Prompt Series #4 – Do you like or have facial hair?

Question: Do you like or have facial hair?

In general concept, my whole persona may have been defined by facial hair throughout my middle and high school years. So I would say I absolutely like facial hair and change up my face at least a couple of times per year.

The thing you’d have noticed about me as I grew up was that I was taller than everyone. My personality was more mature as well. I appeared perhaps 5 years older than I really was much of my life. Such as a realtor who asked, when I was age 11, what high school I was attending. I hadn’t even started middle school yet.

This translated to an early start with facial hair for me. I actually had to start shaving in 6th grade. My sideburns were starting to grow and I was getting some random hairs in the neck area. Jump ahead to 8th grade, and the goatee was born upon my chin and the sideburns had fully matured.

The goatee was the most prominent feature on my visible exterior the second half of 8th grade. This wasn’t a messy patchwork of a few hairs. This wasn’t a particularly thin and see through area of growth. My entire chin sprouted its thick, dark brown, coarse hair.  The amount of attention this garnered led me to steal, or finesse, a phrase a friend stated when I decried that all people saw of me was my goatee. I was the floating goatee. The floating mass of hair absent a body.

8th grade also happened to be the moment I reached my final height. Everyone would soon catch up to me over the first couple of years of high school. But for a time,  people thought I was an adult at age 14.The school resource officer challenged my presence on campus one day, thinking I was a high schooler there to pick up the middle school girls. I was polite and respectful in my rebuttle and it became a joke between us the rest of the year. In the basketball league, parents thought I was a ringer. The president of the league though was close to our team, so he knew who I was. When I entered 9th grade, students older than me assumed I was a senior. A girl in a class thought I was an undercover cop. People asked if I could get alcohol, as if I wouldn’t get carded. I never cared to try, nor partook in such activity.

High school advanced along and the rest of the beard was able to be grown. By 12th grade, it reached completion. The mustache area still doesn’t grow in as fully as I’d like, but I can grow a full beard. Given I worked at a grocery store with some limitations through college, the beard was mostly limited to a goatee, if I had it at all.  When I got into my career, everyone was fine with all sorts of facial hair assuming it was well kept. So for the last decade plus I’ve rotated around from a goatee, van dyke, full beard, and clean shaven. I will never go with just a mustache, as it is a bit scary and it just doesn’t grow as well as I’d like to make it work on its own.

I personally think the facial hair makes me more distinct. My face is a bit round and the beard elongates my appearance somewhat to what I think is better looking. I have had people say that I look better with the beard. At this point, I don’t have any firm advice or preference from females, so  I don’t know how it would be received if I get married.  I eventually get tired of staying clean shaved and let it grow back out. I’ve never gone with the epic long look, as I’ve always kept it at probably 2 or 3 inches or shorter. The one element though that pretty much never goes away are the sideburns. I’ve pretty much had them since 8th grade and haven’t looked back.

I am clean shaven as of this post. However, it will not be too long until I probably change that up again. Especially as the next Star Wars movie gets closer. Something about the beard also makes me feel more Jedi-like.

Prompt Series #3 – What is the best present you’ve ever been given?

QuestionWhat is the best present you’ve ever been given? Who gave it to you and what  made it the best?

As an only child, I feel I was spoiled quite often. The magnitude of toys, games, cheap little trinkets, etc. that piled up in my possession is somewhat embarrassing at times. By no means did I have more than many in my classes, but I had plenty to spare. I have no shortage of gifts, at least from parents, as candidates. I really only had one birthday party as a child, and given I was born in great proximity to Christmas, much of the year would be barren, save for my nagging about something at the store. Yet one gift above all others sticks out as the best. A study Bible, given Christmas 1997 by my mom.

Christmas 1997 was a unique Christmas. My grandpa, uncle, and sister came down to visit us. We spent some time with grandpa’s siblings in the Tampa/Clearwater area. The gift giving portion of Christmas was split in three segments: a couple on Christmas eve, a few Christmas morning, and the big gift in the evening. The Bible was part of Christmas eve’s unveiled items. We had to leave early Christmas morning to spend most of the daylight hours in Tampa. The  big gift that evening was a Nintendo 64 console, with Madden 64. As a kid who loved his NES and Super Nintendo, getting the N64 was a big deal. But yet, that Bible still overshadowed it in the end.

What makes it the best gift takes some explaining. After a rough time in our family several years earlier, my mom started to go to church again. She brought me along, and while sermons were unintelligibly boring to my 1st grade mind, it was a seed. As time progressed, my mom took me to other churches and the youth programs planted more seeds. My 5th grade mind was starting to truly grasp who God was and why Jesus was important. I knew I wanted to follow God, I felt the call, but I didn’t truly understand it until the summer of 1997 between 6th and 7th grade. During that span, as I grew to understand the world and its darkness and my need for the light of salvation only God could provide. I embraced God’s call that summer.

I had made the commitment to be  baptized sometime after Thanksgiving. We wanted to time it around the family being in town for Christmas.  I believe it was going to be the evening service the Sunday before Christmas when a children’s performance with music would be held. Ultimately I got very sick the weekend prior to Christmas. I remember waking, walking into the bathroom, and fainting. I had a high fever and was sick a few days, through Christmas. My baptism was delayed until January, namely on Super Bowl Sunday in 1998. That was also the first time my dad went to church with mom and me.

It was really around this time that the Bible I had been given that Christmas started to be utilized. I was reading nightly. The first book I truly read with any kind of personal, private understanding was Ecclesiastes. I simply opened the Bible and that was the book I had landed on. I moved on to the New Testament and continued to dive deeper into God’s word as years progressed. That Bible was my primary source for reading scripture, with its study sections and other augmented learning sections, up until college.

I am certainly no perfect individual. I would say  in many ways I am still guilty of drinking milk when I should be devouring steak in my life with Christ. I didn’t always read scripture with such  consistency, fervor, or reverence. There have been mountains and valleys along the way. But certainly no gift meant more to helping grow the seeds that were planted than that Bible.

While the Nintendo 64 was fun and I had great times with friends, I eventually sold it. I regret that somewhat now, given the retro craze the last decade, but I still have that study Bible. I’ve moved on to other translations and more robust study content, but it is always there on one of my bookshelves as a reminder of the days when I felt the most alive and newly inspired by the creator of the universe.

Student's Life Applicable Study Bible
The Bible gift of Christmas 1997. The Student’s Life Application Study Bible.

 

Prompt Series #2b – If you were trapped in an elevator with a stranger, what would you do?

QuestionIf you were trapped in an elevator with a stranger, what would you do?

If we were stuck long enough, I would probably regale them with the story of Prompt Series #2, which I spent an hour writing and then decided to keep private.  The unfortunate timing of the prompt in question showing up as I skimmed the pages of  my prompt book and the specific date of today, May 2nd, struck maybe too much of a cord.  I don’t want to become overly personal here. If you like my writing, maybe I will share some form of it in the future.

In reality though, I would spend the first few moments working with the person to determine just how stuck we were in this elevator. What floor are we on, or between? Does the callbox for emergency services work? Let’s give it a try if it does. I’d probably then sit quietly on the floor with my back in the corner waiting for help to arrive. I’d let any ensuing conversation be somewhat simplistic, but knowing me, if my emotions get pumped up, I’d probably talk a lot more than my usual stoic character could produce.

I am sure if cell phone signals are active, we end up staring at things on our phone. Posting a selfie with a big smile of us stuck in the death box. Maybe we can talk to people on the outside while we wait. I mean, isn’t that what we do when we are not trapped? Sit within inches of each other in real life and get lost in another world on a four to five inch screen? Or have pointless conversations with others we cannot see for hours on end about nothing? Unless we use facetime. Or those weird animal emoji things. Battery may get eaten up too fast then. Better hope we have Samsung phones with inductive charging so we can just sit them on each other to share battery. Unless those Samsung phone batteries are prone to exploding. Or the screens are prone to breaking when folded. But what am I saying, I have an iPhone. I have tons of movie soundtracks to entertain us. Let’s fire up Die Hard since it fits the moment of being in a perilous situation in a building.

Now let’s say the John McClane scenarios start once Ode to Joy blares from the soundtrack. The elevator starts to slip. Perhaps flames can be felt , if not seen. We need to get out of the death trap before we are cooked or plummet to a very hard landing. Perhaps the bad guys are coming with their guns. We must escape now before we are riddled with holes. My present state of being will probably only get me so far. Being heavy, on a diet, lacking energy and stamina will require my adrenaline to really save the day. Unless the other person happens to be John McClane.  I’d probably find myself standing on top of the elevator looking for a way to climb up. Hope there is a ladder, because wire cabling isn’t going to get me going. Not with my upper body strength, or lack thereof.

I don’t know, somehow I feel this got off track somewhere… that is what happens when you write a  poignant summary in the real Prompt #2 but then decide to not share the lessons learned and instead pick the nonsensical prompt instead.

 

Prompt Series #1 – What is the nicest restaurant you’ve ever been to?

QuestionWhat is the nicest restaurant you’ve ever been to? Where was it? What did you order?

I’ve eaten at a lot of places. Having lived in five states and traveled to at least 20, I’ve had my share of adventures. I’ve eaten the absolutely common fast food. I’ve eaten the high end at Ruth’s Chris Steak House. The most important place with some of the best food though may be  Taliano’s Italian Restaurant.

Taliano’s is in Fort Smith, Arkansas. This is a border city in western Arkansas within sight of Oklahoma across the river. As a city, it features maybe 90,000 people today. It is where my parents met on the tennis courts at Ben Geren. It has a history as a gateway to the west and Indian Territory, as one of the last locations along the Trail of Tears. A location of discipline, law, order, and hangings in the wild west.

Taliano’s is where my dad proposed to my mom. The Italian restaurant itself is fairly close to my mom’s old home. A few streets over in the older part of town with plenty of houses pushing near100 years old. The building is an old house, converted into a very unique dining establishment. I’ve eaten there twice as far as I can remember. Once in 2001 on a vacation trip. Again in 2017 on a vacation to let my mom see her home town for perhaps the last time.

Taliano's Sign
Taliano’s Italian Restaurant Sign

Lots of people flock to a simple place like an Olive Garden. Taliano’s has them beat by miles.  The food is fresher, the atmosphere even more intimate and unique, and the memories fonder than any chain could hope to garner. Open mainly for dinner hours, it never seems to be empty.  They prefer that you have a reservation, but we got in just fine without one for my mom, her sister, her sister’s husband, and myself.  It seemed our visit must have corresponded with prom, or some formal event, as a table of eight high school aged kids was nearby. Their behavior was exemplary.

There is a lot of standard Italian fare on the menu. I have no idea what I ate in 2001, but in 2017 I had fettuccini alfredo.  The pre-meal salad was incredibly fresh too. I believe there may have been some bread or other pre-meal items, but ultimately I enjoyed the main course. Taliano’s is not an inexpensive restaurant, but it sits up there with other higher end casual dining, such as any primary Darden entity or steak house.  It was about $25 a head I think as I paid the bill after tip. Though I believe I ate all my food, the others had leftovers to enjoy later.

Fort Smith is somewhere I lived for six months in the middle of my single digit years. Both sets of grandparents lived here. As mentioned, my parents met here, and the restaurant played a role in their relationship. Fort Smith is not the biggest town, it doesn’t have all the attractions of a major city, but it has its culture and special places. Taliano’s is one of those places. Unlike the bland suburban and urban environments somewhere like Orlando has, with all its attractions and famous destinations, Fort Smith has something special to it. Houses have character, national historic locations have presence, and the people seem to have a relaxed kindness. While the world gravitates the population back to the mega cities and builds new mega cities, lets pray somewhere like Fort Smith can still exist with its special places like Taliano’s tucked away in the neighborhoods of old. It was here before I was born, lets hope it is still there when I die for the next generations to enjoy.

Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker Theory

My Personal Background

Make no mistake. I am a huge Star Wars fan. It all started years ago when my dad introduced me to it via a network broadcast. I actually saw the movies out of order too. A New Hope, Return of the Jedi, and then some time years later Empire Strikes Back. When the prequels were released, I was exiting middle school and heading into high school. They wrapped while I was in college. Then came the Disney acquisition of Lucasfilm and the announcement of more movies as I was young into my career.

I can go on and on, but I am very excited to see how the sequel trilogy comes to its end. I understand why people balked at The Last Jedi. As a movie, on its own merits, I think it is a well crafted piece of entertainment. As a movie that is carrying 7 movies before it, I understand why people felt betrayed at characterizations, especially of Luke Skywalker. So what does the now forthcoming final installment in the entire Skywalker Saga have to offer? Let me take a guess as to my theory.

The Title

The Rise of Skywalker is an interesting title. It feels almost as out of place if you think about it too hard. But what is the current Star Wars Saga  all about? The rise and fall and rise again of a family known as Skywalker. I firmly believe that the title is essentially the capstone to the entire saga: how the Skywalker name finally arose to save the galaxy.

So the title, The Rise of Skywalker, is essentially a name that encapsulates the entire 9 movie series. And we are going to learn more about Skywalker that sheds new light and gives us new context as to why the Skywalker’s matter so much in the galaxy.

The Backstory

We are introduced to Anakin Skywalker, son of a slave, born absent a father, in The Phantom Menace. A lot of prophecy stuff starts to freak the Jedi out as they learn he is born out of a vergence, with innate abilities and a huge midi-chlorian count. The entire question of the prequel trilogy: is Anakin the chosen one? The one to bring balance to the force? Or is it “a prophecy, that misread could have been?”, to quote Yoda.

Fast forward to Anakin falling to the dark side and becoming Darth Vader. The Jedi are largely destroyed and darkness reigns. His children ripped away and hidden before he knew of their birth and survival. Now comes Luke Skywalker, who ultimately brings his father back from the dark side at the end of the original trilogy. For George Lucas, the story he aimed to tell after 6 movies was the rise, fall, and redemption of Anakin Skywalker.

So this leads us to the sequel trilogy. Luke fails as a teacher. Darkness again grew in the Skywalker blood, through Ben Solo  his nephew. Ben, now called Kylo Ren, destroys the remaining Jedi students and goes about bringing darkness back to the galaxy. He is obsessed with his grandfather. Snoke, his mysterious master, sees Kylo as another Vader, and is almost freakishly obsessed with the Skywalker name and blood. But a new champion of the light has appeared out of nowhere: Rey.

Rey is seemingly powerful with no training, and starts to rapidly develop powers. She is able to best Kylo at his mind reading and in a duel. No known background seems present in her mind, as if she just remembers being dumped off with a rough alien trader at a young age. Kylo claims he saw who her parents were: worthless junk traders. Can it really be that simple? Rey is super powerful, a nobody, and can take on the heir of darkness in Kylo Ren?

What Is The Chosen One Prophecy?

Essentially, someone who will bring balance to the force. But what is balance? Why does balance matter? How is there balance if there is only light or dark? Can someone master both?

Chancellor Palpatine tells Anakin a story in Revenge of the Sith. As part of that story, he explains how the powerful Darth Plagueis even learned how to create life. Whether this is Palpatine trying to make Anakin doubt himself as the chosen one or if it actually has implications that Anakin was created by some dark force, is ultimately unknown.  But this concept is going to come full circle in the sequels.

As an aside, in that same story time session, Palpatine also mentioned how Plagueis sought power to save others from dying, but couldn’t save himself. Later in the movie, when Anakin turned Vader pleads for Palpatine to help him save his wife, Padme.  Palpatine said that the power to cheat death was discovered by only one person, but if they worked together, they could discover the secret. This will come into play in the sequel trilogy.

The Theory for The Sequel Trilogy and The Rise of Skywalker

Palpatine is still alive. Unlike his master Plagueis, he found the secret to escape death. Snoke was either a puppet or projection of Palpatine. Whether Palpatine is actually in  a flesh-and-blood  state or Force ghost state, we don’t know yet. Either way, his influence is still corrupting the galaxy and the Force. He will need to be defeated once and for all.

Rey was found on Jakku. Jakku in the new Disney expanded universe canon was the site of the final battle between the Empire and Rebel Alliance. Jakku was a secret outpost, doing secret research. Rey was the outcome of that research. Rey is one of three possible things:

  • A manifestation of the dark side’s supposed ability to create life.
  • An experimental clone using DNA of Luke or Anakin Skywalker.
  •  A person born of Palpatine.

Rey is ultimately a creation that was designed for darkness and to save the empire, or the Sith. Yet that plan ultimately backfired on the Empire. Rey  becomes an agent of good, and the Force uses her to that end. It explains why she is so powerful and why she doesn’t remember her parents. It explains why she saw endless reflections of herself on Ahch-To. She was the final, successful line in experiments to create the ultimate agent of  evil. Rey was likely “found” on Jakku by junk traders in a stasis pod or some such thing. They released her, carried her along for a while, and sold her for money.

The big reveal in the movie is going to revolve around the chosen one prophecy. Rey is the “next attempt” at the Force bringing balance to itself. The reason it is out of balance will have something to do with Palpatine and the Sith, and whatever he has been up to the last 30+ years. Kylo Ren, Rey’s opposite in the Force, will be a key to bringing balance to the Force. Assuming Rey unknowingly has some Skywalker DNA herself, The Rise of Skywalker is a combined effort of Rey and Kylo doing something that finally brings balance to the Force. Kylo probably dies for his efforts. Rey adopts the name of Skywalker, knowing she is a byproduct of them.

Some summary evidence that may suggest this kind of outcome for Rey?

  • Why does  the Skywalker lightsaber call to her?
  • Why were their lots and lots of solid rumors about The Force Awakens actually opening with a shot of Luke’s hand floating in space? I believe some involved in the production of the movie may have also said they originally had  some really wild, weird ideas to open the movie. As far as I know, the floating hand theory has never been shot down. It also pays homage to the  Thrawn Trilogy of books and the idea of a clone of Luke being a key plot point. Maz even says how she got the lightsaber was a tale for another time.
  • Again, Rey sees lots of iterations of herself on Ahch-To. Her blurred parents combine just into a reflection of herself. Why? She is the last in the line of clones made of something (maybe Luke’s hand plays a role?).
  • How can Rey be so powerful?
  • How does the expanded universe stuff with Jakku not seem like a big coincidence as to why Rey is there with no memory of her parents?

An Alternative Line of Thought

I can easily assume my primary theory is going to be “too complex” to pull off. A lot of overthinking when there will be a much simpler outcome. So if it is going to be such, here is what I see as the next most likely thing that allows them to tie all nine movies together and incorporating concepts and themes from both prequel and original trilogy timelines.

I don’t see how Rey is ultimately a nobody. I think the more sinister thing for her to face would be that Palpatine is her creator, father, or grandfather. Either by traditional methods or some dark side manipulation. Palpatine is brought back into the story to reveal this to her. She is horrified at her discovery and has to choose between a legacy of darkness or righting the wrongs of her own father. Much in the way Luke had to right the wrongs of his father in the original trilogy.

A more simplified story would then basically have Rey, who was born out of darkness, having to fight Kylo, who was born out of light. The winner saves or destroys the galaxy and the nature of the Force itself. Perhaps they even reach some kind of agreement and come together to balance the Force.  In whatever they do, Anakin or Luke Skywalker then ascends to some new level of existence within the Force itself and in a battle in the realm of the Force, brings balance to it once and for all. Perhaps Anakin/Luke faces off against Palpatine in some kind of spiritual war, only made possible because of something Rey or Rey + Kylo accomplish. We find Palpatine was the ultimate corrupting influence within the Force, and his defeat brings everything back into balance.

The Reality

I will come back to this post and see how off base my theory and alternative line of thought ultimately may be. I think though  at some level, a spiritual battle is going to take place that outweighs the visual battles that will entertain our eyes and brains. The outcome of that spiritual battle is what brings the Force into balance. I would be fairly bored with a movie where it is just Rey vs. Kylo and whoever wins saves the galaxy and somehow puts the Force into balance just from that outcome alone. I don’t see how you don’t address the spiritual side of Star Wars in an ultimate conclusion to this series. It has always been about balancing the Force. Wars will almost always be fought in this galaxy and they will have ample more sagas and movies to make to tell us new stories with new characters. There has to be something bigger than Rey slicing Kylo in half and the underdog Resistance somehow unseating the First Order with lesser numbers or technology. But maybe there won’t be…

A Journey with Music: Words are Cheap. Hear the Themes.

I am musically inept. I don’t know terminology. I don’t know how to read music. I couldn’t name pretty much any popular or indie artists. If there was a Jeopardy category on music, I’d probably never ring in. My musical performance died with the Flutophone in 3rd grade. I cannot carry a tune in a bucket. Music was never a huge part of my childhood. I didn’t ever really adopt a music of preference until I got an iPad Classic in 2008. I was in my early 20s at that point.

Prior to college, my music collection comprised the Star Wars soundtracks, Bobby McFerrin, a couple of Christian artists,  and generic hymn or praise song collections. As college began, I started to absorb more and more contemporary Christian artists. Some of the songs had a theological power. Some of the songs had emotional power. Some of the songs were bad. Especially bad if the songs can replace “Jesus” with “generic boyfriend name” and the song worked in a different, unnerving context. But between the local radio station that played Christian music and dwindling artists of interest, things started to shift for me. I again leaned heavily on the influence of John William’s Star Wars scores and some of Bobby McFerrin’s more obscure works. Which for people not overly familiar with Bobby McFerrin, was far less mainstream than Don’t Worry, Be Happy. Check out the Circlesong’s album, I always liked Circle Song 6 best.

All throughout middle and high school, the Star Wars music was a sort of melodic backdrop to the overly dramatized happenings in teen life. The rich musical variation of  soft and somber cues, the dark and trying themes, hints of love and mystery, and heroic themes of epic battle carried me along. This never really left me.   As I tried to simplify my musical listening experience with the technology of mp3 players and eventually the iPod, the yearning for new stuff slowly grew. And so the last decade has been a musical explosion. Film scores and soundtracks is where everything shifted. Perhaps even a bit obsessive now.

Why does this music resonate with me? I never cared much for pop music. My parents mostly listened to stuff from before the 80s, The older it was, the less rich the underlying themes felt.  Anything approaching the Lawrence Welk show’s territory should be muted immediately. Judging from today’s pop music, the themes, beats, lyrics, and everything about it is highly commercialized and dumbed-down. A lot of songs more or less use the same underlying themes and cues.  I guess the indie scene is pretty big too. There are so many indie artists with the ease of releasing one’s productions that it is hard to realistically weed through them. You kind of have to discover them more organically and have it click for a moment in time. I don’t decry rap music as being the devil, but the lyrical content is pretty important as to whether I would say an artist is really worth absorbing into your gray matter. The beats can be pretty cool though.

What does all this ultimately lead back to? The musical cues, themes, beats, motifs, etc. These are most fully realized in today’s movies, TV shows, video games, and other visual media. I’d say nothing is more diverse than film scores today. At least, nothing catches my ear and pleases it to the same degree with such diversity. You are not limited to some genre featuring a folksy acoustic guitar, over-processed auto-tuned vocals, a guitar group with a crazy drummer, hard to hear grunts, or the likes. No, you can experience those same sounds or entire orchestras with diverse instruments sewn together in harmony. Electronic beats, synthesizers, choirs, experimental pairings of instruments, traditional instruments. It is all there and some real musical masters are weaving it all together.

I think the underlying themes within film scores, pop music, rock, rap, whatever you want is really what attaches us to the music. Lyrics can be shallow, nonsensical, or in languages we do not understand, yet the song touches us. Hence why I think, in general, words are cheap with music. It is the melody, the motifs, the way certain harmonies can touch our emotions that truly has the power. There is probably some science and nature aspect that makes it innate in our humanity. Although I no longer watch the show, it is why I loathe singers on America’s Got Talent that cover songs and how they usually find a way to win more often than not. Singers are generally a dime a dozen. Millions, if not a billion or two, people can carry tunes in a bucket. Hundreds of thousands do it really well and could try to be professional singers. So to me, it is the melodies under the lyrics that truly capture us. Most singers are not doing something original on these contest shows, hence why they  really have no impact after the show. Same goes for any American Idol, Voice, etc. competition.

All rambling aside, instrumental music, classical music, film scores, soundtracks, etc. have captured me. I will have a lot more to say about the ones I like in coming posts. But the last decade has opened me up in ways I didn’t think possible. So words are cheap. Listen for the themes underneath and let them sink into your soul. You will feel good.

Jurassic World: Fallen Kingdom – Lots of Problems

This post will contain spoilers for Jurassic World: Fallen Kingdom.

I am not a huge dinosaur fanatic. Many of my friends have been over the years. I typically gravitate to the big budget blockbuster films, so I made my usual trip for the summer to see the movie. I had been pleasantly surprised by Jurassic World. It recaptured some of the magic of Jurassic Park. So I figured I’d see this one too.

I had no real expectations for Fallen Kingdom. The trailers never really blew me away. The immediate thing you learn though is they seem to have hidden the animal rights activism perspective. In one sense, I think respecting habitats, animals, and nature is critical to a healthy planet. Humans are pretty poor stewards of God’s creation.

On the other hand, saving monstrous, unnatural, genetic concoctions birthed by humanity, splicing genes and the likes, seems bad. Such as where in the last movie thousands of people’s lives were put at risk when their peak experiment, the Indominus Rex, broke free. It pretty much ended the theme park’s viability. Sure, not everything is as dangerous as Indominus was in the first movie, but these are not natural animals. These are gene-spliced creations. I don’t know if there was a throw away line in Jurassic World that said reproduction was impossible, but if it is like Jurassic Park, these faux dinosaurs may be able to reproduce. A la the famous quote “life finds a way” from Ian Malcolm. And that is where the big problem comes into play. Even Ian Malcolm seems to realize it in his congressional interview: let them die. As a matter of fact, why didn’t some government go in and wipe them out after the disaster in the first film?

If the genetic concoctions can reproduce like they could in Jurassic Park (all female, gender changing frog DNA shenanigans), given how the movie ends, the world is going to see a whole new meaning to invasive species. From watching nature programs, I don’t think naturalists are very fond of introducing species into foreign environments. Simply living in Florida, I am keenly aware of the hardship the Florida Everglades faces with Burmese pythons, as well as some foreign trees they try to kill off unsuccessfully. You better hope those that got free cannot reproduce… but then, why would another sequel matter if only a handful of dinos got lose? Someone would kill them at some point.

Thus this is the biggest problem with the movies premise in my mind. Animal rights activists want to save something unnatural to our world today when the threat of having a massive invasive species problem exists. These huge beasts could destroy ecosystems. Indominus Rex destroyed Jurassic World’s fake ecosystem in like 30 minutes in the last movie. Speaking of which, why haven’t government’s gone into full detective mode to figure out the utter failures of the owning corporations and haven’t found out that BD Wong’s group is hiding with DNA. Why are people involved with the last park not in jail? Claire Dearing should know Dr. Wu is no good. Why hasn’t he been found out?

Let’s also take into account other problems with this movie:

  • Why did the world’s most expensive theme park get built on an island with a volcano?
  • Since when is perfect human cloning a thing in this universe? If Hammond and Lockwood had a falling out and Hammond and Lockwood were nowhere to be seen 25 years ago, does this mean this clone child is stuck as a child? Or is this an iteration of clone child? How many failures were there? The girl is like 10. Hammond has probably been dead like 20 years now. So when did Lockwood do this and how many times did he do it?
  • Why is no government agency actively monitoring an island of huge beasts?
  • How in the world do you quietly transport all those dinosaurs to some California mansion with no one knowing? The car parade of auction participants was about as absurd as the scene in Get Out too.
  • How can a dinosaur, the rarest and most unique specimen now on the globe, only be sold for a few million a piece? Each one should be worth hundreds of millions, if not billions.  And how are the purchasers going to keep them under wraps?
  • Why do they think they can weaponize dinosaurs? It was a silly plot point in the first movie, but is downright dumb now. If we cannot control lions, tigers, and other aggressive animals, why would we with things 10 times larger?

There are a lot more questions I could ask. I will say that the creature feature horror elements work pretty well.  The opening was fun, but rushed. The characters were mostly annoying, save Chris Pratt, Bryce Dallas Howard, and Ted Levine. The special effects are a bit inconsistent, but the movie is visually fun to look at on the big screen.

Ultimately, I think the movie fails with the narrative. By comparison, I didn’t like The Lost World, but the narrative was fine. The execution and acting was awful. In the end, I don’t care enough about dinosaurs to think anymore on this movie. But I just found the animal rights activism that ultimately leads to the worst case of invasive species danger a bit inconsistent with how the world would or should probably operate today.

Take 10

Hey, it is The Cope again.

I am going to try to start the blog back up. I will have a real  entry up  in the near future. However, you can enjoy this simple announcement for now.

I have tried to  get this off the ground a half dozen times since college. Let alone the other several prior instances where I had a blog for family and friends.  Let me see if I can generate more than a dozen posts over the course of twelve months.

Until later…