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screwtape

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This xmas my mom put in one of her new favorite xmas movies - Polar Express

It was my second time watching and I had forgotten all the things I hated about it the first time through.  There are roughly three of them.

The first is the art.  While it is a generally well rendered bit of 3D animation, none of the characters look alive.  They all have dead eyes.  It gives the creepy appearance of a bunch of zombies interacting, dancing, and what have you. 

Second is the crappy plot.  I get the impression it was supposed to be a zany, who-knows-what-will-happen-next-kind of plot, akin to Charlie and the Chocolate Factory. But it fails that in every way.  The result is a disjointed collection of senseless, pointless, vaguely weird episodes that are mostly unrelated to each other.  Even Hanks' conductor character was a schizophrenic - one minute kindly, the next minute a stern hard ass, the next a dancing fool for no apparent reason.

Last was the overarching point of the movie - the idea that Belief is good.  The main character - some kid - doubted the existence of Santa, and for good reason.  The rest of the movie was about him trying to believe.  In the pivotal denouement scene the kid cannot hear the xmas bells on the reindeer's harness because only people who believe can hear them. He shuts his eyes tight and strains hard.  Apparently non-belief is like constipation: if you strain hard enough both can be overcome. And he hears a bell.  Happy day.  Somehow the kid willed himself to believe in something he previously thought was bullshit. After that, he could see Santa and even talk to him.  Sound familiar?

This movie is a primer for religious belief and should be kept from children.  It lays down certain principles that are frankly, dangerous to society.  The idea that they should believe things without evidence, the idea that this kind of belief is good and should be celebrated, the idea that you can will yourself to genuinely believe something just by trying harder.  These are all the basics required to believe bullshit and it sets the stage for intellectual black holes.  If you are going to watch this with your kids, make sure you use it as an opportunity to instruct them on rational thinking. 

I wish we'd watched White Christmas instead, even though Bing Crosby is in it.  I fucking hate Bing Crosby and I fucking hate most movies of that era.  But at least Vera Ellen was a hot piece of ass.



Vera Ellen.  I'd tap that.
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