical premiered in 1977. I hardly remember it. It is the story of a young orphan with an invisible friend, Elliot. This friend turns out to be a dragon who protects Pete from a series of villains. It is a touching, albeit cheesy story. Next month's remake will completely restructure the original from the origin story, setting, and much needed improved effects.

Unfortunately, I haven't read the three book series, Miss Peregrine's Peculiar Children. So there is little I can say about the stories. The story is based on a series of photographs indicating children with special abilities. The film looks a lot like a 1940's version of X-Men. We'll see.

BEAUTY AND THE BEAST – 17 March 2017 
Belle from the 1991 animated film Beauty and the Beauty was my favorite Disney princess as a child. I identified with her the most. She is an outcast. She is a dreamer. She is loyal to family. She sees beyond the surface of things and people. Most of all, she is a book worm. 

Last but not least, the most exciting premiere of all. The Hey Arnold cartoon series that ended on a maddening cliff hanger in the final episode, The Journal, on November 11, 2002. For fourteen years, die hard Hey Arnold fans (including myself) have been aching and petitioning for the story to wrap up. The Jungle Movie was originally due to premiere after that final episode. However, the series was cancelled due to poor office box numbers of Hey Arnold! The Movie

Next year, our dream will come true. Hey Arnold will get the closure it deserves. In the film, we hope to see Arnold search for and find his parents as well as Arnold confess his returned love for Helga, a poor and neglected girl who suffers most of her life with unrequited love for Arnold.

Thursday, July 14, 2016

Major Risks Involving the Pokemon Go App

Pokemon Go is an overnight sensation. It is a mobile game where the player must physically catch Pokemon creatures or "a free-to-play location-based augmented reality mobile game." (Wikipedia)

It encourages users to get up, go outside, and walk around. The only way to catch Pokemon creatures is to walk to the place on the map provided. Its popularity skyrocketed over night. Myriads of people are going outside. The main street in town was crowded with people today playing this game. 

This is encouraging considering how notorious our current culture is for our lack of exercise due to gaming. I'm saying we all are guilty of this. I am merely addressing a stereotype. In fact, I commend all of those who make wellness a priority. Therefore, I am pleased that a game finally exists that encourages exercise.

There is, however, a severe down side to this. While the massive highway accident story (and other stories like it) have been proven to be a hoax, there have been other accidents related to the game. One driver crashed his car into a tree while playing the game and driving. Talking on a cell phone while driving is illegal in my state. Texting while driving is illegal in my state. Playing this game is exponentially more dangerous than talking or texting. 

Words cannot express how dangerous this is. NEVER play and drive. NEVER. 

It has also been reported on the radio that some employees are frustrated over the way players disrupt their business. Other reports include falls, stumbles, sunburns, and bike accidents. 

To all Pokemon Go players, I urge you to always be vigilant while playing. Be aware of cars while crossing the street. Be aware of pedestrians while walking on the sidewalk. Be aware of the businesses you disrupt while walking into buildings. 

Be aware. BE AWARE. BE AWARE. For the love of God, be aware.

No game is worth the risk of a human life. Pursue wellness in all manners. This includes safety.

Saturday, July 9, 2016

10 Cloverfield Lane

Galatians5:22-23 says, "But the Holy Spirit produces this kind of fruit in our lives: love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control. There is no law against these things!" (NLT)

10 Cloverfield Lane is a mind boggling thriller where three people share an underground bunker completely detached from the outside world. What lurks outside is a complete mystery, especially for Michelle who was brought into the bunker against her will.

Has the world ended, or is she the hostage of two dangerous conspiracy theorists?

That is what Michelle struggles to answer. All she knows is what she sees before her, two strangers, Howard and Emmett, who tell her the world has ended. How can she trust a word they say with little evidence and a very unstable man to give the message. So, she not only questions the message, she suspects Howard of unspeakable things.

Credibility absolutely relies on a number of things:

Emotional Stability: Howard is clearly unstable. He has consistent violent outbursts. He screams, he swears, and he pounds his fists. He makes threats, and eventually does the unthinkable. Michelle and Emmett live in fear of him, which is no way to live. Thus, he becomes an unreliable messenger.

Resignation: Howard's most concerning quality is his inability to relinquish control. He dictates every moment of their time in his bunker. He controls what they eat to their number of bathroom breaks. Life in the bunker becomes an obligation, not a privilege. Thus he becomes an unreliable messenger.

Transparency: Michelle knows from the moment of their meeting that Howard's story of how she comes into the bunker. She discovers many hidden truths about his history. Questionable truths. Disturbing truths. Frightening truths. Truths that make her doubt every word he says. Keeping truths from her makes him an unreliable messenger.

Love: Howard's motives appear plentiful. However, love is nowhere among them. He is controlling, selfish, and violent. There is also an unclear hint of lust. None of these traits are side effects of love.

Whether or not danger lurks outside the walls of the bunker, whether or not the world ends, whether or not the air is toxic, the only danger clear to Michelle is Howard. All she knows, thinks, and works toward is GET AWAY FROM HOWARD. His message may be valid, but his delivery destroys the message.

Proverbs13:17 "An unreliable messenger stumbles into trouble, but a reliable messenger brings healing." (NLT)

The Christian message of salvation was given to us with love, kindness, transparency, and without judgment. As it was given by Christ, it must be delivered this way. Lovingly, openly, selflessly, and kindly. Otherwise, receivers of the message will desperately run from it… at all cost, and into danger.

That is not a risk we can afford to make. The message should live and breath in every part of our lives. It lives in what we say. It lives in our treatment towards others. It lives in everything we do. It lives in the functionality of our relationships.

Matthew7:21 says, “Not everyone who calls out to me, ‘Lord! Lord!’ will enter the Kingdom of Heaven. Only those who actually do the will of my Father in heaven will enter."

We live the message more than we speak it. We must live love, honesty, acceptance, and generosity. It is the most effective way to give messages to others. Anything less is hypocrisy. Anything less is counter productive. Anything less will drive away subjects of the message, just as Howard drives Michelle into unknown danger.