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schwern (1528)

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Journal of schwern (1528)

Monday September 26, 2005
11:44 PM

Talk with your kids about alien invasion.

[ #26895 ]

If you don't, who will? Not Steven Spielburg!

I just saw the new War of the Worlds (fortunately for $3) and it
struck me that there were two major themes... aside from that humans
make great fertilizer. They were themes not in the original and thus
quite deliberately planted there, so you'd think they'd be important.
One is the staccato beat of Family, Family, Family that every major
Hollywood movie seems to feel is necessary these days. The other is
more interesting. Denial... to protect the children, of course.

Straight from the beginning and all the way through to the end, Ray
(the father) never tells his kids what's going on. He never has that
all important "Facts of Life" talk. "Kids, things will be a little
different now that our alien overlords have landed. When a mommy
alien and a daddy alien want to kill all humans very much..." Instead he
covers his daughter's eyes. Tells her to plug her ears. Don't look.
Don't listen. If you pretend it isn't there it can't hurt you.
You're still the center of the universe. Society is collapsing all
around you and people are being turned to ash but you just keep putting
your magic bubble around yourself and nothing bad can ever happen.

I had thought maybe they were going somewhere interesting with this, a
moral about trying to "protect" our kids from reality and instead
leaving them totally unprepared for life and what happens when you can't
just wish or scream your problems away. Instead, it goes nowhere
but to an idyllic suburb of Boston to be reunited with their mother
who has somehow weathered the battle right in the middle of a major
metropolitan area. Daughter is reunited with mommy, everything will
be all right. And that outright lie Ray tells his daughter about the
brother still being alive and going to meet them in Boston? Oh,
look... the Power of Love make it true! Turkey dinner all 'round!

I could draw some political parallels, but why beat the horse?

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  • In the late 1990's, when we were awash with "disaster miniseries" movies on network television, I decided that lying to children was one of the most despicable things you could ever do. It seems like every single one of those movies contained a scene where some child asked, "Is my mommy going to die?" and even though the outcome was obvious the protagonist/doctor/nurse/whoever lied through their teeth and said, "Your mommy is going to be just fine."

    I'm not exactly sure what that was supposed to illustrat

    J. David works really hard, has a passion for writing good software, and knows many of the world's best Perl programmers
    • I heard a haiku the other day, though I certainly didn't come up with it myself:

          There is no Santa
          Your parents bought all these gifts
          God is also fake
      • Not sure if this will make you chuckle or cry, but one reason my family does not do the Santa thing is that we DO believe in God and don't want children to later doubt because "Mom and Dad lied about this, so they could've lied about that."

        J. David works really hard, has a passion for writing good software, and knows many of the world's best Perl programmers
    • Then again, I also come from a family where we don't tell children Santa Claus is real, either.
      Santa isn't real?
  • What I learned from this movie is that Steven Spielberg is no M. Night Shyamalan. This movie felt like Signs with better special effects, but a ridiculous story line.

    The characters just don't make any damned sense, and I wanted to strangle Dakota Fanning's character by the end of the movie so I wouldn't have to listen to her scream any more.