Life at the Movies

Star Trek III: The Search for Spock (1984, USA) is about Captain Kirk’s mission to recover the body of his friend and crew mate Spock from the planet Genesis.

Star Trek III, directed by Leonard Nimoy who also played Spock, continued the Star Trek story in a number of ways.

A straight power-hungry theme

A race called the Klingons features in this film. Borg, their leader, wants power over the Federation, the organization responsible for Kirk’s starship missions.

So Borg goes after the data of the Genesis planet, formulated by scientists belonging to the Federation. The Genesis data is the raw material that can create planets, but Borg’s motive is to be the most powerful.

The film seems to come down on refraining from building new planets from lifelessness because of the problems of who may get their hands on the raw materials to use it for their own ends. The Genesis planet, created by humans for the survival of the species, implodes in the end.

But the planet’s demise is due to a fault in the programming. Who knows? Maybe a better model could be used next time if people are ready and willing to defend data from the power hungry.

Life after death

Spock is presumed dead. But he is being kept alive on the Genesis planet, before it degenerated and imploded. The life in the planet is causing Spock to literally resurrect from the dead. Life is indeed a better outcome than death.

Before Spock died, Spock’s soul was transferred to the mind of his crew mate and friend Dr. McCoy. So in order for Spock to be his true self again he must be taken to a ceremony on his home planet Vulcan. In this ceremony, Spock’s soul comes back to himself. Then, he’s alive, again; regenerated.

You don’t forget true friends

While Spock’s been away, he lost his memory but which is coming back slowly. He’s remembering his friends. Ironic, since he had died to save them. You can’t truly forever forget the ones you saved because they are your friends.

Spock couldn’t forget. And his friends never forget what he did for them.

Movie flashback

The Legend of Tarzan is the new Tarzan movie that was released this year. The story is closer to Greystoke–The Legend of Tarzan–Lord of the Apes (1984, USA) though there are, of course, differences.

The version of Tarzan that makes you think.

There was another version–the pulpy action incarnation of Tarzan which was pure entertainment. This starred competitive swimmer Johnny Weissmuller as Tarzan. Later on, there were other actors from the classic era who took over the helm of the Lord of the Apes.

(Image sourced via google images)

(Image sourced via google images)


The version that makes you think stays closer to the source material,  the 1914 novel Tarzan of the Apes by Edgar Rice Burroughs. Greystoke–The Legend of Tarzan–Lord of the Apes layers in literary substance to get the thinking juices flowing and gives the Tarzan tale reverential treatment.


Greystoke is thought provoking.

John Clayton’s born of English parents, the Clayton’s. They are shipwrecked in Africa. John Clayton’s parents die.

John is raised by apes. The apes are John’s family. The apes nurture him. He never shakes that. His nurture is what’s permanent. So, the story’s saying that humans are mainly shaped by their upbringing not their nature. In that vein, apes love their children like humans can.

The movie appears to be saying that love is important to raise a family; as long as there is love and nurture.

The film

We may unpack Greystoke‘s themes (on closer inspection), but the jungle scenes are all out there to be seen.

I remember a critic refer to The Mission’s ‘nudity’ as ‘National Geographic nudity’, meaning it’s all quite naturalized and nothing’s hidden. That could be said for Greystoke‘s scenes in the jungle.

The jungle scenes are also violent with Tarzan fending off apes and pygmies.

I was at first put-off by the jungle scenes, but was not fussed on a second viewing. It may depend on how well it is done; the scenes do work.

The arrival of Capitaine Phillipe D’Arnot (Ian Hom) and his relationship with Tarzan is always interesting. He takes Tarzan to England.

In England, the Earl of Greystoke meets his grandson John Clayton (Tarzan) for the first time.  Jane Porter is fond of Tarzan, but is this more? All the same, in England, Tarzan has trouble fitting in.

Greystoke is sumptuous, literate, reverential, and sensitively handled. The story rounds off well, and may leave you thinking, but perhaps not enlightened any further as to the theme.

Christopher Lambert (Pictured in 2013), played Tarzan in 1984. (Image sourced via google images)

Christopher Lambert (Pictured in 2013), played Tarzan in 1984. (Image sourced via google images)

Some October movies, this week at the theaters.

I Am Not Ashamed is the title of a faith-based film at theaters this week. Being a faith-based film, ‘I am not ashamed’ seems to refer to being not ashamed of Jesus. I have heard it used quite often in Christian products and is based on the biblical reference. This film uses the not being ashamed of God theme in its title which may say quite a bit about what the film is going to be about.

This faith-based film, one of the first released theatrically for a little while, uses Rachel Joy Scott’s diary entries, which may be revealing. The story is circa the 1999 Columbine shooting.

Rachel’s story is sad and perhaps uplifting. I trust a faith-based film will accentuate faith and the positive in the midst of tragedy, which may be a challenge to pull off.

American Pastoral is interesting. Generally, it is about what happens when someone in a family changes ‘colors’. The family is reputed to be of one affiliation. Then a son or daughter or anyone in the family upsets the cart and turns the family coat. It happens.

The vehicle of this theme in American Pastoral is politics so I’m guessing the film may have a political point of view. It stars Ewan McGregor, Jennifer Connelly and Dakota Fanning. It is based on the book by Phillip Roth. American Pastoral is R-rated for “some strong sexual material, language and brief violent images”.

October movies: two comedy movies this week in October

Tyler Perry is back with a Halloween story, Boo! A Madea Halloween. It’s a comedy with ‘madness’. Madea is fending off Halloween evil while looking after unruly teenagers. The premise seems to neutralize the whole Halloween nightmare scenario in the vein of many a serious Halloween film.

Keeping Up with the Joneses may capitalize on the theme of suspicious and paranoid minds. Neighbors are government spies, with comedy stalwarts Zach Galianakis and Isla Fisher starring in this PG-13 rated comedy.

Independence Day Resurgence (2016) may not look like a ‘God and country’ flick.

A film with aliens, spaceships, and disaster may not have something to say about God and country, but then again, it may.

In this film, the country side of God and country is obvious. The God side of God and country is all rather subtle.

For country

From the start of the film slogans abound about the right to live and if necessary the right to fight to maintain one’s right to live.

It points to the American tradition of protecting country from invasion. In the new Independence Day film, alien invaders are coming while the military prepares for the worse. It makes for a familiar scenario that brings back memories of the former Independence Day film in 1996. There’s a longish build-up of character and story followed by an onslaught of alien invaders with disastrous consequences. It doesn’t matter so much the clean-up, but save country first, then worry about the clean-up.

For God

It may be hard to find God in this.

There’s a peppering of throw-away profanity that we might have got in 1970’s disaster films like Earthquake.

The name of Jesus is profaned, but come to think about that, there’s a bigger picture here.

Profanity is lumped together with the unspiritual act of war, but war for freedom and victory.  This brings up the image of the curse of the cross. Jesus became a curse for our sakes, but brings victory over sin.

Also, a character thanks God that his father is alive.

So, that is the God part of the ‘God and country’ theme.

If you don’t like your movies with profanity then don’t see this film. But if you appreciate a God and country theme, albeit subtle, then this movie may have it.

You may find others films that tell the God and country story explicitly. Resurgence doesn’t. If you like ‘for country’ only, then this movie has it in droves.

But be warned. The film is a turkey.

Independence Day Resurgence is on DVD October 18, 2016

(Image sourced via google images)

(Image sourced via google images)

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