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Monday, November 14, 2016

ARRIVAL et HACKSAW RIDGE

I took French for my PhD and I think "et" is "and" in English.  I went to two films that made the top 5 in box office revenues this weekend:

                             ROTTEN TOMATOES  MY RATING BOX OFFICE
                             Reviewers  Audience

Arrival                       93               82               Okay               #3

Hacksaw Ridge        86               96               Okay               #5

Both films were about PEACE, although Arrival had the potential for war and Hacksaw Ridge was over the top brutally horrifying.

For the longest while Rotten Tomatoes had Arrival at 100, for both reviewers and audiences.  While this drop noted above still keeps the film at a lofty level, I can identify with the decline because I was very disappointed with the production.  Maybe it was because I was expecting too much, or perhaps, as one who worked in the field of the search for extraterrestrial intelligence for NASA, I knew too much, but I found too many flaws in the presentation.  I'll do you one favor so you can be inspired to go see the film yourself.  I won't show what those two aliens--flippantly referred to as Abbot and Costello--looked like, except imagine tall octopuses with seven legs.

While there assorted glitches, to me, the fatal flaw in Arrival was that Amy Adams as linguist Dr. Louise Banks, could envision the future. There is a scientific term, precognition, that extrasensory perceptive quality touted by psychics, and there is one where you live.  Science, and the Great Randi (left) in particular, have discredited every one of them.  Dr. Banks predicting the future?  Nonsense.

A second weakness was at the end when the Chinese general played by Tzi Ma whispers into Amy Adams' ear why he did not attack the ship that went to China, thus saving Planet Earth.  Either I fell asleep for those crucial moments before that scene or they zoomed right through the whole sequence without explaining enough of what happened.  There were so many empty spots throughout the film that time was certainly not a factor.

When it comes to alien ships suddenly appearing, usually, they are here for nefarious reasons, and they always are eons ahead of us in technology.  These 12 hubcaps in the sky came to save us from our next world war.  I guess they had to cover those dozen spots to insure that no potentially instigative country was left out.  I wondered, though, how any advanced civilization could justify the expenses to come all the way here just to catalyze peace.  Clearly, they found a cheap way to travel many light years by negotiating wormholes, or something similar.  At the end the ships did not zoom away, they just disappeared.

I gave both films an Okay rating, which would equate to around a 6.5 where 10 would be fabulous.  Carl Sagan's CONTACT, released almost two decades ago, almost went over the deep end, but your mind can do funny things, and I can accept that possibility.  Thus, 9.5 would be about right.  Independence Day 2, Resurgence, got 31/32 scores from Rotten Tomatoes.  That was a terrible movie, but I've seen worse.


The directors for the films were Denis Villeneuve for the above and Mel Gibson for the below.  Gibson did the better job.


I wasn't expecting much from Hacksaw Ridge, and was pleasantly surprised, where The New York Times indicated that

   Mr. Gibson’s appetite for gore is without equal in modern Hollywood.  

Mel Gibson's first movie in a decade, he has no doubt returned.

Andrew Garfield played Desmond Doss, a Seventh-day Adventist who was the only Medal of Honor Awardee as a conscientious objector.  The movie starts slowly, but that was in good contrast to the battle scenes, which were gory, bloody, noisy, and graphic, featuring guts, torn limbs and rats.  It is rated R.  Doss saved 75 soldiers at Hacksaw Ridge under the most impossible of conditions.

Click on the Maeda Escarpment Barrier (today to the right) for a more details.  If you go see the film you will wonder, as I did, as to why the Japs (this pejorative is frequently applied, but Mel was directing, and he stuck to authenticity) did not just cut down the rope grid that allowed the Americans to climb up the ridge.  I made a further check, and found that the real scene was a bit more substantive:


I'm not complaining, for this is Hollywood, but there was no obvious physical resemblance between the real and movie Dorothy and Desmond Doss.  Dorothy was played by Teresa Palmer, a stunning beauty.  In Desmond's mind, his Dorothy no doubt was the same.  Below with his Medal of Honor:


The Battle of Okinawa was one of the bloodiest in the Pacific.  Located 340 miles from mainland Japan.  While "only" 12,000 Americans died, the Japanese deaths numbered close to 150,000, many of them civilians.  One estimate indicated that half of the local population might have disappeared.  Okinawa now has almost the exact population of Hawaii, 1.4 million, and you can imagine why they remain so anti-war.

The Dow Jones Industrial Average again broke its all-time record, up 21 to 18,869.

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