Saturday, November 30, 2013

The Bent Bullet Theory & X-Men Days Of Future Past

Is this actually going to play a role in the film? Recall, if you will, Prometheus did something similar with the big pre-release that Guy Pearce did as the big-time business owner who had funded the space trip but not a second of that was in the film; it's an interesting way to launch viral videos, sure, but I think that's a rather sarcastic way of looking at it; these videos (the Prometheus and the Bent Bullet video) are really gold mines of character information; how? Well, the Guy Pearce character was important, but there wasn't much time to develop his character, so the viral video added important background information we would not have received otherwise; why is that important? It's the movie industry validating film as art, that they know these are characters who are contributing to cultural identities (no, not like people dressing up as them for Halloween, or buying the products from a marketing line) that their characters embody ideas, concepts and entities, that they are metaphors for people or ideas in our own day and age and the film makers want us to know that so they take the extra care and time to craft additional material to increase not only our enjoyment of the film--because, having taken the time to watch the video and read the articles at this new website, we then become the "informed reader," the one catching the references outside the strict "text" of the film's narrative being provided--but, even more importantly, to deepen our bond with the film and characters so we want to interact with the narrative on an ever-deeper level (we are given a taste of honey to make us want more). The film makers don't make money off these videos, this website and trailer are purely for us, the viewers, and the quality of our interaction with what will unfold in the film next year. Some cynical people might comment (as one all ready has) that this is purely to "cash in" on historical events," but the gravity of these events, and how they are still shaping the identity of this country and the political atmosphere, invite commentary, and because no money is being made from this video and webpage, we should take them as commentary, not marketing ploys.
One reader commented he thought this a shameless way for X-Men Days Of Future Past to make money and attention off the Kennedy assassination and found it terribly tacky; I couldn't disagree with him more. Rather than mocking or capitalizing on that terrible day fifty years ago, X-Men Days Of Future Past seems to be making an imperative statement about who Kennedy was and why his being killed was so terrible for the country; not everything in this video is what they want you to see, so we will discuss it below:
If you go to the full article written on the "Bent Bullet Theory" and Magneto, it's a rather long yet worthwhile article setting up an entire, somewhat "alternate" universe in which it's probably Mystique/Raven who killed Kennedy while Magneto was contained in his plastic cell. The question is, "Why are they telling us this?" and the biggest clue is contained in two details:
The bloody speech (below) supposedly removed from Kennedy's body.
The first detail is, according to film makers, the speech Kennedy was going to make before he was gunned down:
"My friends, and fellow citizens", he would have said, "America today is stronger than ever before. Our adversaries have not abandoned their ambitions. Our dangers have not diminished. Our vigilance cannot be relaxed. But now we have the strength to do whatever must be done to ensure the preservation of all our citizenry. A citizenry that is ever-changing, shaping the unique landscape of tomorrow's America. Now we can choose to accept that change and allow it to make us stronger. Or we can choose to be throttled by fear of the unfamiliar. I ask that we may be worthy of our power and responsibility. That we proudly accept these differences, be they of race, creed, or genetic background, that we may achieve in our time--and for all time--the ancient vision of 'peace on earth, good will toward men.' Toward all men and all women and all our magnificent and unique abilities."
The film makers remind us of the Civil Rights movement and the terrible "summer of hate" that engulfed America, and even Kennedy's visit to Dallas. When the first trailer for X-Men Days Of Future Past came out, we saw the posters featuring the "cross-over" of the older Xavier (Patrick Stewart) and the younger Xavier (James McAvoy). Why? The film makers want to drive home the point that every decision we make--even those in the deepest parts of our hearts--and every word we say, has consequences and shapes who we are today and tomorrow and who we are 20 years from now, us as private individuals and we as a country. What happened then has shaped who we are now: our troubles, our turmoil, the direction we are going and who our enemies are and how they are beating us. We never get "beyond" anything as a society, it always haunts us, but the past contains lessons from which we are also always learning (consider the 1964 stop-motion, Christmas time favorite, Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer: the Island of Misfit Toys is very much a metaphor for politically disenfranchised groups of people during the 1960s and how Rudolph--himself something of a "genetic mutant"--was able to help a white and polka-dot elephant because of his own rising in the ranks to Santa's team of reindeer; the story is as popular today as it was then, in large part because this is the story of America itself and why we have survived for as long as we have: we believe in the natural uniqueness of the individual and the role they have to play in society and history.
The second detail.
Kennedy was assassinated on November 22, 1963; the date Magneto gave himself up and was formally charged by the FBI is, according to the mug shot picture above, February 2, 1964; why that date? On that day, the US Federal Government authorized the Twenty-Fourth Amendment to the United States Constitution; what is the 24th Amendment you ask?
It's about taxation.
According to the website, these are the articles of impeachment that were going to be presented against Kennedy. Article 1 reads: 1) Betraying the Constitution (which he swore to uphold). He is turning the sovereignty of the U.S. over to the mutant-loving United Nations. I think this is going to play an important role in the film because Trask Industries has created Sentinels (robot soldiers) to hunt down and kill the mutants, so if Kennedy was really in a "Agenda 21" type arrangement with a mutant-loving United Nations, why would Trask be allowed to hunt them down? We don't know details, but these questions will enlighten our experience of watching the film and understanding the message film makers want to convey.  
In the past, the poll tax was a means for a government to tax the population based on the census, rather than an act (such as trade or purchasing certain goods), a person could be taxed because they were a person and the tax amount was fixed, regardless of income or social status; in the past, it was recognized as occasionally being used as a political weapon to keep minorities from voting: if you can't pay the poll tax, you can't vote. Why is this important? Well, we all ready saw a poll tax be the demise of Margaret Thatcher in The Iron Lady (Meryl Streep) but this merely reflects that the biggest tax in the history of this country has gone into effect, Obamacare, and, in the Wall Street Journal in 2012, "historian and author Dr. Paul Moreno argued that the requirement of all Americans to purchase health insurance or face a penalty could be construed as a direct tax that must be apportioned and thus unconstitutional. Chief Justice John Roberts rejected this reasoning and this rationale was not cited in any dissenting Justice's opinions" (Wikipedia, Poll Tax).
I'm not the one bringing this up, Magneto is.
And the reporter.

Why on earth would Magneto, as he seems to contend, be there on the grassy knoll to save Kennedy, and--if he is Magneto--why couldn't he? Why wasn't Magneto able to control the bullet to divert it from Kennedy altogether, as the testimony of the little girl clearly states she saw him physically controlling the bullet? When I was an undergraduate, my professor of Old Testament studies passed on one of the most valuable lessons I ever learned: the Bible answers all of our questions, if it doesn't, then we are asking the wrong question. The Bent Bullet Theory is a far cry from Holy Scripture, however, they have gone to great lengths to create this alternate universe so if the questions we are asking don't have answers, they must want us to search for the questions they have provided answers to, namely: is Magneto hiding from Mystique (and others) rather than being imprisoned by humans? We know from the article that he surrendered, had a show trial, and has destroyed several prison cells, and the final one is so strong, if there were a nuclear war, "Only the cockroaches and this guy (Magneto) would survive," so why--as the most dangerous man in the world--go voluntarily into prison for a crime he didn't commit when he could easily be out and bringing Mystique to justice? In the trailer, at 1:52, Magneto (Fassbender) draws Mystique (Jennifer Lawrence) towards him,... oh, I would so hate to be her in that moment! Does what we see in the film above, and what we read at the website, and then see in the trailer, does all this fit in? OR, is Magneto harboring some terrible, evil plot while in his cell? If the film makers wanted us to believe that, I don't think they would have included the bit about Magneto telling one of his guards to go to the infirmary (the guard had too much iron in his blood) and surely, Magneto could have used that to help himself, couldn't he? That was a pure act of altruism, someone condemned to two life sentences, telling the guard keeping him there that he's sick and needs medical help,... this is all a deeper characterization for Magneto that we will be privy to going into the film and our knowledge will be rewarded, I am sure! By the way, the outfit Magneto wears in this shot is the same outfit he wears in at least two scenes in the trailer (posted at the end). The gray of his overcoat and neck scarf (like the one Gerry Lane [Brad Pitt] wears in World War Z?) suggests one of two possibilities: gray is the color of ashes, which pilgrims would wear as a sign of penance; is Magneto doing penance for his crime or a crime he aided (this fits another Ian McKellen character, Gandalf the Gray, from The Hobbit, who does symbolize the pilgrim)? On the other hand, gray is also the color of the novice, as the life the novice has left behind has been burned to ashes before starting their new life (in whatever vocation they are entering) so are we to somehow view Magneto as a kind of pilgrim in some way? The blue shirt Magneto wears suggests wisdom and depression, that he is going to be making some kind of "act of penance," possibly at the cost of Mystique (we will discuss why she is blue later because she is her own philosophical dilemma) in order to end a war before it starts. 
How is the reporter brining it up?
In the article at the Bent Bullet Theory, part of the web of conspiracy created by "the real JFK killer" (Mystique) is that Jack Ruby was injected with cancer cells in Parkland hospital (please recall, a film called Parkland about Kennedy's assassination has just been released) after shooting Oswald, and Ruby, Oswald and Kennedy all died at Parkland hospital. (PLEASE remember, this is a universe the film makers have gone to considerable trouble and expense to create in addition to X-Men Days Of Future Past; they are not saying there was actually a shape-shifter, this is all METAPHOR to express something that has to be expressed in today's society but can only be expressed through art; just so know one thinks I believe this stuff, this is just for the film). 
A normal bullet and the "bent bullet." The website makes a point of Magneto's hurried trial and how he was convicted upon circumstantial evidence. Why? Well, we have to admit, it certainly makes the government look bad, and Democrat president, Lyndon B Johnson, who called Magneto, "The most dangerous man in the world."  
Why should we care about all this?
What's the point?
Is this all an elaborate anti-Obamacare ploy? It could be, however, I think there is going to be a far greater political and cultural commentary offered by the film and the Bent Bullet Theory is a springboard for that. At least part of the purpose of all this is, is to create a violent conflict in the dichotomy between chaos theory and "evolutionary" theory. When we think of the mutants in the X-Men series, we tend to think of evolution (as roughly conceived by Darwin and mutilated at will by modern scientists still trying to make the unworkable work) and some kind of general "survival of the fittest" scenario when we mere humans are not the fittest. Chaos theory, on the other hand, deals with details--the tiny and insignificant is its area of expertise--and how details effect the larger picture (think of, roughly, the butterfly effect). So, what the Bent Bullet Theory presents us, is a tiny bullet on one hand, and a superior being to all other beings (Magneto) on the other; comparing this is like apples and oranges,.... or is it?
A scene like this, of the powerful Magneto being powerless and inactive, has to make us question what is going on. Has Magneto being imprisoned actually limited the harm and danger Mystique can accomplish by not having Magneto to blame for it? I did find a note from a commentator who said that, if Magneto has been in prison all this time, that meant the events of X-Men the Last Stand didn't take place. Again, the film makers promised us that any and all "inconsistencies" would be reconciled and put aright by Days Of Future Past. I can't help but think of another Fassbender film, Prometheus, when he plays a robot, David, but should we also consider Kahn (Benedict Cumberbatch) from Star Trek Into Darkness? Kahn was a human-created superior human, whereas Magneto naturally had the x-gene causing his powers. 
Honestly, we can't know until the film comes out, or until more teasers have been released, however, I think we have to think in terms of the very big and the very small and asking these questions now provides our minds with the critical thinking which will allow us to pick up on details later that we might have overlooked otherwise; to be perfectly honest with you, I think this film is going to reach to the greatest heights of art--philosophy and theology--and every second we spend thinking about the metaphor they are going to present to us will be well rewarded.
We see this painting (Liberty Leading the People by French artist Eugene Delacroix) in the trailer (at about 1:03, re-posted at the very end of this post) which Magneto (Fassbender) stands in front of while firing a gun. In the trailer, however, the little boy on the Liberty's left side holding the guns, has been moved to her right side, where a person looks up to her from their knees. Why? This is one of those paintings that is so famous, you learn about it in Modern Art Hist 101, being a celebration of the French Revolution. Having "inverted" the painting's formal arrangement begs the question: are we supposed to "invert" the film as well? Magneto wears the same outfit in this scene as he does in the black and white photo still of him above on the grassy knoll, supposedly when he's killing Kennedy. In the trailer, he holds a gun, just as the young boy behind him in the painting holds the gun. In the trailer, given that Magneto doesn't need a gun, just a bullet--or anything metal, for that matter--why does he bother to shoot a gun? To tie him in with the painting which is going to act as commentary on this scene and the events surrounding it. So, when we watch the film and that scene comes up, we know what to be looking for. 
What we can say, with absolute certainty, between the first trailer released of the upcoming film and this Bent Bullet Theory information provided to us, is that extreme emphasis is being placed upon the individual. Free will and consequences are themes we have seen in films, from Man Of Steel to Beasts Of the Southern Wild, Monsters University to Iron Man 3, and they are themes which are wholly incompatible with socialism (socialists contend that humans are animals not capable of making their own decisions, and--lacking free will--are too easily manipulated by advertisers and society, so they have to be indoctrinated in socialism to then start making decisions for the good of the state (read: self-sacrifice, like the sacrifice of the contestants in the arena of The Hunger Games: Catching Fire). But free will is one of those characteristics separating the human from the non-human, a theme which will be important in the upcoming film:
Fifty years ago was the assassination of Kennedy, and the question is, knowing that Trask is the manufacturer of the materials used in Magneto's cell, are they--like the artificial constraint used on Wolverine's heart (Hugh Jackman) in Wolverine--a means for artificially maintaining that which should not be maintained? The Bent Bullet Theory, above all, qualifies as a "conspiracy theory," and will probably make us question if other "conspiracy theories" are also just conspiracy theories.
Eat Your Art Out,
The Fine Art Diner

Thursday, November 28, 2013

Happy Thanksgiving!

A most blessed and joyous Thanksgiving to you and yours!
In the upcoming year, may Our Lord cause His glorious face to shine its Light upon you and all you love, and bring you peace and prosperity, according to the promises He has made His people. May you fulfill your destiny everyday of your life and always walk in the light of knowledge, wisdom and love. May God bless you today, and everyday!
P.S.--I couldn't put up a post without something about the movies! If you and your family love films half as much as my family does, you might want to check out the People's Choice Awards for 2014 and vote for your favorites! There are some pretty close calls: did I like Iron Man 3 better than Star Trek Into Darkness? Um,....

Sunday, November 24, 2013

Maleficent Discussion & The Hunger Games Catching Fire

I thought when I published the updated Maleficent discussion, it would load here, instead, it loaded where I originally had it; I have re-worked a number of themes significantly, so please click here to go to Maleficent starring Angelina Jolie. I am on my way now to see The Hunger Games: Catching Fire, which I would rather not, as you know, however, if you haven't seen it yet, and you would like to read the synopsis before heading into the film, the entire plot is here, if you are like me and want to know what is going to happen.. I'm still getting stuff uploaded on the new laptop, and getting used to it, but it's a great computer, so I am really happy to have it! Keep warm!
Eat Your Art Out,
The Fine Art Diner

Wednesday, November 20, 2013

Happy, Happy!

I got my new laptop! FINALLY! Sorry about the delays! I am getting it set-up! So grateful! Thank you for all your prayers!

Sunday, November 17, 2013

What's Wrong With Noah? Aronofsky's Epic Socialist Manifesto, Or, Trailer #1

Let's start out this discussion by reviewing the trailer for Pompeii from about 2 months ago; please note, at 0:29-0:37, the figure has, on their shoulder, an eagle, the symbol of America, and the next figure has their right hand over their heart, the way we do when we pledge our Allegiance to the American flag:
Here is the trailer for Darren Aronofsky's Noah which was just released:
And here is, released at about the same time a day ago, just a slightly different trailer but with some additional imagery:
"It begins," Russell Crowe's Noah says, and we have heard "this" at least two other times: in Star Trek Into Darkness, Khan (Benedict Cumberbatch) asks Spock, "Shall we begin?" in the exchange of his crew for the bombs Spock has planted, and in Thor the Dark World, Loki asks Thor, after Thor has come to Loki for help, "When do we start?" We might also add the tagline for Maleficent posters: "Evil has a beginning." With Keanu Reeves' upcoming release 47 Ronin, one of the samurai, after gathering those who are going to fight against the evil that has taken over their land, says, "Now, the time has come," which is similar but I think we need to wait to discuss that one.
What does this mean?
Where have we seen this poster before? World War Z: Brad Pitt's Gerry Lane peering out of a helicopter with his back to the viewer, scanning a "sea" of zombies, is not much different than Noah with his back to us scanning the sea of destructive water (I would put up a side-by-side comparison, however, I don't have access to Photoshop, it was on my laptop, sorry). Noah standing on the rock, holding the spear, looking at the crashing waters, is probably meant to invoke the image to Jewish and Christian viewers of Moses standing on the rock at the shore of the Red Sea, stretching out his staff to SAVE the people from the raging flood, whereas Aronofsky's Noah is going to let everyone die. Regrettably, one of the files on the stolen laptop that is now lost to me forever, is the list of topics and corresponding films: so under my topic of floods and water, I took notes to remind me of moments in films like Skyfall when water plays an important role in the film (towards the end, before M dies, when Bond goes under the icy water and kills the bad guy, then goes into the chapel). So I have to go off memory rather than notes, I do apologize for the sketchiness of this commentary. Another important moment we can recall from water and death is Olympus Has Fallen when the president (Aaron Eckhart) and first lady (Ashley Judd) are en route to a Christmas party, the car crashes and the first lady plunges to her death in the icy water below; likewise, in The Descendants (George Clooney) his wife is put into a coma during a boating race on the water. Why is this important? It's a recurring image that our analysis reveals is being used by both sides--the socialists and the capitalists--to communicate their beliefs about what the other is doing. For capitalists, the deadly "flood waters" came around 2008 when the Lehmann Brothers and Bernie Madoff, Freddie Mac and Fannie Mae (from whom Senator Obama received tons of money to engineer legislation to cause their collapse, as reported by the Canadian press) flooded the markets with worthless assets and mortgages that never should have happened, and then stimulus money began artificially flooding the market due to Democrat legislation and now food stamps, Obama phones and unemployed have flooded the markets. For capitalists, these are the sings from the heavens that we are being destroyed. Socialists, on the other hand, look at these troubles and devastations as "good things" because they want the end of America and the beginning of the "nanny-state" when politicians decide what people do and don't need. Noah is not much different than World War Z--recall the part in the trailer when Noah says that people will come and they will be desperate, and he has to fight them off to keep them from overtaking the ark, that's pretty much a portrayal of a "zombie apocalypse"--and like next year's film release Pompeii which correlates the end of the tragic city with the demise of the US. In films like Ender's Game, Iron Man 3, X-Men Days Of Future Past, Star Trek Into Darkness, Men In Black III, Man Of Steel, Les Miserables, Tinker, Tailor, Soldier, Spy, Percy Jackson: Sea Of Monsters, Thor the Dark World, the world is worth fighting for and ruin is something to be feared, the preservation of society and freedom is worth fighting and dying for; films like World War Z, Noah, Pompeii, The Croods, The Great Gatsby and Gravity say, "Let America die" because socialism and the New World Order can't live unless capitalism and democracy dies.
Redundancy is an important tool in communication (we are going to only site a specific item here, but there is much more to this discussion). When we see something over and over and over again, that becomes redundant and it can brainwash us into accepting whatever it is that is being repeated; on the other hand, it can also make us see a pattern where we didn't see one before, like the "beginning" of evil, a starting point, a specific moment in time which we should be made aware of; without the redundancies listed in the paragraph above,  it's likely we would miss this topic of discussion.
So, what's to be discussed?
Ray Winstone plays the villain of the film, Tubal-cain who is mentioned in the Bible as being the first smith (or "chemist" in some translations), the first to fashion artifices from bronze and iron, but is not connected to Noah in the book of Genesis where the Flood story is recounted, which is fine: there has to be artistic license allowed in the interpretation of stories and the translation from print to film; however, it provides a real glimpse into the real motivations for making the film. Of all the figures of Genesis Aronofsky could have incorporated into the story--or just made up someone, like the Emma Watson character who is Noah's adoptive daughter (no, Noah didn't have an adopted daughter, but that isn't important to Aronofsky)--Tubal-cain is a capitalist, he makes things, he is a skilled worker, he provides a service and items that others cannot so he trades and has obviously become powerful in the community and is a symbol of progress and civilization. We know there is a fallen angel in the story and, from his tweets, Aronofsky has incorporated the story of the giants before Noah. Where else have we seen giants? Jack the Giant Slayer, when the giants were the "giants of society," the 1% who live above the rest of us. In the Bible, it was the giants who descended from the fallen angels mating with the mortal women who taught men skills they would not have learned otherwise, skills like blacksmithing (the angels are giants who have 6 arms in the film). These skill sets led to skilled artisans who formed a class that started capitalism, so if Tubal-cain is a part of this, that's clearly what Aronofsky wants to attack as being "unworthy" to be saved when Obama's flooding of American society happens and only a few "loyal to the fuhrer" will be saved.
There have probably always been "disaster" films, whether on a small scale (like a building engulfed in flames and a small group of people being threatened, or an international threat where the hero must save the woman he loves--symbolic of the "motherland"/ the future--and the world) but the Obama legacy highlighted by the art of our day is doom and gloom: have there ever been so many films racing to describe to audiences the end of the world, the end of days? Obama means the end of the world as we know it, but his supporters see it one way and conservatives like myself see it in a very different way even though it's the same thing; the point being, all of us know it "started" in 2008 when he took the White House and started issuing executive orders. The difference is, socialists want this beginning, this "starting" to their world order, whereas conservatives dread it, which is why socialists so happily announce, "It's started," is because they believe their time has come to destroy the country, the world, and humanity with it.

Two points need to be made: first,  artistic license, and, secondly, the time period.  Artistic license is necessary in all mediums and genres of art: artists have got to be allowed to interpret and stretch things and, we the audience, in willingly suspending our disbelief when we sit down to watch a film, grant that license in exchange for the pleasure, entertainment, escape, education, etc., we hope the film/art will provide. So, in other words, I don't expect a slavish interpretation to the meager Genesis story, however, there is a difference between license and lying, and when someone has taken a biblical subject and intentionally turned that subject against even the most basic precepts of religion, that qualifies as a lie, which is exactly what has happened with Noah. Regarding the second point: Emma Watson did an interview in which she expressed how there wasn't any real time-period attached to the film: although it takes place in ancient times, Watson says you get the feeling it could even happen in the future because of the way the sets are designed, which is something like what we saw with the utterly confusing Cloud Atlas. Watson's character in the film is an adopted daughter and SPOILER ALERT at the end of the film, Noah tries to kill twin daughters who have been born so the world won't be re-populated and there won't be global warming. Women, in other words, don't fare well in the film, and we could say that's indicated by the pants Watson wears in the scene above: pants were worn in ancient times, however, pants were not worn by women until the 20th century, and then, they were still frowned upon, meaning, we will probably see Watson's character exhibiting more masculine--therefore, barren or fruitless--qualities since women are so terrible (being a woman myself, I think I will stay a conservative Catholic).
Another element repeated in both the Noah trailers and Pompeii is that of "desolation," just as we have seen in The Hobbit: the Desolation Of Smaug, The Lone Ranger (the nothingness Tonto walks into at the end, leaving behind civilization), Pompeii, Iron Man 3 (Tony pretty much loses everything), Thor Dark World (Asgard is almost destroyed), Skyfall (Bond "dies" and MI6 is bombed and blown to smithereens), World War Z and the end of the world, and others. What is the difference between Iron Man 3 incorporating desolation and Noah?
Anthony Hopkins plays Methuselah, the oldest person who has ever lived and Noah's grandfather who dies seven days before the start of the Flood. Why does Noah go to him after he has these dreams? It is, quite simply, another re-writing of history and, specifically, Judaism, Christianity and Islam, all three religions who adhere to this history. In Noah, Methuselah--according to sources who have read the script--tells Noah that God is going to destroy the world because man destroyed the world. IF this were the only sentence that was not in-line with religious teaching, JUST THIS ONE SENTENCE would be enough for me, personally, to condemn the film: man was created in God's image, not the world, therefore the world was created for man, man was not created for the world. This topsy-turvy "logic" is what Aronofsky would have you to believe, so much so, in fact, that it justifies the extinction of humanity at humanity's own  hand (Noah sacrificing the two girls). There have been charges of paganism against the film, and this one line sufficiently proves it: in reversing the role of the importance in the balance of the earth and humanity, by making the earth more important than humanity, rather than humanity more important than the earth, they have essentially erased God from the equation EVEN AS they maintain that these visions come from God. The reason is: a human being has an immortal soul that will continue throughout eternity, made in God's Own Image; the earth, on the other hand, is not created in God's image, nor is it eternal, it had a moment of beginning and it will someday end; God did, however, make the earth and its resources a gift to man to be good stewards of the gift for ourselves, our neighbors and future generations. There is NOT TEACHING in any branch of Christianity, or any of the other religions that I know of, which encourages irresponsible or damaging abuse of nature and the earth; when that happens, most people agree, that is a violation of society's laws and those people/corporations should be punished. In one scene, I understand one of Noah's sons accidentally kills a lizard, thereby, ending that species because only two of them had been saved, and Noah violently reprimands the son for it, putting an animal above the human, putting the perishable above that which is eternal. We're not done with this topic, please see below for more.  
The end result.
Specifically, it has to be detailed, the end result in the soul. For conservatives, like myself, desolation isn't good in and of itself, but good can come from it in that when we face trials and difficulties in our life and circumstances, we have to become stronger as we are being purged of that which is weak within us (Captain Kirk's "resurrection" in Star Trek Into Darkness is a perfect example or, in the trailer for 47 Ronin, one of the warriors asks Keanu Reeves' character where he learned to fight like that, and he responds, "Demons"). For liberals, desolation and ruin is a weapon to be used to destroy the power base that keeps them from being able to take over, as with Malekeith destroying Asgard in Thor the Dark World, because if Odin and Thor are powerful, they can stop him more easily; we can see this same strategy employed by Obama in accumulating a $70 trillion dollar debt, a part-time work force and the ridiculous Obamacare package that is going to keep people from getting medicine and health services they need. So, rather than Iron Man's Tony Stark being "built up" and becoming a stronger man, Noah will show us the desolation of the earth so only a few survive who are all like-minded (totally wiping out freedom of speech and diversity, because if you don't stand with them, you are against them and they will destroy you for that). Noah is a case of self-extinction which has nothing to do with Judaism or Christianity.
There is an important anti-Christian angle from which we need to consider this--and yes, it's relevant because Christians are the primary audience film makers want to target to make their +$130 million expenditure back: the role of prophet. Noah, with all his faults, was still a prophet; likewise, even though he was a prophet, he still had faults. This has two repercussions. First, as we discussed in The Passion Of the Christ, the reason certain things happen in Jesus' Life and Death is to demonstrate that He is the Messiah, the One who could do what none of the prophets could do, which includes Noah. Noah saved animals from the Flood, not because the animals are more important than humans, but because Noah was not righteous enough to save humanity, only Christ is righteous enough to save humanity from the Flood of Sin, which He did upon the Cross for the Bark of Peter (the Church that teaches Christ's Wisdom) which replaces the ark of Noah and into which all who will be saved have entered so they will not be swallowed up by the world and the flood of sin. Likewise, Moses, whom this poster invokes as discussed under this image at the top of the page, was a precursor to Christ because Moses stretched out his arms and a man stood on either side to hold his arms up so the waves would be parted and the children of Israel could pass through the Red Sea on dry land; Christ had the Holy Spirit holding His Hands up to the Cross so that all who want to escape the destruction of their sins can pass over to Him (the "New Feast of the Pass Over"). We know that the "drunkenness of Noah" is going to play into the film's events, because that's one of the aspects of the story Aronofsky likes and admires about Noah, but--again--this is an example of Aronofsky choosing the bad and not the good because he lacks wisdom. The story of Noah's drunkenness is important because it shows us--not that Noah was a sinner--but, again, why Noah was insufficient to be the Messiah we have in Christ Jesus: it's easier to take than to give, and in this case, Noah took the wine and too much of it, but Jesus gives us Himself Transubstantiated Wine that is His Blood through which we receive Salvation and Redemption. When Noah's sons see him naked, it foreshadows Christ's nakedness upon the Cross; the son Ham seeing his father's nakedness is mocking his father, whereas the other two sons respectfully clothing their father foreshadows the disrespectful guards at the foot of the Cross who would draw lots for Jesus' cloak to take it from Him (for more on how different prophets foreshadowed the Labors of Christ, please see The Passion Of Christ & the History Of Salvation). Noah's tagline, "The end of the world,... is just the beginning," is therefore meant to communicate to us that Noah is the founder of the world, not God (another important point is when Christ tells the Apostles, "I make all things new again," that, too, was a reference to the "recreated" world into which Noah and his family settled, but the better world, not just of flora and fauna, but of Salvation and Redemption).
Noah, much like The Conjuring, is a politically motivated film providing a thin veil of religion to trick us into accepting the religion of the state. Don't forget Cloud Atlas, that terrible film which paraded "Pitch" (a satan figure) and some little girl that was supposed to be a messiah figure, to lead Christians away from God and towards the state enshrined as Mother Earth. Please recall, the (somewhat distorted) maxim of Karl Marx: "Religion is the opium of the people," and. therefore, religion must be abolished; but we must remember that opium is the religion of the state (drug use, alcoholism, sex, birth control pills, abortion, "free" healthcare, etc.) and we have to choose which we are going to embrace. We are not without real options, as the History channel's Bible series is being made into a film focusing on the Resurrection of Jesus, and coming out in February (I believe) and this new film Heaven Is For Real, but, it could also be titled, I Am For Real because it reminds us of God-within-us:
UPDATE TO THIS POST, MARCH 1, 2014: the studios have statement, or "disclaimer," telling potential film-goers that the film uses artistic license, and is inspired by the story of Noah, and they think it contains the essence of the Biblical account. Well,... no. Artistic license does exist, and it needs to be permitted by audiences, but there is a difference between "artistic license" and propaganda, propaganda being the destruction of humanity, and trying to convince us it's a good thing. We will always be tempted with false gods, sometimes the temptation will be stronger than at other times, and one of those times is now. Brian Godawa has read the script and written up a full, pro-Christian analysis of the film, Darren Aronofsky's Noah: Environmentalist Wacko with which I am in total agreement, so if you doubt what I say, please, click on his article and at least glance over it.
Eat Your Art Out,
The Fine Art Diner

Saturday, November 16, 2013

Trailers: Divergent & Khumba

What does this remind you of and why?
There are at least two films Divergent reminds me of: more so The Hunger Games, and less so--but still definitely--Elysium. In a future world people are divided into factions based on personality, a teenager is warned she is Divergent and will never fit into any one group. When she discovers a conspiracy to destroy all Divergents, her life is threatened. Okay, now throw in X-Men Days Of Future Past. The similarities to The Hunger Games obviously comes from the way The Reaping (when contestants in the Hunger Games will be chosen) and Elysium with the general way society is structured (we should also mention the mindset of General Zod from Man Of Steel). The Hunger Games wants us to believe that capitalism functions this way, however, we know from watching liberal talk show hosts who call for the deaths of conservatives like Ted Cruz, that liberals/socialists are the ones who don't want anyone "diverting" from the views they themselves hold (because they can't argue against it, so they just have you killed instead).
Another synopsis: "... set in a futuristic world where society has been divided into five factions. As each person approaches adulthood, he or she must choose a faction and commit to it for the rest of their life. Tris Prior (Shailene Woodley) chooses Dauntless-the daring risk-takers who pursue bravery above all else. During the Dauntless initiation, Tris completes death-defying stunts and faces her inmost fears in spectacular simulations. When she discovers she is a Divergent, someone who will never be able to fit into just one faction, she is warned that she must conceal this secret or risk her life. As Tris uncovers a looming war which threatens her family and the life of the mysterious Dauntless leader whom she has come to love, Tris must face her greatest test yet-deciding whether revealing she is a Divergent will save her world-or destroy it." In the image above, I think that's a tattoo for each of the five factions on his back and he wants to belong to each: he doesn't want his potential limited, the way the STATE is wanting to limit it. Again, we see the same intolerance being expressed in X-Men Days Of Future Past and the death that is going to come to the mutants. We have also seen this writing on the body in at least two other films/trailers: 47 Ronin and The Mortal Instruments: City Of Bones (the runes; we could also cite the tattoo of the Mexican flag upon the chest of El Macho in Despicable Me 2). I want to say, but I could be wrong about this, that it's supposed to make visible for us that which is a part of ourselves, but can't be seen by others, such as our free will, our destiny, our weakness or our strength. I don't quite know what to make of it, so, if you have an idea, please let us know in the comment section below but at least keep it in your mind so if we see it again, maybe we will have enough to form a discussion about it.
This is a very real aspect of socialism and we have all ready seen it in Gangster Squad when the two men who were the best in their field died (the guy who wires houses and the fast shooter), and in World War Z, when the young virologist dies and Gerry (Brad Pitt) has to do the research himself. Why? Socialism hates exceptionalism, because socialists tend to be mediocre and are afraid of those stronger than themselves because they know they will be thrown out of power by smarter people. Consider this trailer for Khumba:
While individual groups might give someone a hard time (we'll take about "desolation" in my next post on the trailer for Noah) for being "different," as a country, we have always embraced our own differences and the differences of others because our strengths lie in our differences: for example, the different mutants in the X-Men series, and the different heroes of The Avengers. These are not just political questions being brought up by these films, but philosophical questions that have political ramifications.
Eat Your Art Out,
The Fine Art Diner

Friday, November 15, 2013

Batman vs Superman Update

One of the central themes we have discussed with the upcoming Chris Nolan produced film, is that primary filming is taking place in Detroit, the first major city in the US to declare bankruptcy after being run by Democrats for 50 years. Now, please try telling me that this isn't significant. It has always been revealed that the well-know Batman suit is going to be completely re-done, something like nothing we have ever seen before. As we speculated earlier, we know for a fact that Dark Knight actor Christian Bale was offered $60 million to reprise his role as Batman but turned it down; then other actors, including Josh Brolin, were offered the role, ending up with Ben Affleck (dubbed Batfleck on Twitter). It is my theory that, had Bale accepted the role, film makers would have taken the film in the direction of Superman and Batman teaming up together to fight some evil threatening the world; given what they had to work with, i.e., Ben Affleck, who is a known Democrat and Obama supporter, they probably decided to take plan B and go in the opposite direction, which has been confirmed with the Batman vs Superman sub-title (or, at least, working title). The reason this is important is really getting trumped by the larger monetary issues: Warner Brothers and DC comics want their own mega-billions Avengers franchise, and with the cast of characters being lined up for Man Of Steel 2 (Superman, Batman, Robin, Wonder Woman, Lex Luthor) it is certainly going in that direction. So, the question is, why would there be superhero who has "turned" bad (if not out and out "evil")? Is there another place where we have seen someone who was supposed to be trusted, and had power, who broke the law rather than enforcing the law? Now You See Me, Mark Ruffalo's character as an FBI agent who turned out to be the villain. We really don't know any of the plot details, so we can only speak in generalities for now, but it has gone on record that a producer for the film said Batman would be "tired and weary and seasoned and been doing it for awhile," rather like Bruce Wayne at the start of The Dark Knight Rises.
This computer is working much better, so hopefully I can get something done. I am shopping for a new laptop and, let me tell you, nothing makes you feel old like all the new technology that comes with these things that you don't need or want and the sales rep looks at you like, "Where's your life?" ANYWAY, here are some FACTS regarding the film and, it has all ready started filming in Detroit.
One: The title seems to be: Man Of Steel 2: Batman vs Superman, so the rivalry between two "good" super-heroes is absolutely epic, I mean, when has THAT been done before?
Two: Semi-retired Bruce Wayne (Ben Affleck) is going to be using drones to do his fighting,... now, where have we just seen a drone? Man of Steel, when, towards the end, Superman throws down a drone the military was using to spy on him (probably a direct reference to Obama's use of drones against American citizens without any due process).
Penn Badgley of Gossip Girls fame, and Ezra Miller (Perks Of Being A Wallflower, We Need To Talk About Kevin)  join Girls star Adam Driver for the coveted role of Nightwing, aka, Robin, aka, Dick Grayson. Why is this important? Well, we have discussed plenty of times the "cultural baggage" we the viewers take into a film (the roles we have seen characters in previously and what we know and associate with them, just like what we know about Ben Affleck). But the opposite is true as well: when we don't really know anything about an actor, it can be hard to identify with them. For example, Joseph Gordon-Levitt was kind of left the Batcave in The Dark Knight Rises; why isn't he on the short-list to play Robin? Possibly because he's too well know and they want the audience to lack pre-conceptions about what Robin might or might not be before they see the film. We will know more when the final casting has been announced.
Three: Batman is not speaking to Robin. No reasons given,.... yet. Robin is in the film, and casting is going on, for Lex Luthor as well, but this is an important detail, one we will analyze when more information becomes available.
Four: Wonder Woman appears to be, at this point, Batman's love interest. Whether or not they are actually an item is not known, it might just be that Batman admires her from afar,... like he takes out the bad guys from afar with his remote drones,...
Olga Kurylenko (Quantum Of Solace, Oblivion) is in the running with Gal Gadot and Elodie Yung to play Diana Prince, better known as Wonder Woman (Megan Fox? Well, she was being tested to play Wonder Woman in a stand-alone film, which they decided not to do, perhaps based upon Fox's poor box office reputation and the desire of WB to get a Avengers style film out asap). How feminine or masculine is Wonder Woman going to be? Is she going to be a feminist or a more traditional woman? Is she going to be like those two pro-socialist female cops in The Heat (Sandra Bullock, Melissa McCarthy) or like Kurylenko's character Julia Harper in Oblivion? Being that Wonder Woman is probably going to be opposite Amy Adams--although she has surprisingly been absent from discussions--who may or may not reprise her role as Lois Lane from Man Of Steel, that will make for an interesting mix, to say the least.
Okay, so, why is this important? And I do mean important, as in, it should be holding our attention, important like national news important. Artists (in this case, film makers) produce art (in this case, film) which mirrors the society in which they live and they digest current events and cultural shifts in such a way as to produce a metaphor of how they see the world and what is happening and what is causing that to happen. Why is that important? Because art is the consciousness of society. Your ability to reflect upon your own actions is a gift, animals don't have that ability to meditate upon themselves and their motivations and make changes to their behavior; art is like that, it provides society with the ability to reflect upon itself and decide upon changes that need to be retained or take place, and because film is such a popular and expensive media in the US, that kind of sort of rather places it as the premiere are form in America, so these unusual directions the film is taking signals unusual directions for our society and, you can bet your last dollar, since Christopher Nolan is producing it, it will say something, loud and clear.
Eat Your Art Out,
The Fine Art Diner

Wednesday, November 13, 2013

UPDATED: Maleficent 2014

Why make this film? With all the new, original stories flooding Hollywood, why go back to a film from 1959 for material today? Maleficent is the "untold story" of Disney's most iconic villain from the 1959 classic Sleeping Beauty which presents us with a rather technical grammatical problem regarding the synopsis: it's "told from her perspective," but we know the screenplay is written by John Lee Hancock and Hossein Amini (and some other writers) who both worked on Snow White and the Huntsman (Amini also did the screenplay for 47 Ronin coming out) and the evil queen (Charlize Theron) didn't technically have the story told from--technically--her perspective (compared to, for example, Mirror, Mirror with Julia Roberts in the evil witch role, who had more personal perspective). Why is this technicality an issue?
The official synopsis is: Maleficent is the untold story of Disney's most iconic villain from the 1959 classic "Sleeping Beauty." A beautiful, pure-hearted young woman, Maleficent has an idyllic life growing up in a peaceable forest kingdom, until one day when an invading army threatens the harmony of the land. Maleficent rises to be the land's fiercest protector, but she ultimately suffers a ruthless betrayal - an act that begins to turn her pure heart to stone. Bent on revenge, Maleficent faces an epic battle with the invading king's successor and, as a result, places a curse upon his newborn infant Aurora. As the child grows, Maleficent realizes that Aurora holds the key to peace in the kingdom - and perhaps to Maleficent's true happiness as well,..." Maleficent is one of four "villain" stories as of late: both Mirror, Mirror (Julia Roberts, Lily Collins) and Snow White and the Huntsman (Charlize Theron, Chris Hemsworth) focused more on the evil stop-mother/witch queen of the Snow White tale and next year we will see Kenneth Branaugh's Cinderella, starring Cate Blanchett as the step-mother of "poor Cinder-rellie." This pattern exceeds coincidence, so we have to ask the obvious--and, therefore, the most rewarding question: "Why?" The valid but vague answer is that these three women (the queen witch from Snow White, the sorceress from Sleeping Beauty and the evil step-mother in Cinderella) have been chosen by artists (specifically, film makers) to embody some evil or harm in society/culture today. Another pattern we see in this trend is that of the established super-star taking the role of the villain, rather than the role of the virtuous heroine,... imagine, just to put this into context, if Judy Garland had played the Wicked Witch of the West, and Margaret Hamilton played Dorothy,... so, yea, things have changed, and there has to be a reason for that. To this mix, I think it's only fair to add Hansel and Gretel Witch Hunters and Famke Janssen's witch role superseding the Gingerbread Cottage witch (we certainly learn more about the witch in this tale, but it's not exactly as "linear" of a narrative in comparison to the original as the others are, but it is following the same trend: they got the established Janssen to play a witch, whereas the lesser-established Gemma Arterton plays Gretel, the heroine). At this point in my thinking on the topic, it doesn't appear--as I am thinking of it right now--that the situation with male characters and actors has followed the same path: Robert Downey Jr plays both Iron Man's Tony Stark and Sherlock Holmes; in Star Trek Into Darkness, Benedict Cumberbatch--a sky-rocketing actor--plays Khan, but the narrative mostly follows Kirk (Chris Pine) and we can say the same of Fast and Furious 6, GI Joe Retaliation, The Dark Knight, The Wolverine, The Hobbit, James Bond in Skyfall, (an exception to this--the only one I can really think of off the top of my head, is Pain and Gain with Dwayne Johnson and Mark Wahlberg, where we do identify with the male villains who are played by established actors, rather than the victim that no one likes) Thor the Dark World (Tom Hiddleston as Loki is a major actor as a villain, but the film mostly follows Thor and our sympathies lie with him as the main character) and probably several others I just can't think of at the moment, but established male actors are still playing heroes (and that's the desired role for men) as opposed to villains. Again, why? Men traditionally symbolize the active principal of the economy or production, whereas women typically symbolize the "motherland" (particularly relevant in these cases as these women are in "mother-like" roles that have gone sour, including an updated Maleficent who, according to Aurora in the trailer has been "watching over me" her whole life, which is an eerie mother-role and quite different from the original Disney film they did when Maleficent lost track of Aurora until the day of her 16th birthday). This, again, feeds into our opening observation in this caption, that these female-villains have been recognized to be a vehicle for a specific evil plaguing society today, one having to do with the role and identity of America (instead of the economy).
When a viewer watches a film, or reads a book, listens to music, etc., they enter into an agreement with the artist to "willingly suspend disbelief" in exchange for the story they are going to be told. What that means is, I am not going to sit back and critique everything being done or said (you know those people who are like, "That doesn't look real," "Ninja's can't fly," "There aren't any dragons," etc.,; NOW, there is a limit to disbelief, for example, poorly done special effects, or gross outrages against morality, in other words, artists have an agreement to uphold and the audience has a right to hold them to it); I am going to enter into the world the artist wants to depict to me so the artist can do the critique of society/me, not myself do the critique because art is a metaphor to supply culture with a conscience and the ability to reflect upon what it does/doesn't do. Part of getting me to suspend my disbelief willingly is to provide me with a character with whom I want to identify with, a character to whom I can pin my emotions and hopes, my own identity. Is that Maleficent?
THIS is NOT the look they decided to go with for Maleficent: whereas the original Disney animated character had a green face as Jolie sports in this poster, Maleficent had the high, sharp cheek bones that are missing from this poster (her face has a more natural, smooth shape to it). Again, my Photoshop was on the stolen laptop, so I apologize for not being able to put the images side-by-side, but the "green Maleficent" is almost more "serpentine" and animalistic whereas the pale white Maleficent above appears more vampiristic and death-like. Why? We have to appreciate the difficult role film makers will find themselves in with re-making this story: most people are familiar with the Disney version, so they have to retain elements they know will draw in an audience, while still "updating" the film and making it relevant for today's viewers, so the film makers have to understand, in essence, what viewers refuse to acknowledge: What is it we "love" about the original Maleficent that we don't want to admit to because she's the villain? That is the task these film makers (and anyone doing a re-make) has to face and confront, somehow encoding the new sufficiently to invoke the old and capitalize upon audience's recognition of that. One aspect missing from the modern Maleficent is the color purple (at least as we have seen her so far); why is purple important to Maleficent? Purple is the color of both royalty and suffering. Since it was so expensive and time-consuming to produce, only royalty could afford material dyed in purple, so it has always been associated with them; for 2,000 years, since Jesus is the King of the Jews, and the King of Kings, and He made known His kingship of love during His Sorrowful Passion, purple has always been associated with suffering as well, because a good king suffers for his people, he doesn't make his people suffer for him. Maleficent wears purple because she is the exact opposite: she is the royal mistress of Satan but she spreads suffering to others rather than taking it upon herself for any redemptive value. So far thusly, however, we have not seen Maleficent wearing purple whereas it and black are her dominant colors in the animated version. The green face has not been retained from this early poster but it deserves exploration. Like all colors, green has a positive and negative symbol: green either means hope, as in the green rebirth of spring, or that something has died and rotted, like mold. If Aurora is supposed to be a future hope for peace and stability, then it follows that Maleficent is the opposite of that, something which has died and decayed. Again, they didn't go with this green coloring, rather, a pale, deathly-white, more like a vampire.
Is she going to be a big part of the film? Is she going to have character development? OR, will she be the main character with whom we are actually meant to identify with, i.e., the villain and thus we, too, are the villains of the story? These are important questions. As we discussed in an earlier posting on newly released images of Maleficent, from the synopsis provided, that appears to be the situation: she defended her country (patriotism) from an invading army (Obama's socialist revolution) but was betrayed (by politicians not upholding their oaths to protect the Constitution who sold out the country instead) and sought to destroy the king's child (Obama's legacy in Obamacare) but realizes that, if she will become a socialist, too, she will be happy living off food stamps with a government-issued phone they monitor constantly,.... OR IS THIS THE STORY?
Patriots, like myself, aren't afraid of being seen, and we certainly have gone to great lengths to be seen and our message heard, specifically about the corruption and ruin Obama is bringing to this country; but ask yourself this, did you have ANY idea there were so many communists and socialists living in America who have stepped out of the darkness since 2010? A known communist is now mayor of New York City, would that have happened before 2008? Absolutely not! When we see young Aurora (played by Vivenne Jolie-Pitt, the scene is discussed below) running through a field chasing a butterfly, she's headed directly for a cliff,... since Obama took office, Americans have become all-too familiar with a political state known as the "fiscal-cliff" which this country has been run-off several times, just like the little girl we see blissfully running in the scene (again, this is discussed more below). At the same time, Aurora--at least in the trailer--says "You've been watching over me my whole life," and we could see this as a valid description of socialism in America as it has been applied by the federal government, especially in areas such as the auto industry and farming through subsidies (and even student loans for college). In this case, when Americans say, "Yea, we know socialism, it's great, it keeps us from falling off the cliff so the government can come and bail us out whenever we need it," but then for the real, ugly face of socialism to show itself, for it to actually step "out of the darkness" as it really is and not just as a kind of "fairy godmother" (that's another fairy tale) is a frightening experience, and a significant change from Disney's original animated film (in the original, Aurora and Maleficent never meet face-to-face). Now, a major characteristic of Maleficent: why the high cheek bones? The original and adapted versions have this characteristic, so it must be significant. What is the most familiar saying about cheeks? "Turn the other cheek," and we know, this is something Maleficent doesn't do, at all. In the 1959 version, she hasn't been invited to the christening of the infant princess, so she curses the child; yea, that qualifies as "extreme behavior." The extreme cheek-bones of Maleficent reveal to us how easily she takes offense at the slightest slight and how heavy her retribution is, rather like the police state created under socialism (consider, if you will, that a guy was fired over a tweet that criticized Obama over Benghazi, and an Obamacare operator was fired just for taking a call from Sean Hannity; no one was fired over in any of the scandals/felonies Obama's office has committed, but two people where fired over these two trifles). What about Maleficent's characteristic "horned hat?" Why did they retain that? Maleficent means "evil," and she is the self-proclaimed "Mistress of Darkness," or, in other words, a bride of Satan, who himself traditionally has horns BECAUSE Satan uses our own animal passions and instincts against us to cause us to sin; what does Maleficent have around her neck in the image above? Fur. What does the neck--where her collar is--symbolize? What leads us in life, so Maleficent is led by her animal instincts/passions (which probably includes revenge; but, you might say, animals don't take revenge and that's a good point, they don't; what "animal instinct" means regarding humans is how humans act instead of acting within the Grace of God. Maleficent, being evil, will take offense and make someone pay for it; Christ, when he was persecuted and mocked, turned the other cheek and taught us to do the same, giving a blessing instead of a curse, whereas Maleficent gives a curse instead of a blessing.
I do NOT know anymore than you do, dear reader, but there are a few issues that appear to be worthy of our attention as possibly leading the film in an altogether different direction: namely, the spinning wheel, the briar patch of thorns Maleficent creates in the trailer and history.
So, what about these little fairies? Have we seen them before? Yes, in Oz: the Great and Powerful, when Oscar lands in Oz. I can't say a whole lot about this scene, given that it is not contextualized, however, we know they are sent by Maleficent (and if you are wondering, it doesn't appear that the traditional 3 good fairy godmothers are in this film, as they were in the animated version; it's possible their characters will show up in other ways, but it doesn't look like they will be as we are familiar with them). Now, this fairy is unnatural in at least two ways: first, it's a fairy, and fairies don't exist (witches exist, but fairies don't); secondly, it's like it's a mermaid, with the tail "fin" it has going at the bottom of its body, which is also unnatural, so, there is the element of delight, as we can see by Aurora's face, but should she be delighted, or is this a bit of something candy-coated to set her up so she can be harmed, now being in a vulnerable position? After all, Aurora is "in the dark" in this scene, and maybe in more ways than one.  
Both versions retain the use of the spindle of the spinning wheel as the "vehicle" of Maleficent's curse against Aurora, however, they appear to go about the introduction of it quite differently. In the original, Aurora is put into a trance by Maleficent and led up a staircase and then Maleficent makes a spinning wheel appear magically and Aurora pricks her finger on it. Symbolically--and we will discuss this in great detail when we analyze the animated version prior to the release of this new film--Aurora pricking her finger symbolizes the loss of her virginity, the spindle being a phallic symbol and the skin of the finger breaking and bleeding replicates the breaking of the hymen (trust me, the story totally lends itself to this reading). In Maleficent, however, a brief glimpse offers us a very different approach,...
In today's world, this could just as easily be a heap of discarded computers, cell phones, televisions or video game consoles. During the medieval period--roughly about the time the story appears to be taking place--just about everyone apart from the nobility were lower-class, and, therefore, bound to provide and spin their own wool (or other fibers) to clothe themselves (some communities would have had spinning goods be a part of their monthly rent to their landlords, the nobility). The spinning class is the perfect example of how a class of people--specifically, women--were bound forever in the lower-stratums of society during feudalism--what many people coming to America in the colonial period were fleeing--and probably the fate of Aurora herself had she not been born noble because class mobility did not exist in any form (and this really comes out in the original animated film, when Prince Philip wants to marry a peasant girl and his father won't let him because Briar Rose is a peasant; likewise, Aurora didn't want to find out she was the princess because she couldn't marry the young man she had met in the forest, so their class identity was creating the conflict; again, we will discuss this much more in depth later, but I would like to say that I don't think the 1959 version was about class conflict, however, these were elements all ready present in the story we are familiar with and to elaborate upon those elements might be the reason for remaking the film today). On a totally different note, please note the color scheme: this particular shade of blue, with the hazy lighting and gold spindle, is echoed in Aurora's bedroom where she sleeps. The color scheme could be described as "peacock," because of the blues and golds, and because peacocks are usually the colors associated with royalty (we have all ready seen this in Mirror, Mirror with Julia Roberts who dresses in a white peacock feathers with her red ball gown whereas Snow White dresses as a swan). Why would this be important? Depending on what point in the film such color variances begin to be employed, the peacock would go against the symbol of the,... raven? Or is that a small buzzard/vulture Maleficent has? Probably a raven (which we have all ready seen in The Raven with John Cusack) which is a symbol of death. Why is this important? IF the peacock colors are used, or if there is a peacock anywhere in the film, that has the potential to become a powerful sub-text of the plot aiding us in a deeper interpretation and understanding of the characters and events.
This heap of discarded spinning wheels is unusual--most people today aren't even familiar with what a spinning wheel is--and Aurora is about to prick her finger on the spindle. Now, the interesting thing is, Aurora is royalty (we don't know if she is whisked away and raised in the forest, as she was in Disney's animated film, or she stays with her family in this one) but spinners--those who take raw fibers, such as cotton, wool, linen, etc. and spin them into useable fibers in the production of clothing--are from the laboring class, and a hard life of work that Aurora would be spared since she is royalty. Additionally, the spindle she pricks her finger upon looks like it's gold (it certainly isn't plain) and that might add a dimension into this conflict between her royal class (to whom gold is given) and the lower class of the spinning wheel, in other words, is the REAL CURSE Maleficent throws against Aurora that of having her royal status removed and having to become a laborer and subject to the pains and occupational hazards of being in the working class? Let's hope she hasn't had her health insurance canceled.
Vivenne Jolie-Pitt making her film debut. In the trailer, at 0:21, we see the full shot of this scene and the blissful little Aurora heading straight for the cliff as she chases butterflies,... what does this mean? Well, it's easy to see this as a youthful America, children symbolize the future, and us "chasing our own dreams," even as we head towards the cliff of destruction, in other words, did government subsidies make is possible for Americans to "chase their dreams" with GI Bills, low interest-rates, subsidies and seed money loans, so they wouldn't fall off the fiscal cliff and the American dream die, IF, as the trailer wants us to believe, Maleficent is somehow standing watch over little Aurora and going to save her? As the trailer plays, we hear Aurora say to the shadowy figures she confronts in the dark forest that she knows who she is because "You've been watching over me my whole life," and that Aurora knows this person has saved her so Aurora therefore trusts her; well, why not? Who would continuously save a person only to kill them later? This potentially reveals another major break with the original animated film: Maleficent knows exactly where Aurora has been her whole life, instead of having lost track of her while she grows up, it appears--in a highly sinister twist--that Maleficent has been sparing Aurora again and again so that her "death" will fulfill Maleficent's prophetic curse, her destruction of the beloved princess, a sign of hope for all, grown up only to be destroyed.  IF IF IF Maleficent symbolizes socialism, then this kind of a scenario the film creates helps adamant capitalists like myself better understand why some people are being so easily duped by socialism today: the real "ugly face" of socialism has been kept from them, and they--like Aurora--have only seen the softer, more fairy god-mother-like qualities of the programs that have perhaps saved them or helped them, not realizing that the real danger which we have all ready seen in Hansel and Gretel Witch Hunters. Hansel (Jeremy Renner) has to take insulin shots because he has the sugar sickness, given to him by the witches to "make him grow" just as Democrats are so fond of feeding the economy with stimulus money to make it grow, then become addicted to the stimulus.  
Another aspect of the trailer I think important is the patch of thorns we see Maleficent summoning with her evil, green, vaporous magic. This is obviously to keep someone out, or someone locked inside. Now, if Maleficent were a symbol of capitalism--and we are just doing a critical exercise at this point, I have NO IDEA which was this film is going to go, there are just numerous aspects that have taken me by surprise--the growing of a thorn wall would not be in keeping with capitalism and trade: capitalism requires a lack of borders and boundaries because trade has to take place for capitalism to be successful (there always have to be new markets to be tapped) whereas socialism ALWAYS builds walls and barriers to keep their citizens in and the greater world out (North Korea, the Berlin Wall, the Chinese, the Iron Curtain during the Cold War and restricted travel visas) because the socialist leaders don't want their people escaping because they need the workers to be their personal slaves. So, when we go to calculate Maleficent's character according to her deeds, the creation of this thorn patch will be a huge element to consider and how it influences the narrative.
What's missing from this trailer? The men. There is Aurora's father, King Henry and his son Prince Philip, so where are they? Is this going to be like Mirror, Mirror and Snow White and the Huntsman in being a film about women? It would make sense to be so, because--as we have said countless times--men symbolize the active nature of the economy, production, whereas women symbolize what gives birth to that production, the motherland. So if Maleficent focuses more on the role of women, it's examining more the real essence of America, the real nature of what America was created to be rather than what we just happened to become through survival and adaptation. The fewer the men in the film, and the slighter their roles, that will actually increase the importance of what we do see them doing and their purpose.
Last, but not least, is history. Usually, some kind of time-frame is established in these films, so even though it looks "medieval," that is just encoding what is happening to us today. Aurora's age, Maleficent's age, the year of a battle, etc., all these things can help us navigate through history and try to understand which era of American history the story intends to invoke, which will create a context for the story. This is also true regarding the 1959 story; someone on Youtube was kind enough to post this: all the clips of Maleficent from the Disney film, so, to help your memory, you might watch even a few seconds of it and consider how different the new trailer is:
Eat Your Art Out, The Fine Art Diner
P.S.--Seeing Maleficent in snow and a winter setting emphasizes her relationship to death and barrenness, like the never-ending winters in Mirror, Mirror, Snow White and the Huntsman and even the upcoming Frozen.