Indeed, it would be impossible to imagine Tolkien — a brilliant worldbuilder and a famously purist curmudgeon who disliked Lewis’s own Narnia stories, a sentiment contrasting greatly with Lewis’ enormous esteem for Tolkien’s Middle-earth — being anything but appalled by Disney’s silly dwarfs, with their slapstick humor, nursery-moniker names, and singsong musical numbers.
What is most unsettling about The Witch is not the manifest presence of the Devil and the malevolence of his minions, but the seeming absence of God and the impotence of the family’s faith and prayers.
After the four Gospels, if one text is more influential than any other in the tone of Jesus of Nazareth, it might be the Vatican II declaration on the Church in relation to non-Christian religions, Nostra Aetate, a watershed document in Jewish-Catholic relations.
The atheists and nonbelievers in The Case for Christ don’t have horns and tails, or even mustaches for twirling.
Asked what he was trying to do in Rules, Renoir is reported to have said, “I don’t care.” With Grand Illusion, it may not be much easier to say what he’s trying to accomplish, but there is no doubt that he cares.
Scarlett Johansson is becoming — no, at this point it’s safe to say she is — the default Hollywood poster girl for transhumanism.
Can a realistically computer-rendered French gilt bronze candelabra be debonair? Jaunty? Rakish, even?
The MutoVerse is ramping up to a Godzilla vs. Kong rematch, and in due course Mothra, Rodan and King Ghidorah will presumably all take turns fighting one another, culminating in something like the airport set piece in Captain America: Civil War, with everyone against everyone else, only with Mutos instead of superheroes.
Linking these three terrific family films is a defiantly old-fashioned, almost countercultural lack of ironic revisionism and gritty edginess. Each of them feels in some way like a kind of movie they don’t make any more — if they ever did.
Stewart gives us a brittle, confused Xavier somewhat akin to his elderly Picard from the series finale of Star Trek: The Next Generation. And Jackman, who has invested even more in Wolverine than Stewart has Xavier, gives his most complex, conflicted performance to date as a battered, weary, despairing warrior longing only for oblivion.
Copyright © 2000– Steven D. Greydanus. All rights reserved.