Tag Archives: suspension of disbelief

The Magnificent Seven vs. The Historical Negationism of Westerns

Yesterday marked the North American premiere of The Magnificent Seven, a movie that I’ve been looking forward to ever since I saw the trailer some months back. The reason for that is far more simple than you might have guessed: I’m a sucker for Westerns. A large part of that can probably be traced back to my playthrough of Red Dead Redemption back in college-

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-but even before that there had always been something appealing about the clink of spurs, the arid desert heat, and towns that weren’t big enough for two particular individuals. That being said, I did with The Magnificent Seven what I do with everything I’m excited about, which is research it obsessively.

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Eventually my search led me to a thread in /r/movies sharing the new poster for the film, which you can see on the right. Clicking on the image should help you get a better look at the titular cast of characters, and reveal an additional reason for my interest you might have expected me to be more upfront about.

Of the seven men four are people of colour.

Denzel Washington, emphasized by the number that outlines him, is bounty hunter Sam Chisholm and leader of the group. On his far right is Martin Sensmeier, of First Nations descent, playing Comanche warrior Red Harvest. Skipping past Chris Pratt on his left are Byung-hun Lee as assassin Billy Rocks and Manuel Garcia-Rulfo as Vasquez, a Mexican outlaw.

Now if there’s anything enthusiasm likes it’s company, and as I scrolled down through the thread seeing if anyone else shared my excitement for the film I came across this comment:

multicultural7 Continue reading

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Indiana Jones and the Religious Implications

First and foremost, apologies about the state of the blog next week. E&GT was postponed ’till tomorrow due me forgetting about it completely and watching a movie/drinking with my cousins last night. This morning’s replacement was delayed due to my being sick all day today.

The following contains spoilers to films you should’ve seen by now.

Moving forward- I watched one of the Honest Trailers videos on YouTube, this one about Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull, and it got me thinking . . . what kind of world does Indy live in?

The first and third films in the franchise concerned the Ark of the Convenant and the Holy Grail, respectively. Both are Judeo-Christian relics, and both are shown to have a great deal of power in the series; the former melts the face off of a bunch of Nazis and the latter brings Henry Jones Sr. [Sean Connery] back to full health from grievous wounds. Which is great.

Then take into account the second film, Indiana Jones and the Temple of Doom. The Hindu goddess Kali is introduced, who is pretty into human sacrifice. This movie’s relic is actually five relics, sacred Sankara stones that do . . . something. All I’m really sure of is that Indy says things and they get super hot and burn the guy who says “kali ma shakti de” and pulls out another dude’s heart.

The first three movies of the franchise make a lot of sense in context with the protagonist’s profession, that of archaeologist. The main issue here is that the Holy Grail and Ark of the Covenant are shown to draw their powers from the Judeo-Christian God, father of Jesus Christ, et cetera. High priest Mola Ram [Mr. Kali Ma] finds his supernatural abilities in Kali, I assume. This can be explained away with the following-

“Kali” and the source of her powers originate in the demonic. This resolves the idea of an actual healing Holy Grail existing in the same universe as magical burning stones. God and Kali are essentially just opposite sides of the same coin, the divine and the diabolic. Which is great. We’ve reconciled the two, fantastic.

Enter Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull. The relic: the skull of a genuine extraterrestrial. The source of its powers: genuine extraterrestrials. Which leaves us- where?

As an audience we’re left to believe that a divine Jesus Christ, death goddess Kali, and aliens all co-exist on some level. The addition of that last source of otherworldly power really throws a wrench into the works.

Sure, I guess we could say that the source of both the divine [for both Judeo-Christian and Hindu faiths] is in the extraterrestrial, that these aliens seeded the world with their technology or power or however else you want to say it, but really? There’s a definite stretch to suspend disbelief on the part of the audience. I mean, sure, we can accept face-melting Arks, but aliens?

And that’s the problem that, I personally, have with the fourth Indiana Jones movie.