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Steve Jobs – Review

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Steve Jobs is an enigma. A man with a vision for technology that was as much a work of art as it was functional, he buffeted the system and became one of the leaders of the personal computing age. In the new film Steve Jobs, Danny Boyle and Aaron Sorkin tell his story, framed by his biggest product launches, the Macintosh, NEXT and the iMac. Before each launch everything that can go wrong does as technical issues, unexpected people and bitter arguments threaten to destroy what Jobs is trying to build. It’s a fascinating look at a man who has shaped the look and feel of the future.

Searching for Control

Jobs is a man who is driven, beyond anything else, for control. Growing up knowing that he’d been intended for a family that decided against adopting him profoundly impacted Steve. His desire for controlling everything in his life, including his creations, was forged in the fire of feeling unloveable and unwanted. He takes his quest for control a step further than most people as he lives most of his life within what became known as the “Steve Jobs distortion field”. If Steve thought something was a certain way, that was the way it was.

The film’s version of Jobs offers a clear example of the way we as humans deal with the world around us. We work so hard to control everything. We do this because, like Jobs, we don’t want to be hurt or disappointed. If we can control things, we can find some kind of comfort in knowing and preparing for what will happen to us. If we can keep people at a distance by manipulating or dominating our relationships, we can reduce the likelihood of being wounded or emotionally shattered. Jobs spends most of his life doing his best to make it look as if he cares nothing for what people think of him, when the reality is, that like the rest of us, it means more than it should. It is evident in every conversation that Jobs has with people that he’s working so hard to be above others, to be untouchable. Before the launch of the NEXT, he and Woz have an argument in the orchestra pit, and Jobs tells Woz that what he does is play the orchestra, as a conductor. The metaphor could not be any clearer. Jobs has tried to place himself out of reach emotionally from anyone by creating the world as he wants to see it, the same way the conductor creates the sound of the symphony.

The compulsion for control is something that has been ingrained in humanity since our first act of defiance in wrestling it from someone else. A fruit was taken and eaten to give us that which we were not meant to have, and the control we were promised has never materialized. It is why Jesus implores us with these words,

“If anyone would come after me, let him deny himself and take up his cross and follow me. For whoever would save his life will lose it, but whoever loses his life for my sake will find it. For what will it profit a man if he gains the whole world and forfeits his soul? Or what shall a man give in return for his soul? For the Son of Man is going to come with his angels in the glory of his Father, and then he will repay each person according to what he has done. Truly, I say to you, there are some standing here who will not taste death until they see the Son of Man coming in his kingdom.” (Matthew 16:24-28 ESV).

It is when we realize that it is not we who are in control that we are then finally free to be who we were meant to be. Sadly it’s a peace Jobs would never find in this life.

Conclusion 

This is a thought provoking and moving film. The acting is superb as Michael Fassbender dominates the screen from scene one. Kate Winslet is a force to be reckoned with as Joanna Hoffman, one of the few people able to stand up to Jobs in his life. This movie is worth seeing, and more than once, to take in its themes and the shear magnitude of who Jobs was and what he was able to accomplish in spite of his failings as a person. It’s rated 4 and a half iMacs out of 5.

 

Control · Creation · Film · Jurassic Park · Jurassic World · Movie Review · Movies

Jurassic World – Review

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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.