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A Little Knowledge
On the second day of visiting THE NORTH Ina and I took my father into Sheffield to see a movie, and the only one that we thought he might possibly enjoy that we also wanted, vaguely, to see, was Knowing.

As we ventured into the bowels of the strangely-creepy Sheffield Odeon and down several flights of concrete steps and dimly-lit corridors to Screen 12, one of the OAPs trailing in our wake was heard to remark, "I think we're all going to the same film."

To which the only answer could be, "Yeah, we're all going to see Nic Cage not act."

Much chuckling ensured.

So it proved. Nic Cage (setting the superior Lord of War aside) seems set on a B-movie career, except that this seemed to be one that had spent a lot of money on the FX.

Yet in some ways it was a brave movie, in attempting to discuss Determinism. Now, I'm not much on philosophy, and what I know about Determinism is gleaned from blogs and from Daniel Dennett's Freedom Evolves which I found unconvincing. However, even I know that you cannot suggest that Determinism means that there is purpose in the Universe, or that Determinism is consistent with most of your Earth religions. (Basically, Determinism means that free will does not exist and no free will means that whether or not you believe in any sort of god or gods is not your choice.) It certainly isn't consistent with Christianity, but the movie was, not unnaturally, determined not to offend the Christian Right (or even the Christian Left) and therefore when Nic Cage's Astrophysics (or something like it) Professor attempted to explain the subject to his students he got it wrong.

In other ways I'm afraid this movie was awfully clichéd. Single parent – check. Cute kids – check. Father/son issues – a double dose! Aliens of an ambiguous supernatural nature – check. References of Ezekiel and Genesis - check. Massive use of (rather good) SFX – check. Nic Cage not acting – check.

It was the FX and one other thing that made this movie worth watching, and that one other thing was




the movie does not cop out. The plot involves predictions of the destruction of Earth by a solar flare and, by gum, it delivers, with only a few children (and rabbits) being removed by the aliens/angels/Von Daniken type Gods to another planet.

Everyone on Earth dies.

On the other hand, the plot itself makes very little sense. These aliens have been 'whispering' to the select few about disasters for many years and one kid is driven to enough distraction to scribble down a whole series of numbers which end up in a time-capsule, then, when opened, in the hands of Nic Cage's son, and then Nic Cage. The numbers turn out to predict the date of disasters, plus the numbers of people killed, plus the location. This is, apparently, so that the kids will be in the right place at the right time – but, as the aliens intervene to bring them to the right place at the right time anyway, it seems quite pointless! In fact, though the prediction thing is fascinating, and its unravelling is the most interesting part of the movie, the pressing need to ramp up the tension towards the end leads the scriptwriter to push them aside, hence the pointlessness of the whole thing.

Time filler. Two stars.
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You're a more hearty soul than I am. I kept thinking "didn't we already see that movie ... like five times?" while standing in line to see it. Larry and I and our friends chickened out and saw something else. lol

Everything else was either kids movies, or not suitable for my Dad (though we did consider Lesbian Vampire Killers [grin].

I think my dad's head would have exploded if we took him to see Lesbian Vampire Killers (then again in the case of my dad, it really wouldn't have hurt anything). :)

We were lucky that day in that there was a slightly less awful film showing than the Nic Cage debacle.

It was during the MIT lecture scene that I felt John's wave of angst flood over me ... the FX were good, though, the initial disasters were quite disturbing.

I seem to remember that John's angst was not silent when AUs and orbits were mentioned in The Motionless Picture.

I agree with you about the disaster FX - in fact, all the FX were pretty good, as these things go.

I have him trained down to the occasional grunt or frisson, at least in the cinema. At home he is still allowed to throw things, so long as it's at the screen and not me or the cat.

Great work!

Does he throw you or the cat? [grin]

Rich and I were both impressed that the film didn't cop out on the end of the world.

Indeed. Possibly that was why it had a 15 rating because, as Ina has remarked on her LJ, you see things just as horrific on NuWho.

Calvinism in its original form is thoroughly determinist. He held that some people are predestined to be saved, others to be damned, and there isn't a damned thing (if that's the right expression) anyone can do about it.

I was going to mention this as well as deteminism was part of the Reformation's theology with Luther too.

I'm not sure how the free will vs deteminism debate ended up through the centuries.

Which still does not mean that there is any "purpose" in modern determinism.

Thanks for the spoilers, really. Unlike many people, I adore Cage, but I was pretty sure I didn't want to see this. The real world has enough threats to my kids' future that seeing Armageddon in movies is not on my "to do" list.

Glad to help. I really don't want to spoil things for anyone, but the purpose of a review is to give you some sort of inkling as to whether you would enjoy the movie/book/play or not.

You do have fun

I've missed the last two Nick Cage movies

or rather, I haven't

Well, National Treasure II was no better or worse than Indy IV which it resembled in ways that were probably not co-incidental.

The entire second half of that movie irritated the heck out of me, and the closing "garden of Eden" sequence made me happy I didn't have anything within range to throw at the screen.

See Fran's comments re John D. above.

Ina and I were mainly admiring the aliens for bringing the best ecology destroying aliens earth has to offer (humans and rabbits) to a pristine world. Though it was practical from the meat provision viewpoint.

Ayran aliens coax young kids into their saucer by offering them fluffy bunnies. Has anyone phoned Childline?

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