I enjoy reading books, watching movies, and playing games (board, card, video, etc.), but it feels rather empty to just be a consumer and not produce anything after spending a significant amount of time consuming said media. Enter Media Dump, because if I can’t write something original that’s worth reading then I might as well write something derivative that is useful in making purchasing decisions. I’ve got three movies, three books, and one game to talk about today. Let’s jump right into the first book I read this past week.
On the Edge of the Dark Sea of Darkness by Andrew Peterson
Andrew Peterson spins a fantastic tale that is equal parts a fantasy epic and humorous kids novel. The book starts out in a manner very similar to the “Mostly Harmless” line in Douglas Adam’s “Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy” trilogy, and then very quickly reverts to C.S Lewis in short order.
Just outside the town of Glipwood, perched near the edge of the cliffs above the Dark Sea, sat a little cottage where lived the Igiby family… [A]nd except for all the good, warm things that filled their days there like cider in a mug on a winter night, they were quite miserable. Quite miserable indeed, in that land where walked the Fangs of Dang.
The ellipses in between ‘family’ and ‘[A]nd’ is supposed to house a list of all the wonderful things that the Igiby family enjoys, but I couldn’t find the unabridged quote in cyberspace. That list of wonderful things is what reminded me of Douglas Adams. Everything else about the above sentence certainly smacks of C.S. Lewis. This dual nature of being silly and all-on-a-sudden serious and noble lends the book a charming quality that provides just the right amount of comic relief.
The story is about the Igiby family and the town of Glipwood and how they relate to the ancient kingdom of Anniera. You see, the lost kingdom of Anniera was once the greatest kingdom in all of Aeirwiar (the sphere upon which our story takes place), but fell to a ruthless tyrant without a name. Gnag the Nameless (not an entirely nameless tyrant, after all) sacked Anniera and searched high and low for the Jewels of Anniera, but was unable to find them. Gnag, in the present, is searching high and low in all of Skree (continent upon which the town of Glipwood resides) for these Jewels. What follows is a tale of high adventure as Janner and his siblings, Leeli and Tink, discover more about their past, present, and future.
I really like the universe that this book takes place in. It builds a world you can believe wouldn’t have any hope, but yet you can also believe that there can be hope. Unlike explicitly Christian novels, the first book in the wingfeather saga takes faith in a higher Maker as a matter of course without explicitly drawing parallels with the Christian faith. Podo is constantly reminding the children of how the Maker has always protected them and how He always will. It is refreshing to see Christian literature like this, in the sense that a Christian sought to write an excellent literary work and through the excellence of the work bring glory to God.
God’s Not Dead, Pure Flix Entertainment
I did not like this film, and I’ll give you a few reasons why.
- The arguments for the existence of God were flawed. The argument put forth about free will, in particular, testifies of a God who doesn’t know what he is doing, or worse, a God who is not capable of doing what He wills. Not of the master of the universe who condescended to His creation in order to glorify Himself and save sinners.
- There are too many supporting characters and side stories. Yes, they sort of get tied back together at the end but it doesn’t end up meaning much.
- The principal antagonist is killed off and (presumably) sent to heaven with nary a tear shed or a doubt cast. It came off as particularly unloving to those who are lost and have no hope in Jesus Christ.
- The song that this film is built around is founded upon shaky theological foundations, and I’m not particularly a fan of it.
As a piece of entertainment it fails just as spectacularly. Wooden characters, suspect motivations, manufactured drama. It’s all very manufactured, and feels like it was made to assuage the hurt feelings of those who have shared the gospel poorly in the past.
Brave New World by Aldous Huxley
This one was one I had very little interest in to start with. Reading classics can be a chore and I was sure that this one would try my patience. I was pleasantly surprised to discover that this book builds a compelling world that screams for liberation from nothing but our own unconditioned minds. Aldous makes it clear from the word go that in the Fordian society now covering the globe there is not a voice of dissent to be heard. It’s a dystopia only to the uninitiated and naturally born savages that live in preserves all across the globe. This dystopia is achieved by manufacturing humanity from conception to death with chemical and genetic engineering. Humans are not born, but are grown in human manufacturing facilities. They are grown and conditioned to do exactly as they are assigned to do. Any ideas of being whoever they want to be are driven out very early by psychological conditioning and any discontent later in life is stifled by soma, a powerful sedative and hallucinogenic. It’s a chilling dystopia that stands in stark contrast to Orwell’s 1984 as a truly perfect utopia. Only those who have not been made in Huxley’s world would object to the engineering that made the obedient sheep that stand-in for citizens in Huxley’s Brave New World.
This movie has some problems. Despite ostensibly being a movie about abortion, the topic is not ever discussed logically, no real conclusion about abortion is made other than that folks should be grateful for their lives, and the mother of the lead gets token closure from her daughter in the form of a montage before the credits. However, the lead is played by a very cute actress and she does a good job making you want to root for her quest to find her mom. The love story in the film is manufactured and ridiculous, but not entirely unbelievable. Finally, the message of the film, be grateful for the state God has brought you into, is sorely needed in this day and age. Far better than most of the Sherwood/Kendrick brothers films and I would definitely watch this one again.
That’s my media dump! It took me like four years to write or something, but there you go.