Eat Your Art Out,
The Fine Art Diner
|Here at the outpost of Dr. Strange (Benedict Cumberbatch) we see the former neurosurgeon, Wong, Dr. Bruce Banner and Tony Stark, as well as a huge hole in the staircase. Stairs, we know, symbolize ascending or descending, we either attain a higher level of thought about something, or we descend in our ability to recognize a greater meaning (however, descending can also mean going "deeper" into a situation, as in the case of John Wick [Keanu Reeves] when Wick goes "down" into his basement to retrieve or bury his hitman supplies). What's important about the image above is the hole preventing any ascending or descending upon the stairs at all. It's possible Banner himself created the hole: when we first see him at the start of the trailer, he's lying on his back amongst debris and Strange and Wong appear to be looking down at him, so it's possible he feel into Strange's, but we just don't know until we know, but we can say there is now a problem with "knowledge" and accessing knowledge as a result of what happens in this scene.|
|If you haven't noticed, Affleck's picture is on the cover of People this week, reminding everyone how horrible he was to ex-wife Jennifer Garner. This might be a reason for Justice League not doing well--reminding people why they don't like Affleck and he doesn't deserve to play a super-hero--but also his own bad press for having criticized Harvey Weintstein and then Affleck had at least two groping accusations brought against him, then there was the press conference where someone asked the cast what they thought about Supergirl being brought into JL and Affleck replied, "Are you kidding? Have you read the news lately?" referring to the sexual harassment charges plaguing Hollywood, Affleck obviously assuming that if a woman was brought in, she would start making accusations,... regardless of what you and I think about what is going on, Affleck supports whole-heartedly this ideology and mode of operation, so it's possible fans will do what they did with Batman vs Superman and wait until it appears on cable.|
|It seriously bothers me that Aquaman (Jason Momoa, far left) holds that trident upside-down. We just saw the Trident of Poseidon being broken in the pro-socialist Pirates of the Caribbean, and Aquaman holding it upside-down suggests he's basically doing the same thing by disrespecting the power and authority with which he has been entrusted, rather like in King Arthur: Legend Of the Sword when Uther Pendragon is about to go kill Mordred and he hands his crown to Vortigern (Jude Law) and Vortigern casually handles the crown, to which Uther commands him, "Hold it steady!" Of course, I hated Wonder Woman, and I fear that, like Steve (Chris Pine) Superman is going to be castrated and turned into a feminist toy.|
|Details are imperative in this film, and there is a particular detail we must note, because we have to remember, when there is a character looking for clues, that is an invitation for us, the viewers, to also "look for clues" regarding what the film is really saying. Please notice, as you watch the film, the costumes involved: we have all ready analyzed some of the costumes in detail, but one aspect we haven't considered in this image of Hercule Poirot above: his coat. Because his arms are not in the sleeves of the coat, we may suspect that Poirot all ready has a clue about the play on the last name of "Armstrong," and I won't say anything else about that here, however, it also does something else to Poirot's coat: it turns it from a coat into a cape. A cape, like what Thor or Superman wears, is a sign of a burden willingly taken upon one's self, and their capes are red because they are willing to spill their (red) blood for those they love and the just cause. In the image above, I can't tell if Poirot's coat is blue--like his suit--or black, but Poirot has taken upon himself the burden of the case.|
|This is actually genius, doing it this way. Please note, that both hero (Poirot on the left) and villain (Ratchett on the right, Depp) have a scar on their left eye (Ratchett's isn't as visible in this shot, but you've noticed it in the trailers); why? To begin with, we know that a character's eye symbolizes their ability to see "beneath the surface," their "spiritual eyesight," because the eyes are the windows of the soul, so their ability for spiritual perceptions reflects how advanced or decimated their soul is. A wound suggests that one isn't able to properly see, but with Branagh having villain and hero share this trait, he's teasing us to "see" something else, specifically, that the wounds which have caused Poirot's eye to look strange have caused him to have deeper spiritual sight--he's the one who notices everything--whereas Ratchett's wound has caused him to ignore everything, giving him, at best, a shallow soul and one filled with crime and sin. In other words, the same (type of) misfortunes happened to both men, but they chose to handle it differently, Poirot growing wise and Ratchett becoming small and selfish (or worse). So, what about their mustaches? The mouth symbolizes our appetites, be they for food, sex, power, etc., and a man's facial hair (usually) accentuates that he has particular appetites (facial hair is associated with not shaving, and not shaving--no offense gentlemen, this is a broad historical portrait we are painting--was a sign to the well-groomed Romans of a barbarian who didn't shave, hence, facial hair has always had a negative connotation to it). So, what appetites can we deduce about Ratchett and Poirot? We actually see Ratchett eating when he joins Poirot at his table, while Poirot, who should be eating, reads instead (an appetite for knowledge). Poirot's mustache is intricately fixed and maintained, meaning he has an appetite for precision, and--because it's so obnoxiously big, like, really obnoxiously big--it means that Hercule (Hercules) Poirot has a "godly" appetite for justice, for avenging the innocent, for truth. Poirot also has some hair on his chin (sorry, don't know the proper grooming term for this, but I'll find out): the chin--being part of our jaws--suggests how we deal with justice towards ourselves: do we "take it on the chin" when someone insults us, or do we develop an appetite for revenge and resentment? Last, but not least, the gentlemen's neckties: Poirot's is a delicate, intricate knot, whereas Ratchett's is just flipped over, as if it's hiding something; what? We know the neck symbolizes or reveals that which leads us in life, so for Poirot, it's order, it's social norms and expectations (his tie is a traditional knot) whereas with Ratchett, it's something he can hide, something shady (and until we know more, we can't be specific, but as you watch the film, be looking for a thesis of "what leads him"). When we see Poirot with his tie slightly askew, that's a brilliant means of communicating to us that Poirot himself is askew in what guides him: either--depending on the place in the narrative--he has difficulties tracing down what clues should be leading him, or he sees exactly where the clues lead and that disturbs him, even to the point that he wants to avoid the proper conclusion to the case.|
|These sweeping landscapes we will see are probably similar to our viewing of the sublime scenes in Dunkirk, in which Branagh also starred.Why? First of all, there is a symbolic significance in the landscape, especially the snow: either people have conquered their sins, so now they can reach up, closer to God (because the "hardness of heart" is symbolized by a mountain) or people have so hardened their hearts by sin that their heart has become a wilderness. Notice the vastness of this mountain range, then the small track of railroad upon which the world-famous luxury Express runs. That is civilization. That is progress. That is capitalism. We have seen a similar shot to this, in fact, in Fast and Furious 7 when the Toretto family drive their amazing cars through a winding road of desert and camel herders; which world would you rather live in, both film makers ask us, the world where nature enslaves us to our surroundings, or the world where we have mastered our surroundings and we can exert our will and do as we please?|
This is where it gets a bit tricky, but we all ready have the tricky part figured out. The "snow" and the vapor from the train is really water, and we know that water symbolizes the different stages of reflection (we'll go in-depth in the post for those who don't remember/know). Snow is the third and final stage, meaning the person(s) has accepted what has happened but now they have to heal,... or they refuse to heal, which is why I'm stopping at this point, because when we first see snow appear is going to be critical to understanding the trauma the film explores and how that trauma relates to our own events in today's world. There is an avalanche which stops the train, and that avalanche is a "collision of reality and meditation," in that the train is reality and the snow is the meditation, the spiritual awakening or insight. When the avalanche stops the train, it's going to be a massive symbol of how to "dig out" of the larger trauma being exposed in the film.
The train itself will be a "character" in the film, and we will discuss this further after we have seen it, however, keep in mind, that a "vehicle" is a "vehicle" of the Holy Spirit, and as such, will symbolize the "movement" of the soul(s) of those aboard it. In other words, how do the people aboard the Orient Express change over the course of the film's events? Are those changes for good or bad regarding that character's soul?
|There is a lot we can discuss with this poster, however, let's just consider the tagline, "Terror is building." I have to admit, that's a good one, very witty, clever. People who are about the future want to build the future, people who are self-sufficient want to build for themselves, and it's through the act of "building" that America and the West in general has become great civilizations (cultures who are not considered "great" are not considered so due to a general lack of "buildings" in their countries: where there are no buildings, there is no other signs of greatness, such as learning, discovery, finance, leadership, resources, trade, etc.). So the very act of constructing is going to be part of the villany of the film.|
|Well, it appears that Lex Luthor (portrayed by Jesse Eisenberg) has been one of a couple of characters axed from the Justice League film by the "new director" Joss Whedon (replacing Zack Snyder who took personal time off). There have been numerous re-shoots and lots of clipping of video, and I am wondering if Superman is even going to be in the film at all. At the end of the last trailer released, we see Jeremy Irons' Alfred look up and see someone who he talks to about being "not too late," and while this was a tease for Superman, a very good theory has suggested that the person whom Alfred addresses is actually Green Lantern, and given that Steppenwolf--the villain of the film--says that earth doesn't have any Lanterns to protect it, that makes perfect sense. Iris West has also been cut from the film, and someone else that I didn't know who they were, but it's going to be a very different film, and likely a pro-socialist film under Whedon.|
|Do we really need another version of A Christmas Carol? The easy answer is: the better a work of art is, the more versions of it culture will produce. "But it will never be as good as the original!" I hear people lament, but the truth is, it's not supposed to be; the "versions of the original" are meant to remind people of why the original is so good, not to suggest that the version of the original is any better, or even as good as the original. Versions are also meant to introduce a wider, newer audience to the original; an audience who might otherwise not encounter the original at all.|
There are plenty of things we can say about this poster, but for the moment, let's focus on what's in front of Dickens (Dan Stevens) on his desk: a lamp and ink well on his right, two dancing frogs in front of him and a few books to his left. Why is this important? The dancing frogs symbolize evolution. Darwin's Origin Of the Species was published in 1859, Dickens hadn't even been born, but by the time he began writing, the idea that we "evolved" from lowly animals had taken hold of Victorian society and artists and Christians desperately fought back against the "Left" of their day, which is why there are books on Dickens' "Left," it symbolizes the books from which the Left take their ideas (Origin of Species and the Communist Manifesto of 1848; however, books are not reality, reality is reality, and the author of reality is God (the definition of reality is "God seeing Himself"). This is the reason the lamp and ink well are on the right side of Dickens: they symbolize God. In the trailer, Dickens is going through writers' block, and says, "My lamp has gone out." Why does he say that? Because light symbolizes truth, and that his lamp has gone out means his ability to see God using him as a vehicle, an instrument, to do God's work has gone out, and that happens to us all from time to time, so we appreciate it when that lamp burns brightly.
|Why would Dickens have a miser be the center of a story about Christmas? Because a miser is the exact opposite of what Christmas means: the heavens were opened and the Love of God poured out upon us at the birth of Christ, instead of God keeping His riches, Love and goodness to himself (like Scrooge) He lavished us with His bounty. We are misers, however, when it comes to returning God's love: like Scrooge loving his money, we love the things of this world, our families, our leisure, our hobbies, jobs, etc., better than we love God, and so we can call A Christmas Carol a love story, the romance of God's love for us and calling us back to Himself. When the Ghost of Christmas Past takes Scrooge to visit his earlier life, he realizes the good relationships he had with others, like his fiancee Belle, with whom Scrooge could have found a greater understanding of God's Love for him (because the love we have for others, and the love they have for us, is meant to mirror God's Love for us and the love we are supposed to reciprocate to Him) but he rejected her love for the love of money; when God blesses us, He blesses us so we can love Him more, but when we deny those blessings with worldly pursuits, our ability to truly love diminishes because the image of God within our souls diminishes.|
As we also discuss below with details about the replicant, the color gray we see Scrooge wear in this image is telling: gray symbolizes the color of the pilgrim/penitent or the novice (the replicant below symbolizes the novice), and we can say Scrooge is both the pilgrim (the ghosts take him on spiritual journeys so he will be converted) and a penitent (he will do penance to overcome the consequences he has brought upon the world and himself). Now, we can't ignore that it would be very easy for socialists to take advantage of Scrooge's end--when he goes around Christmas morning, throw money at everyone--as a vehicle for wealth redistribution, something like: if you don't want to be a Scrooge, then you need to give up all your money to the poor. This is a real possibility, and we really won't know until the film comes out.
|"Light" is an incredibly complex symbol, and yet it's also incredibly simple: truth. Light will always symbolize truth, however, the source of that light will "color" what kind of truth it is the character/audience experiences. For example, when we have clear,bright sunlight, it's a clear and apparent truth, a natural law to which all can have access. When it's a cloudy day, but still light, that indicates a truth more difficult to discern, and partially shrouded in mystery. Artificial light means an artificial truth, something manufactured, etc. In the image above, it appears this is sunlight, but the blowing dust and sand "filters" the truth, because the earth is going to represent reality, and so we have "truth" filtered by the reality that Officer K (Gosling) exists within: the yellow color symbolizes dignity, so it could be K's dignity in the reality of a world of replicants who have been denied dignity; the barrenness of the scene, however, depicts that K doesn't have anything to measure his dignity against so he can't understand what his dignity is or what it means (this is a super-simplistic reading of what will prove to be a complex image, so I don't want to go further with this now).|
I have a copy of Blade Runner, which I haven't watched since my first year of film criticism--yea, it's basically required viewing, so you need to see it--so I am very much looking forward to posting on Blade Runner prior to the October 6 release of 2049.
|The replicant wears gray, which, we know, symbolizes both the pilgrim/penitent or the novice, because gray is the color of ashes, and it's ashes which the penitent puts upon themselves in humility (from dust I came, to dust I shall return) whereas the novice receives humility in entering a new state of life and learning from others and hoping for their acceptance. This gives us a rather sinister view on the replicant: he seeks the acceptance of those before whom he stands, hoping to be accepted because of his blind obedience; the replicant we see in this video is only the "entry level" replicant which Niander intentionally designs to be obedient to him and him alone, but more advanced versions--past the novitiate stage--will likely not behalve the way the replicant in the video does (not be slavishly obedient). What else? The hair is pulled back, perfectly: the head, or anything on the head, such as hair, hats, etc., materialize the immaterial thoughts of a character, so the perfectly pulled back hair (a sign of discipline) illustrates the thoughts of the replicant, that they are perfectly disciplined (instead of hair going every which way).|
When Niander first speaks to the replicant, Niander tells him to find a weapon. It's infinitely interesting that the replicant chooses a glass pitcher for water; why? Water is a symbol of Grace--Grace being God's own Life He infuses into our souls--but the replicant isn't interested in Grace--how can he be, he's a machine? But Luke Scott brings out that those who are not interested in God's Grace are like machines, like the mechanical voice of Niander. Then, there is the fact that the pitcher is made of glass. Glass symbolizes reflection, and our ability to reflect/meditate upon circumstances, our choices, our will, events outside of our influence, etc. That the replicant takes only a shard of glass perfectly illustrates for us that he has only limited abilities to reflect (a shard of glass instead of the whole pitcher, or "picture" for the points on word play); that there is no natural light coming into the room where all this takes place also indicates that those witnessing this "crime" also can't accurately reflect upon what's happening because they don't have the "light of truth" against which to measure the events (there are windows, but it's dark, and only neon lights and flashes of incandescent light enter the room from outside; of course, there is only lamp light within the room).
Now, why does the replicant stab himself in the neck? Because that's the most sensitive area and the easiest to inflict injury, yea, sure, but we also know that the neck symbolizes that which leads us in life, that which guides us (like a leash around our neck). In Blade Runner, the four replicants which cause all the problems (portrayed by Rutger Hauer and Darryl Hannah) wanted more life; Niander, in having his replicant stab himself in the neck, subliminally proposes that his replicants will be led by death, not life. Again, there is a ton more to discuss, this merely scratches the surface, but we will discuss this in greater depth next week.
|Is the flag of the Confederacy really offensive? No, nothing is really offensive, because "offensive" is a reaction. I am a Christian, I could easily be offended by Andreas Serrano's Piss Christ but I'm not offended: this piece reflects Serrano's spiritual state, because he can't hurt God, he only demonstrates what is within his own soul, not how God actually is; likewise, the Left, in being "offended" by every single thing, demonstrates that they have no backbone or priorities, that they don't believe in free speech or the right of others to have any freedom; they only believe in their own weakness and want everyone else to suffer for it. THE CONSTITUTION DOES NOT PROTECT EMOTIONS, AND IT DOES NOT SHELTER PEOPLE FROM BEING OFFENDED, IT PROTECTS PEOPLE'S RIGHT TO SPEAK FREELY. This is our social contract to which we bind ourselves. So there is nothing offensive about any of these statues or symbols the Left has been crying about, there is only the power grab being waged by the Left, and unfortunately, they are winning it. For example, they want the names of presidents removed from a memorial because they owned slaves and in Brooklyn, there is a push to rename streets at a army base named after Civil War generals.. Civil War-era monuments are being torn down in a Hollywood cemetery because "some" activists are offended by them. So far, The Trump Administration's Interior Department seems to have the right, balanced idea and is refusing to remove the monuments. In Baltimore, however, the female black mayor had crews remove four statues overnight; no one knew it was going to happen, so how about that for democracy?|
UPDATE: after posting this article, it has been reported that Southern Poverty Law Center has declared three of America's largest Army bases to also be Confederate monuments that need to come down, because they are named after Confederate generals; it's not about re-naming the bases, no, this is about tearing down the bases completely; why? In their words, "they have the potential to unleash more bloodshed and turmoil" if activists don't take them down. That might reference two things: first, that SPLC views America's activities as that of an "empire," and anything America does anywhere is a sign of power, therefore, "Confederate." Another possibility is a reference to an upcoming civil war in America between the Left and conservatives, and the Left is fully aware that the bases will support Trump and conservatives, so they are trying to disarm the bases before they start a civil war.
|The statue of Confederate General Robert E Lee in Charlottesville, Virginia, which was recently graffitied with Black Lives Matter. A further advantage for the Left in removing such statues is, the statues depict white men, who were immortalized by white male artists, so when an invasion of conquest takes place, the conqueror will eradicate the art and cultural symbols of the conquered so the conquered forget who they are and what their history is (for example, the English did this with the Welsh and Scottish). This is exactly what the Left is doing with American (capitalist) culture and identity: the capitalists and Republicans proudly remember that we fought against slavery and for the Union, whereas the Democrats fought to keep slaves and for dissolution (the same way they are trying to dissolve the US now, not just in terms of values and culture, but literally with the petitions of California to leave the US). The Left realizes their role in the Civil War reveals what they are really after and makes them look bad, since they want to get blacks to support them, so they are doing away with the "cult of white men" by getting rid of these statues which detail the history of the Democrats, as well as showing signs of the modern Left's power by achieving whatever they want by putting pressure on authorities and crying. It is difficult to take Black Lives Matter seriously when they are obviously so ignorant of such an important era of their own history, and if they argue that the Democratic Party of the Civil War was in the past and no one should pay attention to history, then so, too, was slavery, and the idea of "modern day reparations" for blacks because of slavery is just as ludicrous.|
|And this is from NPR and PBS.|
|Rey wears a gray, formless cloak; why? Gray is the color of ashes, so it symbolizes both penance (from dust we came, to dust we shall return, let me do penance for my sins by pouring dust and ashes all over myself as a sign of humility) and the color of the pilgrim, because pilgrims would often go on a journey in penance and to seek after greater holiness. The site they are at, Skellig Michael (which we discuss more below) is a holy site--in reality and the Jedi universe--so the idea of a pilgrimage is suiting. Why is it so formless? What do we really know about Rey? Costumes are meant to communicate to the viewer about the character, but the film makers are keeping Rey "under wraps" (like the wrap she wears) so we aren't going to be allowed to know much about her, at least at this point. |
What about her staff? The staff, or rod, is a sign of strength: not only strength because she has been disciplined by the rod--think of how hard life was for her at the junkyard settlement on Jakku; so life has disciplined her, but that discipline has become her strength, it makes her less vulnerable and less afraid ("less afraid" is carefully chosen, in spite of what you may think of my writing skills :) she's still afraid, quite afraid, but she's all ready been through so much, she knows she is also tough). Unlike Kylo Ren (Han and Leia's son) Rey hasn't been pampered and given ego boosts, telling her she's going to be a great Jedi someday, knowing that her uncle and mother are galactic royalty and her father and his wookie heroes of the Resistance,... Rey has grown up, literally, in the desert, so the desert we see in the image above (rocks and salt water) is a comfortable and familiar surrounding; she isn't going to need a babysitter the way Kylo Ren obviously did.
Rey's hairstyle is quite interesting,... even bizarre. Completely pulled back, that suggests discipline, again, she is disciplining herself in her thoughts: she's not going to gush to Luke, "You are my hero! You are the greatest legend EVER! Can I have your autograph?!!? What about a selfie?!!" There are three "pony tails" (in spite of a better description) and, given that this is such a holy site, I would suggest the hair being parted into threes is a sign of her thoughts of God (Holy Trinity) and she realizes how important this temple is and she wants to make the most of it. In other words, she's not just her for the Resistance, for the galaxy, but she's also here for Rey. Now, look behind Rey: it's like a stone bench, which is probably what it is, but it also looks like a bridge, very much like the stone bridge we see The Mage on when she and Arthur discuss what he holds back and why he can't use Excalibur in King Arthur: Legend Of the Sword and, given that the lightsaber is also a sword, this connection isn't out of the question. In other words, Rey acts as a bridge for Luke to go from exile to the forefront of the Resistance once more. The problem with bridges, people walk over them, and this suggests that Rey's relationship with Han is going to look cozy and warm compared to her relationship with Luke.
Look to Rey's left and, from our perspective, behind her: on our left there is green and growth (life and new hope) and on our right there is rocks and barrenness; this is utilizing the landscape to illustrate what we find in these two characters. Rey is young and full of hope, but Luke is old, craggy and barren. Whereas Ben Kenobi had stayed on Tatooine to watch the progress of Luke, and made use of the desert for his own personal growth and advancement as the years passed, Luke choose this barren planet to escape responsibility and probably even blame, so Luke's heart has hardened, however, with Rey, she is what Luke needs to become that Jedi hero once more: hope.
|Skellig Michael is dedicated to the Archangel St. Michael, whose name means, "Who can compare to God?" It's fitting, therefore, that Luke would retreat to such a place, as he is, very much, like St. Michael and his nephew, Kylo Ren, like Satan: so favored but who fell so low. Why was this such a good place for monks dedicating their lives to holiness? This is one of the great paradoxes in Christianity: we are meant to become "living stones," but we can also let our hearts become "hardened" with sin to where our hearts are no longer natural, but like stone... so how do we manage to become the living stones? To be a living stone means you are rock solid in your foundation of beliefs: you are solid in believing in the importance of love, for example, and you are advanced in practicing patience. A "living stone" is not going to chip easily when the world turns hard on you and makes your journey difficult. On the other hand, we harden our hearts against love and relationships when we have been hurt, and don't want to suffer anymore; then our hearts slowly become filled with poison which causes our hearts to die. Rocks also have a tendency to symbolize sin for this very reason of "hardening our hearts" against God and our fellow man. For someone training in holiness, however, the rocks can become a symbol of how to be tough, dedicated and purge yourself of softness which might cause an aversion to discipline (like sleeping in, or skipping prayers, not fasting or staying comfortable instead of mortifying the flesh). So, just as the Force symbolizes balance in the universe, we can see how delicate the balance within our own souls can be.|
|This has been released as the "nuns" who care for the Jedi Temples on the island where Luke resides; according to sources, they don't really like Luke being there. They can communicate with him to some degree, but they wish he would go away. This seems utterly bizarre to me, and I simply don't know what to make of this.|
|This is an interesting poster: whenever a face is hidden or covered, or we don't have access to it, it's a sign of mystery, that we cannot have access to that part of the person/character/thing, even though we know it's there (for example, in a portrait when someone stands in profile, the artist wants to communicate that there is something inaccessible about this person, mysterious and unknowable). We see this with the doll in the poster above and the left side of the face; again, as we have had opportunities to note, the "left" side of something has always been considered evil (the left hand of Dr Jeckyll (Russell Crowe) in The Mummy, Strickland's left hand (Michael Shannon) in The Shape Of Water, and Solo and Illya looking to their left in the poster for The Man From UNCLE, among other examples). The wooden lid to the box is very interesting and introduces and element of "play" into the poster which--given that this is a doll and dolls are meant to be "played" with--is entirely appropriate. On one hand, we see the wooden box as the packaging of the doll but because it's a wooden box, and it was created to be a reminder of the little girl who died, the box also becomes a coffin. Deconstruction tells us that such "play" with words, images and ideas, where you can't really decide on what something is (is it a box or a coffin?) is inherent in all words, sometimes it's just easier for us to pick out than other times. I suspect we will see this "ambiguity" (not being able to decide between "A" or "B" what something is or means) throughout the film: for example, we see the "ghost" of Bee, the little girl who died, with her back to the door when Bee's mother enters and wants to know if it's Annabelle or not; the "girl" sets at a child's tea party set and pretends to be having a party with her animals. Food and beverages in a scene always mean that it is us, the viewers, who are being "served" something to digest: in other words, we are the stuffed animals sitting at the table, the film is the party, and the tea and other refreshments are the meaning and purpose of the film you and I are being asked to "digest," to engage and really understand (like everything here at the Fine Art Diner). Another good example of this is Clary (Lily Collins) in The Mortal Instruments: City Of Bones, when she keeps making this symbol, and then she "draws it" in the foam of her coffee with the sugar and she doesn't want to drink the coffee; why not? Clary doesn't really want the symbol "clarified" and she doesn't want to digest what it means to her that she keeps making it.|
The reason this "play" on words is so important is because of something Janice says in the trailer we examine: the evil one is haunting her because she is the "weakest." "Weak" is a generally negative connotation, at least in America, because being "weak" implies that you can't take care of yourself, you are helpless, a victim; in Christianity, however, we are supposed to brag about being "weak" because it is the weak that God chooses so people will know it is God doing great and mighty deeds and not the person who is merely God's instrument, so what is the difference? Janice uses "weak" in the social, political and economic context of today to describe herself, and this is exactly what the devil and socialists want: look at yourself as being weak, crippled and helpless; Janice is probably also the weakest in her faith (or one of the virtues, like hope--even though we see her wearing green--humility, Christian love, etc., and it is likely we will see the same type of weakness in the Mullins). God wants us to become weak along the path of humility: I don't do anything; I am not the one writing this blog, for example, it's God. I can't come up with a single idea on my own if it is not for God granting me the Grace and gifts to see and properly use this knowledge to glorify Him (I am not bragging that I am a perfect example of Christian humility and weakness, but just trying to use an example). When we realize that we are mere humans and can do nothing on our own, then we are weak, and when we are weak, then God is happy to work in us and through us, because we glorify Him rather than glorifying ourselves (or even some other person or thing). There seems to be a dramatic lack of prayer in these trailers which have been released so far, and even though we see people holding the Crucifix, it's almost like they cover the Body of Jesus--which is what gives a Crucifix its power--rather than revealing it, which might be the whole answer as to the sin Samuel and Esther Mullins commit.
|Originally when I saw this teaser, I was very concerned about a certain element of the doll's characteristic: the limited edition. Why? That means it's more valuable, and if a socialist were making this film, the "value" (as in monetary value) of the doll would be a sign of "possession" and someone wanting the doll because it's valuable, so they are "possessed" with "possessing material goods," we saw this in The Conjuring and the mother's desire to have their own home. (While the first film, The Conjuring, was pro-socialist, Annabelle was pro-capitalist, as was The Conjuring II: The Enfield Poltergeist, and I expect Annabelle: Creation to be pro-capitalist as well.|
How do I arrive at Mr. Mullins being a "god figure" in this clip? There is a lot of light, coming from the right side of the screen; light, especially natural light--but it doesn't have to be--indicates illumination from within. His back is to us, so we can't know who this is, although we have some idea; we know it's a craftsman because we see all the parts, pieces and tools; there might also be the idea that in heaven, we are like the dolls which God puts together. Unlike the doll maker we see above, however, God gives us a heart, a soul, and a mind along with free will, so we are not empty. Socialists, on the other hand, contend that we are created empty because we are animals, not the children of God. I am guessing, but I could be wrong, that the Mullins' sin is idolatry: they worship their little girl over worshiping God who created her. This would be an apt sin to examine because people who worship their material goods (and we aren't talking about building an alter and offering incense to a car or a great set of gold clubs) because they have an unhealthy amount of love/desire for those material goods, are easy fodder for socialists who claim that getting rid of material goods will make society a better place. No, it won't, only worshiping God and giving Him the credit due Him will make society better, because our hearts will then be balanced and natural instead of loving things in an unnatural way.
On a different note, we know that Mr. Mullins' name is "Samuel," which invokes the prophet who anointed both Saul and David; Samuel was an only child of his mother, Hannah, and his name means, "God has heard," because God heard Hannah's prayer asking for a son,... Mrs. Mullins' name is Esther, after the queen. Esther was originally born "Myrtle," because she was meant to bear fruit, like the trees we will discuss below; "Esther" means "star" but can also mean "hidden one," which we certainly see when she puts on her fake face piece. Both of these names we will need to keep in mind so we can "mull over them" and understand why the film makers chose these two Biblical names for their characters.
|We will probably have to watch this film several times to even begin to capture the majority of details being offered for our "intellectual consumption" in Annabelle: Creation. Let's take a look at this seemingly unimportant transition scene. First, in the top image, we see the bus pulling onto the Mullins' property; so? Notice how dusty it is? That's a sign of the desert, where nothing grows, there is no Grace (it seems the Mullins are good people who wanted to do penance for their sins, however, there is something they have held back or won't let go of which continues to separate them from God). Please notice, on the right side of the top image, the dead trees: dead trees symbolize sin, because where God is, good things grow (You know a tree by the fruit it bears, and every tree is supposed to bear some sort of fruit, even if just shade, so trees which bear no fruit are dead because of the root of sin). However, on the left side of the house, the trees are alive because there is some sin nurturing them to grow. Again, notice how dusty it is and the "desert conditions" which are the opposite of the Garden of Eden.|
Janice's bad leg is her left leg. Legs symbolize our "standing" in society, so either Janice feels she doesn't have any standing in society, and that cripples her, or she let's her bad leg keep her from having a standing in society (or, of course, something else entirely the film will introduce). But watch for how she got her bad leg and how she responds to it.
In the bottom image, we see her dress is green, and the bus is green, too. This is important because the Mullins' truck we see--just as their daughter gets run-over--is green and Esther Mullins wears a green dress just as Janice wears a green dress in this image above. "Green" symbolizes new life, and hope, or that something has gone rotten and is no good. Is Janice a metaphor of Esther Mullins and the sin Esther has harbored in her heart all these years? There is a very good chance of that, but it's not necessary.
Now, on a different note, Janice's best friend, Linda, portrayed by Lulu Wilson, was recently in another horror film, Ouija: Origin of Evil, which I am confident is a pro-socialist film, unlike the first Ouija, which was pro-capitalist. If you have time to watch Origin of Evil, I would suggest you do before Annabelle Creation because the casting of Lulu is likely meant to invoke that film (when the demon-as-Bee stands at the window, and Janice comes up behind it and the girl says, "You help me, I'll help you," and then it turns to show Janice its real face, that looks nearly identical to the demon we see in Origin of Evil, meaning, the Annabelle creators wanted to make commentary on Origin of Evil and did so by creating a bridge of reference with the casting of Lulu.
|This film is going to be loaded with symbols. Let's start with the image above, seeing as this is a "fateful moment" in the film. Their truck is green, so that means their "natural vehicle" as a family unit is hope (vehicles symbolize the Holy Spirit, because the Holy Spirit is the Will of God, and we go where God wills and then green symbolizes hope and new life); there is a problem though: they have a flat tire. This means, and I am sure the narrative will supply it, that there is something within the lives of the Mullins family which causes them all ready to be depressed (even before their daughter dies) or not completely cooperating with the will of God. In the foreground is a mailbox; why? Mailboxes hold messages, and in this scene, we are being given a "message" from the film makers if we are smart enough to collect it. I will pick up on this theme in the body of the post, however, we need to point this out here: is it the oncoming truck that kills the little girl, or is it the little girl running out in front of the truck that kills her? Do you blame inanimate objects--like the truck--for taking the girl's life, or that the girl made a mistake and went on the road that is meant for trucks, not little girls, and was accidentally killed as a result? Socialists will say, "It's the truck's fault: if there were no trucks, then the little girl would still be alive," because socialists want to do away with the personal freedom vehicles provide; capitalists, on the other hand, who believe in free will, will argue that the fault lies with the little girl because roads are made for vehicles not for playing, so she was somewhere she wasn't supposed to be. In America, we have seen this argument with guns and gun control. Later on, we will discuss the line of Linda (Lulu Wilson) who says, "This doll is hurting Janice!" and drops it into the well; can the doll hurt Janice, or is it the presence haunting the doll?|
In the second image down, when Esther Mullins sees "Annabelle" being transformed into the demon and she drops the Crucifix, we briefly see the shoes she wears: red. This should have sent off alarms, dear reader. We know the color red symbolizes the appetites, because our blood (which is red) is the most valuable thing we have, so we are only going to spend our blood on what we crave most in life: either we will spill our blood (red) for someone we love, or we will spill their blood to appease the wrath we have against them. Shoes symbolize our will, because our feet take us in life where we want to go the way our will decides where it is we want to go. So, as we watch the film, we will have to decide, did Esther Mullins agree to let the demon enter the doll because she loved her daughter so much, or because she was mad at God for taking their daughter away (remember, in the trailer, she says their daughter was "taken" from them)?
In the bottom image, we see what will surely be an excellent device in the film: the face mask of Esther Mullins. Besides indicating that she has become a "doll zombie" like our discussion above (because the face symbolizes our identity, and part of her identity is fake) it's also on the left side of her face, like Janice's bad leg, and the flat tire on their truck in the image at the top. Just as Esther has lost a part of herself in the battle against the Annabelle doll, so, too, has Samuel, even though his "sacrifice" might not be so obvious (like he quits making dolls, so he loses his professional identity, for example; I don't know if he does quit making dolls, this is just an example of a possibility).
|This is the real Annabelle doll (on the left) of which the real Lorraine Warren speaks in the opening featurette of this post; on the right is the Annabelle doll created for The Conjuring, when we were first introduced to her. For analysis on the differences between the two dolls, and why the one of the right is so incredibly different from the one on the left, please see The Devil's Hour: The Conjuring, at the very bottom of the post.|