JURASSIC WORLD: FALLEN KINGDOM – FLAWED BUT FUN VARIATION ON THE SAME LOVED THEME

SHORT TAKE:

Repeat of all the tropes from previous movies to create what is now a formulaic Jurassic Park movie – BUT I still loved it.

WHO SHOULD GO:

Anyone old enough to see the original Jurassic Park movie. Same scare level, no sex or nudity and very little profanity. These movies are a hoot and this one is just as much fun as the others, though nothing really very new under the sun. Just a variation on the same theme.

LONG TAKE:

I love the Jurassic Park franchise. Even the ugly stepchildren JP Lost World and JP III. I know they are derivative. I agree the first was the best – character driven as opposed to the far more special effects driven sequels. I understand they have become formulaic to the point where you can accurately and safely predict the characters who will and will not survive, and the general outline of the story. But I don’t really care. People who ride roller coasters are pretty familiar with how they work, know what to expect and are not especially surprised by the effects of free falls but they still ride them.

These movies are not Shakespeare, or Chekov, or even Woody Allen. They are "what if" stories about what would happen if you threw people and dinosaurs together. And they are a lot of fun.

Two of my favorite all time cinematic scenes are from the franchise. (click pic) One is the scene where Alan Grant, renowned paleontologist, reacts to his first encounter with a live dinosaur – a brachiosaurus. He is so overwhelmed he turns to Ellie, points and can barely get out the words – "It’s…. it’s a dinosaur," and then has to sit down on the ground. Makes me smile every time.

(click pic) Another of my favorite scenes is seeing Owen racing through the jungle on his motorcycle, hunting alongside raptors. After being oriented to how terrifying these critters are, through all the previous movies, all the way back to the first movie, to see a human as part of their pack gives me goose pimples.

The premise of JP Numero V is that the dinosaurs on Isla Nublar are facing extinction – again – because their island is about to be destroyed by an active volcano. Some think nature should reclaim these anachronistic Frankenstein monsters. Others believe we have a stewardship duty to save them despite the inherent extreme danger of the attempt. Another faction is in play with more mercenary motivations.

The actors re-create the characters we have enjoyed in previous movies.

Jeff Goldblum reprises his wisecracking, snarky and insightful Ian Malcolm, in a small cameo, offering his opinions to a Congressional committee on what should be done now that these creatures are facing an(other) extinction level event on their island. The movie cuts back and forth between his testimony and the adventures with Claire and Owen on Isla Nublar.

Chris Pratt returns as Owen, the dinosaur whisperer who is reluctantly pulled in to the rescue mission in order to help Blue, the raptor he raised.

Bryce Dallas Howard appears again as Claire, former executive assistant to the CEO who owned the destroyed park. She now runs an organization attempting to save the dinosaurs and whose primary job in this movie is to scream, escape from dinosaurs and be rescued by Owen.

The ubiquitous James Cromwell creates the character of Benjamin Lockwood, a heretofore unknown partner of the Jurassic concept’s inventor John Hammond (formerly played by the late Sir Richard Attenborough and appears only as a painting). The backstory is that for a previously undisclosed reason, which will become important to a subplot, they had a falling out.

Geraldine Chaplin – the oldest of eight children who Charlie Chaplin had with his wife Oona – appears in a small part as Lockwood’s trusted housekeeper.

Others fill out smaller bits seemingly just to fluff up the roster: Justice Smith as Franklin, the geeky tech guy who seems to have been hired for having a girlier scream than Howard and vaguely imitates Jake Johnson’s character Lowery from Jurassic World I. Daniella Pineda plays Zia, a tough talking self styled paleo-veterinarian (though she has never actually met a dinosaur up close). Ted Levine is the obligate bad guy, unnecessarily cruel to the dinos and callously dismissive of human life, much like Vincent D’Onfrio’s Hoskins from JW. Rafe Spall plays Eli, Cromwell’s assistant who is reminiscent of the lawyer Gennero (Martin Ferrero) from JP I. There’s the absolutely required kid (Isabella Sermon), of course who is cute then in danger. And so on.

Special mention must be made of BD Wong. He pops up once again as the "evil" scientist Wu, who is the embodiment of everything that alarmed Ian Malcolm when he admonished Hammond in the first JP movie that: (click pic) "Your scientists were so preoccupied with whether or not they could, they didn’t stop to think if they should." It is interesting to note that Wong and Goldblum were the representatives of the dipolar opposite views in the original JP and are the only major recurring members from the original cast. And I give the filmmakers kudos for going out of their way to make this conceptual point obvious by the small but significant presence of these two characters.

The special effects are remarkable, recreating not only multiple dinosaurs but a volcanic eruption, and chases across a variety of terrain from forest to rooftops.

It is a satisfying thrill ride of a movie, make no mistake.

BUT….

SPOILERS FOR JURASSIC FRANCHISE MOVIES, GENERATIONS, SERENITY AND  LAST JEDI

All this being said I still have some issues with the movie.

The de rigeur between-movies "break" in the romantic relationship of the leads is particularly silly. It is literally explained as having occurred because Owen wouldn’t let Ellie drive his van. Huh? In JP III the break up of Alan and Ellie is heartbreaking and gracefully presented. Alan is shown playing with Ellie’s child. You assume it is his until Ellie’s husband shows up. Then you realize not only that they are not a couple any more, but guess at why – that Alan never wanted to settle down and start a family.

Lava is, at one point, everywhere. Claire and Franklin (Justice Smith) would probably have cooked just being that close to it in an enclosed space as they were. Minutes later they are fleeing from a pyroclastic flow which moves at 50 mph and is full of toxic deadly fumes. An old dilapidated gyrosphere wouldn’t have gone that fast and Owen, even running downhill, couldn’t have come close.

In another scene, an experienced hunter, Ken, (Ted Levine) goes into the cage of THE most dangerous dinosaur ever created for a souvenir tooth. It's an insult to JP I's Muldoon who was taken by a pack of raptors while trying to save other people's lives. It was pretty transparent Ken's death in JW: FK was only to set up the escape of the Indoraptor.

 There was really no reason to try to murder Owen or Claire. They were brought along because of their unique insight into the creatures then discarded as soon as one was found. This didn’t make a lot of sense. They try to commit murder of experts who can help them in order to cover up the theft of animals who have been left to die anyway. Huh?

The most galling problem I have is with the demise of one of the creatures. The very first live dinosaur we see EVER in the franchise is an brachiosaurus. Yes, it is pretend and CGI and no dinosaurs were harmed in the making of the movie because all the dinosaurs are actually….extinct! But because of its emotional impact of awed amazement in the iconic moment of the first JP movie when we first saw what a living breathing dinosaur might look like today, there is a vested connection which audiences over 25 years and five movie have earned. But when Owen and Claire are fleeing the erupting island we watch a brachiosaurus – maybe supposed to be the very one we saw in the first movie – die a prolonged agonizing death. There is a drawn out, extremely painful scene where Owen and Claire watch the creature as it moans at the end of the dock, abandoned, without help, is enveloped by the toxic smoke, becomes a silhouette in the light from the lava and is destroyed. Like the death of Captain Kirk in Generations, the disappearance of Luke at the end of The Last Jedi, or Wash’s demise in the movie Serenity, it felt like a deliberate sign off from the parent franchise. Whether it will signal a new successful batch of movies is another question.

As I pointed out, it is really just an audio-visual emotional roller coaster ride so I shouldn’t expect subtlety.

 Overall I enjoyed JW: FK and do hope this is not the last of their progeny. But I also hope care is take in the future with those characters – human and otherwise – of which we have become so fond.

CHRIS PRATT – SPEAKS OUT STRONGLY FOR GOD, PRAYER, GRACE AND THE BLOOD OF JESUS – AT THE MTV AWARD CEREMONY!!!

Chris Pratt – Mr. Guardians of the Galaxy and Jurassic Park franchise – just blew me away with this excerpt from his MTV Award Ceremony speech. The entire list has humorous parts too and a part is transcribed below (with editorial bolding) but click this video to hear his inspirational message to a demographic who probably does not hear this often if EVER! And who desperately needs it the most!

Be sure your kids watch this GOOD example of a relatable celebrity from children-popular movies, showing his faith in God, grace, and a good sense of humor.

 

Chris Pratt at MTV Award Ceremony

 

Breathe.

You have a soul. Be careful with it.

Don’t be a turd.

When giving a dog medicine, put the medicine in a little piece of hamburger.

It doesn’t matter what it is, earn it.

God is real. God loves you. God wants the best for you, believe that. I do.

If you have to poop at a party, pee first and flush quick.

Learn to pray. It’s easy and it’s so good for your soul.

Nobody is perfect. You are imperfect. You always will be. You were made that way. There is a powerful force that designed you that way. And if you accept that you will have grace. Grace is a gift. And like the freedom we enjoy in this country that gift was paid for by somebody else’s blood. Do not forget it.

BAO – DISTURBING SHORT IN FRONT OF THE INCREDIBLES 2 YOU MAY WANT TO MISS

 

Bao

There is a strange little short at the beginning of The Incredibles 2 called Bao (meat or vegetable filled dumpling) about a dumpling which comes to life for a lonely woman, so is spared from being eaten, until it grows to an age where he wants to leave home and marry, at which point the mom EATS the dumpling! The movie has nothing to do with The Incredibles 2 plot, except perhaps as a counterpoint DYSFUNCTIONAL family dynamic, making the strong family of Incredibles look even better. This is some fairly disturbing imagery, softened very little by the revelation that the "dumpling" is merely a reflection of her real life son, an only child, who left his parents to marry. While there is reconciliation with said son in the end, brought about by his understanding father, and acceptance of the non-Asian wife as she learns dumpling making from her mother-in-law, I could not get the unsettling imagery out of my head of the mother willingly eating her child rather than allow him to mature and leave home. This is a short you may want to either get in late enough to avoid or prepare to discuss with your kids later.

For anyone interested in what Domee Shi, the young lady writer-director of Bao has to say about her film, please click : Bao Director Interview.

INCREDIBLES 2 – AND NOW YOU KNOW THE REST OF THE STORY

SHORT TAKE:

The second act of a two part story which began as The Incredibles in 2004. No more, no less as delightful, fulfilling, family friendly, exciting and fun as the first half.

WHO SHOULD GO:

Absolutely everyone! ESPECIALLY if you are a fan of the first installment. (Though I can not say the same about the short in the beginning, Bao, which has nothing to do with the main movie and which you might want to give a miss. I explain why in a spoiler-filled overview of Bao at the end of this The Incredibles 2 review.) Incredibles 2 VERY child friendly, (Bao not so much).

LONG TAKE: 

"And now you know the rest of the story."

Paul Harvey was a radio personality who used to tell stories on air about little known facts or anecdotes, leaving some key element out until the end – like one about a war hero who turned out to be Lee Marvin, why the passengers on the Titanic didn't have to die, what really happened to Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid – that kind of thing. So as I watched the beginning of The Incredibles 2 pick up IMMEDIATELY as Incredibles (1) had ended, that tag line came to mind.

If you have not seen Incredibles 2 yet please do not read any further. I don't want anything I have to say influence your fresh impression of the movie. It's bad enough trailers give away too much nowadays. I do not want to compound that affront for anyone who has not yet enjoyed the sequel to the original Incredibles. For those of you who HAVE seen I2, READ ON!

SPOILERS – REALLY SERIOUSLY – DON'T READ ANY MORE UNTIL YOU'VE SEEN THE MOVIE!!

Okay for those of you who have already seen the movie I have a confession to make. I was just a little bit disappointed, but really it was my own fault. Please do not get me wrong – I LOVED The Incredibles 2. It's a terrific movie. But let me give you some examples – for those of us living in the south do you remember the first time you ever saw snow? The experience of seeing it again can never match up to the anticipation you have built up from your original encounter with the frozen fluffy stuff.

OR – When you're a kid, no matter how amazing Christmas is, there is always a little teensy part of you that is just a little bit disappointed that it's not as amazing as you expected it to be. Build up and eager high hopes can do that to you. FOURTEEN YEARS worth of anticipation cannot help but handicap the real item when it finally comes along. And, yes folks, it has been 14 years since writer/director Brad Bird hatched the first Incredibles and introduced us to the Parr family of superheroes.

All our favorite characters are back!! And despite the time passage, all the voices are the same: Holly Hunter with her growly, lispish, Texas-twanged Helen, Craig T. Nelson, the occasionally bombastic Bob, Samuel L Jackson, the smooth crooning voice of Lucius, Sarah Vowell returns as Violet whose vocal mannerisms echo an individual variation on her mom. Jonathan Banks returns as Rick Dickers, the exhausted, put-upon government agent assigned to help hide the existence and whereabouts of the Supers. And Brad Bird, the director, writer and father figure to the entire Incredibles Universe returns to voice my all time favorite character – Edna Mode, the adorably abrasive, diminutive costume designer to the Supers, whose own super powers are: mega-confidence, an almost mystical calm, extraordinary talent, and a forcefully maternal, protective, preternatural insightfulness into the Supers themselves. She was conceived by Bird as the solution to the eternal question: since when do super powers automatically make you a gifted tailor? Where DO those awesome suits COME from?! AND contrary to popular opinion, according to Bird, himself, he did not create the inimitable "E" from any one or combination of real life designers – at least not consciously. She is simply a mismash of the cultures of Japan and Germany – two, he thought, countries who were very small in relation to their cultural impact – much like Edna herself. Therefore, her house decor is a combo of Japanese and German, as is the clothes she herself wears, her odd accent, and even her personality – swinging wildly from imperturbability to wildly forceful and persuasive as the occasion demands.

Unfortunately, Spencer Fox’ Dash’ boisterous reflection of his Dad’s commanding vocals had to be replaced with the younger Huck Milner, but you will not notice the difference. Fox is the only one to be replaced. According to interviews and articles the decision seems to have been arrived at from a combination of Fox’ puberty, (like in the lyrics of "Puff the Magic Dragon" warns: "A dragon lives forever, but not so little boys"),  Fox’ committments with his punk band Charley Bliss, and a certain nostalgic ennui Fox had for the entire project – that it was something great he did in his childhood to which he didn’t really want to revisit.

AND NOW FOR SOME SERIOUS SPOILERS – THIS IS YOUR LAST WARNING.

First off, calling it a sequel really isn’t accurate. Incredibles 2 is actually a continuation of the first movie. Literally. We pick up in the first moment of Incredibles 2 after the last second of The Incredibles (1). The Underminer has arrived and the family Parr (the word "par" meaning average) becomes the family of Incredibles. (Anyone notice the name significance before this? Very clever underscoring by Bird, I thought.) They go into action as a group and avert a massive casualty list of people but rack up a lot of collateral property damage in stopping the mammoth runaway drill.

Once again they are unjustly blamed and sent off in disgrace, reinforcing to the public, through the willing accomplices in the media, why Supers were banned to begin with.

Helen is summoned by a Super-Hero-loving industrial magnate, Winston Deavor, (Bob Odenkirk) and his sister, Evelyn Deavor "Evil Endeavor" – geddit? (Catherine Keener) to be the face the Supers need to become accepted again. For any of you who have seen the trailer, the movie plot largely revolves around Bob adjusting to a Mr. Mom status while Helen goes off to be the poster child for Super Heroes. And the fish-out-of-water aspect to the movie is wonderful – fun, touching and eminently relatable to any parent ever. Bob trades fighting collassus killing machines, saving people from building fires, and wrestling with super villains for math homework, meals and a metapowered baby – oh yeah and exhaustion:

It is the genius of Brad Bird that he creates a reflection of a modern family and places it into a Super Hero framework.  The Parrs/Incredibles is a fairly young family – mom, dad, children. The kids cover the spectrum too – early teen, adolescent and infant. One of the things, I believe, which made The Incredibles such a universally loved movie was that people intuited the metaphor. In an interview with Bird prior to the release of the sequel, Bird makes this clear. Bob, the father, is given incredible strength, as a father must have in one way or another: physically, mentally, and morally, to the best of his ability, he must stand strong in the eyes of those he has sworn to protect. Helen, the mom, stretches in impossible ways, much like your average mother who must be psychologist, chauffeur, chef, teacher, and judge, all while carrying a baby on her hip and breast feeding. Dash, the adolescent, has just GOTTA MOVE, so is super fast! Violet suffers the normal angst teens go through – is standoffish and sometimes wants to disappear, so has the powers of invisibility and force fields. Jack Jack is an unknown but delightful baby – which pretty much fits the description of every infant.

Everyone who has ever been in a family, which is, of course, everyone, can relate to one or more of each of these characters. And every family has challenges and threats which come at them, against which they are best advised to confront together. 

In what is really only the first half of a 3 hour movie, in the 2004 installment of The Incredibles, Bob comes to understand he has allowed his desire for the limelight to overpower the real center stage he should be occupying – that of Super Hero in his own home. The kids learn their parents really are the heroes in their lives and step up to the plate to emulate and obey their parents. Together they learn this lesson in spades and the family is triumphant.

The second half of the movie – aka Incredibles 2 – puts this newfound unity, affection and understanding immediately to the test. A familiar tune, as there is not a day goes by that the family in general is not under attack.

It is (if you’ll excuse the pun) INCREDIBLY refreshing to have a movie where the Dad is and wants to be the man of the house, but is still confident enough as the leader to step aside, when that is the right thing to do. That he will do the right and manful thing for his family, EVEN IF, as in this unusual situation, he must temporarily suppress his own natural, and very powerful, normal desires and instincts to protect and provide for his family, to allow someone else to take point. The wife is a considerate partner, without either being submissive or dominating – conferring with her husband on important issues, but being wise enough to leave the final decision up to her husband, knowing and trusting his judgement. The husband is wise enough to put his own needs, wants and desires aside for the good of the Supers in general, sure, but primarily for his own family and his own children. The parents' first thoughts are for their children – even if it means leaving their own comfort zones, or putting aside their own goals and wants.

In other words, the Incredibles  have their priorities straight!! And their nom de plume – Parr, the average – points out that this is and should be the structure of every successful family. That every family should aim for this healthy functional dynamic. And that is a wonderful thing to see.

I do have a few quibbles with the plot. This is not meant to be a negative but a hope that the next movie will be even better. They may be smnall quibbles, but they did have 14 LOOOONG years to think of a script and it seems some of these things could have and should have been worked out:

1. The first one dates back to the first installment – Jack Jack got away from Syndrome because he expressed some heavy duty powers: turned into a monster, caught fire, became metal – but at the end of the first movie no one knows he has powers. And in the beginning of the second movie Bob is shocked that Jack Jack has powers when he starts to display them and Helen later makes it clear she didn’t know either. NONE of them saw any of what Jack Jack did to Syndrome? Granted it was a traumatic moment and they were pretty high up in the sky but the Parr family is used to crises and they have super powers!

2. Their living arrangements. Their house is destroyed by Syndrome’s crashing plane. At the end of the first movie some time seems to have gone by. Violet makes headway with Tony – gets noticeed, he asks her out on a date; Dash has accepted he must restrain his abilities and the family has developed a certain code with him about holding back at events like track meets; there seems to have been some time to adjust, become comfortable with their new found unity and must be living somewhere. But when we see them in the beginning of the second movie they are still living in a second rate government sponsored hotel.

3. The Parrs, at the beginning of Incredibles 2 are broke and unemployed. Bob can’t get a job as a security guard? Bank teller? Dock Worker? Secret service??!! They’ve already run through the insurance money for their house? And don’t tell me Bob wouldn’t have had insurance to cover the unlikely eventuality of a plane falling on his house. He WORKED for an insurance company.

4. The no-show Supers were never addressed. Why did Gazorbeam and Dynaguy not answer the Deavors' phone when they were under attack? Were they already dead at Syndrome's hands? The parent Deavors were elderly and the siblings only barely seem to have had time to adjust to running the company, so maybe a year or two? So the timing would be about right. If so, why did no one explain that to Evelyn? The Supers who did not come to their parents aid were likely DEAD, and ironically, at the hands of Syndrome, someone who, like Evelyn, wanted to de-power the Supers for their own selfish, shortsighted reasons.

5. I find it odd that none of the Super Heroes questioned the motives of yet another mega-rich entity interested in hiring them. Wasn't the last movie about exactly that? Granted it turned out Winston was the real deal, but aside from Lucius assuring them  Winston was on the up and up after a single interview, no doubts are shared or intentions dissected by any of a group who should have been extremely sensitive to this scenario, coming so close on the heels of a very similar one from which they just finished extracting themselves.

More of an observation than a critique, this is also kind of a dark movie – more so than the first. Whether you like it or not, and I did like it, there is an element of reality infused into this "kids’" movie. People do die. Ethical and legal debates are had around the Parr dinner table. And there are complex cultural issues to wrestle with, along with physically fighting bad guys. Much like the Sokovia Accords in The Avengers Universe, the ban on Supers smacks of an unjust legalese stemming from an urge to place blame on the easy marks of Super Heroes instead of the real villains. It is easier to rein in people who willingly abide by and enforce the law than it is the criminals who break them.The issue of breaking a law in civil disobedience and leaving her family to save it, are ironies which are discussed and will be of interest to the adults in the audience, but will go over the heads of most of the youngsters. Bird, himself, said in an interview that he eschews the term "kid" movie but simply makes animated films he would enjoy seeing. His is obviously a winning prescription, but it makes for a movie which might lose the attention of younger viewers in places.

Which talk of Sokovia Accords and the ban of Supers brings me to the REAL villain of the Incredibles. It’s not really Screenslayer or even Evelyn. It’s the media.

In the aftermath of the Underminer escapade, which bridges the two movies, the visual presence of the Parr family as Incredibles in the mountain of rubble is not portrayed as heroes mitigating and managing a catastrophe for minimal damage, but as the cause of the mess. Sadly, these talking heads, the REAL villains of BOTH movies, are the same media who defined Mr. Incredible in the 2004 movie not as a rescuer, but as someone who ruined a disturbed man’s attempted suicide. This is a typical example of how news bias and "fake news" reports are fashioned – a classic example of what happens in the real world – to give their audience, not news, but their own prejudiced view. These real evildoers are never showcased as such. That might have been an interesting aspect to pursue, especially as it ties in with the bad rap the heroes in The Avengers got in Captain America: Civil War from the misguided and grossly civil-rights-violating Sokovia Accords. But while we see the "news" people at work, either blankly vapid or ginning up anger towards the Supers (without the excuse of being hypnotised), no serious criticism is ever laid at their feet where that blame belongs.

In an interesting note, the actors who voice the main characters – Holly Hunter, Craig T Nelson, and Samuel L Jackson, are given a small intro at the beginning of the movie, mentioning how grateful they are for the patience of the audience over the past 14 years and how glad they are to be working together again as this family of Supers. Fourteen years is not a small span of time and both Ms. Hunter and Mr. Nelson are not exceptions to reflect this span of a half – generation of years between movies. I only mention this because, strangely, Samuel L. Jackson does not look a DAY older than when he did in the year the first Incredibles came out.  He’s in many super hero universes as well: The Avengers and Agents of Shield as Nick Fury, Mr. Glass in Shymalon's alternate super universe, and here as Frozone, as well as super, almost indestructible characters in movies like The Hitman’s Bodyguard. And the actor, much like most super heroes — never…. seems…..to age. Hmmmm. Is there something you’re not telling us avid super hero fans Mr Jackson? LOL

In conclusion on The Incredibles 2 – I just want to say PLEASE DO NOT WAIT ANOTHER 14 YEARS TO DO A FOLLOW UP FILM!!! We want to know more of — the rest of the story.

Bao

Finally, just as a side note, there is a strange little short at the beginning of The Incredibles 2 called Bao (meat or vegetable filled dumpling) about a dumpling which comes to life for a lonely woman, so is spared from being eaten, until it grows to an age where he wants to leave home and marry, at which point the mom EATS the dumpling! The movie has nothing to do with The Incredibles 2 plot, except perhaps as a counterpoint DYSFUNCTIONAL family dynamic, making the strong family of Incredibles look even better. This is some fairly disturbing imagery, softened very little by the revelation that the "dumpling" is merely a reflection of her real life son, an only child, who left his parents to marry. While there is reconciliation with said son in the end, brought about by his understanding father, and acceptance of the non-Asian wife as she learns dumpling making from her mother-in-law, I could not get the unsettling imagery out of my head of the mother willingly eating her child rather than allow him to mature and leave home. This is a short you may want to either get in late enough to avoid or prepare to discuss with your kids later.

NOT YOUR MOM’S FREAKY FRIDAY – THIS IS A FABULOUS PLAY!!!

In 1976 Disney came out with a really dumb movie called Freaky Friday starring Barbara Harris and a VERY young Jodie Foster about a mother and daughter who get their wish to be each other for a day. It’s the old – careful what you wish for. The daughter thinks her mom has it easy because she has all the control. The mom thinks the daughter’s position is a toddle because all she has to do all day is go to school, come home and snack. Both are, of course, wrong. But the story, as presented, is silly and superficial, trite and leans heavily on all the cliched generation gap misunderstandings. They didn’t do any better with the Shelley Long version in 1995 or the Jamie Lee Curtis version in 2003.
 
So when my husband bought tickets to go see the new musical version I had to laugh. Why not? On vacation, let’s be brainless. By intermission my husband and I turned to each other almost simultaneously and said “Our kids have GOT to see this!!!” The music is catchy with clever lyrics, the script is funny and fast paced. The acting in the one we saw with Heidi Blickenstaff as mother Katherine and Emma Hunton as daughter Ellie were absolutely brilliant and totally believable. The singing was stunning and powerful but nuanced with “attitude” and comic timing. And most importantly it has a really good PLOT! I guarantee you will see yourself somewhere in this play – as the parent, as the child, as the sibling – older or younger – or as all at some point in your life. To see yourself as others see you. Prepare to laugh – a LOT – but bring some kleenex too.
 
Instead of a throw away one-note gimmick, the tale here is of a widowed mom, Katherine, on the eve of remarriage trying to hold together her fledgling catering company and her fragile family – still traumatized and battered by the untimely death of the father 6 years before. (AGAIN underlining the importance of the DAD!!!) The father leaves his wife and daughter each a “magic” hourglass, as though knowing this day would come. And at the apex of the stresses from the wedding preparation, a journalist about to do a story on the mom’s business, the daughter’s crush on Adam, the popular guy in class, and a simple conflict in scheduling – well, they get their respective wishes. Fleshing out the cast is: an adorable 10 year old little brother, Fletcher, who is looking forward to having a Dad again; Mike, the deeply patient and understanding fiance; Katherine’s underappreciated assistant; Katherine’s oblivious parents; a timely parent-teacher meeting; some teenaged angst; a class cutting up frogs in biology class and….a treasure hunt. And yes all these elements work together like gears in a clock to make a funny, warm, insightful, catchy, brilliant little musical. I think this the best thing Disney has done in years.
 
While focusing mostly on the mother and daughter, the supporting cast is not forgotten. Each gets a moment to shine. And the ensemble group is utilized to the full as well. There are some moments in the play which would have done Mozart proud – as at times there are upwards of 6 people singing in the same song about their different agendas or perspectives – and it all makes sense (think the ensemble song “Tonight” in West Side Story or the Act II and IV octet finales in Mozart’s Marriage of Figaro).
 
The songs each have a personality of their own as well – from the cocky “I Got This” where Katherine and Ellie assume pretending to be each other will be a breeze, to the lyrical heartbreaking “After All of This and Everything” which Ellie, in Katherine’s body sings to a sleeping Fletcher, to the bitterly funny “Parents Lie”, and the just plain old cute “Women and Sandwiches” which Adam sings to Fletcher in an attempt to explain the fascination women have for him and will one day have for Fletcher.
 
If you want to get a preview of Freaky Friday you can hear the songs on Youtube.
The play opened October 4, 2016 in Arlington, VA and we were blessed with being able to see the original cast leads in Houston. This play will, no doubt, make the rounds around the country – or be filmed at some point. But don’t let the previous original versions put you off. This is a truly “magical” play.
FIND and go see this play SOMEWHERE!!!!!!

The BEST Terminator in the Franchise

I can’t remember the last time I told someone this about a movie but if you plan to see the new movie Terminator: Genisys DO NOT WATCH THE TRAILERS! Also avoid even seeing pictures of the movie and don’t even look too hard at the poster. And it goes without saying do NOT talk to your chatty friend who LOVES to tell endings until after you have seen this movie.

I am going to – obviously – avoid telling you anything that will give pertinent facts away. I will tell you this was a surprise plot. Up to now I think my favorite Terminator of the series was Number 2. The first was a very innovative sci fi story.

Term 1 poster Term 1

Boy meets girl. Boy is from future to save girl from deadly robot also from future. Terminator 2 takes place about 14 years after the first and puts in some clever twists.

Poster Term 2

New boy, son of original boy and girl, original girl, and surprise guest go up against a new terminator from the future out to kill everybody.

Then there were three and four which were, in order, kind of boring in the former place (not a small trick when it is about the end of the world) and creepy and depressing in the latter.

It is tough to review this newest addition (or perhaps a better word – and you’ll see what I mean when you see the movie is – EDition) to the “family” without giving anything away. I will tell you that while Genisys is a stand alone it could not have existed without straddling the shoulders of at least the first two movies.

If you have not already I recommend you see numbers 1 and 2 before seeing Genisys. If you HAVE seen them at some time and you are a hard core sci fi buff (or just have some time to kill while healing up from getting your wisdom teeth removed or lying on the beach on a vacation) it would be worth it to watch them again before seeing newest one. Three and four are optional though I submit that the first two and the last look even better when compared to how badly a franchise can be screwed up.

I looked carefully at the available pictures for Genisys to find one that would not give anything away for those few – those happy few – who will go in not knowing anything about the movie, and I think it is safe to say that it is no spoiler to reveal that there is a TERMINATOR in the movie. Cue signature percussion DAH-dum—–dum-DAH-dum.

Genisys poster

WARNINGS: There are a few significant profanities and a smattering of smaller offenses in this movie but no sex. There IS full Monty nudity of both genders though it is neither gratuitous nor salacious and with the tactful positioning of cameras nothing inappropriate is seen. And – in case you having been living on an island and never even heard of these movies – they are quite violent. Most of it is, however, cartoonish in fighting with robots and some sci fi “icky” stuff. Older teens minimum definitely, but, as usual, check it out yourself first. Screenit.com is always helpful.

The Martian – MacGyver in Space

The Martian - aloneThe Martian reminds me of a MacGyver on Mars. You remember the old tongue-in-cheek  1980’s TV show about a secret agent who can make anything out of — well, anything. MacGyverThe old joke is that he could make a bomb with  some Scotch tape and a stick of chewing gum. Now that is NOT to denigrate The Martian in any way.

So maybe I should better go with the more obvious analogy —- BourneBourne in space, though if you say that without thinking you’d assume it was about a generational ship. LOL

I thought The Martian was a good story, well acted and kept me on the edge of my seat. The premise is that one Mark Watney (played beautifully by Matt Damon), astronaut, is part of an exploratory landing crew on Mars who (and this is not a spoiler as nothing you wouldn’t see in the trailer) is thought killed and left behind in an emergency evacuation.

Now, I might quibble with this premise as I have a hard time believing people smart and resourceful and careful and well informed as people who can get other people to Mars and back can not check – the weather? I also can not believe that, even if in the decades to come, we STILL can not *sigh* predict the weather properly (nor cure the common cold I presume) that the geniuses (and I do not use this term here loosely) who got them to Mars would not have anticipated the kind of situation our astronauts find themselves in and provided for it. In short: a bad storm comes up which makes their tower-shaped rocket begin to tip so badly that they must leave their landing site MONTHS prematurely and abort the entire mission!! Somehow I find it unlikely that the future equivalent of NASA would not have provided for an alternative which would have: kept the tower stable OR allowed the crew to come back down in a different spot OR let them telescope the entire rig down to a structure at least less vulnerable than a water tower. (I stayed through Hurricane Rita and I can tell you our city’s water towers were still there the next morning.)

HOWEVER, I usually give any movie at least ONE unbelievable premise as part of their needed McGuffin (the “THING” – whatever it is – without which the plot can not happen) to move things along. Because if everything was routine there likely would not BE a movie. And the emergency take-off and ENTIRE ABANDONMENT of what must have been YEARS and bazillions of dollars in the making ALL because of bad weather —- is the one gimme I’ll give it.

Now, the best parts of The Martian had to do with how Mark Watney  decides to fight to live. There is one line that sums up his character and it is a philosophy to which one should aspire. Faced with accidental abandonment on a planet where nothing grows he has to find a way to stretch his food supplies from a few months to years. He has to create water. He has to live in and keep repaired for years a habitat meant for a few months. He has to keep his waste and oxygen recyclers working with minimal equipment other than what was left behind in the emergency evac and some crew mementos. Reviewing the obstacles before him as he videos his assessment of his circumstances he could have (and I might add justifiably) broken down in despair. And for just one moment you wonder which way he is going to go. Then he states with the air of someone simply planning a challenging science project:Martian at video “I’m gonna have to science the **** out of this.” Lt. Gen. Harry W.O. Kinnard, when offered surrender by the Nazis during the Battle of the Bulge in 1944, responded: “Nuts”. When General George S Patton heard about this he famously quipped: “A man that eloquent has to be saved.” So I similarly and immediately felt about Astronaut Watney. Whether he is or not – saved – I wil not spill, but suffice to say that, regardless of the outcome, the struggle made by Watney to not only survive but to do so with grace and courage and OPTIMISM was worth the watching and frankly inspirational.Martian making rows

This is the point at which I heave a small *sigh* and divulge a wish.

What I wish The Martian had been was more Robinson Crusoe on Mars. Now — hold on — there really WAS a movie with that EXACT name R C on Mars posterwhich sought to update the current myth of Robinson Crusoe and place it on Mars – only Mars had breathable air and the intrepid survivor ended up with a man Friday. R C on Mars w FridayIt’s very dated, but very quaint and an old classic flick.

But THAT Robinson Crusoe on Mars is not what I’m talking about. In the ORIGINAL story written by Daniel Defoe published in 1719 Crusoe was an adventurer and slaver, embarking on sea voyage after sea voyage against his family’s wishes. During one of his trips to transport slaves he is shipwrecked and left alone on an island for 17 years. He too learns to survive on an inhospitable “planet”, just as our astronaut Watney does. But one thing the first Crusoe did which our modern astronaut does not is repent and turn to God. R C - cross R C - bible

Once again, as I mentioned in the blog about Interstellar happens so often in today’s sci fi stories, in The Martian science becomes god. While the determination to “science the s*** out of —” something to overcome seemingly insurmountable obstacles is a worthy sentiment, it is not enough. No amount of science in the world will allow you to do more than stave off the inevitable – as Watney discovers (and no I’m not giving anything about the ending away because these set backs come throughout the movie).

The situation for our main character is extremely dire. The man is stuck in space 140 million miles away from Earth and the only people who have even a chance of saving him YEARS from now do not even know he is alive. Mark goes through his friends’ personal effects, he inventories supplies, he plays his captain’s disco music and he even scavenges the wood from a crew mate’s crucifix — but even here only a superficial nod is made to assistance from God for this desperate man’s plight. From a realistic POV I would imagine there to be a lot of discussion with God – and I also imagine not all of it very happy. I would understand anger and grief but ultimately the seeking of solice from and acceptance of God’s Will would have fit in with Mark’s efforts and his thoughtful sangfroid personality.

The Martian suffers from the same flaw as other recent movies about desperate people left adrift (one way or another) without the usual resources (family, equipment, communication with home) needed in a dire situation: likeInterstellar - 1 astronaut Interstellar andCastaway Castaway.

Gravity - wombGravity was much more akin to the original Robinson Crusoe and the original Robinson Crusoe’s themes, because the main character there was struggling with her atheism as an analogy for the isolation she felt from God in the face overwhelming obstacles and baggage of personal tragedy.

The seemingly deliberate avoidance in The Martian of any but the most tenuous and brief of nods to an acknowledgement of man’s need for help from his Creator is a disappointing affront to this and other worthy film efforts.

From an educational POV there is MUCH to be gleaned from Mark’s experiments and projects in biology 101: What is needed when one has almost nothing but sterile dirt to grow food? How DO you make large amounts of water when all you have is air? How do you cope when even your air is in limited quantity? Mark’s solutions are clever and realistic But they COULD have been – with a simple exercise in humility – profound.

Small warning – there is ZERO hanky panky. But the language can get a bit raw, though not at all gratuitous given Mark’s predicament. And given the positive nature of the themes and educational values, worth enduring. The plot is, obviously, quite tense. So I would suggest your initial consideration would be for mid to older teens. But definitely check it out yourself first or access  Screenit.com on The Martian for a helpful guide.

Photo credits:

Interstellar – Too Much Empty Space and Not Just Between Planets

  Space Interstellar Water planet InterstellarInterstellar is an interesting movie. Faint praise, perhaps, but it had so many ups and downs that reviewing it I feel like Tevya in Fiddler on the Roof – on the one hand —, but on the other hand —, but then on the other hand —. To start with the basics, the acting is – if not stellar (sorry, couldn’t resist) then excellent.

Farm InterstellarMatthew McConaughey (a name along with Rhys Ifans I can never get right off the top of my head) plays Cooper, a once pilot now farmer on an ecologically dying planet Earth.

Now – you see here, right at the start I have an issue with this. They never explain WHY Earth is supposedly dying. Plus the fact that, contrary to the goof balls in the Flat Earth Global Warming cult, there’s not a blessed thing we could do to destroy Earth permanently even if we all tried — real — hard. I wish we COULD influence the meteorological balance that much because had we that much power we could stop the many MANY hurricanes I have lived through.

ANYway – taking a deep breath and accepting the dumb premise (which my brother always calls a McGuffin – the “thing” that propels the story but which isn’t in and of itself necessarily very important and could be substituted for something else – as here it could have been diseased humans, alien invasion or a zombie apocalypse and the story COULD have played out about the same) I note the acting is quite good — and even distracts you from the ridiculous McGuffin.

Hathaway InterstellarAnne Hathaway, whose acting skill rocketed in my esteem exponentially having been blown away by her Fantine in Les Mis, plays Amelia, lady astronaut and daughter of one Professor Brand, played by Michael Caine (whose presence would have made this movie palatable even WERE the McGuffin about a zombie apocalypse). Brand thinks there is a way to save Earth BUT, given the time it will take and the risks of failure involved and what is at stake (the future of all humanity and its culture, blah, blah) he sends Amelia, Cooper, some fertilized eggs, the summation of culture of Earth and a variety of red shirts (Star Trek fans will know what I mean) TO INFINITY AND BEYO—- oh wait wrong movie.

OK now I have to stop being so snarky.

If you access Everything Wrong with Interstellar on Youtube you will get a hilarious verbal map of plot holes large enough to fly the Starship Enterprise throughBlack hole Interstellar – but you will ALSO get some scientific points on gravity and its effects which Interstellar got RIGHT. Now – be advised Jeremy Scott has a habit of using very salty adjectives. Many are pointlessly asterisked and bleeped out – pointless because it is quite obvious what that word is supposed to be. And frankly I wish he would use more family friendly and creative alternatives (there is a book available of Shakespearean insults, for example AND the movies dating back before the 60’s usually managed quite well without MOST of what we hear now as expletives) because it is this one unfortunate attribute that prevents me from recommending these Youtube videos more often.

For  Everything Wrong with Interstellar Dr. Neil deGrasse Tyson does a guest spot-co-host for this Youtube video and points out what they DID do correctly. Which brings me to the positives. The visuals are absolutely stunning. They feature both a frozen planet and a planet “near” a black hole and what those worlds might be like. Both planets are shown as shocking and terrifying and gorgeous all at once. (Great places to visit maybe but ——-) There are also some visuals concerning a fifth dimension which is dumb in concept, completely and illogically paradoxical and really cool looking all at the same time.

As for the language in Interstellar itself there is one use of each of the two worst of the profanities and a very small sprinkling of the lesser offenders. For more detail check out Screen-it on Interstellar. (You have to be a member to access all the info but it is definitely worth the $7.95/month OR $47/year. There are dozens of times a year I am quite happy to have had the subscription – they give good reviews and almost agonizing detail on everything from “jump scene” content to scary music, profanity and issues to discuss after.) No sex, but some very disturbing family issues appropriate enough to an end-of-world cataclysm movie. So who you think appropriate for this movie should be considered carefully.

BUT ———

I have seen the world and it is hollow (apologies to Star Trek for this rough paraphrase*):

While the science is fun, the visuals outstanding, the acting quite good and the overall idea of the story make it quite entertaining, I have one really big problem with the movie. In all the catastrophe going on, no one seeks any comfort in religion. This is both religiously biased and extremely unlikely. Personally I’d be heading for the nearest priest, but even for the agnostics and atheists – well, as my Dad used to say, there are NO atheists in fox holes and the whole world in this movie is IN one big fox hole. And while it is reasonable to believe that there could be some hold outs, I would say that inasmuch as the vast majority of the Earth’s population believes in a Supreme Being, that there would be SOME theological expressions. But – nope – their god is science. If you have enough of it we can: save the world, or at least save humanity, or seed the cosmos with our genes or—- whatever. That as long as our fertilized eggs are still around with a copy of the Mona Lisa then all’s right with the — Universe.

This made an otherwise, at least INTERESTING movie, to me feel quite hollow and empty as —- as —- as well, what is in Interstellar space.Black hole Interstellar 2

And HEY – I think I wrote this one without a single important spoiler!!

  • I was referencing the title of the eighth episode of the third season of the original series: “For the World is Hollow and I Have Touched the Sky”    —–OK, OK, it seemed like a close paraphrase to me at the time!!!

THE PATRIOT – A COMPILATION OF AMERICAN HEROES BUT A FATHER FIRST

You may have noticed I quit numbering these installments – See "From Marx Brothers to Superman". I plan to remove the numbers off of the previous ones as they are about as useful as wings are for flying on a chicken – added decoration but of little practical value.

Patriot cover - e.wikipedia.orgBut I also plan to continue to share my thoughts on the continuing theme of the Father Figure. This time as it relates to – The Patriot. SPOILERS!!! —– Substantial SPOILERS!!!

In the almost ubiquitously famous The Patriot, (forgive the refresher), the widowed Benjamin Martin raises his seven children on a farm just before the outbreak of hostilities between the British crown and her colonies. The mother is long deceased by the opening credits. Despite this, the family thrives. The children are happy, content, well educated, respectful and confident. The farm is successful and the people that work there respected and well treated.

When the war devastatingly intrudes into the family and their home, the children rise to meet the crushingly unreasonable demands that are thrust upon them.

Gibson burning house - writeandsleep.comAs the home burns behind them, one brother hauled off to face summary execution, and another brother lies shot dead at their feet, Benjamin tells his 13 year old daughter, Margaret, to take her two younger siblings into the woods. That if he and the two oldest remaining boys are not back by dark she is to "head for Aunt Charlotte’s". Almost 20 miles away from any help, on foot, entrusted with two small children, with dark encroaching and terrible people about, Margaret, while desperately frightened looks trustingly into her father’s eyes and he confidently knows she will carry out what MUST be done. He takes his two sons, Samuel and Nathan, little more than children themselves, into a fire fight to save the oldest son from hanging.

Trevor-in-The-Patriot-trevor-morgan-22817249-853-480Together the father and sons take on and defeat 20 British soldiers. Now obviously the Dad, veteran warrior, kills most, but the boys – about 13 and 11 – obey their father’s orders without question. They follow and obey him, even as they are horrified, even traumatized, by what they must do.

These are children who have an indomitable bond with their father. Gibson and girl side view - paradrasi.grThey have faith in him because he has ALWAYS been a strong leader, a good Dad, and a protector for them. And they survive against tremendous odds because of it.

The-Patriot-mika-boorem-24695250[1] - CopyCharlotte (Joely Richardson) – while brave and resourceful – when faced later in the movie with a similar confrontation – wisely —- grabs the children and runs. Obviously this is a movie but nary a movie goer questioned the credibility of Martin's feat – and notably the film was based roughly ON a combination of real life historical figures: Francis Marion, Elijah Clarke, Daniel Morgan, Andrew Pickens, and Thomas Sumter.

AND it is ALSO noteworthy that the main character of this awesome and inspirational story of bravery, patriotism, loyalty, devotion, familial bonds, and even self-recrimination to redemption is —– a man. More particularly a father.

One of my all time favorite lines in the movie is when Benjamin's oldest son, Gabriel, played by the late and wonderful Heath Ledger insists, against his father's command, on returning to his regiment despite the aforesaid devastating death of his brother, burning of their home and near execution. Gabriel challenges Benjamin: "I am not a child!" to which Benjamin roars in frustration: "You're MY child!"  I admit to having used this on my own children more than once to rather good effect.

That one sentence says it all: authority, conviction and — commitment. You can retire from your firm, you might retire from being a doctor or a lawyer, we will all eventually be retired from life, and you MIGHT even – more dramatically – retire from the Marines. But you can never – EVER – retire from parenthood. You might be a good parent, a bad parent, an absent parent or even a deceased parent, but once a parent, ALWAYS a parent (apologies TO the Marines).  And Benjamin knows this, understands it to his core being. And when Gabriel leaves anyway, Benjamin leaves his younger remaining children in the care and relative safety of Charlotte to go after his one wandering sheep – Gabriel. And this decision propels us through the rest of the movie.Gibson Ledger

The whole movie is fabulous. We watch, cheer during and cry over it every July 4th. But, to me, that one line sums up the motivation and character of Benjamin Martin: a brave soldier, warrior champion, leader among men, successful business man, loyal friend, patriotic American founder, legend. mel_flag[1]But his defining feature is that fact that he is —- a father.Gibson and children Patriot

Photo credits: e.wikipedia.org, writeandsleep.com, fanpop.com, paradrasi.gr, The-Patriot-mika-boorem-246952501,  superiorpics.com, reddit.com, pinterest.com

 

From Marx Brothers to Superman

5 Marx Brothers 5 Supermen

You ever watch those old Marx Brothers movies? Groucho, Chico, Harpo. They’re wonderful. Slapstick and droll, filmed in black and white but technicolor in scintillating classic humor, these guys were friends, colleagues, costars, collaborators, comedians and — well, brothers. The family of five (Zeppo was a straight man in a few) and Gummo who worked with the others on stage but never made it to the movies, started together in vaudeville as the Singing Nightingales. Groucho actually aspired to be a doctor, but there was no money for that so became an entertainer. Known as Groucho throughout the world, instantly recognizable for his mustache and ever present cigar, his real name was Julius and he was the head, on screen and off,  of this raucous bunch of never-aging hooligans. And, while Groucho’s on screen persona was not much of a sterling example of fatherhood in the conventional sense, Groucho did – much like Oddball’s modified tanks in the quirky World War II dramedy Kelly’s Heroes – manage to get them OUT of trouble at least as fast as he got them INto it.

4 Marx BrothersChico (whose real name, for the record, was Leonard), always featured in his pork pie hat, played the piano — astonishingly well, and humorously. He employed what I can only describe as finger gymnastics. He’d run his hand along the keys, then point and stab at another note, make his hands look all floppy. Yet the music came out beautifully. Chico played the piano by playing WITH the piano. It was almost like a one man musical comedy magic act. If a piano was a ventriloquist’s dummy, Chico was the ventriloquist.

Animal Crackers coverBut there was one scene in Animal Crackers that I always found especially charming, and unusually subdued, for a Marx Brothers’ routine. Chico performs a party recital of “Catch a Falling Star” wherein he interjects an interlude after the first line which comes back around to the initial musical line – so he plays it in a loop.Animal Crackers - Groucho Chico Harpo It’s a very funny scene as you watch the audience – primarily consisting of Groucho front and center with the indomitable and ubiquitous Margaret Dumont (who, it was said, rarely understood Groucho’s jokes) at his side – become progressively more bored and annoyed at the seemingly endless cycle of this repeating banal ditty.

GROUCHO: Say — if you get near a song, play it.

CHICO: I can’t think of the finish.

GROUCHO: That’s strange – and I can’t think of anything else. (Even Margaret Dumont grinned at that one.)

CHICO: You know what I think – I think I went past it.

GROUCHO: Well if you come around again, jump off.

CHICO: I once kept this up for three days.

Which brings me to the point of this post. I’ve kept the series I entitled Back to the Father running for exactly ten times the time Chico claimed to have once been stuck on that musical phrase — one month today – kind of an anniversary.

Well, I know how Chico felt. I started the Back to the Father series thinking it would be a one or two part series, but cannot think of a way to finish it. Thing is – there are more examples of Hollywood’s instinctive, though denied, avowal of the irreplaceability of the father or strong father-figure in the home than even I thought there were. And I enjoy finding them. So I have decided to randomly just continue on that theme and point them up when I find ones that I find particularly appealing.

Jar-el with Kal-elJar-el with Kal-el - Crow

So in keeping with that promise I bring you —- SUPERMAN! Remade about a gazillion times, from its inception as a comic book to novels, movies, cartoons, this Man of Steel has been an American iconic since the publication of the first comic book in June 1938. Comic book Jar-el familyAnd in all of the manifestations of Superman, from print to film, from the stories starring TVs George ReevesGeorge Reeves to film’s Chris Reeves SupermanChris Reeves (the BEST!!!) to the most recent inception of Cavill supermanHenry Cavill, these Supermen’s father, Jar-el Family - Crow Jar-el Family - BrandoJor-el, is the one who must make the decision to send Kal-el (Superman) off to Earth. It is Jor-el who the one who makes the hard choice to send his son away to save his life and does so, not only for his son’s sake, but for the betterment of a lesser culture – mankind.

The mother, understandably, does not want to let her child go but concedes to  her husband’s wisdom: to sacrifice their lives to protect the life of their son. In addition, it is not the mother’s consciousness which is sent to teach, guard and mentor the famous Kryptonian survivor,  it is the father’s. Brando - Jor-el computerGranted this is recognized in the funny animated How Man of Steel Should Have Ended How Man of Steel should have endedbut it’s never really questioned. Again, for a good reason. because, while a mom is nice to have around – a son needs a father to become a Superman.Jor-el - Crow

I’ll randomly throw in more from time to time, because, unlike Chico, I don’t WANT to think of a finish.