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In the Name of God بسم الله
Chaotic Muslem

What Have You Watched Recently? [OFFICIAL THREAD]

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^ The advantage of a movie is that they are far more influential and with a mass audience.

 

On their own merits, obviously a book outweighs a movie in importance and benefit. You can watch every movie ever made and it will not match just one sermon from Nahj al-Balagha.

 

But if we keep in mind the wider phenomenon of movies, then we see that movies are very important. They may not be important in their own right but they are important because of their influence.

 

 

 

Let's take, for example, a movie I saw recently: the Mockingjay, Part 1. This is the third "Hunger Games" movie. Hunger Games is a science fiction saga based on a series of "young adult" novels which are inexplicably popular.

 

It is set in a generic post-apocalyptic world where there is some generic totalitarian government in power and a bunch of uninteresting c.rap happens.

 

You've seen the movie before. If you've seen the previous installments in the series, you've seen this one. Likewise, if you've seen "Equilibrium," "Divergent," "V for Vendetta," etc......

 

This type of movie is very popular and common for some reason. One has to wonder why. Fascism is dead. Communism is dead. How many countries in the world today are governed by systems that we can call "totalitarian?" Why do we keep getting these movies depicting events and struggles which are so far removed from our own? Even in science fiction or fantasy, you must present something which the audience can identify with. Who in the US can identify with "fighting a bloody revolution against a totalitarian government?"

 

If we put our conspiracy caps on, we can see that this is all a distraction for the people. The people are encouraged to put themselves in the shoes of these fictional rebels and revolutionists. Meanwhile, is there any threat of some totalitarian or similar system coming to the US? Nope. Instead, we see the uncontrolled increase in corporate power, the collapse of organic social and familial ties, spiraling consumption, the most brain-dead media in the world, increasing indifference to immoral behaviors, etc...

 

These are the important issues which plague this country. Not some fantastical totalitarian government.

 

So what seems like a simple popcorn movie is actually something much much more. Hollywood is not stupid. They realize that movies like "Battleship" tend to be mocked because they are far too over-the-top for people to take seriously. So they implement their political plans through seemingly innocent, apolitical movies.

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Watched a lot of movies but was too lazy to post here so here is my qadha.

 

Aladdin (1992)

 

l_103639_32ecaa65.jpg

 

Loved it when I was a kid. Actually thought the characters were Iranian because in the beginning the merchant guy says "Salaam and good evening." (I was a bit of a slow kid). Hadn't watched it in ages until about a week ago. Aside from repeating the same tired old Arab stereotypes, it's kind of annoying in general. Constant noise. A lot of the humor is dated and drenched in 90s. I finally "got" the many pop culture references that Robin Williams' Genie character makes during the course of the movie. All in all, in spite of being very dated and very loud and obnoxious, I like it. Not just because of childhood nostalgia. But because I feel that these "classic" Arab stereotypes are far less harmful than today's anti-Arab, anti-Muslim stereotypes. Hell, the king says "Praise Allah" at one point in the movie (and he is a "good guy"). I would much rather that American kids watch this as opposed to "Not without my daughter" or "Death before Dishonor." Nonetheless, the Genesis/MD game is much better than the movie. If you are feeling nostalgic for this movie, just play the game. 7/10

 

The Hunchback of Notre Dame (1996)

 

r5109.jpg

 

Last saw this when I was 8 years old (which was when it had just been released). It's based on the novel by Victor Hugo. I never read the book but when a movie is based on literature, the book is almost always superior. So if you liked the book, you probably won't be able to appreciate the movie. In the book, Frollo is the archdeacon of the cathedral but in this one he is a judge, and the archdeacon is a genteel. I guess Disney didn't want to take on the Catholic Church. Even so, this does address subject matters which a normal Disney movie wouldn't dare touch (such as religious hypocrisy, lust, class differences, and prejudice). Still, it's Disney. It's not super-deep or anything. I feel that if the Japanese were given the task of writing this movie, we would get a much more nuanced story. Nonetheless, I did enjoy this movie. Quasimodo and Frollo are very strong characters (though Esmerelda and the douchey lieutenant guy are rather annoying). Quasimodo is innocent and remains loyal to Frollo even though he is fascinated with the outside world. Frollo is constantly rationalizing his terrible misdeeds and convincing himself that he is a pious man. The animation is... in one word, breathtaking. Some of Disney's best stuff. I love the bells, especially (you'll see what I mean if you watch the movie). The soundtrack consists of chants. It is not only epic but very fitting. Overall, very good, but given the dark and nuanced source material it could have used some Japanese touch. 8/10

 

Duma (2005)

 

MOV_2374ec18_b.jpg

 

Set in South Africa. A boy and his father come across and orphan cheetah cub and adopt it. Father dies of some sort of disease. Mother and son have to leave the family farm and go to the city. Raising the cheetah becomes impossible so the kid sets out on a journey to return the cheetah to the wild, on his own, using his dad's motorcycle. Kid finds another wanderer, in the middle of the desert, after his fuel runs out. Together, they get out of the desert and traverse other rugged, untamed land before the kid finds a place to leave his cheetah and the other dude finds his home village. Good kids movie; there is no bad language or other haraam content. One scene where the (pre-death) dad kisses the mum on the lips, but it's just a peck. That's all I can think of to say for the haraamness warning. My only problem with the movie is that a lot of things the characters do make no sense. Why does the kid just take his dad's motorcycle and leave without telling his mother? Why does he abandon the main road and take a "short cut" across the desert? Why doesn't he have a radio or something? Why does he not conceive that he will run out of fuel? And as for the other guy, why when he first meets the kid he acts like a douche and treats him like c.rap? I understand the filmmakers wanted there to be tension between the two, but this was more than just tension. The guy is a douche to the kid. In spite of these problems, it's still a very good movie. Especially to show your kids. Warning: the beginning features footage of baby cheetah cubs. Rated RC for ridiculously cute. Overall score: 9/10

 

Mulan (1998)

 

Movie_poster_mulan.JPG

 

This is another one I hadn't seen since shortly after its release. It's actually based on a true story; Fa Mulan was a famous Chinese woman who fought a war in her father's stead. But obviously, that does not make this some sort of documentary. But I thought it was purely fictional, so it was interesting to know it was (loosely) based on a real person's story. It's like a Chinese version of Aladdin but instead of a heavy dose of Robin Williams we get a limited dose of Eddie Murphy. I loved Mushu when I was 10 but now I see him as rather annoying. But he does have his funny moments. Interesting choice of the "Huns" as villains; one of the northern Asian tribes which 1) no longer exists, and 2) is easier to pronounce for Westerners than "Xiongnu." But don't most Europeans trace their ancestry back to the Huns? In any case, the Huns weren't around when the Great Wall was around, but it's pointless to talk about history with respect to a Disney movie. Also, I loved the "I'll make a man out of you" training montage. Whoever wrote that must have watched a Rocky / Karate Kid marathon. Overall score: 8/10

 

Rocky (1976)

 

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Mulan's training montage put me in the mood for an 80s sports movie. I had never seen the first Rocky so I wanted to give it a shot. Unfortunately, Rocky is not an 80s movie. Rocky IV is an 80s movie, and thus it features not just one but 5 montages. It also features Ivan Drago, the greatest character ever written. And jingoist political propaganda that lacks self-awareness. The original Rocky is a much different movie. It's very slow, and awkward. It's supposed to be inspirational but to me it's just depressing. Rocky is a very sympathetic character but it's depressing to watch him live his life and interact with people. He's so incredibly dumb. He's borderline retarded. And that's what makes him sympathetic, but it also makes his story more depressing than inspirational. Especially because most of the runtime is devoted to showing his c.rappy life rather than showing him training and overcoming the odds. But I like how they depict Apollo Creed; he is not a typical boxing movie villain. In fact he is not a villain at all. He's just the best boxer in the world who has grown too lethargic and is too focused on the business and marketing aspect of the sport than on training. I also like how it ends (spoiler: Rocky loses the match but it doesn't matter). Haraam content warning: kissing scene between Rocky and Adrian. Lasted about a minute and although I didn't see it I am guessing it is IMPLIED that they did more than just kiss. Other than that, nothing to be worried about unless you don't like watching shirtless men punch other shirtless men. Overall score: 8/10.

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As much as I love that movie, it's really terrible.

 

I mean technically it is very good. Good acting and production qualities, etc...

 

But it tries to paint the Japanese as a sort of Western, or even more alien than Western, force. (Compare the depiction of the Japanese in Ip Man to the depiction of the British in Ip Man 2; neither are favorable depictions, but the latter is certainly more innocuous). And this simply isn't the case. Almost everything which makes up what we consider to be Japanese culture -- be it Confucianism or Buddhism or even martial arts -- originally came from China. Back before China became weak, it was the qibla of Japan and Korea. And this is openly acknowledged by both Japanese and Koreans. To paint the Japanese as inherently evil (even to the point of choosing actors who look like American racist caricatures of East Asians rather than real people)... would be to dismiss everything that China gave to Japan through thousands of years of history.

 

If you want a movie with a similar plot but less ridiculous depiction of Japanese, I recommend Fist of Legend.

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As much as I love that movie, it's really terrible.

 

I mean technically it is very good. Good acting and production qualities, etc...

 

But it tries to paint the Japanese as a sort of Western, or even more alien than Western, force. (Compare the depiction of the Japanese in Ip Man to the depiction of the British in Ip Man 2; neither are favorable depictions, but the latter is certainly more innocuous). And this simply isn't the case. Almost everything which makes up what we consider to be Japanese culture -- be it Confucianism or Buddhism or even martial arts -- originally came from China. Back before China became weak, it was the qibla of Japan and Korea. And this is openly acknowledged by both Japanese and Koreans. To paint the Japanese as inherently evil (even to the point of choosing actors who look like American racist caricatures of East Asians rather than real people)... would be to dismiss everything that China gave to Japan through thousands of years of history.

 

If you want a movie with a similar plot but less ridiculous depiction of Japanese, I recommend Fist of Legend.

 

Yes the film demonises the Japanese and paints them us ultimate villains. This might have to do with the story's historical setting. Occupied and the occupiers often tend to treat each other as the 'barbarian other' to make sense of their policies in the case of the occupiers and of their plight in case of the occupied. But despite this a nuanced depiction could have been produced but the film paints the two sides in black and white. This appears to be a general problem with Chinese cinema. If you watch Shaolin or The Last Swordsman (hope I have not messed up with the film names), you find that either they are infallible heroes who embody great virtue and goodness or they are raging devils who epitomise evil.

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(salam)

 

l re-watched "Zulu". This is the 50th anniversary of the film.

 

It is a sad film.

 

Some of the movie was/is the Hollywood stock-stories of the early 60s. 

 

To get a better perspective, I read about it on the net about 3 years ago from South Afrika. Good info.

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Mulan (1998)

 

Movie_poster_mulan.JPG

 

This is another one I hadn't seen since shortly after its release. It's actually based on a true story; Fa Mulan was a famous Chinese woman who fought a war in her father's stead. But obviously, that does not make this some sort of documentary. But I thought it was purely fictional, so it was interesting to know it was (loosely) based on a real person's story. It's like a Chinese version of Aladdin but instead of a heavy dose of Robin Williams we get a limited dose of Eddie Murphy. I loved Mushu when I was 10 but now I see him as rather annoying. But he does have his funny moments. Interesting choice of the "Huns" as villains; one of the northern Asian tribes which 1) no longer exists, and 2) is easier to pronounce for Westerners than "Xiongnu." But don't most Europeans trace their ancestry back to the Huns? In any case, the Huns weren't around when the Great Wall was around, but it's pointless to talk about history with respect to a Disney movie. Also, I loved the "I'll make a man out of you" training montage. Whoever wrote that must have watched a Rocky / Karate Kid marathon. Overall score: 8/10

 

Forgot to mention about this one: there is kind of a dangerous message.

 

Basically, all of China would have been doomed if this one random chick didn't fire a cannon at an icy peak causing an avalanche to submerge all the Hun soldiers. Is that really something that little girls should watch? (that guys are all incompetent bufoons and no matter what the job is, a woman can do it better than a man?)

 

I recommend that you don't show this to your daughters. Unless they are strong enough ideologically to be unaffected by it.

 

 

 

 

Also, don't show it to your ten-year-old sons. But that's for different reasons...

 

 

 

 

I saw Frozen (2013)

 

336px-Frozen-movie-poster.jpg

 

This was a megahit and the mother of many a internet meme. But was it worth all the hype?

 

No, no it was not.

 

It wasn't bad. But this isn't the same Disney that we grew up with.

 

I don't like that they are abandoning 2D hand-drawn animation. If this was a hand-drawn movie I would have liked it more. But even aside from that, it's not as good as the classics. It tries too hard to be like a Dreamworks movie. Disney shouldn't be trying to copy off of friggin Dreamworks. Score: 7/10

Edited by baradar_jackson

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