Deviant Paradigm: Of The Wolf Within
Random garbage. Remarks about the comic Deviant Paradigm, notes about my life, comments about politics. This is my place to rant and rave. Fear this, World! FEAR IT!

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Nickname: Avvy
Age: 24
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Technomancer and troubleshooter by trade. Programmer by choice. Creator of Deviant Paradigm, somewhat by accident.

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Saturday, February 24, 2007

Stop Abusing My Childhood
Well, I ordered Balto and Balto 2 from Amazon and they came in the other day. The DVD cover art is atrocious. But that I'll forgive; you don't buy DVDs to look at the cover art anyway. So I finally saw Balto 2. Sapph led me astray. It was nowhere nearly as impressive as he suggested it would be. The writing was physically painful. It bought into a lot of neo-native american philosophy with a bit of eastern philosophy mixed in. And then it beat you with it. Now, I'll grant, I know who I am, so coming-of-age finding-yourself stories aren't my thing any more. But I also am not fond of movies that are just about the journey. Not the experiences of the journey, many movies, including the original Balto (which is a-freaking-mazing), are about the experiences of the journey. Balto 2 is about the fact that they're going on a journey (a spirit quest in this case). So the characters aren't growing because of what they experience on this journey -- they simply reach the end and get magically endowed with enlightenment. Speaking of that -- DON'T PUT MAGIC INTO A STORY WHICH IS ROUGHLY BASED ON REAL CHARACTERS. Balto lives in Nome, Alaska. I don't happen to remember the Inuit ever making totem poles, so why the hell is there one? Please, if you're going to abuse my childhood memories, at least do some research so you can abuse them properly. In Balto, the hardships he faces cause him to come to terms with himself and his heritage, along with proving himself to everyone and heroically saving lives. In Balto 2, all we have are mystical portents, songs, and spontaneous leaps of logic. I'm ashamed by what they did to one of my most beloved movies. This is worse than going from Aladdin to Aladdin 2, mostly because Balto 2 had a moral that they had to get across in every single scene. And finally, I miss Kevin Bacon. David Carradine was well cast, though, he was perfect for his character. Now, if they'd rewrite the movie so that it was good, maybe involve this wolf pack (which also irritates me because they all look like Balto-esque wolf-dogs instead of the very distinctive wolves of Balto) way earlier in the story instead of at the last minute, it could be enjoyable. As it stands, the movie just hurts.

2 Comments:

  • At 1:48 PM, March 01, 2007, Blogger Sapph said…

    I sill maintain that the only reason you hate it as much as you do is because it suffers from "franchise syndrome." If it had just been called "Wolf Quest" with no reference to Balto or any of it's characters you'd have less of a grudge against it.

    Yes, the movie was not as good as I remembered it. Mainly because it was a year ago when I caught most of it on CN. Apparently the only things I walked away from that movie with were mainly ideas for things, and not so much the story. I'll admit that I agree with most of your gripes, but I don't agree with the level that you despise that movie with. Then again, I hate the Daredevil movie with a burning passion and own it so...

    Also, you never informed me of your dislike of neo-Native American anything...course I probably should have guessed, and I do feel the need to point out the ridiculousness of complaining about them adding magic to a movie that already involves talking huskies.

    And I did a little research and there ARE totem poles in a Alaska, and they've been there for awhile. They were not put there by the Inuit, however, so you were correct on that account.

     
  • At 2:24 PM, March 01, 2007, Blogger Avvy said…

    Yeah, you're probably right about the franchise bit. It says that it's a Balto movie, and I expected a Balto movie. Unfortunately, I also understand that they could not have possibly made it a movie without a franchise to attach it to -- there's not enough substance to the movie to make it a standalone; you need to already have some feel for the characters.

    As for the totem poles, I'll admit that Nome is costal enough for them, I just figured that it was too far north. I was aware they'd be in place near the coasts and by the Canadian border. I could be wrong; there might be totem poles there, I am just highly suspicious, that's all.

    The problem I have with the magic here is how shoe-horned into the movie it seems. It was like a bad RPG -- whenever something had to happen, it did by magic; the characters didn't actually do much of anything.

    And the reason I hate the neo-Native American crap is the same reason I hate most New Age crap. It's appallingly fake. I'm guilty of the same thing sometimes, but it's frustrating to see a major motion picture company do just enough research to put a veneer on something without any substance. It seems so stupid and empty, just a plot point, something to explain vaguely where the magic comes from.

    Maybe it frustrates me because I agree with C.S. Lewis so much too -- "The question was no longer to find the one simply true religion among a thousand religions simply false. It was rather, 'Where has religion reached its true maturity? Where, if anywhere, have the hints of all Paganism been fulfilled?'" The sheer emptiness of the pseudo-religiousity arouses the Wolf in me. He can sense the weakness. Unfortunately, most neo-Native American things are like that -- empty. I don't know if it was just missionaries being highly effective, or if outsiders simply do not have the slightest idea of what the hell real Native American beliefs are/were (I'm leaning toward the second myself), but there's not a hint of a "true religion" in them. I am reasonably certain that real Native Americans have a real religion, but by the time it filters down to me, the husk of what remains no longer feels authentic. It's like watching those creepy versions of "Christianity" that appear in anime, or, for you, how Wicca appears in movies. There's no religion left, just a plot device. And plot devices for the sake of being plot devices are a form of weakness.

     

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