The 602 Club S5: Holy Shiitake Mushrooms!

tsc-0s5-th-square-1440Star Wars Rebels Season 2 Premiere.

Disney has given Star Wars fans a Summer surprise by airing the premiere for season 2 of Star Wars Rebels before if comes back for the rest of the season in the Fall.

In this supplemental episode of The 602 Club host Matthew Rushing is joined by fellow rebel John Mills to break down Star Wars Rebels season 2 premiere. We discuss our first reactions, the weight of Vader, an Inquisitor question, what the heck happened to Darth Maul, being in an Empire Strikes Backs state of mind, Lando, the apprentice lives, bringing Obi-Wan in, who survives, more character discussions, Ezra, the music in the show and our final thoughts.

 

Inside Out – Review

inside-out-5492d0c4e3912There are times when a movie comes along and grabs you right away, and in less than five minutes you find moisture welling up at the side of your eyes. Pixar seems to understand this effect well. They did it with the movie Up and have found a way to improve upon it with their latest masterpiece, Inside Out. The film follows Riley Anderson and her emotions, Joy, Sadness, Anger, Fear and Disgust as the Anderson family relocates from Minnesota to San Francisco. As Riley tries to acclimate to her new surroundings, her emotions try to keep up with the new experiences as well as the general task of growing up. What follows is one of the best and most poignant films ever made about growing up.

The Problem of Evil 

One of the most surprising themes of the movie is how sadness, disappointment and bad things actually have their place in our lives. Riley’s emotions are lead by their fearless leader Joy, who is the true operator in this young girl’s life. Oh Fear, Anger and Disgust have their place, but it is Joy that they all look to. Joy is so much at the forefront that Sadness often feels left out, unimportant and seen as a nuisance to the other emotions. It is here that the themes blossom. So much of our lives are driven by the desire to avoid sadness and experience nothing but happiness and joy. We don’t see the use of sadness, disappointment or heartbreak, doing all we can to minimize them. This is played to perfection in the movie as Joy constantly tries to do exactly that, basically putting Sadness in the corner to keep her from messing everything up.

The situation escalates as Sadness and Joy find themselves lost in long-term memory with Riley’s core memories, the ones that make up who she is. As they journey back to the control center they learn the importance of Sadness to Riley’s existence. The revelation is truly the best explanation for the problem of pain that I’ve ever seen. Joy learns how it is Sadness that leads to the fullest extent of joy in a persons life. It is only when we have known deep despair or troubles that joy can be felt to the maximum. As Charles Kingsley said, “Pain is no evil, unless it conquers us.” Pain often brings us closer to others, as it does for Riley and her parents, and is often God’s way of drawing us closer to his side. So much of the time happiness allows us to think that we do not really need God, but it’s through suffering that we realize how helpless we truly are. Psalms reminds us, The LORD is near to the brokenhearted and saves the crushed in spirit.”

Inside Out powerfully and emotionally helps illuminate for everyone the ways in which the worst things in our lives can actually become the best, sadness and joy going hand in hand. It’s here that complex emotions are born; things are never simple but a jumble of joy, sadness, anger, fear and disgust.

Conclusion

Pixar continues to create brilliant original movies. Inside Out may be their best work because it’s not only good for children but adults and everyone in between. It’s a movie that will have you tearing up the whole time as you remember those moments that defined your life and changed the way you viewed the world. With themes that resonate like this, let’s hope that Pixar continues to pursue original works. Go see this film, it’s a five out of five emotions.

Jurassic World – Review

Jurassic-World-Poster-Official

Jurassic Park was the highest grossing movie of 1993 meaning it was inevitable that the film would spawn sequels. The Lost World bought Spielberg and Crichton back together to create not just a movie but also a follow-up to the book and four years later Joe Johnston would finally get his wish by directing Jurassic Park III. It has been 14 years since dinosaurs roamed cinema screens and now the park is open once again with Jurassic World.

“No one’s impressed by dinosaurs anymore.”

From the very beginning of the movie Jurassic World reminds you that it has been over 20 years since the last good Jurassic Park movie. In that time audiences have been inundated by CGI monsters, planets, aliens and anything else that a filmmaker can conceive. One of the main characters is shown playing with his cell phone while an incredible demonstration of a mosasaur eating a shark off a line, further accentuating the fact that dinosaurs are a dime a dozen now.

jurassic-world-super-bowl-trailer-1The movie does the best thing that it can for the series and reminds us that these animals are scary and wild. Even though they have been engineered, they still have instincts to kill and kill they do. Jurassic Wold has the highest body count of any of the films to date. Like the first movie, the dinosaurs are used to great effect. We don’t have many shots where we just spend a lot of time on the creatures. There are many more flashes of quick action which ratchets up the tension and when we so see them in full view, the CGI here is good. For the first time since the original, these animals feel more real and definitely more scary.

Bigger More Teeth

Bryce Dallas Howard’s Claire runs Jurassic World. At the beginning of the movie she is taking a group of investors from Verizon around the park trying to reel in their support. She promises them that the new Indominus Rex will be bigger, have more teeth and scare kids and parents alike. Every few years, like all theme parks, Jurassic World must get the world’s attention again, yet instead of a new ride, it needs a new dinosaur. Since no one is impressed with them anymore the park’s genetics team, run by familiar scientist BD Wong has gene spliced up a new attraction. In the name of profit, Frankenstein has created a monster.

Jurassic World perfectly picks up on the themes of Jurassic Park and contemporizes them. This is science and human kind at their most dangerous, driven by greed. There is no more awe and wonder for Claire, there is only the bottom line. This leaves the scientists unchecked to create in their lab something that should never have existed. They are playing God and no one cares, at least until people die and even then their only worry is saving their research and embryos.

-1_8And if that was not bad enough, the Ingen security devision wants to take the raptors that Chris Pratt’s Owen has formed a bond with since hatching and turn them into living weapons. It is human hubris at it’s peak. Jurassic World vividly reminds us that human kind is it’s own worst enemy. Without respect for what we create or what we steward, everything is just a commodity in attempt to satiate our greed. As humans we are suppose to be civilized and evolved, yet the instincts on display in remind us of just how far we have to go. Apparently we are still not above creating the next frankenstein.

The park owner has a wonderful reminder for Claire during a helicopter ride around the park. He says that he finds that life is best when he remembers that he’s never truly in control. It’s one of the consistent messages in the Jurassic films that humanity has a place in this world yet we don’t control it and never truly can. It is when we forget this that we forget our place and make ourselves our own gods and by playing God, wreck havoc over the earth.

Many are the plans in the mind of a man, but it is the purpose of the Lord that will stand. Proverbs 19:21

Our God is in the heavens; he does all that he pleases. Psalms 115:3

Conclusion

Jurassic World is fun. I’ve been a dinosaur fan since I was young and I love having them back in a movie that is good. There are moments that the movie does make you feel awe again, just as the original did. While at the same time reminding you just how scary these animals would be. I liked Bryce Dallas Howard and Chris Pratt. A lot has been made of whether or not Claire is feminist enough and I think if her character had been a guy, no one would complain about the characterization, so I have no issues with her. Jurassic World is a great popcorn movie with timely reminders of the dangers that not dinosaurs, but humanity are to ourselves and to the world when we forget our place.

The 602 Club 32: Three Boys Playing With Toys

tsc-032-th-square-1440The Clone Wars: Nic Anastassiou.

Podcasting can be a lonely business, sometimes you’re just not sure who is listening or what they think about the show. At other times podcasting puts you in touch with the coolest, most wonderful people you’d never have met otherwise.

In this very special episode of The 602 Club host Matthew Rushing is joined by John Mills to talk to Nic Anastassiou who contacted us a few weeks ago about our episode on the new Star Wars trailers. Nic works for ILM and was also an editor on The Clone Wars. We discuss with Nic our first contact, his coming to Star Wars, a toy story, the path to ILM, editing with Dave and George,his journey to The Clone Wars, favorite edits and moments, what makes The Clone Wars special, different ways to view the show, last moments with George and finding Nic online.

Tomorrowland – Review

TL_InThShltr_IMAX_v3_lrgImagine a world where all the artists, dreamers, scientists and forward thinkers joined leagues and created with reckless abandon. They made the most incredible things, away from the status quo, away from politics and bureaucracy, nothing to hold them back. This is Tomorrowland. Now that you’re imagining this most incredible place, imagine they invent the ability to see the future, our future, and that it ends much sooner than we think. This is Tomorrowland, this is Brad Bird’s new film that challenges where we are and where we could be if we are willing to make a change.

Waitin’ on the World to Change

There is something wrong with society. We see it all around us. We might have the coolest tech around our wrists,but we’re also saddled with major issues like obesity and starvation. NASA installations are dismantled as the present is our only concern. It’s as if we are waiting on the world to change, yet are unwilling to lift a finger to make it happen. Tomorrowland brilliantly shows us the problems that arise when good people just wait on the sideline and illustrates what could happen if we were willing to sacrifice now, for something better in the future.

The film is not subtle with this point and nor should it be. All around us the greatest tech we’ve ever created is in the pockets of everyone, but what does it really benefit the future? How does having a smart phone truly change or inspire the world to improve? Instead, we’ve only become consumed with consumption. We want now, the immediate pleasure of owning the latest gadget, without any thought to if this is the best use of our resources or to whether these devices actually make the world a better place for their existence. Why we create and what we create looms as a massive question and a major responsibility — not necessarily one being asked or respected.

Tomorrowland challenges us, as Interstellar did last year, to think about the future. Is the lack of exploration of our solar system really the best idea? Are smart phones and watches really the smartest uses of our energies? Or might we think of better ways to build cities, roads, grow crops and plan for a future that extends more hope for more people? It is possible with time, patience, creativity and sacrifice. Unfortunately sacrifice is not really a term our modern society embraces.

There does seem to be a loss of perspective; thoughts of tomorrow have been replaced with an obsession over what can be accumulated or acquired for immediate pleasure. A mandate was given at the beginning of time to take care of the earth and steward it. We were meant to create and foster life all around us. Inspiration used tocome from places like NASA, where the impossible seemed possible. Where the undiscovered country of the future was just a shuttle ride away. Technology was about making the world a better place, not just a more convenient one. Tomorrowland reminds us that we are all in this together, and not just now, but for the generations to come.

Wishin’ and Hopin’

NEJOtPwnVjTOOJ_2_bOne of the biggest themes of the film is that of hope and its importance to creativity and planning for the future. Without hope it is easy to become myopic, fixated on the present and trying to survive. Ideas need to be challenged. New blood needs to be introduced so intelligent people are roused out of the malaise of their genius to see something in a whole new way. Casey is able to do that for Frank in the movie. She is able to help him have hope again and evaluate problems from different angles and in doing so, change the future. It brings to mind the wonderful quote from Galadreil in The Fellowship of the Ring, “Even the smallest person can change the course of the future.” Casey is that person in Tomorrowland. She’s full of life and the idealism that leads her to strive for understanding which then enables her to make an impact on the world.

Fostering hope is a big task. Getting to a place where the here and now are not the only things that people care about calls for a massive reordering of priorities. We can have a positive impact but only if selfishness and greed cease to be the motivations that drive what we do. Ultimately, such a shift requires a change in the core of our being.

Let love be genuine. Abhor what is evil; hold fast to what is good. Love one another with brotherly affection. Outdo one another in showing honor. Do not be slothful in zeal, be fervent in spirit, serve the Lord. Rejoice in hope, be patient in tribulation, be constant in prayer. Contribute to the needs of the saints and seek to show hospitality. Bless those who persecute you; bless and do not curse them. Rejoice with those who rejoice, weep with those who weep. Live in harmony with one another. Do not be haughty, but associate with the lowly. Never be wise in your own sight. Repay no one evil for evil, but give thought to do what is honorable in the sight of all. If possible, so far as it depends on you, live peaceably with all.  Beloved, never avenge yourselves, but leave it to the wrath of God, for it is written, “Vengeance is mine, I will repay, says the Lord.”  To the contrary, “if your enemy is hungry, feed him; if he thirsty, give him something to drink; for by so doing you will heap burning coals on his head.” Do not be overcome by evil, but overcome evil with good. Romans 12:9-21

Conclusion

Brad Bird really delivers with Tomorrowland. He’s created something magical with the power to remind us of our calling to live not just for now but for the future. George Clooney may be the big name here but it will be Raffey Cassidy that will steal your heart. It’s nice to see an original movie, not in a franchise, be good. Movies like this need the support if we are to get more original films. Go see it and revel in the joy of imagination and hope for the future. Tomorrowland is rate 4 out 5 jetpacks.

Mad Max: Fury Road – Review

159083939_a5289fNo movie in the last decade has been a better representation of the total depravity of the human race than Mad Max: Fury Road. Set in a post-apocalyptic world, caused by its hubris, humankind has returned to the dust, scrounging like the animal it believes itself to be. What is left is ruled by a demonic sadist with a proclivity for a heavy metal inspired wardrobe. This is survival of the fittest at it’s most extreme. This is a movie that shows in the bleakest of ways that humanity left on it’s own is truly it own worst enemy.

Stewardship

And God blessed them. And God said to them, “Be fruitful and multiply and fill the earth and subdue it, and have dominion over the fish of the sea and over the birds of the heavens and over every living thing that moves on the earth.” And God said, “Behold, I have given you every plant yielding seed that is on the face of all the earth, and every tree with seed in its fruit. You shall have them for food. And to every beast of the earth and to every bird of the heavens and to everything that creeps on the earth, everything that has the breath of life, I have given every green plant for food.” And it was so. And God saw everything that he had made, and behold, it was very good. And there was evening and there was morning, the sixth day. (Genesis 1:28-31 ESV)

We were given a calling, from the very beginning of time to care for the creation that had been entrusted to us. Yet today, it the furthest thing for most minds. We are told, it’s all an accident; life, the universe and everything else, while Maroon 5 constantly reminds us we are nothing more than animals on the prowl. This is the world we inhabit. With no belief in a mandate from a creator we feel no compulsion to treat the earth, let alone people as anything more than a commodity. Mad Max displays this world in all it’s visceral glory. This is the result of a philosophy that places no value on life of any kind. The beauty of the movie is that it leaves us knowing innately that, that cannot be the truth, there has to be something better than consumption and death. We’ve been called to more, there is a purpose behind it all, yet if we deny that we will be lost to the dust.

Creation is our home, we are meant to take care of it and be a good steward. Are we doing that? All it takes is looking out of a car window and seeing the trash on the side of the road to know we are not. How we use this earth reflects on us and what we believe about our place in it. We were not given it to destroy it, but to cultivate it as a gardener does, with tender care.

Redemption  

Throughout the film both Max and Furiosa (Charlize Theron’s character) are both looking for a way to redeem themselves. Guilty of untold sins, some we do get brief glimpses of from Max who is haunted by his past, they long to find hope in atonement. It’s one of the most powerful scenes in the movie as Max infuses Furiosa with his blood and through this act brings hope back to the people.

Death in Adam, Life in Christ Therefore, just as sin came into the world through one man, and death through sin, and so death spread to all men because all sinned—for sin indeed was in the world before the law was given, but sin is not counted where there is no law. Yet death reigned from Adam to Moses, even over those whose sinning was not like the transgression of Adam, who was a type of the one who was to come. But the free gift is not like the trespass. For if many died through one man’s trespass, much more have the grace of God and the free gift by the grace of that one man Jesus Christ abounded for many. And the free gift is not like the result of that one man’s sin. For the judgment following one trespass brought condemnation, but the free gift following many trespasses brought justification. For if, because of one man’s trespass, death reigned through that one man, much more will those who receive the abundance of grace and the free gift of righteousness reign in life through the one man Jesus Christ. Therefore, as one trespass led to condemnation for all men, so one act of righteousness leads to justification and life for all men. For as by the one man’s disobedience the many were made sinners, so by the one man’s obedience the many will be made righteous. Now the law came in to increase the trespass, but where sin increased, grace abounded all the more, so that, as sin reigned in death, grace also might reign through righteousness leading to eternal life through Jesus Christ our Lord. (Romans 5:12-21 ESV)

Hope springs eternal. Instinctively we know that we are meant for more and the world is broken. It’s only through the lens of faith in Christ that we have the true motivation to be good stewards of earth and people, who are not animals, but image-bearers of the King of Creation. It makes one long for the day when as John writes,

Then I saw a new heaven and a new earth, for the first heaven and the first earth had passed away, and the sea was no more. And I saw the holy city, new Jerusalem, coming down out of heaven from God, prepared as a bride adorned for her husband. And I heard a loud voice from the throne saying, “Behold, the dwelling place of God is with man. He will dwell with them, and they will be his people, and God himself will be with them as their God. He will wipe away every tear from their eyes, and death shall be no more, neither shall there be mourning, nor crying, nor pain anymore, for the former things have passed away.” And he who was seated on the throne said, “Behold, I am making all things new.” Also he said, “Write this down, for these words are trustworthy and true.” (Revelation 21:1-5 ESV)

Conclusion

This movie is an amazing achievement in practical film-making. Much as been made of this film because a majority of it happened without reliance on CGI. It is a stunning reminder that movies can be made, for real. What is wonderful is that the action informs the story. It adds to the desperate nature of the mission Furiosa is on as well as what is at stake, the survival of the human race.

This movie will not be for everyone. The aesthetic will turn some people off completely. That said, this is the pinnacle action movies with themes that resonate to the heart of humanity itself. Rating-  Four out of five Fury Road trips.

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The 602 Club S4: Stupid Geek-boy Grin

SupergirlMain3Supergirl/Legends of Tomorrow Trailers.

We are gathered again in The 602 Club to discuss the Supergirl and Legends of Tomorrow trailers. We start off with Supergirl and talk about our first impressions, the look and feel, the cast, Superman’s role, the different universes of DC Comics, Legends of Tomorrow, the possibilities of the show and the importance of geek positivity.

Supergirl Trailer 

Legends of Tomorrow Trailer