Philippians 4:8, "Finally, brethren, whatever things are true, whatever things are noble, whatever things are just, whatever things are pure, whatever things are lovely, whatever things are of good report, if there is any virtue and if there is anything praiseworthy—meditate on these things."

Wednesday, April 30, 2003

The 120th Fighter Squadron, stationed at Buckley Field, returned home today from combat service in Iraq. Welcome home and may God bless your homecoming. Well done, good and faithful servants.
Miyazaki's Spirited Away - Movie Review.

I had read enough reviews, all overwhelmingly positive, to rent this DVD. It's weird. An animated feature from Japan, this movie is fascinating in its folklore, beautiful in its artwork, and compelling in its story. Not that all that makes it a virtuous film... there is no One True God in Miyazaki's universe. A benevolent dragon/boy, spider/man (not Spiderman at all), a schizophrenic set of twins (definitely not the Budweiser twins, either, whew!), a crusading eco-radical river spirit... but no God.

The narrative follows 10 year old girl Chihiro, who while moving with her parents gets sidetracked into a fairy forest and ends up in an abandoned theme park. The parents turn into pigs, which okay, I think is a nice fable about the twisted perception of teens, but not what teens should think. Chihiro must get a job in the bathhouse for crazy demon spirits, and rise and gather information and undergo personal growth until she can magically turn her pig-parents back into real parents. Many adventures ensue. Much could be written about the folkloric elements of the movie, and volumes undertaken on comparative mythology. There were many crossover elements between the Spirited Away/Japanese folklore and Celtic folklore. The basic elements of the fairy tale were striking in their similarities.

I believe that unbelievers will see this as a near perfect movie about growing up. In the course of her magical adventures, Chihiro begins as a frightened and awkward 10-year old, and grows into a self-assured adolescent. She learns to rely on her own wits, and on her demon-god helpers. There is a subtle push toward that demonism that makes one shiver with the realization. An adult Christian might go and find this entertaining, beautiful (like a tiger), and instructive, but certainly not a model for growing up or virtue of any kind. Don't let your kids watch without your presence and post-movie conversation.

Courage and Faith.

Sunday, April 27, 2003

In the coming months I will have more demands on my time. The few of you who are regular readers can expect me to post once a week or so. I have a movie review coming up this week, and perhaps a book review after that.