Stephen W. Browne Rants and Raves

June 28, 2013

What is it with zombies?

Filed under: Movies,Social Science & History — Stephen W. Browne @ 11:30 am

Note: This is cross-posted on my professional blog at the Marshall Independent.

Well I took my son to see “World War Z” the other day and will probably be reviewing it week after next unless something more compelling comes along.

(Sneak peak: as an action movie it’s pretty good.)

I’m old enough to remember the second wave of monster films in the ’60s when I was a kid. The first wave being the black-and-white classics of Bela Lugosi, Boris Karloff and Lon Chaney Jr. Or maybe they were the second and third waves, there were some classic silent monster films.

It seems to me this wave has some significant differences. For one, the old monster films either had only one monster, or one primary monster. A Dracula film was about Dracula. He may have turned some beautiful women into vampires along the way but only the Count really counted.

Nowadays they pile on the monsters. They’ve taken an idea from the late Richard Matheson (who died last week at the age of 83) of a plague of monsters and run with it.

In Matheson’s “I am Legend” (1954, filmed as The Last Man on Earth in 1964, The Omega Man in 1971, and I Am Legend in 2007) the world is overrun by something like vampires or zombies created by a plague.

Matheson also introduced the first hint of the vampire as not-so-bad guy. This idea was fleshed out in Fred Saberhagen’s “The Dracula Tapes” and sequels, where we learned that Count Dracula was some kind of uncle to Sherlock Holmes.

The 1979 “Dracula” with Frank Langella as Dracula and Lawrence Olivier as Abraham Van Helsing introduced the “sexy Dracula” that had young girls itching to roll down their turtlenecks for the smooth-talking count.

Now we have the “Twilight” series, “The Vampire Diaries” and “True Blood” with whole families, clans and civil rights movements of vampires who if not all good guys, at least have the choice of being good.

Then came the Zombie Apocalypse, hordes of zombie books and movies in which the zombie condition like vampirism is an infectious disease, but doesn’t make you more attractive.

Zombies are like vampires in one sense, they’re corpses who won’t stay dead. They’re different in a whole lot of other ways though.

For one, vampire legends are common in a lot of different countries, though we got Dracula from Romania via Irish author Bram Stoker.

Incidentally, though the persona of Count Dracula was based on the historical Voivode (Prince, or “Governor”) of Wallachia, Vlad Tepes (“Vlad the Impaler”) Dracula (“Son of the Dragon”), he is remembered as a national hero in Romania, and not at all associated with vampirism. Making him into a vampire in fact intensely irritates some Romanians I know.

Zombies as we know them come from one place – Haiti. And they’re real.

There is a theory vampire legends may have come from observing people infected with rabies, though that seems a stretch to me.

The origin of zombies is known however, and has been for some time. Zombies are a legend from Haitian voodoo, but based on the practice of drugging hapless victims to make them fall into a death-like coma, then revive them after their own funeral and keep them compliant and stupefied with drugs.

Haiti’s French masters knew about this in the 18th century, and knew it wasn’t supernatural. The colonial penal code of Haiti had a law making it a crime to give anyone a drug to make them appear to die, revive them and make them into slaves.

In 1985 Harvard ethnobotanist Wade Davis published “The Serpent and the Rainbow,” an account of his research in Haiti to find the zombie drug. Which actually turned out to be a sophisticated combination of drugs derived from datura, pufferfish venom, toad, and sea cucumber.

After being retrieved from their graves and revived, victims were dosed with lower concentrations of drugs, and possibly a bit brain damaged from lack of oxygen. And because of the superstitions about zombies, if they escaped they couldn’t go home.

The appeal of vampires is easy to understand I think. Though way mutated from the original myth of a demon-animated corpse, the modern incarnation is basically an immortal superhero with some weaknesses. So you have to stay in after sunrise and your diet is a little restricted, big deal. And they even fudge that a bit these days with animal blood and sunscreen.

(If you want a modern treatment of the vampire closer to the original myth, check out “Let Me In” (2010) or better, get the Swedish original “Låt den rätte komma in” (2008). In one word – chilling.)

But what’s the appeal of zombies?

Simple. You get to shoot a lot of people in the head.

There is a lot of concern, fully justified in my opinion, about first-person shooter games. I’m concerned as a parent about games which offer practice in killing people.

With zombies you can blast away all you like with a clear conscience. I have to admit that I’ve wasted a few quarters in “House of the Dead” video games myself from time to time.

June 26, 2013

Review: Man of Steel.

Filed under: Movies — Stephen W. Browne @ 8:56 am

Note: This appeared in the print-only TV Guide of the Marshall Independent.

Something happened on June 10, the Man of Steel returned and he’s… the same but different.

“Man of Steel” is of course the latest reboot of Superman, directed by Zach Snyder (“Watchmen,” “300”) and produced by Christopher Nolan (The Dark Knight trilogy.)

Superman was created in 1933 by two nerdy high school students from Cleveland, writer Jerry Siegel and artist Joe Shuster, and first appeared in Action Comics in 1938. Superman may have been the first of the comic book superheros, though preceded into print by their lesser-known creation “Doctor Occult” in 1935.

There are good-sized libraries of books written about the meaning of Superman as modern myth. The whole comic superhero genre was the creation of a handful of artists and writers who were the children of Eastern European Jewish immigrants such as Seigel and Shuster, Bob Kane (Batman), Will Eisner (The Spirit), and Stan Lee (Marvel Comics.)

The 1930s were a bad time for Jews in Europe, and even here they were not yet seen as fully American. Superman is the immigrant in the heartland trying to find his place in America. He’s just from further away than most.

And it doesn’t take a Freudian psychoanalyst to see significance in the murder of Siegel’s father in a robbery the year before he invented a bulletproof champion of truth, justice, and the American Way.

From diverse sources these outsiders created the most American symbol of America since Coca Cola and spawned an industry.

“Man of Steel” takes the basic storyline of the 1978 “Superman” with Christopher Reeve, fills in a lot of backstory, does away with the campy tongue-in-cheek element and makes some significant changes.

They’ve done away with the red jockey shorts over the blue tights, originally based on circus strongman costumes, and made the suit a deep midnight blue. The costume is explained as a kind of Kryptonian uniform. The big red ‘S’ is their sign for “Peace.”

Lois Lane (Amy Adams) knows Clark Kent (Henry Cavill) from the beginning, isn’t fooled by a pair of glasses, and in fact invents the name to go with the “S.”

She’s also a lot more likable character than the original Lois Lane, who was often ruthless, self-centered and cruel to Clark.

Krypton is not a utopia destroyed by natural catastrophe, but a decadent civlization that once explored space but were destroyed by their short-sightedness.

On Krypton children are conceived and decanted from artificial wombs, genetically designed to fulfill a specific function in society. Jor-el (Russell Crowe) and his wife Lara (Ayelet Zurer) conceive Kal-el, the first naturally begotten child on Krypton in centuries, and send him to Earth as Krypton is destroyed in the midst of civil war.

Kal-el becomes the beloved foster child of Jonathan and Martha Kent (Kevin Costner and Diane Lane) in Kansas.

Warned by Johnathan that people fear what they don’t understand, Clark becomes a drifter in his early youth doing an assortment of jobs under assumed names, until he finds an ancient exploration ship from Krypton and the secret of his origin.

Once he activates the ship with his father’s high-tech amulet however, it sends a distress call that brings Jor-el’s enemy General Zod (Michael Shannon) looking for vengeance – and a chance to build a new Krypton on the ashes of Earth.

Kal-el/Clark Kent/Superman must save the Earth, and make a choice for humanity against enemies who are not villains in their own eyes. General Zod was literally born to protect Krypton and its race, he doesn’t really have a choice.

But Clark has a choice, and his choice is, “Krypton had its chance.”

It’s not news a lot of religious symbolism has been read into Superman. His name contains a Hebrew name of God (“El”), his origin is like Moses’ and his powers like the demigods of myth. Snyder is not subtle about showing you this in one scene in church with Superman’s profile shown next to a stained glass image of Christ.

Maybe Superman and his ilk are the heroes and demigods of classical mythology, reimagined to meet the needs of a secular age. You can ponder this over the next several years, because “Man of Steel” is setting box-office records and is rumored to be the first installment of a trilogy.

If you’re the type who’d consider seeing a superhero movie at all, you’ll like it.

Note: After I filed this I found out I was wrong – there are a number of people who like superhero movies who didn’t like it. Some Superman fans didn’t like the reboot. I was more of a Marvel guy growing up, so messing with the canon didn’t bother me, in fact I thought it was an improvement.

June 20, 2013

What’s happening to the Internet?

Filed under: Personal — Stephen W. Browne @ 10:28 am

Note: This is cross-posted on my professional blog at the Marshall Independent.

Is it just my computer or has something happened to the Internet?

I got a new desktop a couple months ago. A professional writer needs to have two computers and my laptop sat on the desk 99.999% of the time anyway. So I semi-retired it and use it for travel and backup. When it finally gives up the ghost I may actually downgrade my portable work station to a notebook-sized model. All I use it for is a typewriter and a telephone anyway.

The problem with getting a new computer or new software is you have to learn a lot of the control procedures all over again. Every time I get a new version of Word it’s got a whole bunch of new things it can do that I don’t give a flip about. I want it to do the things I’ve done for years on it. Trouble is, the buttons for the things I’ve always done are now hard to find.

Since I started writing seriously I have NEVER EVER said, “Gee, I wish my word processor would do —–, I hope next year’s model does that.”

I have however said, “I wish this durn thing wouldn’t do —– every time I turn it on.”

It’s as if every time you bought a new car you had to learn to drive all over again. (“This year’s model features a tiller instead of a steering wheel…”)

When was the last major change you remember in the controls of cars?

I think it was moving the bright switch from left of the brake or clutch pedal on the floor to the steering column.

At any rate on my new desktop I’ve been noticing something lately. Actually, “been intensely irritated by something lately” describes it better.

Pop-ups have been with us for a long time, but were a livable irritation and of course you can install pop-up blockers.

However lately I’m continually interrupted by streaming video pop-ups which are invariably louder than what I’m listening to at the time. I have to hunt for the “x” to close them, or even minimize the screen to get to them. And for some reason a window will open behind the one I’m working on and start playing a full episode of some TV series.

And what’s really irritating is, I’m used to clicking on the screen to get it to scroll down using the down arrow button. Of course you avoid clicking on buttons, but nowadays when I click on a blank part of the screen more often than not a window opens on something I wasn’t even aware of.

And by the way, who the heck allowed someone to start creating links on words in my blog? Nobody asked me if they could do that and I’m not making a dime off it.

What’s going on?

June 15, 2013

Lurking tyranny

Filed under: Op-eds,Politics — Stephen W. Browne @ 7:46 am

Note: This was my weekly opinion column. The theme will be continued in my next.

In his address to the graduating class of Ohio State University on May 5, President Obama sounded the alarm against alarmists.

“Still, you’ll hear voices that incessantly warn of government as nothing more than some separate, sinister entity that’s the root of all our problems even as they do their best to gum up the works; or that tyranny always lurks just around the corner,” Obama said. “You should reject these voices. Because what they suggest is that our brave, creative, unique experiment in self-rule is just a sham with which we can’t be trusted.”

Of course Republicans pounced on this with glee and have been quoting it often, though usually omitting the last sentence.

Obama’s opponents point to the administration’s data mining of American’s phone records by the National Security Agency, hacking reporters emails, harassing Tea Party organizations by the IRS, asserting the right to survey American citizens with drones and kill them in other countries by remote control without trial, conviction or indeed anything but the president’s say-so.

Obama’s defenders counter the NSA activities started long before the present administration and point to rendition of terrorist suspects etc by the Bush administration.

When a Republican administration is in office the country is on the verge of sliding into tyranny, according to Democrats.

And of course, when a Democratic administration is in power the country is on the verge of sliding into tyranny, according to Republicans.

They’re both right.

They’re both right because our country is always on the verge of sliding into tyranny. More likely the soft tyranny of all-intrusive bureaucracy than the hard tyranny of jackboots and rubber truncheons, but tyranny nonetheless.

Government, as George Washington pointed out, is neither persuasion, reason, nor eloquence. It is force.

“And like fire, it is a dangerous servant and a terrible master.”

To be rendered harmless, an open fire must be carefully tended.

So must government.

“If once the people become inattentive to the public affairs, you and I, and Congress and Assemblies, Judges and Governors, shall all become wolves. It seems to be the law of our general nature, in spite of individual exceptions,” said Thomas Jefferson in a letter to Edward Carrington.

Notice Jefferson didn’t say, “Those no-good so-and-sos will become wolves.” He said, “you and I will become wolves.”

The Founders were well-aware of the weakness of human nature and warned future generations to trust no one with unrestrained power.

“In questions of power, let no more be heard of confidence in man, but bind him down from mischief by the chains of the Constitution,” Jefferson said.

Of course everybody realizes the other guys can’t be trusted with unlimited power. But of course I can be.

“If I were king…”

Well-meaning politicians always seek more power, for the noblest of reasons of course. But the other guy can’t be trusted with it. And in the democratic process power is always changing hands.

But sooner or later it occurs to even the most well-meaning politicians that the way to keep power out of the “wrong hands” – is to do away with the democratic process.

And that’s why we must listen to those voices.

June 14, 2013

Review: The Purge

Filed under: Movies,Politics — Stephen W. Browne @ 8:53 am

Note: A slightly edited version of this appeared in the print-only TV Guide of the Marshall Independent.

“The Purge,” directed by James DeMonaco, operates on many levels: dystopian fantasy, home invasion thriller, political allegory, and moral fable. And it’s unbelievably stupid on every one of them.

The year is 2022. The New Founding Fathers have instituted the Purge, a yearly 12-hour period in which all laws, including murder are suspended.

The Purge allows everybody to release their inner psycho and get it out of their system. Of course nobody’s going to develop a taste for it that can’t be confined to once a year.

This is stated to be the reason the economy is booming, there is full employment and low crime. Because allowing murder and vandalism is good for the economy.

James Sandin (Ethan Hawke) sells security systems to his neighbors and does very well for himself. He, his wife Mary (Lena Headey), daughter Zoey (Adelaide Kane) and son Charlie (Max Burkholder) live well and enjoy the finer things in life.

But this year as the Sandins are locking down for the night, they have two uninvited guests.

Zoey’s boyfriend Henry (Tony Oller,) who daddy has forbidden her to see, sneaks in to reason with Daddy – with a gun.

Charlie lets in a homeless black man (Edwin Hodge,) who is wounded and pursued by a gang of rich preppy psychopaths in scary masks. They want to kill him because that’s what rich people secretly want to do to the poor don’t you know.

Their leader (Rhys Wakefield) appeals to James as a fellow ”have” to let them have the have-not scum so they can kill him. Otherwise they are going to break in and kill everybody in the house.

And of course they do break in. Because security expert James has precisely ONE layer of security, steel shutters on the doors and windows.

There are closed circuit TV cameras to see outside, but no floodlights. All the shutters are armed by one switch. There is nothing like a double-door foyer which allows someone to pass through without compromising security. There is no emergency power backup.

They do have guns, but no gun ports to shoot outside. The guns are not standardized calibers: a revolver, an automatic, and a pump-action shotgun with a cool handle that makes it impossible to work the pump quickly. The Sandins appear to have little or no training in combat shooting.

Any damn fool would design layered security, starting at the periphery of the neighborhood in cooperation with the neighbors. Then fortify the houses as redoubts of last resort. Oh, and don’t forget a safe room in case the house is breached.

Once the psychos are in the darkened house, the Sandin family does everything wrong. They separate and can’t seem to lay a simple ambush in the house they are intimately familiar with, against intruders who don’t know the layout at all. Makes for great scary moments though.

Of course they are saved by the homeless guy they were thinking of feeding to the mob, who is evidently a veteran by the dog tags he wears. He’s noble because he tells James to go ahead, give him up and save his children.

There is the horror movie double tap of course. You think the danger is over, but it’s not.

The neighbors turn on them because they resent the wealth the Sandin’s have piled up from selling them security systems.

Me, I think they’re mad at James because the security systems are lousy.

In the end they are undone and at the mercy of the Noble Black Man who says to Mary, “Your call.”

Mary renounces vengeance, the Purge ends and the Noble Black Man walks off into the sunrise.

Hey Lady, those neighbors were going to stab you and your children to death with knives. You turned the tables on them and you think they’re going to forget that next year?

And since there are closets full of clothes their owner has no further use for, could you have offered your savior a new suit? A job for next year’s purge? Asked his name so you could thank him properly? Breakfast?

DeMonaco has stated “The Purge” is his vision of America with the NRA and Tea Party people in power. He is a professed admirer of the Occupy Movement.

The Tea Party demonstrations have been largely middle class, middle aged, short-term and orderly. The Occupy demonstrations have been young, affluent, lengthy and marked by vandalism and assault. The NRA has never advocated a people-hunting season.

DeMonaco says he’s fascinated by “America’s relationship with violence.”

You have relationships with people. You are violent, a victim of violence, or prepared to use violence to avoid becoming a victim.

“The Purge” is plenty scary but shows only DeMonaco’s own sick fascination with violence, of which he knows nothing.

June 11, 2013

Review: Epic

Filed under: Movies — Stephen W. Browne @ 4:03 pm

“Epic” is an animated fantasy story directed by Chris Wedge, who also directed Ice Age (2002) and Robots (2005), so already it’s got a lot going for it.

The film is loosely based on “The Leaf Men and the Brave Good Bugs” by William Joyce, who also created the animated world of “The Guardians” (2012). Very
loosely from what I can gather from the book blurb. The film is set in Joyce’s fictional world and borrows a few characters is about it as far as I can tell.

But since Joyce served as as writer, executive producer, and production designer on the film, I think this counts as an original work in the same fictional world rather than a writer getting the shaft from the suits.

The world of “Epic” is enchanting, suffused with both magic and science. The magical world exists in a wood around the home/laboratory of very eccentric Professor Bomba (Jason Sudeikis).

And very much like the stories in the multi-colored Fairy Books of Andrew Lang or the appropriately named Grim’s Fairy Tales, the opening premise is almost unbearably sad.

Seventeen-year-old Mary Katherine Bomba (Amanda Seyfried) returns to live with her estranged father after the death of her mother. Her mother it is revealed, left her father because of his nutty obsession that there was a civilization of little people in the forrest. To this end he installs cameras all over the wood and traipses around it with a helmet equipped with magnifying lenses and instruments.

Of course the Professor is right and MK has her nose rubbed in this when the Queen of the forest shrinks her down to their size after she is mortally wounded by the evil Boggans.

Queen Tara (Beyoncé Knowles) has just picked a flowering bud, which will in some way become her successor when it blooms in the light of the full moon on one special night.

She is killed by Mandrake (Christopher Waltz), king of the Boggans who are embodiments of the forces of rot and decay, and dies in the arms of Ronin (Colin Farrell), the leader of the Leafmen warriors. Ronin and the Queen have a history, making it doubly-tragic.

MK get the bud to a magical place at the appointed time, with the aid of Ronin and the obligatory handsome-though-irresponsible rogue Nod (Josh Hutcherson), and comic relief provided by two protectors of the buds: a slug named Mub (Aziz Ansari) and snail named Grub (Chris O’Dowd).

Grub is also the stereotypical nebbish who wants to be a Leafman warrior.

And who wouldn’t? Leafmen ride hummingbirds, wear green armor and fight with swords and bows! They’re major cool and the animation does a great job of conveying the vertiginous feeling of an aerial cavalry charge.

The story is one we’ve heard many times and never grow tired of. The band embarks on a quest. They are almost undone when the young warrior does something stupid and irresponsible, and must redeem himself. He is mentored by an older and wiser warrior and wins the affections of a beautiful princess, or in this case professor’s daughter. The nebbish earns his spurs. It’s all there.

The plot-devices are well-integrated: the swords and bows, videocams and iPods all turn out to be essential for victory.

And it’s got a tragic back-story that gives the victory of life real meaning. MK is named after Joyce’s daughter Mary Katherine, who died from a brain tumor at the age of 18.

Some quibbles.

The story is about a war between the forces of life and green growing things, and the powers of death and decay.

The idea is roughly equivalent to the War of Law and Chaos utilized by fantasy writers such as Michael Moorcock. It’s a stand-in for those fantasy writers and fans who are uncomfortable with their fantasy being as overtly religious as Tolkien or C.S. Lewis.

The idea is that law and chaos/life and death must balance, that neither can or should win unconditionally. The green and growing plants of the forest spring from the decaying humus on its floor after all.

This isn’t really made clear though, there’s only a brief reference to the bad guys upsetting the balance.

And there’s the names. Tolkien borrowed pretty consistently from historical sources in the Northern myths.

“Epic” uses names from English and Irish sources, but in a hodge-podge with no internal logic I can see.

Boggan is derived from English legends of malevolent fairies (related to “the boggie man”). Their king is Mandrake, the name of a root used in European herbology with a lot of myth and legend associated with it but no real connection here except the name sounds vaguely menacing.

Mandrake’s son is “Dagda.” In Irish mythology The Dagda Mor (pronounced “die-dah”) is the father-god and protector, not an evil figure at all.
And “Ronin” is a Japanese word meaning a samurai without a master. It would have been a more appropriate name for Nod – which is itself from a classical English children’s poem with little significance to this story

June 9, 2013

Review: After Earth

Filed under: Movies — Stephen W. Browne @ 11:32 am

Note: The appeared in the print-only TV Guide of the Marshall Independent.

“After Earth” directed by M. Night Shyamalan, appears to be one of those films audiences like and critics loathe.

It’s been treated pretty badly by reviewers, though it seems to be doing all right at the box office.

Shyamalan could use a hit about now. After the initial success of “The Sixth Sense” his movies have declined in profitability, until bottoming out with “The Lady in the Water.” His next two movies did somewhat better so perhaps the trend line is heading upwards.

In “The Sixth Sense” and “Unbreakable” Shaymalan managed to hit you at the end with a genuinely unexpected twist, after having left you with just enough hints to make you feel stupid you hadn’t seen it coming.

But that’s a hard act to follow once you know it’s coming. The first two were followed by the surpassingly awful “Signs,” then a series of films which were nice in an art-housey sort of way, but not blockbusters.

“After Earth” is a SciFi/action film Shaymalan co-wrote with Gary Whitta based on an original story idea by Will Smith, who stars as General Cypher Raige.

“Original” is stretching things a bit. It’s the story of a boy who has to hike across the wilderness to bring help to his injured father. The plot was based on a real incident Will Smith’s brother-in-law brought to his attention. It’s been done before, but the exotic setting allows for non-stop action with spectacular special effects.

It’s a story of estranged father and son bonding through shared danger, the son coming of age and learning to deal with fear and a traumatic childhood incident.

The setting is Earth about a thousand years from now after it’s been abandoned following an environmental catastrophe which changed nature on Earth into something as alien as another planet. The same thing that’s being done on the ScyFy series “Defiance,” and the History Channel’s “Life after People” and
why are we finding that idea so fascinating these days?

In the backstory, Raige led the elite Rangers in fighting Ursas, alien monsters sent to destroy humanity on it’s new home Nova Prime.

Ursas are blind, but can smell fear and home in on it. Gen. Raige discovered how to conquer fear, and through a technique called “ghosting” walk up to these critturs and slice and dice them with hi-tech swords. Just shooting them seems to be unsporting or something.

His son Kitai Raige (Jaden Smith) is traumatized by the memory of seeing his big sister Senshi (Zoë Kravitz) killed in their living room by an Ursa while he hid under a big fishbowl. Kitai is a Ranger cadet, but didn’t make the cut this year and thinks he’s a disappointment to his mostly absent father.

His mother Faia (Sophie Okonedo), urges Cypher to take their son along on a space voyage to spend a little quality time together.

They’re shipwrecked on Earth and Cypher is immobilized by two broken legs. Kitai must hike 100 kilometers across a wilderness filled with hostile life forms to retrieve and activate a rescue beacon, guided by his father through a communications link that goes wonky at just the right time to raise the suspense level.

To complicate matters the only other survivor is a captive Ursa they were transporting somewhere for training purposes.

The scenery is spectacular, set in the already alien-looking Redwood Forest with some CGI help.

The acting is better than the critics have given father and son credit for. Will Smith acts with a gravitas appropriate for a general, very unlike the wisecracking variations of the “Fresh Prince” he’s done since he was a teenager.

Jaden Smith acts like exactly what he’s supposed to be – a really scared kid trying to reach deep down inside for the courage he needs to survive and save his father.

Kitai almost gets himself killed by failing to listen to his father – and then at a crucial point has to make the decision to override his father’s orders and trust his own judgment. In that moment he becomes a man.

There is a nice pair of bookends at the beginning and end of the film, when men struggle to their feet to salute a hero. There are a few moments of the kind my son calls “jumpy scares,” and a twist at the end that’s understated rather than a shocker.

My kids loved it, so why don’t the critics?

I don’t know. Maybe Shaymalan is going in a new direction and the critics haven’t caught up yet? Maybe that goes for Will Smith’s choice of roles as well.

Go ahead and take your kids to see it. It could be an opportunity to talk about the theme with them.
“Danger is real. Fear is a choice.”

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