Cabo San Lucas, Mexico

Today, I saw the second movie of the Chronicles of Narnia with my sons Adam and Alex. Adam was worried about watching the movie because he never read the book. I was glad that I saw the first movie last week before seeing this one because I wouldn’t have understood some of the allusions otherwise. I thought the sequel was actually better than the first movie. And my sons enjoyed it even though they couldn’t spoil the plot for me. Even though this is a generally serious movie, I laughed at many scenes that were intentionally funny. I was surprised the humor was successful.

One thing that bothered me about the movie was the depiction of the “bad guys.” In most movies, the plot revolves around the conflict between the good guys and the bad guys. That’s just one of the few available movie plots.  However, these bad guys look as if they’re from Spain, they have Spanish accents, and they wear the helmets and body armor of the Conquistadors. I mean, these are my ancestors. Spaniards have always been hated from the Middle Ages on. In fact, until about a few hundred years ago, Spain was considered part of Africa by most Europeans. Some of this residue hatred is still present to this day in the U.S. toward all Mexicans. Many things that happened in Europe carried over to the New World. So this xenophobia toward Mexicans in particular is just an extension of a trend that began in Europe.

I suppose just analyzing this juxtaposition made watching the movie worth my time. That alone gave me plenty to think about! Of course, I didn’t even discuss this issue with my sons afterwards. But someday I will.


Cinemex, Mexico D.F.

My twin sons and I have been talking a lot about movies lately even though they’re only twelve. They’re curious about my favorite movies and about classic movies in general. We try to watch some classic films together occasionally. The last one we saw was Pride of the Yankees, the Lou Gehrig story with Gary Cooper and Babe Ruth himself. I picked this movie for my sons since they love baseball and it was one of my favorite movies when I was a kid. Well, we all loved the movie. It was much better than I remembered it.

Last summer, we watched all the Star Wars movies together, one per day, and we really enjoyed them. They wanted to know which one was my favorite. I told them that Episode IV was my favorite because it was the first one I saw. I still remember all the excitement and the hype that preceded the premier. I saw it at the show with my friends Vito and Jim.

Of course, everyone was amazed by the special effects right from the beginning when the words floated in outer space across the silver screen. However, we were all dumbfounded to read, “Episode IV.” When I told my sons about this, they wanted to know why Star Wars didn’t begin with Episode I. Well, I explained my theory to them. Novels, epics, plays, and movies are always more interesting if they start in the middle of the action. If the Star Wars series would have started with Episode I, Star Wars wouldn’t have been as popular. I told them how movies usually start in the middle of the story and then flashback to fill in the missing information. This is called starting the story in media res, in the middle of things, and it creates suspense and keeps the viewer watching the movie with great interest. This was all explained by Aristotle about two-thousand years ago in Poetics, but I didn’t tell that to my sons so I wouldn’t lose them. But I did get my point across to them. I was so proud that they actualy got it. So now we analyze movies together.

They want to see the new Chronicles of Narnia movie, but I didn’t see the first one yet. Not that I wouldn’t take them to see the movie even if I didn’t see the first one, but I would prefer to see the first one before seeing the sequel. So we were at home, watching the DVD of the first movie. Both Adam and Alex loved watching the movie and seemed to know the plot from watching it so much. Adam had to read the book for school, so he’s really into the movie. So we were watching it and my sons are concerned that I didn’t get the movie. They asked me if I wanted them to explain it to me. Actually, what I didn’t know about the plot was the intentional effect of the director. But my sons insisted that they explain the plot to me and they were so excited that they understood the movie better than me that I paused the movie and listened to their explanation. (Spoiler alert! Actually, there is no plot spoiling here in case you haven’t seen the movie yet. I’m always impressed when someone writes “Spoilier Alert” when describing movies.) They explained the prophecy to me that would eventually would be revealed at the correct time in the movie. But I loved hearing their explanation of the movie. Now, I can’t wait to see the sequel!