The Shining (1980) review and analysis

Rated: 4.5 / 5

“I’m sorry to differ with you sir. But *you* are the Caretaker. You have *always* been the Caretaker. I should know sir, I have *always* been here.”

A lot of people tend to think of this film as a horror movie, or at the very least a thriller.  About a family composed of a mother, father, and son, where the father goes completely off the deep end thanks in-part to the hauntings of the hotel they stay at, and the son carries an abnormal element himself.  Where it becomes clear the mother must escape with her son before she loses her son to either the father/hotel, before the father/hotel kills them, repeating the events that happened 10 years ago.

While this is without a doubt a horror movie, I tend to look at it more as a commentary on history.  Not necessarily on historical events themselves (though it does have symbolism to make statements on that), but on an aspect of history as a topic.  How history affects people past, present, and future.  And this is something that one may not pick up on clearly until the very last moment of the film.

The characters are intentionally left unexplained in many ways.  Normally, I’d consider this a bad thing, having undeveloped characters.  Don’t get me wrong, we do know some things about them.  About how Jack, the father, had a drinking problem in the past, which caused him to hurt his son by accident, which damaged the entire family relationship.  Even though he quite drinking and tried to be a better person, they were never quite the same.  And we see that the mother, Wendy, is doing her best to cope with that, to move past it, trying to keep the family together, and to keep her relationship with her husband together.  After all, they both still have a relationship.  There are indications they are still trying to keep it together.  But it’s not a crack that has fully healed; which seems particularly evident with the mother’s smoking habit (stressful).  And the son, Danny.  Well, considering his youth, it’s forgivable for him to not have much background, aside from preferring to stay isolated from the other children, and having an “invisible friend” named Tony that he talks to off and on.

On the other hand, we don’t know for certain how “accidental” it was for Jack to have hurt Danny.  If it was just a momentary lapse of judgement of physical strength as he claims at the bar, or if it was an indication as to just how crazy he would become.  Though it is heavily implied he was already a bit off his rocker during the first scene we see him in (he does seem a bit off in that interview; especially with those eyebrows).  There are also subtle clues indicating that Jack has been getting more and more frustrated with his life not only because of his career failures, but also because of the indication that his family is starting to get on his nerves (subtle clues to this can be seen when they are driving towards the hotel, one of the very few scenes where they are together as a family; how he is visibly restraining himself from expressing too much annoyance and what his wife and child are saying to him, and lets off steam with some attempt at shock and sarcasm).  He wants to isolate himself from society just as much as he wants to isolate himself from his family, even though he consciously feels he still loves them, and up until the hotel had consciously tried to maintain that love.  It begs the question as to just how much the haunted hotel accelerated his descent into madness, or if he was already going mad prior to going to the hotel.  Yet the character is aware of the audience judging him, as those with a sharp eye may notice an instance when he breaks the fourth wall during his first scene at the bar with Lloyd, how he glances at the camera before going on a rant at how accidental it was that he caused harm to his son.  Like he’s saying, “Who are you to judge me, especially you looking in beyond the veil?”

Stop judging me or I’ll kill the cameraman!

“Here’s to 5 miserable months on the wagon, and all the irreparable harm that it has caused me.”

About Danny and his internal “friend.”  It is indicated that Jack was the one who set that off, set off Danny having his “invisible friend,” because the day he harmed his son was the day his son got in touch with Tony.  Thus implying (as this concept is explained later) that both Danny and Jack have the “shine” to a varying degree.  Because of Jack, Danny became more aware of it.  But Jack remains unaware of his ability, or at least what this ability of his entails despite what he is able to see (including in his dreams).  But we aren’t aware as to whether Tony is an actual real apparition that resides within Danny, or if Danny had developed a split personality disorder in order to cope with his newfound Shining gift.  After all, the other individual in the film, Dick Hallorann the cook, who is aware of “the shine” seems a bit baffled at the existence of Tony.

“She’s a confirmed ghost story and horror film addict.”

About Wendy.  We know she’s a loving mother who is trying to maintain the happiness of herself and her family, while dealing with the stress of the effort via a cigarette habit.  It’s as if she’s uncomfortable with the current state of things, but is desperately trying to ignore that and keep things together.  Just as she seems to be the only one really keeping the hotel together, as she’s the only one we ever see working the boilers and other stuff, even though Jack proclaims himself to be the one tasked with doing that very job (fanatically at times).  An indication that she is the only one making an effort at keeping their relationship together while Jack makes no effort at all?  On the other hand, she does tend to just make statements in the hopes of just making a conversation happen between her and her husband (something that can be understandably irritating in some cases, especially if this is primarily how they interact with one another).  For example, when she first interrupts him when he’s typing, and she says it in the most annoyingly likeable 50s sitcom tone (even her name is that of a traditional 50s sitcom lady):

Wendy: “Hey, the weather said it’s going to snow tonight.”

Jack: “What do you want me to do about it?”

The awkwardness of this conversation is further highlighted in a manner that even those without a sharp eye will probably notice on a subliminal level.  For those who do have a sharp eye, you may notice how in the take prior to Wendy making that statement, there is a chair and a small table up against the wall behind Jack.  But in the shot where Jack has that long pause before asking the question, the chair and table are gone.  When a couple more takes happen, the chair and table are back where they were in the earlier take.  A fluke?  Or intentional?  I’m more willing to believe the latter, since this is a Stanley Kubrick film we’re talking about here.  A Stanley Kubrick film about a haunted hotel no less.  He knows what he’s doing.

Hey… don’t be so grouchy.

All the surface ingredients are there to indicate this is a horror film about the deterioration of the family unit.  In the current film era, it is very common to see films where the father of the family tends to be unreliable and vilified (or at least have the family unit primarily run by a single mother who is indicated to be more reliable than the husband ever was), which is something I would normally despise in a film because of its propaganda (that it’s primarily women who can succeed in raising a family, they can do it alone without need of a husband because “independent woman” power).  However, keep in mind this was not a trend back then.  It was more common for the father figure to be the most inspirational, reliable, leading member of the family, while working with the wife off and on in a cohesive manner (teamwork, but his role as the team leader was established and not challenged because it was natural and not controversial).  Which is why this worked more effectively in the horror aspect back then, because we witness the downward spiral of the father figure who is commonly looked upon as the reliable one, the leader of the family unit, the primary one who worked to keep the family going (financially, and protectively).  When a figure like that loses his mind and becomes corrupted and turns against the rest of the family, that only heightens the sense of danger.  What was once a unique factor in a film like this has now become the norm in films of today.  And that is a topic I will return to later.

One of the very very few scenes the family is seen together.

So, like I was saying, on the surface this film is about the deterioration of the family unit, and how the ghosts within the hotel accelerate that deterioration.  And make no mistake, the ghosts are real.  At first one could believe they are just visions that can’t interact with the real world, that both Danny and Jack are the only ones who can really see them because of their gift (for Danny, it’s a hereditary gift).  And at first, one could believe that Danny had been strangled not by the ghost woman in room 237, but possibly by Jack, or even Danny managing to strangle himself (there are theories about the ghosts not existing, but rather them being projections from the psyche of those who have the shining).  But the moment Jack is set free from the storage room, with a ghost unlocking the door from the outside, that’s the moment we know for sure the ghosts are real, and can most definitely interact in the physical realm.  Say what you will about the shining ability, but at no point is it mentioned or demonstrated to have telekinetic capabilities; unless we’re to believe these characters can move the furniture around (or turns certain lights on and off) between takes.  What’s more, even Wendy starts to see the ghosts and images during the film’s finale.

How is it she’s able to see these ghosts and visions during the finale if she doesn’t have the ability to shine?  One could argue she had the ability all along but didn’t realize it, similar to Jack’s situation except he was able to interact with the visions in the shining without knowing this was some strange ability.  You know, like how some argue that Holdo also has Jedi powers in The Last Jedi (some ol’ bullshit).  But the better argument is that the hotel was hungry for blood, hungry for a sacrifice.  Which is why it drives certain inhabitants such as Jack and Grady into insanity to kill their family to satiate the hotel’s thirst.  So once Jack kills Hallorann (which causes Danny to scream in the darkness, utilizing that same image that was flashed to during the first act of the film when we first see Danny use the shining), the hotel is satisfied it has a blood sacrifice made.  Which is why we now hear disturbing vocals/chants/ghostly talks amidst the music.  Blood sacrifices power the hotel, and make its haunting more apparent, hence why Wendy is now able to see these images.

If the ghosts being real is any indication, there is more beneath the surface of this film than just a simple family deterioration horror story.  The final shot of the film is practically spelling this out as well.  Though many may not be entirely sure what this even means, seeing Jack in an old party photo at the hotel dated back to July 4, 1921 (fun fact: 1921 was the year the silent film The Phantom Carriage was released, which has a sequence in it you will find has striking similarity to another sequence in The Shining).  Independence Day, nearly 60 years prior to the present (in terms of when this film took place, or was released).  Plus there’s also heavy indication that something is off with the opening scene.  How the camera POV is flying across a lake, flying across a street and just going past a yellow car that it follows from a distance, and we hear haunting vocals.  Like some distant tortured scream.  And it winds up at the same destination as the car, the hotel, where the first scene of the film takes place with Jack walking into the lobby (where people check in).  As if a spirit entered the room at the same time as Jack, as if there is a connection between Jack and this unseen floating spirit that we, as the viewer, see through.  And it’s uncomfortable at times.  It was there from the beginning of the film (not just the ending), that Jack may not be a normal part of this world.  He just flies in, traveling within a time period those at the hotel admit is fast.

And there are theories about Jack.  One of them is that he is a reincarnation of Charles Grady.  This is opposed to Delbert Grady who he meets in the Gold Room (and later talks to in the restroom).  There are two Gradys (unless I’m wrong, and Charles Grady was also known as Delbert Grady), though Jack states that he “recognizes” Delbert Grady from the newspaper photos.  Some strange case of identity, that there are multiple Gradys, just as there have been multiple caretakers.  That a new Grady will be reincarnated just as there will be a reincarnated caretaker (who may be one and the same in this case).  Which is why Jack looks stunned and convinced when Delbert Grady tells Jack that he (Jack) has always been the caretaker.  Because, in a reincarnation sense, he is.

But then there’s the theory that the evil hotel simply absorbed Jack into its history.  That this photo didn’t used to have Jack in it, but by the end of the film it did.  Because Jack “sold his soul” (for a drink) to the hotel, and became somewhat possessed, or overly influenced into doing its bidding.  Or the hotel fed his evil side to take over and make him crazy enough to want to kill his family, just as Grady did in the past.  So either when he sold his soul, or when he died, he became a permanent part of the hotel’s history.  Either way, now he is trapped there, forever.  And the other people in the photo are either those from the same time period, or those are other people who have had their souls trapped in the hotel just as Jack has.  Because the Hotel “wants” damaged people like Jack capable of doing terrible deeds.

One of the ways we could’ve confirmed which of the theories is more plausible than the other is by seeing a photo of Charles Grady (the man who chopped up his family with an axe in 1970).  But we never do see a photo of this Charles Grady, to confirm whether or not the person Jack sees in the restroom has a resemblance to that Grady, just as Jack has a resemblance to the man in the 1921 photo.  Is he mis-remembering those details?  He does seem to be recalling them.  You may notice in the discussion in the restroom, Jack is making this “typing in the air” motion with his hand, a method used to recall memory.  A method also used in an anime series titled Monster (which came out well-after this film).  He seems convinced, despite the change in the first name.  Then again, he is going insane, and arguably having a difficult time distinguishing reality from… well, not so sure this can be called fantasy considering it is able to affect reality.

My son Alex needed a good ‘talking to.’

Personally, I’m more willing to believe the reincarnation theory, for a few reasons.  For one thing, Jack having that extreme sense of Deja Vu when at the hotel.  For another, the more in-depth themes of the film.  Because it’s about history repeating itself, just as reincarnations have people from past lives having a repeat life.  Consider how the photograph at the end calls back to the line, “You have always been the caretaker.”  That this outcome was bound to happen, because it was predetermined, because it was fate, maybe even because history is destined to repeat itself.

First, you may have noticed the presence of the American flag at several points throughout the film.  Jack’s initial interview at the beginning of the film in the office, a small American flag on the desk, which currently belongs to Stuart Ullman, who has a passing resemblance to John F. Kennedy.  Then there’s other places where the American flag can be seen, such as the main room where Jack does most of his typing, to the station where authorities maintain radio contact with the hotel.

There are also several mentions about how the hotel was built upon an indian burial ground, and the builders had to repel some indian attacks during this building between 1907 (when they started building the hotel) to 1909 (when construction was complete).  Indian imagery can be found throughout the hotel, as if they are haunting the hotel as well in their own way.  From the imagery above the fireplace, to the carpet in the hallways, to the rugs, and various ornaments, even some food or coffee cans.

Note how the indian imagery on the right has them shaped like rockets, with a fire lit beneath them, indicating blastoff.

The imagery became particularly noticeable (and somewhat eerie and creepy in its own way) when Danny is playing with car toys in the hallway, with them driving along the artistic lines just as they are constantly walked on and over by feet.  As if their history and memory is designed to be disrespected in this hotel, despite the homage it gives them in other areas.  An indication that this hotel was destined to be haunted by indian spirits, something Steven Spielberg and Tobe Hooper would be more blunt with in the later film Poltergeist.

So, this then becomes about how desecrating an indian site is bad, and shame on America for doing so.  After all, the hotel is supposed to represent America, and it is called the Overlook Hotel, implying history should be overlooked (just as casual viewers will overlook the finer details to be found in this film), just as the horrible events that happened in the hotel (let alone during its construction) should be overlooked.

So it’s subliminally a shame story for America right?

Wrong.

It’s not that simple.  That’s just one of several layers this film has when it comes to the topic of history.  There are also references to Ancient Greece with the hedge maze (and how Jack becomes a personification of the Minotaur within the maze, with his voice becoming less human and discernible, and becoming more monstrous), Jack mentioning “White Man’s Burden” with a drink he orders, and the other drink he orders called “Hair of the Dog that Bit Me.”  With the former drink, it’s a reference to European colonizers.  With the latter, a reference to not just having a drink to cure a hangover (a method that doesn’t work), but also to healing a wound (in medieval times it was thought that taking the hair from the dog that bit you, and putting it into the wound it gave, would help cure the wound).  The history being covered is not limited to just indian tribes.  They just so happen to be the most obvious one that is verbally pointed out on a few occasions.  We would be “overlooking” the others if we were to only focus on the indians.

And children’s tales.

Now, at this point, I’m probably going to read more into this than what the film intended.  The civilizations/societies/cultures that the colonizers took over aren’t exactly all that innocent either.  Certain indian tribes (and the Mayans) practices ritual sacrifice.  Ancient Greeks having strange excessive sexual habits.  The occupants of colonies Europeans colonized weren’t exactly innocent of their own murders and shocking events.  By colonizing them and taking up their own history in the colonizer’s own way, their misdeeds and bad habits carry on in their own way into the Overlook Hotel.

On that note, there’s another key aspect of history that this film most definitely covers.  It’s something that is easier to pick up on if you know what Stanley Kubrick’s last major film, Eyes Wide Shut, is really about.  There’s a hint of it in The Gold Room.  Another hint that this hotel was based in a location that is away from civilization, out in the wilderness, has beautiful scenery, and is isolated from the rest of the world, especially at during certain times of the year.  The other hint is with the black and white photos that hang throughout the mansion of upper class people who used to congregate there.  One more hint: the hauntings themselves during the film’s finale.  How is it that the apparitions and visions during the finale differ so much from the previous visions?  Up until then, they were primarily viewed by Danny, and he saw images of victims and blood.  Jack primarily viewed the happier high-life of the upper class of the past.  But once the blood sacrifice is made, Wendy is able to see how the horrors of the past are more affecting the present (after all, she doesn’t have the gift, she isn’t able to see the past or future, but she is able to see the present state of the hauntings since the hotel itself will shine these visions towards her).  And she sees a man dressed in a bear/bulldog costume giving a man in a fancy suit a blowjob.  She sees a man with deep gash at the top of his head saying, “Great party isn’t it?” while toasting a glass towards her.  She sees the dead skeletons in a room that hasn’t been cleaned for decades.  She sees blood gushing out of an elevator.

The color red is all about how much fun one is having.  The Hotel loves Overlooking how much bloodshed is in it, just as the elitist love overlooking the bloodshed in the country.  It wants its sacrifice, it wants its fun.  Note how often the characters in the film are having fun when they are wearing red, or around red.

All of this hints at the stuff the upper class, the “1%,” the big boys club that lives a different lifestyle under a different set of rules than the commoners, who have their own private getaways and their own private parties where they are able to indulge in illegal/forbidden/taboo acts (sound similar to something that was uncovered more recently?).  Another indication is the timing of the past events in this film.  It is stated the construction of the hotel started in 1907.  Historically, in 1907, that was when speculative banking on Wall Street caused an economic crash, which caused banks to panic and call for people like J.P. Morgan to avert an economic disaster.  Which was when an alteration to the monetary system was suggested, amidst high controversy.  At this point, money was on the Gold standard (hence The Gold Room), which is also why the bartender Lloyd tells Jack that “his credit is good” and that “your money is no good here.”  Paper money printed by the Federal Reserve is meaningless and has no value in a society whose currency is backed by Gold rather than the Federal Reserve.  And the Federal Reserve became legally signed into law years later by then-president Woodrow Wilson.  And the significance of 1921?  That’s when Woodrow Wilson’s presidential term ended.  The party was about to change, and it was about to get more strange.

This is why I view this movie as a commentary on history and its effects on society and the present.  All the clues are there to indicate the film can be interpreted as such.  Which brings forth another meaning as to what shining is.  To shine is to see history, to look at events of the past, present, and future.  See into the past, to see how it affects the present, and what can be done in the present to get an intended future.  Thus those who can shine are an allegory for historians.  There are three people who are historians in this.  Danny, Dick, and Jack.  Danny is a boy who is being exposed to history at an early age, primarily the horrific aspects of it, which is having an affect on his psyche.  Dick Hallorann is a black cook who is well experienced with history, has a respect for it, and attempts to ease Danny into it by having him avoid the more terrible aspects by telling him to stay out of Room 237 (telling him there is nothing there, which is a lie); he also tells him that the images are not real, implying they won’t cause any physical harm (which ends up not being the case).  Plus he is someone who grew up with his own history of prejudice, whether amidst the racial tensions of the 1960s (and earlier), or with the hotel itself (the length of his involvement with it is unknown, but it is long enough to know about the history of some of the rooms, maybe even all of them).

And then there’s Jack himself.  Someone who isn’t consciously aware of what the shining is (even though he passed it on genetically to Danny, and even unintentionally awakened Danny’s ability to shine).  But because he is unaware of what it is, he is more easily influenced by it, especially once he gets to the hotel.  Because to be aware of history, to be aware of what you are seeing, what it is, what it means, is to be on guard with it’s influence (such as knowing it’s in the past rather than the present).  But Jack treats everything as if it’s in the here and now, unable to distinguish the past from the present.  You could say he’s being subliminally messaged, subliminally influenced by what he sees during his own shining moments.  This also includes a resurrection of racial prejudices from the past, which can be noted from Grady telling Jack about the “nigger.”  The way Jack repeats the word back to him, like he’s never said it before, maybe not even heard it before; rather confused about the term and it’s usage.  One of the many things these ghosts and elitists are influencing him on.  And who knows how long it has been an influence on him even before he reaches the hotel.  It may have been a contributing factor to him acting somewhat cooky during the first scene of the movie.  Either way, it’s definitely causing him to fly further off the deep end at an accelerated rate (they only stayed at the hotel for a little over a month before we see his spiral become obvious, and he goes completely insane one week later).

History can horrify, history can influence, history can teach.  The images they see, that we see, can do all of that.  They can bring out the best in us (Dick trying to help others with the information he gains through shining), they can bring out the worst in us (Jack), or they could be too much for some to handle (Danny, though in all fairness he does eventually start to handle it in his own way; he does break from his Tony takeover during the finale).  And the film can be taken as an allegory for those who don’t teach history properly, learn history properly, guard themselves from the temptations of the depraved that are found in history, etc.  And the family came into the hotel with their own baggage of bad events, which they haven’t completely moved past.  Or if they had, it was brought back to the forefront to split them apart.  The thing is, Jack already seemed interested in getting away from his family, of being in isolation, so I doubt they completely addressed, resolved, and moved past everything.  The signs are there that they are still affected negatively by their own past.  But there are signs that the historians (those that shine) who are able to see the past and the future (allegory for learning from the past to predict the future) can go about saving others from a dreaded fate. Danny has the means to do the same at some future point in time (he tried to do so in his own way by trying to communicate that there would be a murder in the bathroom where his mother ended up locking herself into), but currently isn’t mature enough to get a solid handle on his powers and potential.  Dick, who is more experienced with such things, comes to the hotel to help the family from some plight after getting a vision about the room 237 ordeal, which ends up giving the mother and son the means to escape in the end (at a sad cost).

The most interesting thing, if one looks into this hard enough (and in all fairness, I learned about this detail from outside sources), Jack can be shown to be subliminally influenced by the hotel during the beginning of the film, outside of any shining activities.  When he can be seen reading a magazine.  And at this point, I’m going to be getting into a very disturbing theory some intelligent folks have come up with when they studied this film in-depth.

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The second headline beneath the title says INCEST: Why Parents Sleep With Their Children.

There is a magazine nearby for Jack to read while he waits at the hotel.  A magazine called PLAYGIRL, which I imagine is the equivalent of Playboy for women.  Strange that he should be reading that.  Then again, we’re not exactly shown what the options are, what other magazines are lying around for hotel guests to read.  But what is particularly strange is that one of the chapters in the magazine is about parents sleeping with their children.  One film analyst named Rob Ager analyzes the idea that Jack was an abusive father who sexually molested Danny, and uses this magazine reference as evidence (one of many alleged pieces of evidence) to indicate this.

Currently, I’m hesitant to completely agree (though I will get into this in some amount of detail compared to Ager’s study).  Ager is only focused on one aspect of this magazine (though Supermarket Sex Fantasy is highlighted in the bottom right), the Incest part.  He doesn’t seem to consider the other details.  For instance, the cursive writing of “Party!” on the upper right side, referencing the party the ghosts want to have with a sacrifice in blood, the color red.  There’s also “The Selling of […] David Soul,” foreshadowing Jack selling his soul for alcohol (and thus selling himself to the hotel).  The “New 7-Day Wonder Diet,” referring to most of the runtime taking place during a 7-day week, when Jack goes on a diet of a kind alright, some kind of “wonder” kind of diet (consuming shining and haunting influences provided courteously by the ghost guests of the hotel).  “Communicate in Bed,” he has a difficult time sleeping due to the shining, and when he does manage to sleep he seems to get nightmares (his howling causes Wendy to rush to his aid and wake him up).  “Tax Dollars Give New Identities To Convicted Criminals,” how the criminals who committed foul deeds in the hotel get reincarnated as new people who will do the process all over again, such as Jack killing his family with an axe all over again (subliminally, this hints at our tax dollars funding government officials who participate in things that happens at hotels like these).  Celebrity’s favorite television commercials, encouraging consumers to buy products advertised by these big corporations who also have parties at places like the hotel (perhaps referencing Jack purchasing booze).  “How To Avoid A Dead-End Affair,” (I’m assuming that last word is “affair”), Jack having a momentary affair with that ghost lady, who is dead.  Just about every headline on that magazine is incorporated into this film in one form or another, all of which involves Jack to an extent.

Now, since that all involves Jack to an extent, that would indicate he did molest his son at one point right?  Ager suggests Jack did this at some point between when he told Danny he loves him and that he would never do anything to hurt him, and the point when Jack is having that nightmare (Saturday to Monday, a two day time period), which he would say was about him chopping up his family.  He also suggests that the scene with Danny entering Room 237 was a dream, and is the same case when Jack enters the room.  In reality, either during the scene where Danny is on Jack’s lap, or just prior to Jack having a bad dream (which Ager suggests was really Jack having a dream about him molesting Danny), that was when Jack forced Danny to give him fellatio.  I’m more likely to believe the latter, considering it’s doubtful he’d be wandering around with a torn shirt and a bruised neck without his mother noticing.  The most convincing evidence I’ve seen to support this theory is Jack’s reaction to seeing Danny come into the room in this state, and Wendy accusing him of doing this to Danny.

It is a baffling reaction unless taken in that context.  Plus Danny is wearing a shirt that suggests his mouth was forcefully penetrated with a phallic object.  The Apollo 11 shirt, which may also be a reference to the Greek God Apollo, who had a homosexual relationship with the son of a king.  Ah, but right there is an indication that this might not be a sign of Jack molesting Danny.  Because in that sense, Apollo would be a metaphor for the ghosts (Gods who don’t belong in the human realm, though they are certainly capable of interacting with it).  In this case, a ghost wanting to interact with Danny on a sexual level (I told you these Greeks got sexually depraved).  The other indicator is early on in the film, after Danny has his vision of the hotel, and wakes up to the child psychiatrist.  And he has his pants removed with his legs bare.  Why is he like this exactly?  Did they find him this way, or were they removed at the behest of the mother or the psychiatrist?  Maybe Danny pissed/shit himself and that’s why they had to remove the clothing?  Either way, it seems to support the idea of the ghosts wanting their way with Danny (if only on a visual thematic level), because there was no indication of Jack being involved in that whole ordeal early on in the film.

Blast off into your mouth, with the indians celebrating.

There are other holes in this theory.  For one thing, with that Playgirls magazine, the “Communicate in Bed” article isn’t exactly something that pertains to Jack directly (unless we’re to ask what his sex life is like with Wendy; but honestly, I can’t picture them doing that at all, they have no romantic chemistry in this film, and not once is any element of eroticism suggested between the two).  It’s something that pertains more to the ghosts invading Jack’s mind, assaulting his mind while he sleeps.  Plus I also don’t buy the whole dream sequence theory.  I don’t buy dream sequences in this movie period.  It is already established that there is shining, and shining is something that would happen in place of any dream sequence.  And shining would explain Jack’s experience in room 237 better than him just dreaming about going into the room.  Plus that also brings up this problem: If Danny didn’t go into room 237, and if Jack didn’t go into room 237, then why bother showing anything within it at all?  Seems like an awful lot of buildup for nothing, especially when Dick seems to have concerns about what is in that room.  The other problem is that this takes away from the presence of the ghosts themselves, and how they are capable of interacting with the physical realm.  It’s already been established that they unlocked the pantry room Wendy locked Jack in, so is it too much too ask that they would also unlock room 237 for Danny (and Jack) to enter?  And there’s the whole issue of Danny having a seizure with his shining experience that is so strong even Dick can feel it (I’m starting to think that first name of his was intentional for the sake of having conversations like these).  Which means Danny is either having that shining experience because of a dream his father is having, or because of a room his father his visiting where he is having his own shining experience.  I’m more willing to believe the latter, because this indicates that a shining experience can be shared between multiple people who have that gift.  Because if it’s not the latter, then it’s the former, which implies Danny can see into Jack’s dreams, which opens up another can of worms with another theory about the movie that Danny is the one responsible for making these visions happen, and is thus the cause of Jack’s shining experiences (a theory I don’t fully buy into either).  And I’m not going to get into that here, other than to mention that the scene with the bear-dog man giving fellatio to an elitist could be interpreted as Danny projecting to his mother an image of the traumatizing experience he had with his father (as opposed to my interpretation that this represents one of the taboo sex acts these elitists do with animals, just as some ancient Greeks did in their time).

Ager also suggests that the “Choking” poster refers to Danny choking on Jack’s… you know.  But that could just as easily refer to the ghost lady strangling Danny (they do express to Jack that they have it in for him).

And this begs the question.  If Jack didn’t molest Danny, then what about all that symbolism, those awkward reactions, that magazine, and all that stuff?  The answer is rather simple (I hope).  The Playgirls magazine references stuff that not only subliminally influences Jack (in the past, present, and future), but also stuff that subliminally influences everyone.  And by everyone, that doesn’t just include Wendy, that also includes us, the viewers.  Why else do you think Jack breaks the fourth wall on several occasions and looks at us viewers through the camera?  Because we are being given subliminal messages through this movie as well, including the idea that Jack is a child molester, when the evidence for it is circumstantial and not clear cut.  Granted, Jack is likely being subliminally messaged to do this to his son, but that doesn’t take away from the theory that this idea is being planted into our heads so that we can think even lesser of him than we did before (which I’m sure not many thought was possible on a first time viewing of this film).  That magazine represents the corporate elite brainwashing the mainstream, so why not implement a bit of that brainwashing on the mainstream viewership in another way?  We know Jack is an irresponsible selfish crazed lunatic, but we don’t know for sure what led him to fully fall into that state.  How much of it was the ghosts subliminally getting to him?  How much of it was his own fault?  How much of it was corporations like those who made the Playgirls magazine?  How much of it was booze?  How much of it was his family (and if it was his family, in what ways)?  It’s not as if he started out this way, otherwise why would Wendy be with him in the first place?  You see what I mean about how it’s not a bad thing to leave details to these characters unexplained so that we don’t know for sure as to the actual state of them?  Yet some judge anyway, because that is safer than pondering the ultimate terror: the unknown.

The Shining - The Carpet Trick
Source

On the other hand, there are many holes and contradictions in this film that tend to make any of these types of theories stand on somewhat shaky ground.  My theory (or theories) as to the state of things in the film, and the messages within it, likely have their own flaws as well.  Just as the hotel has its flaws.  I’m not talking about the past misdeeds that haunt the hotel, I’m talking about structural design and inconsistencies.  This hotel is not physically capable of existing in its current design.  People have tried recreating it by mapping it out based on what is shown in the movie, and they came up with contradictions and impossibilities.  Objects are subtly moved around between takes.  Sometimes doors don’t open and close the way they should.  Even the damn characters seem to somehow move around between certain takes.  There are deliberate contradictions intended to fuck with the most analytical of viewers, and subliminally unsettle the rest.  It is layered enough to where even those who analyze it heavily will have differing opinions about to, and will never come to an agreement over its meaning.

After all, (((they))) can’t have us working together and agreeing on things now can (((they)))?

Great party isn’t it?  I love is so much, my head can’t contain the red blood that wants to burst out of it.

It’s no wonder then that there is an underlying dark sense of humor to this film.  Like Dick having those pictures of naked ladies in his room (so unexpected, considering his nice guy demeanor).  Or the fact the Jack Nicholson plays a character named Jack who orders a Jack Daniels from the bartender.  Or how silly Jack’s facial expressions are, and how some of us can just sit back and laugh at how he acts towards Wendy during that scene where she has the bat and is backing away from him.  Because it’s a world gone crazy, with crazy brainwashed people like Jack being schoolteachers (like Jack was, after he tried to move on from being a failed writer).  Brainwashed people who claim to have responsibilities when they act irresponsibly while others (like Wendy) carry the weight to try and keep things running.  A crazy place like America with elitists running the show just as the ghosts are running the hotel.  And each country has their own ghosts, their own skeletons in the closet, their own depraved history.  Then again, there’s also the globalists who helped establish such institutions as the EU, UN, and Federal Reserve (each country has their own linked version of it), to drive things and influence people into doing things.  To corrupt people, just as the hotel (and others) corrupted the father, and thus the family unit.  Corrupting how others will look at the father figure until they’ve determined that this is normal, that fathers aren’t ever to be trusted.  And there is nothing to do but try to run and escape from this maze, which grows larger by the day.  Soon the whole world will become this labyrinth of which no one can escape, where we will be stuck in here with the crazies, while the crazies in control get to look down on us wandering it and smile their demented smiles.  After all, how do we know for certain that Wendy and Danny actually escaped and got to a safe place?  All we see is them leaving the hotel on a snow mobile, which Wendy likely doesn’t have much experience with, and we see them go into the dark unknown.

 

It’s a world gone mad, and all we can do is sit back and laugh at it like Jack does.

 

 

 

PS: For those who are interested, all that I’ve covered here is only scratching the surface of this film.  If you don’t believe me, may I direct you to the Shone Report:

Phantasy Star I-IV (1988-1995) review

A couple months ago I felt this urge to go back to retro gaming.  I don’t mean retro PC, I don’t mean downloading an emulated game on the PC.  I mean actual old-school console gaming.  But I found myself in a predicament.  I used to own a Sega Genesis, and a decent game collection for it.  But it was taking up so much space.  So I gave the whole thing away a few years ago, as a gift to some podcast guys I no longer listen to.  A part of me was tempted to purchase one of those “system and controllers plus collection of games” on eBay, but I knew that wouldn’t be the right thing to do, at least not currently.  That would just put me back in the same situation as before, and I need to be more efficient with my space.  So I opted for the next best thing, one of those classic retro gaming systems that had a bunch of games built into it, the the NES Classic, the SNES classic, or the recently released Genesis Classic.  I would’ve to go for the SNES classic, if it had the games I wanted.  But they didn’t, not all of them.  Then I found out it could be modded.  So I had two choices.  Either purchase the console mini and work on putting emulations on a USB drive and go through this somewhat complex process of adding more games to the console myself.  Or I could purchase this version I saw on eBay where the console was already modded with 7000+ games; this included not just every SNES game ever made, but also every NES and Genesis game ever made, plus a large selection of Arcade, Famicom, Sega Master System, and Atari games.  For about $200.  I decided just to purchase it.  I wasn’t sure myself if I could find good emulations of all the titles that this thing included, so I figured it was worth it to go for it.  Several sellers on eBay currently do this.  While there were some versions that had more or less the 7000 number, I opted to stick with that version for one reason only.  I wanted the entire NES, SNES, and Genesis collection.  Everything else was just a bonus.

So far, despite a couple minor nitpicks here and there (mainly due to cropping of the screen on some titles), it was worth the investment.  And aside from revisiting some games I played during my childhood, I went for the ones I hadn’t experienced.  One of the main ones being the competitor to the Final Fantasy series, Phantasy Star.

 

 

Phantasy Star

Rated: 3.5 / 5 *

* This score depends on whether it’s played modded or unmodded.  See mod note below.

So this game wasn’t technically released on the Sega Genesis.  It was released for the Sega Master System, the system Sega utilized (outside of their arcades) before the Genesis came out a year later.  And this is arguably the best-looking game on that console.  Hell, it’s better-looking than some of the games on the Genesis system.  Because they packed in a lot of memory space into the cartridge, to the extent where it became a selling point.  At a price above the average Sega title.  And it shows.  The animations of the characters when you’re wandering the world screen, the monster animations on the battle screen, and then the infamous dungeons themselves.  They all push the limits of what the Master System (in all its 8-bit glory) could handle.

And it’s the dungeons themselves that give this game the biggest entertainment factor.  And there are 3 ways to go about it.  One way is to use graph paper to track the layout of the dungeon.  Yes, this does mean purchasing a stack of graph paper, and marking out the squares to indicate how long a hallway is, space by space, knowing when the turns are coming up, tracking pitfalls, stairways (and marking where they lead, up or down, and using another graph paper for that level).  This will no doubt put off some people, and I have to admit I didn’t do this for the most part.  But I eventually decided I should try it for at least one of the dungeons, and I found it more immersive that way.  These games carry an extra weight of immersiveness when you utilize objects in the real physical non-digital realm to track your progress in a digital game.  That, and I also used a notebook to track important conversations with NPCs so that I would could reference what I should do and where I should be going (it also helps with the immersiveness if you do that rather than rely on an in-game journal, which old-school games like this don’t have).  These dungeons are a very fun maze when approached in this manner.  It helps to make you feel like you’re really in one.

The second way is to get a hold of the maps (which can be easily found online) to assist you.  This is what I did for most of the game.  If I ever replay this, I’m going pencil-and-paper.  But for those who don’t wish to do that, this is an option.

The third way can be used if you have a Nintendo Switch (which I don’t, and even if I did it feels wrong playing a Sega game on a Nintendo system, even though I did that anyway on an modded SNES emulator).  Which contains the Sega Ages mode.  They did a respectable job with their semi-updated game version, where they track your progress of the dungeon, and automatically map it for you the further you progress.

Whichever version you choose, you’ll also experience the iconic dungeon music.  And there are two versions of this track.  First there’s the regular version, which was the only one gamers in America could get a hold of.

And then there’s the FM enhanced version, which certain Sega Master systems contained in Japan, but nowhere in the U.S.A.  We got a bit screwed over, but it’s still a great track no matter which version you listen to.

All that aside, the story is minimal in this game.  Don’t get me wrong, there’s a story there, and it opens up with one.  Plus I highly recommend the game manual to further enhance it, as it tells you more about the world you inhabit, plus the solar system itself.  ‘Cause you’ll be traveling to a few planets in this game.  You don’t just stay one one planet.  That is also an ambitious feature.  Plus the manual gives mandatory descriptions of the spells and items in the game; which is must-have information considering the game doesn’t exactly explain what they are or what they do.

Back to the story.  Once you get past the intro, and you get the other 3 members added to your party, things stay largely minimal for the most part.  You have an established goal and character motivation, and you do learn more when you talk to the NPCs (something you have to do to gain an understanding of things, and learn what to do next, unless you’re using a walkthrough).  That’s right, talking to NPCs isn’t optional just for thematic fluff so they can tell you their life story and how the world is mistreating them or something like that.  They give you a grasp of the situation of the town you’re in, and the world, and give you need-to-know information required to take the right actions to progress through the game.  And there’s no map guide to tell you where to guy, you have to figure it out yourself until you get familiar with the environment.  The way a game should be, not holding your hand, and trusting you to find the information yourself.

But there are a couple instances where it definitely doesn’t tell you enough about what to do.  The first major instance is on the ice planet (Dezo for short) where you need to purchase an Icebreaker mobile to break the ice around some frozen mountain ranges so you can get to a dungeon.  The problem is, the machine doesn’t break just any ice wall, only a specific area.  And no one tells you where the fuck that area is.  That is when I had to utilize a guide to help me out.  The second time was with the very last dungeon, where I kept going in circles until I found out I had to turn to face a wall at this one spot, where a door will be.  And there’s no indication a door will be there until you turn to face that particular section.  We’re not talking optional hidden areas that are in some dungeons (where you have to walk through a wall to know they are there), this is a spot that you have to find in order to progress through the game.  Some rubbish!

As for the monotonous combat typical of J-RPGs like these.  I have to admit, one of the reasons I went for this game was because I part of me felt like going back to these simplistic repetitive combat systems.  I’m not 100% sure why.  Because I felt like re-experiencing these systems to see if I hate them as much as I did in hindsight (prior to playing this)?  Or some nostalgia factor for this style of gameplay calling me back in, despite how much I proclaim to despise these types of J-RPG turn-based battle systems?  Or because one game in the series was brought up in my Nostalgia for the 90s retrotrip series?  Or because I was this desperate to experience a quality RPG in a franchise I have never played out of spite for the quality of games in the current industry?  Who knows?  But in any case, the system in this game is a bit different than what I’m used to in turn-based battles.  Rather than having a character select an attack/spell type and who to target it with, you just select the attack/spell type, and they attack a random enemy on screen.  Now, there will only ever be one enemy sprite on the screen, but in the upper right corner it will specify how many enemies of that type there are, and your character randomly attacks one of them (unless it’s an attack that hits all of them).  I actually rather enjoyed this quaint little feature.  Gave my mind less to think about in these turn-based systems I already found a bit mindless.

The leveling and grinding.  At the start of the game, you will be doing a fairly good amount of grinding.  Because you’re character starts out as an absolute wimp.  You have to pick and choose your battles (ie knowing when to run away, when to fight, and when to realize you’re going to die so you better hope you saved the game prior to the battle starting).  Each time you level up will feel like a major accomplishment.  Eventually you will get tough enough to not need to go back to town and rest at a home after just one battle.  Then after just two battles.  Then three.  Eventually you will get tough enough to where you can make a trek to another town.  And once I got through the first major dungeon, I didn’t need to do anymore grinding for the rest of the game.  So leveling and grinding wasn’t much of an issue.  In fact, you become capped at level 25, a level you’ll most likely reach before you even hit the final dungeon, let alone the final boss.

Aside from going into areas with enemies much stronger than you (ie, you likely went there too soon, or forgot to acquire superior weapons and armor), the fights really aren’t all that difficult.  For the most part, you’ll just be doing basic attacks, with the only spells being cast after combat to heal your party before you continue on.  That all changes when you get to the last two bosses, especially the very last one.  They will definitely give you a run for your money, and will force you to put more thought into your battle strategy (of which you likely had none beforehand).

All in all, I rather enjoyed the pacing of this game.  You start on a quest for vengeance, get some allies along the way to fight a tyrannical leader, get some legendary destiny weapons and armor prior to the final battle, and bring peace not just to the world, but to the star system.  But it does have that extra added element to it about an evil force that corrupted the mind(s) of the ruler(s) to do its bidding, which is a theme I appreciated (as subtle as it was handled).

It was a worthwhile playthough, in spite of those two progress-halting problems.

 

Mods

However, it is worth noting that there is a modded version of the game that comes recommended, especially if you plan on playing the sequels.  The translation of the game was a bit on the problematic side when it came to names (let alone the dry dialogue delivery).  For instance, a character named Noah in the English version is referenced as Lutz in all the sequels.  So a fan-translation was made that is more faithful to the Japanese version, and more consistent with the names of some characters in the sequels, especially 2 and 4.  And having played just the first minute of this English translation patch (not to mention having the Japanese version downloaded as an .sms file includes the FM music, which grants superior sound quality all around), I can already state that this is the definitive way to play the game, and absolutely the way I would play it if doing so again.  I wouldn’t revisit the official English version after experiencing it this way.

First you’ll need a Sega emulator.  I prefer Fusion:

https://wowroms.com/en/emulators-software/181/Kega%2BFusion.html

Then you’ll need the Japanese version of the game:

https://wowroms.com/en/roms/sega-master-system/phantasy-star-japan/57928.html

Then you’ll need the English translation patch:

https://www.romhacking.net/translations/1069/

Then you’ll need the Lunar IPS patcher:

http://www.romhacking.net/utilities/240

After unzipping all those files, make a copy of the game .sms file, and the english patch .ips file, and put them in the same folder as the Lunar patcher, though it’s recommended just to have it all on the desktop (always keep a backup of the original sms and ips files in case something goes wrong).  Run the patcher, clicl the “Run IPS Patch” button, select the sms file, then the ips file, and it will patch the sms file just like that.  Place the .sms file in whatever folder is convenient for you (somewhere near the Fusion emulator folder), and run the game.  If it runs and it’s in English, you did it correctly.

Since this version won’t come with any fancy Nintendo Switch mapping, you’ll be forced to play the dungeons either as pencil and graph paper style, or downloading images of the dungeon maps and using them as a reference style.  Either way, this is the most immersive way to play.  Having great quality dialogue (not to mention superior quality music) will help A LOT.

 

 

 

Phantasy Star II

Rated: 2.5 / 5 *

* This score could go up a notch with the right mod.  See below.

So this game makes up for the first one in the storytelling department, in that more plot developments occur as the game goes on (plus more cutscenes).  And there are some major colossal events that happen in this game that even took me by surprise once they unfolded.  Though I do take issue with this one aspect of the ending, more on that later (I will give a spoiler warning, indicating when I’m about to spoil, and when I’m done spoiling).  But it’s not only an overall improvement in terms of storytelling from the first game, but also contains themes much more relevant to today, if not altogether more necessary to hear.  It’s about how the planets on the Algo system are run by an artificial intelligence known as Mother Brain.  And how those on your home planet of Motavia have become lazy and overly reliant on this AI technology that runs things for everyone.  Life doesn’t seem to have much meaning, especially since death has no meaning, thanks to clone labs which can revive anyone after they get killed, for a fee.  And space travel is now banned (it’s deemed unnecessary and dangerous; much like certain books banned from Amazon).  And once incidents begin to occur (starting with monsters appearing and killing people), it’s up to you to do something about because you’re one of the very few people motivated enough to actually do something (plus you’re an agent).  That’s about all I’ll say about it, but you could imagine where the relevance can go from there.

There’s also level design that accompanies this theme.  How the overworld itself is relatively easy to navigate, how each section of the planet with a town is divided too neatly, because Mother Brain designed it this way.  It’s efficient, but uninteresting (which is the point).  But once you go to another planet, then things open up considerably.  You’re now in a world not run by Mother Brain, without reliance on an AI system, and you have to navigate on your own without much ease of reference.  Highlighting the pros and cons of independence vs. lack thereof.  You’re independent, but life is more difficult, vs. your dependent for the sake of an easygoing life, but you’re at the mercy of those who rule over you or any unexpected catastrophes.

That would seem great and all, except for one very fucking annoying thing that practically ruins this game for me.  The goddamn dungeons.  It’s not that they no longer have that first person view of the first game that bothers me (none of the other Phantasy Star games even tried to replicate that; shame).  Oh no.  It’s how insanely complex these goddamn levels are.  And it mostly has to do with the fucking teleporters.  It’s so fucking annoying going into dead ends and getting lost, it’s no wonder the game came with a fucking player guide to help you through these things.  And you’ll need it.

Cover
“Your adventure would be very difficult without this guide.”  No fucking shit!

Those dungeons are so insanely complex, it tends to defeat the purpose of an easygoing world.  On the other hand, maybe they are supposed to be that way as a metaphor for how complex a computer mind works.  Either way, I don’t care; playing through them is a pain in the fucking ass without the guide.  And no mod I know of has dealt with that.  Whatever.  Fuck dungeons with teleporters.

And if that wasn’t bad enough, though this would likely explain why the dungeons are designed this way, the amount of grinding you have to do in this game is ungodly.  If you’ll recall my description of the amount of grinding you had to do in Phantasy Star I, and how that was mostly limited to just the beginning of the game, this game is like that, except the entire way through.  However, I did know about this ahead of time (I had a little experience playing this years ago), so I said, “Fuck this,” to that, and used an easy mode mod (more on that later).  It helped with the problem, considerably (I don’t have THAT much patience for monotonous J-RPG turn-based battles).  So yeah, compared to the first game, the leveling and grinding is fucking atrocious here, without an easy mod!  At least the battle music is decent.

So, dungeons aren’t that fun, the standard game grinding is horrible for those who aren’t into that sort of thing (you fucks who are into that will grow up into BDSM fanatics who pierce your tits with cacti and shove spoons up each others’ asses).  The other downgrade this game suffers compared to the first is also in the battle screen.  In that there is only one background, in total, in the entire game, without ever changing.  Some digital square thing like you entered Tron world or something.  With no fucks given about even trying to hide the fact that combat is monotonous.  The designers were probably thinking, “Oh, you spoiled rotten prick bitches thought combat was monotonous before?  Well then we won’t give a fuck about the background images.  See how you blue-balled virgins enjoy it now!”  Now, that’s not the real reason the battle system is like this.  The developers were pressed for time, so they had to make concessions (this wasn’t the only one, but it is the one that hurts the game the most).  This game is like the polar opposite of its predecessor, where there was such a thing as too much grinding, the dungeons were fun, and the battle screens had actual backgrounds.

But I will say this.  The monster animations on the battle screen are certainly improved compared to those of the first game.  And there is more detail to the characters, both in battle and outside of battle.  And now there can be up to four different enemies on the screen at the same time.  On top of that, combat can now go into full auto mode once you select FGHT (ie Fight).  You don’t need to hit any other buttons as you watch your characters fight.  You could interrupt at certain points though by hitting the B button (if using a Genesis controller), at which point you can customize the attacks/spells/items used in a round of combat.  Otherwise, you’ll be targeting the left-most enemy group first before going after the other enemies.

On top of that, this game is deliberately trying to piss me off.  In the previous game, you could save anytime anywhere outside of battles.  In this game, you can only save at save points in the city.  At first.  But if you get a certain character, level her up enough, and then take her to a certain place to steal a certain item, you’ll then be able to save anywhere outside of battles and dungeons.  That’s cock-teasing bullshit!  And on top of that, someone had the bright idea of having each character hold items separate from the party.  So when you acquire an item, it doesn’t go into a general item supply, it goes to the character who picked it up (or to the next in line if they reached a limit).  So now you have to micromanage who’s holding one, especially when you have to switch out party members.  And the process by which you do this is fucking painful (open menu, select item menu, select item, select “Give,” select party member to give that one item to, rinse and repeat).

Plus the instruction manual (separate from the hint book) for this game sucks compared to the first game’s manual (not enough descriptions of the spells/items).  This is an unfortunate problem that is maintained through the rest of the games, including IV.  You’ll need an online guide for the spell descriptions in those.

So, with that out of the way, the ending.

SPOILERS START

So it ends with you first encountering the Dark Force from the first game (implying it was influencing someone, or something, for an evil purpose; possibly Mother Brain itself or those who programmed it), and then take on Mother Brain herself.  Afterwards, you encounter a bunch of people in another room.  It is learned that they are a race of humans from a distant planet in another galaxy, known as Earth, and that they are responsible for coming to this system, creating Mother Brain, and using her as a means to take over each planet in the Algo system, making the occupants subservient, and then planned to colonize the planets for their own deeds.  Why do this?  Because they ruined Earth with their pollution and scavenging of all minerals/food/greenery/etc.  The main problem that I have with this is that these people are from Earth.  By trying to make this plot hit that close to home, it made me disconnect with the story a bit.  Plus it negates the appearance of Dark Force a bit.  Sure, we can assume Dark Force influenced the Earthers to destroy the Algo system, but it seems like they intended to do that from the start.  It just seemed forced, this message of warning us about creating our own destruction, when the same thing could’ve been accomplished by having people from one of the Algo planets create Mother Brain for similar reasons because Dark Force influenced them to do so.  In fact, one of the mods for the game did precisely that (see below).

SPOILERS END

So overall, despite the more ambitious and better told story (despite my caveats with the ending), ultimately I found this inferior to the first game simply due to the grinding (a problem non-existent with a mod or two), the dungeons, and the lack of a background in the battle screen.  With that out of the way:

 

Mods

Numan Revolution: Changes up the script a bit, and some revelations near the ending.  Plus it also makes the battles and leveling easier.  I haven’t tried this mod yet, but if I ever feel like giving this game another go (it will be a while before that ever happens), I’ll likely give this mod a spin.

Easy Mode: I played my runthrough with this mod.  You get more EXP and Meseta (game currency) with each battle, leveling you up faster and gaining money quicker so you can get the necessary weapon upgrades sooner.  If nothing else, I wouldn’t play without a mod that did something like this.

More can be found here: https://www.romhacking.net/games/66/

 

 

 

Phantasy Star III: Generations of Doom

Rated: 2.5 / 5 *

* Even with mods I’m not so sure the rating could be higher than this.

This one is notorious for being the black sheep in the series.  And it shows.  On the positives, it brought back backgrounds for the battle screens (thanks Christ), some improved movement where characters will automatically move around sharp corners (it’s subtle but welcomed), much more reasonable dungeons compared to the 2nd game, allows 5 party members at a time, had an insane ambition of multiple choices for multiple paths to take in the game and allow for up to 4 alternate endings, and a fairly good music track for the opening prologue.  Plus it has the usual Dark Force making a return to influence people to do evil again (a tradition in these games).  And that opening prologue music track, it’s pretty damn great (see video above).

The overall quality of the game suffers from rushed production (let alone a different team working on it).  The character and overworld quality looks a tad worse, the towns are very monotonous, many empty rooms where there should be NPCs, terrible monster animations (I’m not kidding, the attack animation for one monster is literally him flexing his pecs, another just flicking his wrist), irritating sound effects, battle music that causes some gamers’ ears to bleed, and poor presentation of the story, especially during the final arc.  For instance, after you collect the final legendary/destiny/prophetic weapons and armor (a tradition in these games), and take it to these priest guys to get enchanted or something, all that happens is you talk to a priest, he says something like, “Go forth and kill so-and-so,” and that’s the only indication you get that the weapons have been enchanted.  There’s no sound effect, no special effect, nothing.  I had to check my inventory to see if something changed, and that’s when I saw that it did.

And on top of that, it still has that “each character holds a bag of items” annoyance from the last game.

Weak.

It’s like this game took one step forward, two steps back.

Seriously, don’t those red things on the lower right look like a bunch of dicks?

The only reason this is worth recommending is because of its ambition.  You play as one protagonist for a while, then you’ll eventually have to choose one of two women to marry.  Not much is really said about either of them, so I didn’t really know what traits either of them had to make me attached to either of them.  They have no character.  I blame the rushed production on this, and the lack of insight into any of these characters.  But anyway, you pick one, then you continue the game later on as the son of that couple.  Rinse and repeat one more time, then you play through the rest of the game as a 3rd generation.  So yeah, this was quite ambitious and commendable, but the presentation of it is so poor it becomes difficult to appreciate.  At least you can save anytime again (and there’s no jerking you around like the 2nd game where you have to acquire a mcguffin first in order to do that).  And you won’t need to grind too much either (just at the beginning, like the previous games).

But the absolute worst thing about this game, almost as bad as the dungeons in the second game, is the goddamn backtracking.  Which is exacerbated by the fact that you no longer have those spells from the last game that can teleport you to the nearest town (no items that do that either, best you’ll get is something to teleport you out of a dungeon), which is a dick move.  You will backtrack through this cocksucking world a lot.  And I’m not just talking going back and forth between the same areas in one generation.  No.  All 3 generations travel the same paths, except the next generation explores a couple more areas each time.  This was a fucking chore.  At least the battles are overall easier than in all the other games.  Seriously, even the final boss is easy to beat.  First game got pretty damn hard, the 2nd game’s Dark Force Boss was very very hard, and this one is easy compared to both.

And honestly, that’s all I really have to say about this.  It could’ve been one of the best, if not the best, in the series if they had more time to work on it, or maybe had a better writing/animation team.  But they didn’t.  And it ends up being one of the worst.  Disappointing.  But playing through it, at times, you can really see that potential.  It’s there, it really is.  It just wasn’t tapped into.  On top of that, this doesn’t contribute to the main overall storyline of the series as much as I, II and IV do.  That being said, IV makes some references to it, so it could still be worthwhile.  And there is that opening prologue music…

 

 

Mods

Well, having not tried any of them, some look like they could address some of those presentation problems.  Only other thing that would be great is if they could improve the music and the speed of movement.

Nial Edition: Dialogue has been improved (yay!), but equipment is weaker (boo!), but the amount of EXP and Mesenta gained from battle is doubled (yay!), but I’ve heard you can’t marry one of the women, thus cutting down the potential paths and endings by half (boo!).  A mixed bag, but it’s known among the modding community for those who play this game.

General Improvement: Improved/expanded dialogue, more NPCs to give them so that the towns are less empty, and overall makes the plot, characters, and development more clear.  Doesn’t mess with the gameplay at all.

More Accurate Translation: Basically like the mod for Phantasy Star I, in that you need a Japanese version of the ROM, and this patch, and a patcher.  Worth noting because the General Improvement mode states that it never bothered to look at the original Japanese translation, and doesn’t care.  But hey, if you enjoy the game enough, maybe you’ll feel like playing it through once with one version, and again with the other version.  Assuming having 4 paths to take leading to 4 endings isn’t good enough, for a game of this quality.

 

 

 

Phantasy Star IV: End of the Millennium

Rated: 4 / 5

Oh man.  This game made playing through the others feel worthwhile.  If you enter this game coming off the heels of the previous three, the upsurge in overall quality is going to hit you fast and hard like a bag of bricks to the face.  It all led up to this, which provides an ending to the franchise, and ending to the Dark Force arc, and all the while references characters and events from all the other games (though only minor mentions to the 3rd game, but it is brought up enough in this one side quest that made plowing through it feel worth it).  And it’s considered not just the best in the series (though some people who are fucked in the head would argue the 2nd one is better), but one of the best J-RPGs of all time.  And after having played it, I’d have to agree.  This is easily the best Phantasy Star game, by a mile.  The presentation blows the others out of the water, the leveling is perfect, the difficulty in combat is perfect, the callbacks to the other games are great (and are only really impactful if you’ve played through the others; you could get away with skipping the 3rd game though), it nails the pacing…

… gotta stop with the praising if I want to review this properly.

The graphic style has returned to the form of the 2nd game.  The monster animations in combat are better than ever, and it’s got loads of different backgrounds.  And there aren’t only cutscenes of people walking around, stopping, then having a dialogue box pop up.  Oh no.  This has cutscenes of images popping up ala comic book style.  The amount of detail, and the quantity of detail, going into those alone is insane for a 16-bit game.  This game was expensive (and a bit difficult to find) when it first came out, and you can see why when you play this.  You wouldn’t think a Sega Genesis game could look and feel this great.

Plus the characters walk considerably faster in this game compared to the others.  Some have argued that they move too slow in II and III (especially III, with all the backtracking).  You will not have that problem here.  Some might say they move too fast.  Though I do see a potential consequence of this.  Sometimes, when you try to talk with an NPC, you move into this position where you end up talking to a blank space, and your lead character will say something like, “There’s nothing here.”  One of the lead characters will even berate you for doing that.  Other times you’ll do that auto-move around sharp corners thing, when you really want to just press up against some object to get more details on it.  Minor inconveniences like that.  But honestly, I’ll take those irritations over moving too slow.

The combat system has some changes to it (aside from removing the whole, “each character holds a bag of items” shtick from the last two games; it’s back to a general supply bag, thank Christ).  It’s more traditional, in that now you select an attack/spell/item from your character, and select a target for them to hit with it.  But it also brings in something else to combat more unique to this game (though others have sort of copied the essence of this idea).  There’s a system where you can program which type of attack a character will make, in which order.  It’s possible to form some technique/spell combos when doing this, though you’ll likely be discovering them by accident.  It’s possible to play through the game without ever utilizing this system to that effect, but it allows for a nice system of discovery and exploitation.

As for the story themes, honestly, despite my praise for the presentation and the pacing, even though the plot is very solid, there’s a lack of that tradition of Dark Force influencing people to do evil.  Don’t get me wrong, it’s there.  But it goes away before the game is even halfway over.  It becomes a more typical good vs. evil type of game, without really playing into the faults of humanity and giving in to temptations and the lust for power.  On the other hand, I’m not entirely sure the game should be faulted for that.  After all, the previous three games go over all that, and the only way to really raise the stakes is to elevate the significant of Dark Force itself rather than the people it influences, and put the fate of the galaxy in your hands amidst the conflict.  I think it’s because I just wanted epic perfection to go along with this presentation (which is the best presentation anyone could’ve asked for from this series).  A little more of the human struggle.  But that’s just me.  The story is still solid, and it adds considerably to the lore that was setup in the first game.  Come to think of it, aside from the development and evolution of the population of the Algo star system, nothing much is really developed about Dark Force in II or III, other than it returns every 1000 years (sort of like The Fifth Element).

Unlike the other games, there are some legit side quests here.  With the other games, anything given the appearance of a side quest is more of a mandatory quest in the end.  Here, there are some honest-to-God sidequests that are completely optional to winning the game.  Some of them are meh (specifically some of the Hunters Guild quests), but overall a nice addition.

The music is also some of the best this series has ever gotten.  It has an amazing remix of the dungeon theme from the first game, a decent remix of the battle music from the second game, and has plenty of its own great tracks.  The dungeon music in this (for the cave dungeons anyway) is hypnotic.  Almost as hypnotic as the look of the game’s final dungeon (try not to get hypnotized with that).  Seriously, you’ve gotta give those dungeon tracks a listen.

And lastly, the difficulty of the combat.  There are about 4 boss fights (well, 3 boss fights and 1 side-quest boss) that are definitely challenging.  The first 3 will really make you work for it.  They are worthy in their difficulty.  The last one, well, that one is more of an endurance test than anything else (so long as you have the means to heal certain members of your party and keep doing damage at a consistent rate, you’ll be fine).  And the regular enemies seem to stay at just the right amount of difficulty the whole way through.  A bit difficulty at the beginning (need to do a small amount of grinding), average stuff through most of the game, then they start to get a little more difficult during the final act(s).  This game nails the difficulty and leveling better than the others.  If the first game had you level too fast (in that you reach the cap too soon), and the second game had you level too much (plenty of grinding required), and the 3rd game it didn’t matter because the final boss wasn’t that tough, then this one is nearly perfect in its execution.

All in all, it’s worth going through the others just to get to this game (though 3 is a bit on the optional side, especially if you find it insufferable).  This one comes recommended.  But you’ll only feel the emotional impact if you’ve also experienced the other games.  This is the game that proves the Phantasy Star series should’ve been on equal footing with the Final Fantasy series.  In fact, I’d argue that I and IV were better than the Final Fantasy games put out during those time periods.  As for II, well, having not played any of the older Final Fantasy games outside of IV and VI (Or was it III and IV?  Or III and VI?  Fuck if I know, North America really pisses me off sometimes with how they mess with foreign games), I wouldn’t know for sure how it stacks up with Final Fantasy II in terms of story and dungeon crawling (I’d imagine it’s on-par when it comes to grinding).  Either way, the Phantasy Star franchise is worth experiencing.

 

Mods

They exist, but I don’t find myself ever using any of them.  So for those who are curious:

http://www.pscave.com/dow/hacks/

Alita: Battle Angle (2019) review

Rated: 2.5 / 5

So when this first came out, there were some mixed reactions to it. Then Captain Marvel came out, and a lot of people were like, “See Alita instead, it’s way better.” Then it went from that to, “Alita is the best female action movie of the year!” Like Captain Marvel was driving these people to proclaim Alita as the holy angel of movies this year due in-part out of spite. So I decided to check it out when I saw it available at my local library.

It took me a while to get used to her CG face…

… ok, that’s a lie. I never got entirely used to it. Or any of the CG robo faces. They’re just so fucking weird. It’s like having CG mouths to get animals to talk in those kid flicks, except worse. But I eventually got around to tolerating it.

And then there’s this one aspect I just fucking knew was going to be in this film because Hollywood makes this a requirement in every movie now. The doctor’s black nurse assistant. She’s just fucking there, and doesn’t do shit except make reaction faces. They could’ve scrapped her entirely from the film and not one goddamn thing would’ve changed. It’s one of the purest examples of forcing that diversity quota, and I find it irritating.

Well Look At You Alita Movie GIF - WellLookAtYou LookAtYou Look GIFs

“But wasn’t she in the manga?”

No, the cunt wasn’t in the manga either. I’ve read a bit of the manga, I would know. She looks nothing at all like the assistant in the manga. Mr. GrumpyGramps Bolthead or whatever you want to call him (yep, they changed both the race and the gender, let alone the age and the top of the head).

But I’m not one to harp on the changes made compared to the manga too much, especially since I haven’t read the entire series and thus am not qualified to determine if the changes made are ultimately better or worse in the long run (assuming a sequel gets made, which Disney is trying not to have happen) as I don’t have the knowledge of things to come. But I will say for a film that is meant as an introduction to the character and the world, it bit off more than it could chew. Especially with a sort of cliffhanger ending.

As for the positives, I have to admit, once I got past the first 20-30 minutes where everything is getting introduced (and I got adjusted to the damn face), I actually started to get into this thing. In fact, the first major action scene that happens, they managed to do something that isn’t done enough in CG action films (not by a long shot). There was weight to the movement. The swinging of weapons, and the hopping around, it wasn’t just some lightning fast speed, they had to put some effort into lugging around the weight of that axe/drill/rocket thing, and the cyborgs with their body parts. They couldn’t dodge each swing because they aren’t capable of moving that fast. Same thing with the swinging of the weapons. This was a nice refreshing change of pace compared to what I’m used to in films like this. Now if only it could just keep doing tha–

And of course they say “Fuck that” to the weight system the moment that fight sequence ends. From that moment on, every action scene after that is the typical weightless CG fighting schlock. Not to mention the protagonist being ungodly capable of dodging just about everything thrown at her. I mean, I get it, I understand she’s the product of a bygone era (yeah right, like they still wouldn’t have androids like her kept hidden somewhere) and has fighting techniques that no one else uses because they didn’t have knowledge of this stuff, let alone the means to train with that style. And as tough as she is already, they just couldn’t resist giving her a power-up that pretty much makes her invincible for the rest of the film. Talk about a lack of tension (Mary Sues are boring, and so Superman).

And despite all that, they run with this line of dialogue on a few occasions, including with the protagonist herself, that she’s an, and I quote, “insignificant girl.” FUCK YOU! You wiped the floor with virtually all the antagonists in this film, let alone the ED-209s and the bounty hunters. And you have the ovaries to state you’re insignificant? Blow it out your shiny metal ass!

“You’re more human than anyone I know.”

Oh fuck off. Try sticking your dick into her and see what happens. What’s that? There’s no hole for penetration? Well that sucks for you Mr. Headless who never got any head, doesn’t it?

*takes a breath*

Anyway, despite the negatives, I remained invested enough in the film up until the chapel scene. “Let’s meet at the Chapel. There you can save me, like the Angel you are.” Man does the film go downhill from there. In hilarious fashion. Well, ok, it already indicated it was going to go downhill when she literally offered her heart to her boyfriend. Seriously, that’s a top contender for biggest cringe moment of the entire movie; it really seemed out of character for her, and it was just stupid. But then it got even more stupid from there once the chapel scene happens. If I was drunk and watching this, I would be laughing my ass off. But I’m not, so I just rolled my eyes instead. And it was all fucking pointless (almost as pointless as the black nurse), because the dipshit gets killed anyway. Spoiler by the way.

Christ, the more I think about what went down in the last 20 minutes the more irritable I get. The movie was decent for the most part up to that point (even if it got ridiculous with her fending off that one macho cyborg with only one arm).

You don’t need 2 hands to eat a chocolate bar.  Use just the tip of one finger you pansy!

I mean, if nothing else, it is better than Captain Marvel (a film which likely passed the billion dollar mark because Disney cooked the books, never mind bought the tickets to their own damn movie). But overall, it’s just meh. It was entertaining for a while, but not long enough to overcome the faults in it. I’ll stick to the manga on this one (try to get the original translation; the revised version kinda loses some of its character).

 

Song of the South (1946) non-review

Rated: 3 / 5

(calm, soft spoken, yet above a whisper)

You know, I remember seeing this as a toddler, off of a VHS recording from a television broadcast, shown at a Daycare center at my school. I don’t recall much of the live action bits (boring to kids like me at that age), but was all into the animated sections. How we enjoyed Br’er Rabbit, how we laughed at some of the antics. How we would try to imitate him by hopping around with our feet turned 45 degrees (we tried 90 degrees, but that’s kind of impossible), like Charlie Chaplin on steroids. I remember going on the ride at Disneyland for the first time, the smooth log ride through various areas, seeing the characters and their antics, and the shadow animations, the slide down, the water splashes. We loved seeing remembering, and acting out as those characters. We also hummed or sang that zip-ah-dee-doo-dah song, and smiled whenever we heard it in commercials for either the film itself or for some Disney commercial, about as often as we heard, “It’s a small world after all.” It was pure entertaining bliss as a child.

 

(hardens just a tad, volume goes up ever so slightly)

Only to find out many many years later once I’m well past the innocence of my youth that other children are to grow up deprived of this. Because some people look at it in a completely different way, in a way a child cannot comprehend. They see some form of racist propaganda that goes against the intentions of Walt Disney and those who made the film. They see this as something that glorifies the age of slavery, rather than something that envisions a period in time during the Reconstruction when plantations were around, that slavery was dying off, the Civil War ended, and a time of healing was to begin. A time where children could grow up not needing to be aware of the violent past, but of the blissful present (with some shadows still upon it). A time when everyone is starting to put all that behind them and focus on entertaining tales with good moral lessons to teach children, and how adults of any race and any position could appreciate the good that it’s all doing.

 

(hard, not quite loud)

And so they take it all away. The current people who run Disney going against Walt’s wishes. Those who have been brainwashed by these sick twisted demented hypocritical motherfuckers to spit upon all those lessons because of a misguided hatred dredged up from the past. They dare say it’s not ok to watch this, not ok to show this to children, not ok to have them be entertained by this. They became the very thing this film was made to allow us to move past. They have decided that those who have tried to move past it have been delusional this entire time, and we are still stuck in that same period after all these years. Despite how much we’ve bled and sweat and clawed away from all this, they drag us back in. Just when we thought we were out during the late 90s and early 2000s, they pull us back in. And they tarnish everything the film stood for in the process, so that characters like Br’er Rabbit and songs like zip-ah-dee-doo-dah can only be acceptably viewed as offensive.

 

(volume goes down a notch)

I’m past being angry about this. I just don’t see how anyone who views this film both through the eyes of a child, and through the eyes of an adult in retrospect, can view this the way the NAACP (unofficially) does, let alone the way those currently running Disney. I don’t see how they can look past all of that above, plus what Walt Disney himself did. How Walt, upon hearing James Baskett’s (actor who played Uncle Remus) voiceover of one of the butterflies in the film, met with him personally and offered to give him the bigger role that defined his career that ended too soon. How Walt let Remus land the role that became one of the first Hollywood portrayals of a black actor as a non-comic character in a leading role in a film meant for general audiences. How Walt would refuse to attend the theatrical premiere of the film (outside of making introductions), and would stay at his hotel, because the segregated city of Atlanta wouldn’t allow the black actors to attend the film’s screening. How Walt maintained personal contact with James well after the film was done, how he campaigned for James to receive an academy award for his role, which resulted in James winning an Honorary Academy Award in 1948, a few months before James would die of heart failure.

 

(LOUD!!!)

The hell I’m past being angry. Does any of this sound like the actions a racist company and a racist individual would make!? Does any of that sound like they had devious intentions behind any of this!? Walt would be rolling in his grave with how despicable the company he founded has become. Fuck the Disney vault. It’s shit like this that makes us sympathize with professional thieves who break into vaults for a living and steal shit. This is why I feel no regret whatsoever for getting a hold of unofficial copies that don’t support the company in any way. If they’re going to steal away our childhood, I say it’s only fair that we steal it back. And not only do the thieves steal it, they polish it. This is why I took it from archive.org, in all it’s fan-remastered glory, and enjoyed it.

 

(normal)

To hell with what anyone says. People of all ages should still be able to watch and enjoy this movie. Even if taking on that feeling and lesson of a blissful happily ever after where everyone gets along in the end is just a vain pipe dream, as modern mainstream culture has dictated.

 

Entertainment Industry Nostalgia: August 1990

Iraq invades and occupies Kuwait, while George H.W. Bush sends troops to Saudi Arabia, sparking the Gulf War. Radio Kuwait resigns air, due to Iraqi invasion. NASA’s Magellan spacecraft lands on Venus. PGA Championship, Shoal Creek: Wayne Grady of Australia wins his only major title by 3 strokes from American Fred Couples. Phyllis Polander sues Mike Tyson for sexual harassment. Armenia declares independence. East & West Germany announced that they would unite on Oct 3. Market prices plunge as OPEC nears informal agreement to increase output to cover shortfall due to invasion; cash market trading experiences abrupt decline. Ken Griffey & Ken Griffey Jr become 1st father & son to play on same team (Seattle Mariners), both single in 1st inning. Jennifer Lawrence, American actress, born in Louisville, Kentucky. Stevie Ray Vaughan, American guitarist (Sky is Crying, Texas Flood), dies in a helicopter crash at 35.

Music

Worthy mentions (I guess): Marc Almond: Enchanted; Moev: Head Down; Cannibal Corpse: Eaten Back to Life; Duran Duran: Liberty;

Jon Bon Jovi: Blaze of Glory (Young Guns II soundtrack)

Chances are, you’ve heard the song “Wanted Dead or Alive” on the radio at some point. The album was probably a bigger hit than the movie, long-term speaking. It was also Jovi’s debut solo studio album. “Blaze of Glory” was another major hit from this album.

 

Extreme II: Pornograffitti

Now that’s an album title for ya. And if you don’t like what you see here, “Get the Funk Out.”

 

Deee-Lite: World Clique

Not an album I would ever purchase, personally. But, good Lord, their music video “Groove is in the Heart” just screams 90s. It’s a concentrated dosage of 90s cheese in several ways. Plus it was a major hit back then, so it’s got some culture cred.

 

Pixies: Bossanova

The beats are decent. Has a surf-rock and space-rock combination (can’t say I’ve heard of that before; then again I’m only getting exposed to this stuff through this look-back).

Untitled

 

The Heart Throbs: Cleopatra Grip

Amazing that this band never took off. They’ve some good stuff here.

 

N.W.A.: 100 Miles and Runnin’

 

Prince: Graffiti Bridge

Whatever your thoughts on the film, there’s no denying the soundtrack was very well received.

 

Living Colour: Time’s Up

 

Black Sabbath: Tyr

Black Sabbath wasn’t going to let Bathory have all the viking metal fun. Though they’re less viking metal in instrument play and more in lyrics.

Movies

So there was a sequel to the guilty pleasure classic Delta Force (starring Chuck Norris), called Delta Force 2: The Colombian Connection.  But honestly, the film just isn’t anywhere near as interesting or entertaining as the first.  There’s also this one film called Metropolitan which I thought was a boring and dull talkie based on a stage play, but you might like it if you’re into the type of conversations these people have. Lastly, Air America with Mel Gibson and Robert Downey Jr. as pilots who smuggle in weapons and opium via aircraft, unofficially, during the Vietnam War, in Laos. It has some good stunts in it, but otherwise it’s just a meh film (which was #3 at the box office behind Young Guns II and Flatliners).  Other than that, quite an entertaining month for movies we had here, especially for sequels.

Young Guns II

Superior to the first film in every way. The first film I thought was forgettable, this film is anything but. I wouldn’t go so far as to call it a masterpiece, but it’s gotta be one of the greatest sequels ever.

 

DuckTales the Movie: Treasure of the Lost Lamp

DuckTales: The Movie - Treasure of the Lost Lamp, Original ...

Oh yeah, this series had a decent movie made for it.

 

Mo’ Better Blues

Yeah yeah, you win again Spike Lee.

 

Flatliners

“Today is a good day to die.”

Famous line aside (I guess), this film is just average to me. Yet was a bit of a cult hit, so…

 

The Two Jakes

Solid sequel to Chinatown, which is a miracle in of itself.

 

The Exorcist III

The only other good Exorcist movie out there besides the first one.

 

Taking Care of Business

To my surprise, I found myself thoroughly entertained by this little comedy.  And I’m normally not a fan of James Belushi.  Yet somehow this comedy about a prisoner taking on the identity of a businessman who’s been having the worst string of luck in his life to be funny.

 

Wild at Heart

Not among my favorite David Lynch flicks, but it has enough good wacky stuff packed into it to please filmgoers.

 

Pump Up the Volume

Made a review, but let’s just say this is a relevant film about a pirate radio dude who is all for free speech, especially for those who are too heavily encouraged to conform.

 

After Dark, My Sweet

A very solid thriller that is very much worth watching.  In my opinion, the film that launched the gritty feel of what the best of the 90s indy films had to offer.

 

Darkman

One of the best B movie super-hero flicks, who’s more of an anti-hero.  Sometimes intentionally entertaining, other times it seems unintentionally hilarious.  On the other hand, this is Sam Raimi we’re talking about here.  I think he knew what he was doing.

 

Akira Kurosawa’s: Dreams

Too artsy for me, but it is a classic anthology film, so…

 

The Witches

Part nostalgia, part appreciation for a kid flick with dark elements and decent special effects.

 

Mirror Mirror

A hidden gem of horror. That is all.

 

 

Commercial

Games

So there was an NES port of the arcade game NARC, and it’s not that great of a port.  Play the arcade game instead.  There’s also Total Recall on the NES, which has become popular to rag on, but some say it’s really not all that bad once you know what you’re in for and learn some of the tricks; either way, not notable enough in my opinion.  Lastly, there was a Sega Genesis game called Shadow Blasters which, despite how decent it seemed, never became all that memorable.

Pit-Fighter (Arcade)

One of the first ever arcade games to use digitized sprites of real-life people.  It was a massive hit on the arcade scene back in the day.  Today though, it’s really really cheesy.  Still, it predates Mortal Kombat and Street Fighter II, and was the big thing until those came around.

 

Barker Bill’s Trick Shooting (NES)

It’s, uh, ok.  It’s one of those NES shooting games that utilizes the Nintendo Zapper light gun.  Sort of a spiritual successor to Duck Hunt, except in this game, you actually get to shoot that cocksucking dog.

 

Dick Tracy (NES)

This game really isn’t all that great, but it was hyped up like the film that came out earlier in the year, and many wanted to give it a play.  I mean, Jesus, the hype around this film.  I think the hype is remembered more than the movie, let alone the game.  And that’s all I’ll say.

 

Punch-Out!! (NES)

First off, NO!  THIS IS NOT THE MIKE TYSON’S PUNCH OUT!! GAME!  This is the one that started it all, from 1990.  That being said, it’s still a great revered classic to this day, that is overshadowed by the Mike Tyson one that would come later.

 

Swords and Serpents (NES)

This is one of those RPG games of the style I hate.  Where you have to map out levels yourself with pencil and graph paper; it has a shit save system, and the random battles get tedious.  But it has its fans, stating it’s a classic.  If nothing else, it has a great game cover, and a great cheesy fun commercial.

 

Double Dragon (Game Boy)

Not a bad port of the NES game actually.  Though the arcade version is still the way to go.

 

Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles: Fall of the Foot Clan (Game Boy)

And yet another decent game on the Game Boy.  Personally, I found it to be a little too simplistic.  Then again, you can’t expect THAT much from games like these on the Game Boy system.

 

Paradroid 90 (Amiga)

Remake of the version from the Commodore 64 (originally released in 1985).  Has a cult following, and is a bit different.  First time you play, you’ll likely want to switch off the Transfer minigame.

Michael Jackson’s Moonwalker (Arcade, Sega Genesis)

Many will say that the gameplay is terrible and the only thing this game has going for it is nostalgia and just for cultural interest.  Well, they’re right, but damnit, this game was a bit of an event back in the day.

Jackson would work with Sega on several future products – he would be responsible for much of the music in Sonic the Hedgehog 3 (though remains uncredited) and features in both Space Channel 5 and Space Channel 5: Part 2.

A sequel was planned but later dropped due to child molestation accusations to Michael Jackson in 1993.

Source

Commercial

TV Shows

Parenthood (August 20, 1990 – August 11, 1991; NBC)

This show never got off the ground until the 1989 movie of the same name.  Unfortunately, the show wasn’t that big of a hit when it came out, despite some people enjoying it.  It wouldn’t be until 2010 when it would become the hit it always wanted to be.  So for those interested in the history of the 2010 series and the 1989 movie, you might be interested in this Ron Howard sitcom.

Hull High (August 20 – December 30, 1990; NBC)

A high school soap opera musical.  I think that’s all you need to know.

Ferris Bueller (August 23, 1990 – August 11, 1991; NBC)

A lot of people would say this show is trash, but just to remind you they did in fact make a series adaptation of the film.

Jim Henson’s Mother Goose Stories (August 25, 1990 – 1993; The Disney Channel)

I’ll just leave this here.

Guys Next Door (August 27, 1990 – February 16, 1991; NBC)

Sketch comedy and dance and musical.  One of those months.

The Time Machine (1960 vs. 2002) review and comparison

“Be careful what you wish for.”?  What the fuck does that have to do with this movie?  This isn’t fucking Wishmaster!

1960 rated: 3.5 / 5

2002 rated: 2.5 / 5

So having rewatched this film and the 2002 remake, I figured now would be a good time to compare the two (ie state why this film is better than the remake).

So first of all, right from the get-go, the protagonists have completely different motivations for going through time. In fact, both films have a different concept of time travel altogether. Regarding the former point, the protagonist in the 60s film (I’ll call him George) wants to see the future mainly for curiosity’s sake, for science. But he does have an implied personal reason. A feeling of being born in the wrong time period. Wanting to see how he would be in other periods of the future where there would be more like-minded scientists like himself. Hence a feeling of wanting to belong. Yet the ironic part is that he winds up in a place where he ends up in the same position. A time period where he isn’t surrounded by any like-minded individuals, though their reasonings for having not much interest in what he does and what he proposes are different from those from his time period (near the turn of the millennium, to 1900).

The 2012 protagonist (I’ll just call him Alexander), on the other hand, builds up this whole endeavor primarily just to get his girlfriend back, and is willing to ditch the machine (which is very impressive looking, I must say, especially compared to George’s machine) once he has accomplished that, in spite of all the potential that machine can carry, in spite of all it could do, what wonders it could show. It seems pretty fucking petty compared to its reason for existence in the 1960 film. And even going wit this, lame-ass Alexander only makes an attempt to alter the past to save his girlfriend’s life once, and only once, before throwing his hands up in the air (“Whyyyyyyyy!!!????”) and deciding that it’s impossible to change the past, so he must find out why it’s impossible by getting the answer from some intelligent mind in the future, when minds are supposed to be more advanced and intelligent. For fuck’s sake, he’s a fucking scientist! His experiments are supposed to be all about trial and error, making mistakes, analyzing what the mistake is, and retrying the experiment again while avoiding those mistakes. Haven’t these fuckers ever seen Bill & Ted’s Excellent Adventure?

“Don’t worry, I’ll hook up with a brown chick after you die.”

And this isn’t even bringing up the time paradox factor, which we’ve been told ever since Metal Gear Solid 3 that we’ve got to be careful of (I don’t give a fuck if that was released a few years after the 2002 movie, it’s still a valid point, even if I have to utilize another fucking time paradox to make it!). Alexander goes back in time. So where the fuck is his double? Is no one going to make a big deal about the big fucking time machine device that just spontaneously appeared in his laboratory, in his house, with his maid?

Which brings me to the latter point I mentioned in the second paragraph, the concept of time travel. George expresses no interest in going back to the past outside of simply returning to his own time after visiting the future, and even then making sure it’s at a time after when he initially left. Even near the end of the film (or the very beginning, depending on how you want to look at it), he doesn’t say anything in the hopes of trying to change the future in a way directly affecting those in the present (thus allowing the film to avoid paradoxes altogether, without even needing a reason to bring them up). Allow me to clarify.  Alexander goes back for the sole purpose of taking action to save the life of his girlfriend, and goes about trying to do it. George, on the other hand, knowing that his best friend is going to get killed in World War I doesn’t make any attempt to make this statement to his friend, encouraging him to avoid the war. Why is this?

To answer that, you’d have to go to the middle act of the 1960 film, where George becomes outraged at the state of society, how they show no interest in the past in the hopes of improving the future. They have no ambition, no sense of duty to their fellow man. And George states at the end of all this that he would rather be back in his own time to die alongside his fellow countrymen, who would at least be able to die with honor alongside one another, at least trying to protect one another, even if the effort would be in vain. Because he recognizes that valuable trait that is also a shared bond between soldiers in the army. They fight more for each other than anything else. Creating a strong bond. And that bond isn’t just broken in that futuristic time period, it is completely non-existent. Why try to take that away from his friend, even knowing what fate will befall him? Or worse yet, what are the odds of that somehow making the future worse?

None of that is in Alexander’s world. Rather his ideals are more selfish and personal. Everything else be damned, he wants to spend the rest of his time with the love of his life. As if his entire existence revolves around her and only her, even though just the opening act of the film indicates his own hypocrisy (too busy doodling on the chalkboard to prioritize thinking about his fiance-to-be). And there is no self-awareness of this hypocrisy present in the entire movie. The speech by Morlock Jeremy Irons during the last act doesn’t directly address this issue either, that covers a different aspect entirely.

Both films have a similar yet different take on the future. In regards to the near-future it’s either the Cold War, or science going too far and nearly destroying us all. Either way, the message is the same, that mankind will create the tools of its own destruction. In the 1960 film, it’s because we destroy each other. In the 2002 film, it’s because we overestimate ourselves with using technology responsibly. … Thinking about it, I guess it’s still not much different, just the context.

But they also have something to highlight about society’s evolution. Naturally, the 2002 film has an advantage over the 1960 film in this regard.  George notes the changing of clothing styles, yet for the most part they don’t change all that much. Alexander notes something more relevant and accurate. How women’s clothing became more and more revealing, with dresses that once went down to the ankles, now are up above the knees. How modesty fades away. Of course, that could change if muslims take over, then that’s going to bring modesty back with vengeance overkill. We’ll see if a 3rd major Time Machine movie has something to say about that (considering Hollywood’s lack of ambition and churning out of uninspired remakes, I’d say that’s as inevitable as the Home Alone reboot).

Clothing aside, George’s observance of the future is considerably more subtle (likely for budget constraints). Only in the background, if you squint to look, do you see structures that look somewhat futuristic (at least by 1960 standards).  Alexander has the privilege of seeing credit swipe bicycles (either that or the card acts as a key; cool either way). And then there’s the library. There are some physical books, but it all seems mostly digital. With a black AI librarian who has a slightly pompous attitude, even going so far as to roll its eyes at the white time traveler for asking reasonable questions that it deems ridiculous (someone programmed this AI to be this way). And no access to any data from any scientists, not even ones who would’ve made public records/articles, of even the theory and concept of time travel, not even on a quantum physics level, even though some of those concepts exist today (not that they can be applied in a working-fashion in the way these films allege mind-you, but they’re there). Seems like this digital library is holding some information back, or is intentionally deprived of this sort of information, which may have been available in physical form at one point in time. Actually seems like a fairly accurate depiction of 2030 to me. Rather funny to see how many films at and before 2002 had a more ambitious future in mind for mankind’s progress, only to miscalculate that we would focus our progress more in the digital realm rather than in the physical realm.

Then we get to the future itself, after all the destruction caused from either nuclear war or the shattering of the moon (the latter of which I sure would’ve resulted in Earth being obliterated, especially after about 800,000 years; but whatever).  George observes an all-white society has managed to survive. Alexander observes an all-brown society. Homogeneous either way. But the society Alexander witnesses has also accomplished setting up homes attached to the side of cliffs, accompanied by some uplifting tribal music sung by a choir of kids or something. Because it has to be blunt about this society being grand and great, without any downsides whatsoever aside from independent forces external to this society.

Here is another instance where both films try to tell something similar in a different way, yet the 2002 flick shoots itself in the foot as a result. The society in George’s timeline is so passive and uncaring and unambitious because they were bred that way. The Morlocks breed and raise the very society they will eventually consume; rinse and repeat. So the society is raised to be like this, to allow history and knowledge of the past to wither away to nothing, to have the achievements made by those in the past come to nothing. And to respond to certain sounds automatically as if they were hypnotized/brainwashed into doing so. Thus they were not only bred to be incapable of fighting back against their oppressors, but to not even comprehend that they are even being oppressed. After all, their oppressors provide them what they need, food and a shelter (and I presume clothing).

The society in Alexander’s timeline, on the other hand, is more independent and yet more stupid at the same time. They’re not bred and raised by the Morlocks, they can do that on their own. They can build on their own, acquire food on their own (though we never actually see what they eat; not that this is a fault in the film, I’m just curious about what the 2002 film would show a society like this eating as opposed to oversized pears in the 1960 film). There’s no air-raid sound (or anything like that) to lead any of them to their doom. Nope. The Morlocks just raid them whenever these people go off and, uh, spend time at a place dedicated to their ancestors (as opposed to scavenging for food in gardens or something). And they don’t fight back, they just flee, not even fighting back as a last resort. Why? Because they say they take the ones who fight back first. That’s just dumb.

Both films have the protagonist fighting back against the Morlocks, and thus inspiring the people to also fight back by following his example. But it’s carried out far better in the 1960 film because there’s a more logical reason as to why they needed George to inspire them to fight. Just the concept of fighting never occurred to them, no more than the concept of “stealing” seems to occur to these perfectly peaceful cabbages in the 2002 film. In the 2002 film, they know what fighting is, they just choose not to do it, until some schmuk shows up to remind them that it’s more logical to do so. Stupid.

Honestly, the only interesting thing about the 2002 film is when Alexander meets Jeremy Irons. The speech Irons makes, the philosophical points being stated, about the harshness of how a species evolves in relation to the environment, about the nature of existence and non-existence in relation to events of the past. It was the most investing part of the entire movie. But then the movie reminded everyone that it’s designed to be a dumb B action movie for dumb B audiences, and then a fight ensues along with a chase and an explosion, and then it lost any goodwill it gained from Jeremy Irons, which faded away about as quickly as he did.

Lastly, how each film ends. The 2002 film ends with Alexander’s BFF tossing his hat into the air, making a callback to the line of Alexander stating he wants a generation of students to go against the norm and offer some diversity of style and thought in a plain mundane society. This seems to go against his BFF’s attitude and character, what little there was, setup during the first act of the film, not to mention goes against the fact that there were a ton of great scientific minds during that time period who would end up changing society at one point or another with their inventions (they mention that hack Albert Einstein, don’t mention Nikola Tesla). Yet this doesn’t leave the viewer to ponder anything, to even encourage them to act independently against the norm for progress.

The 1960 film on the other hand, has George go back to the future (heheh), to that age where society has regressed in terms of knowledge, to where it has practically reset without any of the knowledge to be had from their distant ancestors. But he doesn’t go back with nothing. He takes a few books with him to help society grow. Which books did he take? The film doesn’t say. We are left to ponder with this question:

“Which three books would you have taken?”

It encourages the audience to ask themselves the question as to what limited sources of information would they utilize to make the best society they could? What should we be teaching our children in the hopes that they too will make society better for them, and their children, and their children’s children? When was the last time a film was made that posed an open-ended question like that which makes the viewer think critically?

At least the 1960 film poses a question that could be utilized somewhere along the lines of, “What would you do if you had a time machine?” The 2002 film, all it says is, “It’s just a machine.” As if technology should be tossed aside for a more simplified way of living, ala some shitty episode or film of Star Trek: The Next Generation. The 2002 film exists only as a statement at best. The 1960 film exists as both a statement, and as a question to the viewer as how to take that statement (ie the statement is made for the sake of leading up to the big question at the end).

So despite the superior looking time machine, and the impressive-looking Morlocks the 2002 film provides, the 1960 film is ultimately superior with its themes and ideas, and even warning of the future, which are still relevant today.

 

PS: Oh, right. And the 2002 film ends by showing the next generation in this future society being taught the the AI librarian. That’s taking the easy way out, and not even addressing the set of problems even that could bring (that hard drives could last that long, that data wouldn’t be corrupted, that a power source could last that long, it’s information that is selected by a corporation that deems it worthy of the public to access, etc). Besides, that doesn’t include those bitchin’ spinning ring devices from the 1960 film. Seriously, what other movie did something as awesome as that? Seems like a great concept that no one else has ripped off yet, even if it is a bit impractical.

PPS: The Morlocks were built up far better in the original than in the remake. Always just a brief glimpse of them through some bushes, or out of the corner of your eye, dashing from one corner to the other, through the light back into the shadow, building the suspense until they are finally encountered. In the remake, they are named once, and then they just show up.

Schindler’s List (1993) review

Rated: 2 / 5

Rather than telling a story with universal meaning, however, Spielberg has instead made what can only be called a “Jewish” film; that is, a film by Jews, about Jews, and for Jews to use against non-Jews.

Greg Raven

“It’s human nature.  ‘We’ll do this to avoid that.'”

“That’s what they have done since thousands of years.  It’s what they do, they weather the storm.”

“But this storm is different.  This is not the Romans.  This storm is the SS.”

 

This is one of those movies that packed a punch felt through the nation at the time of release.  Everyone talked about this film.  About how it was one of the most important movies ever released.  About how it should be shown to students in school which was almost the case for me when I was in middle school.  Well, those of us who didn’t get to see it in school, we usually found a way to see it outside of school.  Because it was an obligation.  We had to experience what it was like for the Jews in Nazi Germany amidst World War II.  We had to know about the gritty experience, so as to fully appreciate (if that’s the right word for it) that event in history when genocide was committed.  To know the full depravity of humanity.  To know what humans can be like at their lowest levels.  To know what the Nazis were like, and why it is important to know all this hindsight history so as not to repeat it, so as not to create a new generation of a race or religion that has been through a genocide event.  To pity those who survived it, and spit upon those who caused it.  And to thank those who did what they could to help those living through those times to survive.

And what better director to encapsulate all that than Steven Spielberg.  Arguably the movie director most famous for emotional manipulation, particularly ever since Close Encounters of the 3rd Kind (1977, where it was becoming obvious but still slightly restrained) and E.T. (1982, where any restraint he once had had completely diminished).  I do sometimes wonder how often people knew they were being emotionally manipulated, didn’t know, or knew but were willing to go along with it because it was entertainment.  Then again, don’t most films, especially dramas, tend to go for emotional manipulation anyway?  Is that not part of the movie-going experience?  In any case, emotional manipulation or not, it won Oscars, and has been put on virtually every list of “Movies to See Before You Die.”  Quite an achievement, especially since I doubt that’s the only movie of his that has been placed on such lists.

And I was one of those people back in the day, who saw this at a young age, who broke down at the end of it crying and all.  The film got to me, as it has gotten to many others.

So today, I decided to revisit it, on a different level of maturity, criticism, knowledge, and guard against such manipulation that got to me in the past.  And what did I think of it?  Well, that depends on how you look at it.

Judging it purely as a film in-of itself, it’s well-made in terms of camerawork.  Filmed mostly in black and white, and moving amongst people at ground zero to give it an aura of historical authenticity.  The violence that occurs is realistically explicit to maintain this aura, and it certainly had enough extras in it to give the film a semi-epic feel at times.  It’s some of the best camerawork done in film for capturing the elements it depicts in the manner it wished to depict it.  If anyone didn’t know any better, they would say it’s a borderline real-time documentary.

However, the more in-depth thematic elements get laughable in how blunt and obvious they’re implemented, even in the more horrifying moments.  I can give three examples where the film blasts you in the head with it so hard you’ll be seeing stars of David carried by blue birds circling  your head.

1.) When the SS evicted this upper class Jewish couple from their home, and continually cut between Schindler moving into their home, and them moving into the crummy ghetto.  To the point where these lines were uttered between two takes:

Schindler: “It couldn’t be better.”

********************************************

Jew wife: “It could be worse.”

2.) The second time got more eye-rolling than that.  With Schindler’s one-armed semi-senile worker coming to personally thank him for the work and saving his life, before he gets killed in literally the next scene.  Talk about an obvious emotional setup.

3.) The Jews who have been moved in the Krakow forced labor camp, and this line is uttered between a couple women:

“The worst is over.  We’re workers now!” 

In the same scene, this is followed by Amon Goeth shooting the more lazy workers.  Wawahhhhhhh.  Another obvious emotional setup that’s borderline comical when you think about the timing of it.

I mean, Jesus Christ, you’d think Spielberg would pad it out with at least 2 scenes before having the whole waawaaawaaaaahhhhhh moment hit.  Fucking Bridge to Terabithia was more subtle with the foreshadowing and emotional warning than this movie!  And that’s saying a lot!

But anyway, it’s a bit amusing to hear Ralph Fiennes’ character say the line, “Wakey wakey,” to his, uh, girlfriend, after the above segment.  And this seems to be referenced in a later film Ralph Fiennes starred in.  Spider, directed by David Cronenberg.

Other than all that, when one puts aside that the film primarily exists for sympathy points for one race/religion and shame points against another, there really isn’t much more to it than that.  Sure, Schindler goes through this character arc (with each moment of change signified by the girl in the red dress; subtle), and Goeth has his false-redemption angle.  But everyone else, including Ben Kingsley’s character, is about as one note as it gets.  There’s literally no dimension to anybody else in this movie.  They make a marginal effort of trying to add some depth to the jews who became ghetto police (they were known as Ordnungdienst), talking briefly about their position, but it’s never expanded upon other than they exist and they work for the nazis now.  The Nazis are as one-dimensional as you would expect (even to the point where one would play the piano amidst all the shooting in the ghetto), and the Jews are as one-dimensional as they are for entirely different reasons (pure pacifist).

I mean, putting aside the sympathy/shame points, there really isn’t all that much to this film.  Not enough time is spent with the interesting characters to make this all that investing (unless you’re invested in the events as depicted), and because of that the plot didn’t maintain my interest this time around (as opposed to the first time I watched this film many years ago).  Plus I found it questionable that Schindler would make this dramatic of a turn against Germany during the last third of the film when he goes so far as to discourage the workers from making artillery shells that work, and in-effect attempting to sabotage the German war effort (though that being said, from what I’ve researched, he did actually do this to an extent; it’s just that the film doesn’t make his character complex enough to allow for this to seem natural; more on that later).  It’s not one of those movies that ages well past the first viewing or two.  It’s about as surface-level of a movie as you can get.  There isn’t much to dig into.  It gets about as dull as the color scheme.

But in terms of cinematography (though those close-up shots of the faces get very tiring real fast) and camerawork and having actors move about here and there, there is plenty to admire.  So it’s worth a watch for those interested in trying to make a career out of directing.  If nothing else, Spielberg at least knows how to shoot a scene.  It’s just an issue of how much he tries to indulge in the emotional factor.  In this case, he clearly overindulged in the emotional factor more than Tarantino indulged the cult-hip-50s-to-70s factor in, well, anything made after Jackie Brown (Pulp Fiction cut it close).  And whenever a film overindulges in something like that, it doesn’t really hold up all that much.

So the main thing this film really has going for it is the historical significance of the events it covers.  It has entombed itself as the definitive Holocaust film.  For better or worse, that’s all this really has going for it.

Although there is an alternative opinion about that.  By alternative, I mean that it feels the film put more emphasis on Schindler’s character than on the Jew’s plight, and is shallow for that reason instead of vice versa:

Some feel the film, which won a best picture Oscar, serves to embed a narrative of Jewish weakness and passivity, in which Jews were nearly always portrayed as undeserving victims. By choosing to focus on Schindler (Neeson) and the commandant of the Płaszów concentration camp in Nazi-occupied Poland, Amon Goeth (Fiennes), Spielberg marginalised the Jews to supporting roles (with the exception of Schindler’s accountant Itzhak Stern, played by Kingsley).

Spielberg portrayed them as cardboard cut-outs, a monolithic mass of feebleness, lacking in psychological depth, to be saved or murdered at the whim of the non-Jews. From this point of view, then, Schindler’s List is not about the Holocaust or the Jews at all, but a biopic of Schindler and his conversion from ambivalent antihero to righteous gentile.

Source

Tips For Spring Cleaning | Her Campus

 





 

More needs to be done for Holocaust education, Spielberg said: “It’s not a pre-requisite to graduate high school, as it should be. It should be part of the social science, social studies curriculum in every public high school in this country.”

Source

So this portion of the review won’t be placed on Letterboxd, at least not entirely.  Why?  Because:

Firstly: dangerous fascist and white supremacist ideologies can go to hell. We remove such content from our service regularly. We want to catch it all. We’ve changed our community policy as of today to reflect this, adding in an explicit line rejecting content that “expressly praises, supports, promotes or represents white nationalist ideology”.

Letterboxd terms of service

Anything questioning the holocaust is deemed to be against their community policy, which is why the shadow-banned, then removed, my review of Europa.  Knowing that, I know this portion won’t last on that website.  So, to quote a line from the film being reviewed:

“Not essential?  I teach history and literature!  Since when not essential?”

Parallels between the community policy and depiction of the dangerous Nazi ideology in this film, anyone?  I mean, when you consider how the film portrays one side as pure and innocent while completely demonizing the other without giving them any sense of humanity whatsoever, it’s a lose-lose situation.  From the viewpoint of revisionists and non-revisionists.  Either the Holocaust did happen, and media then and now deem it ok to completely dehumanize Nazis and Germans, without any consideration that these were multidimensional people with flaws and good sides, thus encouraging hatred towards them; and that people are capable of committing that much evil against those of another religion/race regardless of any good they have in them.  Or the Holocaust didn’t happen, and many have been brainwashed into hating on people of a certain race/religion/nationality for something they didn’t do.  Either way you look at it, the worst of humanity has already been demonstrated.  The reason people get so emotional about the historical significance of the Holocaust, whether it happened or not, is because it evokes the worst in humanity, it showcases the worst case scenario of judging other human beings and viewing them as lower lifeforms not worthy of remorse.  The worst part is that many are fully accepting of this simplification, almost as much as many Americans are ok with the acceptance of the simplification of Confederates being one-dimensional black-hating assholes during the Civil War.

So on the note of historical significance…

Judging it as a film that is shown in schools and such as an educational tool to inform those of the Holocaust, it’s one big pile of shit.

 

First of all, the book this film is based on is stated as a work of fiction.  Yet the film tries to pass itself off as being based on a true story with its documentary-like look.  Considering how they offer free screenings of this film from time to time to students for educational purposes, I have to dock a point for that reason.

Second, the film opens (discounting the Jewish song opening) stating that Germany conquered Poland in 2 weeks.  WRONG!  While Germany (which invaded Poland on September 1, 1939) did conquer enough of Poland to ensure it would completely fall to its invasion in a little over two weeks (basically around September 18, 1939), it was closer to 5 weeks when they completely took over Poland and put down virtually all forms of military resistance (October 5, 1939).  And there’s some complex history regarding not just Poland’s relation to Germany and Russia, but also Poland’s relation to the Jews.

After the partition of Poland between Germany and the Soviet Union, the Polish government fled the country and established a government-in-exile in London. Polish refugees in eastern Poland faced the prospect of a long exile from home.

When the Soviets annexed eastern Poland, about 300,000 Jewish refugees from German-occupied Poland were trapped. The vast majority of these refugees remained in Soviet-occupied Poland. In 1940 and 1941, Soviet secret police officials arrested and deported—as “unreliable elements”—hundreds of thousands of residents of eastern Poland, including thousands of Jewish refugees from German-occupied Poland. Those arrested were deported to Siberia, central Asia, and other locations in the interior of the Soviet Union. About 40,000 Jewish refugees continued their flight from Poland, fearing arrest and persecution in either German- or Soviet-occupied territory. More than half of those who fled Poland went to Romania and Hungary. 15,000 went to Lithuania, most to Vilna, Kovno, and the surrounding regions.

[…]

Some refugees could not escape Poland before Soviet and German authorities established their control of the country. By the time some refugees reached the German-Soviet demarcation line as well as Poland’s borders with her neighbors they found both closed and heavily guarded. Some refugees attempted to sneak across, often at great danger. Those caught trying to cross between occupation zones or trying to flee without papers faced arrest and arbitrary violence at the hands of both Soviet and German border guards.

For others, the prospect of permanent exile away from home was overwhelming. Penniless, tired of aimless wandering, and despairing of seeing their families in the German-occupied zone of Poland again, some refugees headed home, back across the German-Soviet demarcation line into German-occupied Poland.

Source

 

However, in the early twentieth century anti-Semitic tensions began to rise. Poverty caused many Poles to oppose the disproportionate role of Jews in their country’s economic elites and intelligentsia. Until his death in 1935, Poland’s de facto ruler Marshal Jozef Pilsudski vigorously opposed anti-Semitic policies. Nonetheless, post-Pilsudski governments officially discriminated against Jews by, for example, excessively taxing them while many universities introduced quota systems to limit the number of Jewish students admitted and conservative organizations boycotted Jewish businesses, thus pauperizing Poland’s Jews.

Source

 

 

Third, Oskar Schindler himself.  Aside from the first third of the movie, his depiction in this film is about as fictional as it gets compared to the real life individual.  Starting with the inconvenient fact that Schindler was working for a powerful Hungarian Jew.

Keneally mentioned that Schindler worked for the powerful Hungarian Jew Rudolf Kastner. Nowhere will this information be found in Schindler’s List because in 1944 Kastner helped Eichmann deport hundreds of thousands of Jews to Auschwitz, in return for favorable treatment for Kastner’s Zionist cronies. The fact of high level cooperation between Nazis and Zionists was too embarrassing to be included in Spielberg’s pro-Zionist film.

Hoffman, Swindler’s Mist

And it doesn’t end there.  Schindler didn’t even have the lists written up in the way depicted in the film.  He was in jail at the time.

But several of the nine separate lists enshrined by history as Schindler’s list were actually compiled by Marcel Goldberg, a corrupt Jewish member of the security police, Prof Crowe reports.

Schindler was hardly in a position to oversee any of the details involved: he had been arrested on suspicion of bribery by SS officers investigating corruption charges against Amon Göth, the concentration camp commander played by Ralph Fiennes in the film.

Source

And there’s more:

Schindler is also accused in the book of having headed a German unit responsible for planning the Nazi invasion of Poland – a far graver allegation than the fact, already known, that he had spied for Germany in Czechoslovakia in the 1930s.

He was described by several of his former employees as an angel. But he was viewed so ambivalently by Yad Vashem, Israel’s Holocaust remembrance authority, that it failed to grant him the official status of “righteous gentile” until 1993, when Mr Spielberg’s film was already in production, Prof Crowe wrote. That appears to contradict the Oscar-winning film’s claim that he was granted the status in 1958.

[…]

Since his death in 1974, his legacy has already lost some of its lustre, not least at the hands of his wife, Emilie, who in the months before her death in 2001 gave interviews condemning him as an amoral womaniser who had denied her the credit she deserved for her role in helping to save almost 1,200 Jewish workers.

Source

 

Mr. Crowe said the legend of “the list” arose partly from Schindler himself, to embellish his heroism. He was trying to win reparations for his wartime losses, and Yad Vashem, the Jewish Holocaust memorial organization in Jerusalem, was considering naming him a “righteous gentile,” an honor given to someone who risked death to save Jews.

[…]

It has long been known that Schindler was a spy for German counterintelligence in the late 1930’s, but he played down those activities. Yet Mr. Crowe said that Czech secret police archives refer to Schindler as “a spy of big caliber and an especially dangerous type.” Mr. Crowe also said that Schindler compromised Czechoslovak security before the Nazi invasion and was imprisoned. Later, the Czechoslovak government tried to prosecute him for war crimes. Schindler was also the de facto head of a unit that planned the Nazi invasion of Poland.

[…]

There were also rumors, briefly mentioned in the book and film, that after Schindler moved to Krakow in 1939 as a carpetbagger following the Nazi invasion, he stole Jewish property and ordered Jews beaten. Although the charges were unproven, Mr. Crowe discovered that Yad Vashem was so concerned that it delayed designating Schindler a righteous gentile. The film’s epilogue says Schindler was named in 1958, 16 years before his death in 1974. But Mr. Crowe found that he was officially named in 1993, after Yad Vashem learned that Schindler’s widow, Emilie, who also behaved heroically, was coming to Jerusalem to participate in the film. Both received the honor, he posthumously.

[…]

After the war Schindler was a failure. He squandered money given to him by the American Jewish Joint Distribution Committee and moved to Argentina, where he attempted to breed nutria. He then returned to Germany and bought a concrete factory, where workers attacked him for saving Jews during the war. That factory went bankrupt. Schindler continued drinking, and begged Jews he had saved to help him financially. He died from alcoholism and heavy smoking, Mr. Crowe said.

Source

Schindler did rely on funds from Jewish organizations (such as that named above) after the war, and tried to start up some more businesses afterwards, all of which failed.  He squandered all the money he was given, he didn’t remain faithful to his wife, and he died of liver failure (likely from heavy drinking).  The only thing he kept the jews from were forced labor camps which were only somewhat worse than being at one of his factories (ie not as bad as depicted in the film, which is something Europa and my responses to Myles Power’s videos point out).  And even then, the jew ghetto police also utilized Schindler’s funds to have Jews moved to the more lenient (ie more luxurious by comparison) labor camps when there wasn’t room in Schindler’s factories.  Likely because, near the end of the war, Schindler could tell that Germany was going to lose, especially after the failure of taking Russia, and when the Americans got into the war (June 1944).  And on last note about Schindler, and this is a very very interesting little tidbit Spielberg decided to leave out, which completely goes against the pacifist depiction of the Jews:

Mr. Crowe said that the only part of the film that angered him was the ending, in which Schindler flees as the Russians advance. The Jews are shown as defeated, but in fact, Mr. Crowe said, Schindler had created “an armed guerilla group of Jews.”

“They were armed to the teeth, ready to fight till the death,” he said. Hours after Schindler left, they hung a Jew who worked for the Nazis.

Source

That all being said, this doesn’t mean Schindler was a bad man.  It makes him a complex one, with many layers.  A man who did good things and bad things.  If we were given this character in the film, the film would be a much more interesting one.  He may have been a man who was only helping the Jews and sabotaging the Germans for his own personal benefit knowing the end of the war was nigh, or he may have been doing it out of the good of his heart, or somewhere in-between.  The testimony of his wife seems to indicate the former, but we may never know.  Would be nice to have a film with a portrayal of that character which leaves those viewpoints open to interpretation by the viewer.  Of course, in order for me to fully appreciate that film even with a character like that in it, it can’t portray the Nazis unfairly either.  And as far as I can tell, no modern film (let alone older ones) seems to be capable of doing that, mainly because they all go with the assumption that 6+ million Jews were killed in the Holocaust due largely in-part to the Final Solution, which is something I’ve come to no longer believe.

 

That being said, I don’t buy that the forced labor camps were picnic parties either, even when some revisionist documentaries, including Europa (for all the great insights it provides, it does have some false or misleading info from its biased point of view, as most documentaries do), try to convince people otherwise.  There were labor camps run by reasonable SS leaders, and some were run by terrible SS leaders, such as Karl Otto Koch and Amon Goeth (the latter depicted by Ralph Fiennes in the film as the main antagonist).

The fact that the SS, under orders from Heinrich Himmler, attempted to operate the concentration camps (KZ) in a humane manner, in part by prosecuting, jailing and even executing brutal Nazi concentration camp personnel, has been nearly completely suppressed in much of the discussion of the history of World War Two.

One of the key officers who was instrumental in Himmler’s campaign to attempt to ensure the human rights of KZ inmates, was the heroic and incorruptible SS Judge Konrad Morgen. His testimony follows:

From Affidavit SS-65 by SS Judge Konrad Morgen, IMT Vol. 42, p. 556:

Individual criminal acts – in these cases having broad implications – included: the assumption of a license to kill by commandants and subordinates concealed through falsification of medical death certificates.

Arbitrary conduct, chicanery, unlawful corporal punishments, acts of brutality and sadism, liquidation of no-longer-convenient accomplices, theft and black-market profiteering.

ALL OF THESE OFFENSES WERE COMMITTED both alone by prisoners AS WELL AS BY PERSONNEL OF THE SS, most however in conspiracy between SS personnel with kapos (Jewish concentration camp guards).

The intervention of SS jurisdiction in the concentration camps commenced with the initiation of my investigations in July 1943 and lasted until the conclusion of the war. It could not have started sooner, because there were no suspicions in this regard.

Arrested were the commandants of Buchenwald, Lublin, Warschau, Herzogenbosch, KRAKAU-PLASZOW.

The commandants of Buchenwald and Lublin were shot.

More than a hundred cases were brought to a verdict. Maximum punishments were imposed on members of all ranks.

Source

 

Fourth, the depiction of Amon Goeth.  Well, I’m not going to lie.  From what I’ve gathered, he is about as big of an asshole as depicted in the film.  However, the film depicts both him and the Germans as if they were the rule rather than the exception.  This was not the case:

Although there were orders to administrators from the National Socialist government that concentration camp inmates were not to be brutalized, the camps themselves varied from well-run, fundamentally decent places of confinement, to pure hell-holes, depending to a large degree on the quality of the Nazi leadership in each concentration camp. Some commandants such as Amon Goeth and Karl Otto Koch were little more than criminals, while others like Hermann Pister were incorruptible and supervised the most humane facilities they could under the circumstances, given the scarcity of food and medicine in wartime Germany under conditions of saturation bombing by the Allied air forces.

There are many instances of attempts by the German military to secure humane conditions within the concentration camps. For example, in 1943 SS Judge Konrad Morgen of the Haupt Amt Gericht (SS-HAG) was assigned to investigate and prosecute brutality at Buchenwald. Morgen was so successful in correcting conditions there that Himmler gave him an expanded staff and unlimited investigative authority in the camps. Morgen’s next target of inquiry was Krakau-Plaszow and its commandant, Amon Goeth, the arch-fiend of Speilberg’s film.

In Schindler’s List Morgen’s entire investigation of Goeth was reduced to a scene in which fleeting reference is made to Goeth having his books “audited.” If you blinked, you missed it. The crucial truth that Steven Spielberg withheld from his audience is that in September of 1944, Goeth was arrested by the Central Office of the SS Judiciary and imprisoned on charges of theft and the murder of concentration camp inmates.

Hoffman, Swindler’s Mist

Hoffman never made it to a trial in Germany though, as he was arrested near the end of the war, Germany had other things to worry about, and they lost the war.  So Hoffman had to face justice at the hands of the Polish rather than at the hands of the Germans.

And on another note, he didn’t have the authority to execute those working at the camp.  And even more interesting, he wasn’t tried as a Nazi when he did go to trial in Poland post WWII, mainly because he wasn’t in a high command position.  They had to make up a new law for trying someone like him.

As the commandant of the Plaszow camp, Goeth had been ordered to carry out the executions that were ordered by others. These executions took place at the Plaszow camp. The people who were executed were not prisoners in  the Plaszow camp.

According to David Crowe’s book, entitled Oscar Schindler,  Wilek Chilowicz was a Jewish prisoner, who was the head of the OD, the Jewish police at Plaszow. Crowe wrote that “Göth sought permission to murder Chilowicz and several other prominent OD men in the camp on false charges.”

In all the Nazi concentration camps, the staff had to get permission from headquarters in Oranienburg to punish a prisoner, but punishment did not include murder.

Dr. Georg Konrad Morgen was a Waffen-SS officer and attorney, whom Reichsführer-SS Heinrich Himmler had put in charge of investigating murder, corruption and mistreatment of prisoners in all the Nazi concentration camps in 1943. Dr. Morgen’s first investigation had resulted in the arrest of Karl Otto Koch, the Commandant of Buchenwald, and his later execution by the Nazis.

According to David Crowe’s book, Goeth asked one of his SS officers, Josef Sowinski, to prepare a detailed, false report about a potential camp rebellion led by Chilowicz and other OD men. Based on this report, Koppe sent a secret letter to Goeth giving him the authority to carry out the execution of Chilowicz and several other OD men. The execution took place on August 13, 1944; Goeth was arrested exactly a month later and charged by Dr. Morgen with corruption and brutality, including the murder of Wilek Chilowicz and several others.

[…]

After World War II ended, the American military turned Amon Goeth over to the Polish government for prosecution as a war criminal. He was brought before the Supreme National Tribunal of Poland in Krakow. His trial took place between August 27, 1946 and September 5, 1946. Goeth was charged with being a member of the Nazi party and a member of the Waffen-SS, Hitler’s elite army, both of which had been designated as criminal organizations by the Allies after the war. His crimes included the charges that he had taken part in the activities of these two criminal organizations. The crime of being a Nazi applied only to Nazi officials, and Goeth had never held a job as a Nazi official. In fact, at the time of Goeth’s conviction by the Polish court, the judgment against the SS and the Nazi party as criminal organizations had not yet been made by the Nuremberg IMT.

At Goeth’s trial, the Nazi party was said to be “an organization which, under the leadership of Adolf Hitler, through aggressive wars, violence and other crimes, aimed at world domination and establishment of the National-Socialist regime.” Amon Goeth was accused of personally issuing orders to deprive people of freedom, to ill-treat and exterminate individuals and whole groups of people. His crimes, including the newly created crime of genocide, came under a new law of the Allies, called Crimes against Humanity.

Source

The point being, his acts and methods were cruel enough to where even the SS had to arrest him and see him punished.  That, and because he was stealing stuff on the side from the Jews, which is something I believe was supposed to go straight to the Nazi party to help fund the German war effort or something.

And on another more minor note, it wasn’t geographically possible for Goeth to snipe Jews from the second story of his house.

 

Fifth, the ghetto jew police (Ordnungdienst / Ordnungsdiest), and the pacifist nature of the jews in the film.  Regarding the German Jewish police, “they were supervised by Polish guards and armed German police to ensure that they performed their tasks correctly and with appropriate strictness,” (Source).  Despite that, there’s a chance they weren’t all that, eh, honorable, since it’s been reported they were “ruthless killers” at times (still need to verify this, so take that information with a grain of salt).

As for the Jews being completely pacifist and meek, that’s a load of bull:

According to Thomas Keneally’s novel, after the first liquidation in 1942, in which many of the Jews escaped, the Jewish Combat Organization (ZOB), a group of resistance fighters, bombed the Cyganeria Restaurant and killed 7 German SS soldiers. Next, the SS-only Bagatella Cinema was bombed in Krakow. In the next few months, the ZOB sank German patrol boats on the Vistula, fire-bombed German military garages in Krakow and derailed a German army train, besides forging papers and passports for Jews to pass as Aryans.

In the movie, the date of the scene where Mrs. Dresner hides has been changed to the day of the final liquidation of the ghetto on March 13, 1943.  The movie gives the impression that the Jews were killed for no reason and does not mention what the Jews did in the Resistance.

[…]

According to the novel, Schindler’s Ark, around 4,000 Jews were found hiding in the Podgorze ghetto during the final liquidation and they were executed on the spot. However, during the postwar trial of Amon Goeth, one of the charges against him was that 2,000 Jews were killed during the liquidation of the Podgorze ghetto.

According to the novel, the Jews, who managed to escape from the ghetto, joined the partisans of the Polish People’s Army, who were hiding in the forests of Niepolomice.

Unlike the novel, the movie Schindler’s List does not mention the Jewish resistance fighters, who fought as partisans throughout the war.  In the movie, the Jews are portrayed as totally harmless, so there was no reason for the Nazis to shoot them as they were trying to escape.

Thomas Keneally, who is a native of Australia, mentioned in his novel that in 1944, an Australian plane was shot down by the Germans over Oskar Schindler’s factory; the plane was dropping supplies to the Jewish and Polish partisans in the forest east of Krakow, according to Keneally.

Krakow had been populated by Jews for 600 years before the Nazis invaded Poland in 1939, and the Jews had been discriminated against for years, before the Nazis arrived.

In 1494, there was a  fire in Krakow which was blamed on the Jews; this was the start of pogroms against the Jews.  Because of this, the King of Poland ordered the Jews in the city of Krakow to be resettled in the district of Kazimierz. During World War II, the Nazis ordered the Jews to move out of Kazimierz, into a ghetto in the Podgorze district, which was  across the river Vistula.

Source

So yeah, history is not all that one-dimensional, not as this film depicts it.

 

On that note, some other tidbits concerning where the hatred of the jews came from (aside from the bankers who influenced the laws and the nations, which Europa covers):

You need to understand the true story of what happened to the German people living in these German lands From 1918 to 1939… Twenty years of systematic oppression, taxation, killing, murder, torture, terrorizing, persecution, impoverishment under jews.

This is another part of the true history of Europe which has been covered up and buried. The jews who flocked to Versailles and gained a special dispensation for an independent Polish nation to be recognized: did this because Poland had been jewified and was under total jewish control. It was the closest thing they could get to having their own land and their own jewish nation. Jews had been intermarrying into Polish high society for CENTURIES; for 100’s of years until they had become thoroughly accepted into Polish culture and society: Until Poland became known worldwide as “The Land of The Jews”… And from this jewified nation: their offspring spread like lice on a rat’s ass all over the diseased body of Europe: into Germany and especially into key appointments of power in the occupied territories which had been so ‘generously’ ‘given’ to various other nations by the scum who wrote the Versailles Treaty. The result of the Versailles Treaty: was a systematic racist program of discriminatory laws inflicted by the jews in power over their German victims for twenty years in every land stolen from Germany after WW2….

But to understand why this happened… You need to go even further back into European History and understand just why the jews hated the Germans so much… The reason for their racist hatred was because Germany was the last… I repeat, Germany was the LAST nation in Europe to grant emancipation to jews: the right to own property and the right to vote. Germany: the states and duchies of German speaking people kept their jews locked up in ghettos. Far longer than any other nation in Europe the Germans kept the jews apart from their society and did not allow them to infiltrate or intermarry into their society. For this: the jews invented a special vile racist hatred against all Germany and all German people. This was why when they were granted emancipation, when they did gain power over Germans: they became the most brutal, subhuman overseers of any oppressed people in Europe…

So now! jump back to the lands Hitler freed the once-German lands from Jewish control and oppression between 1935-1939. Most of the jews in these lands were of Polish origin. They were Polish jews wreaking ‘revenge’ on a hapless German people who had their rights taken away from them and their land taken away from them. In nearly all cases, they were jews of Polish extraction. Even the jews living in Vienna and Austria had nearly all originally come from Poland. Then suddenly the Anschluss happened. The German victims of jewish oppression were given back their rights, their land and their power!… and in every case: each land that was freed from Jewish rule: DEPORTED their jews by force: they stripped them of their titles, property and wealth and put them on trains.

Source

 

 

One more thing.  The whole propaganda regarding the mass execution of the Jews.

We will therefore find that examination of stories
concerning alleged Jewish extermination that appeared in the New York Times,
spring 1942 through 1943, together with a summary of 1944 propaganda,
which will be presented in Chapter 5, is all that is required to get a satisfactory
conception of the propaganda.

[…]

February 14, 1943, p. 37: “EXECUTION ‘SPEED – UP ’ SEEN
Mass executions of Jews in Poland on an accelerated tempo was re-
ported by European representatives of the World Jewish Congress in a
communication made public by Rabbi Stephen S. Wise, president of the
American Jewish Congress.
In one place in Poland 6,000 Jews are killed daily, according to the re-
port, dated Jan. 19. Jews left in Poland are now confined in fifty-five ghet-
tos, some in the large towns and some in the smaller towns that have been
transformed into ghettos.”
This was the propaganda story involved in the conflict between State and
Treasury. As noted in connection with the remarks on the Times editorial of
December 18, if this story had managed to emerge from the State Department,
greater credibility would, apparently, have been attached to it. Unfortunately
for the propaganda inventors at the time, they had to settle for Rabbi Wise as
ostensible source.

[…]

April 12, 1943, p. 5: “NAZIS ERASE GHETTOS IN TWO POLISH CITIES
London, April 11 (AP) – The Polish Telegraph Agency said tonight that the Germans had erased the ghetto at Krakow in a three-day massacre that started March 13, and also had eliminated the ghetto in Lodz.

The fate of the Jews in the latter city was unknown, but the agency said it was believed they also were killed.”

Because almost all Jews outside the Continent, particularly those in the
U.S., believed the extermination claims, they brought political pressures which
resulted in the Bermuda Conference. It was believed, 161 correctly, that the Na-
zis wished the emigration of the Jews from Europe (under appropriate condi-
tions), and this put the British and American governments, on account of the
propaganda basis for their war, into an awkward position, around which they
were obliged to continually double-talk. 162 We have described the conflict be-
tween State and Treasury in this regard. The British had, at that point, no in-
tention of opening Palestine, and both the British and Americans had no inten-
tion of providing the resources, in the middle of the war, for massive opera-
tions undertaken for reasons that were valid only to the degree that their prop-
aganda was taken seriously. No sane modern statesmen believe their own
propaganda. This is the dilemma, which J. Breckenridge Long and other State
Department officials felt themselves facing.

[…]

The allegations of exterminations of Jews do not appear to have had great importance to the public during the war, if one judges from the lack of any prominence given to such stories. Another way to express it is to say that if one spends some time examining the newspapers of the time, a high degree of hostility to the Nazis is obvious, but the specific basis of the hostility is virtually impossible to distinguish. Thus, there is something of an emotional nature missing from our survey, but this is unavoidable.  Two principal observations should be made in regard to the extermination propaganda. First, the legend has its origin among Zionists and, second, Auschwitz was not claimed as an extermination camp until very late in the war.

We have seen that the first extermination claims were not based on one
scrap of intelligence data. Zionists, principally the World Jewish Congress,
merely presented their nonsense to the Allied governments, in particular to the
U.S. government, demanding endorsement of their nonsense. The first reac-
tions in Washington were to scoff at the claims but, on account of various po-
litical pressures, and only on account of those pressures and not because cor-
roborating information had been procured from military intelligence, official
Washington eventually cooperated with the extermination propaganda to the
extent of having high officials make vague public declarations in support of it,
and of having propaganda agencies make more specific declarations of an ob-
scure nature. The early propaganda had features which are retained in the leg-
end to this day, such as the six million figure, and also features which were
quickly forgotten, such as the soap factories, although both features were au-
thored by the same Zionist circles.

— Arthur R. Butz, The Hoax of the Twentieth Century, 4th ed.  Castle Hills Publishers.  February 2015 p.112, 114, 123-124

Anyway, for more information about how Spielberg’s depiction of the Holocaust is rubbish, when going outside the film itself, you can see a debunking of a documentary Spielberg made titled The Last Days where 5 Holocaust survivors were interviewed and given their point of view of events.  The documentary that debunks this documentary (by showcasing the faulty testimony of the people in the documentary) is titled Spieleberg’s Hoax: The Last Days of the Big Lie.

And an Ernst Zundel interview where he bashes on the film for various reasons (I did find his taking offense at the “boobs and butts” to be rather funny).  But it’s insightful for him to mention that the burning of the bodies (an event with an insane orchestral score in the film, to give the impression that you should feel shocked and sad at what you are seeing; Chujowa Gorka, April 1944) was to prevent disease spreading from the dead bodies, thus a health measure.  And that bodies had to be dug up and burned because they were poisoning the groundwater.  That, and crematoriums weren’t supposed to emote much smoke or smell, despite what the film depicts.  And even German SS bodies (and the wives of German soldiers) who died of disease or typhus had to be burned along with any dead Jews at these crematoriums.  And it questions the “number” of people that would have to be burned day by day in order to match up with the official numbers given to the holocaust amidst all this.

Lastly, a video of Jews giving their testimony on the holocaust that tends to contradict officially accepted mainstream views.

 

PS: One more little tidbit I found interesting from the film:

“Ah, an educated Jew.  Like Karl Marx himself.”

Huh, cool to see the film admits that fun fact.

 

 

Sources

Amon Goeth liquidates the last Jews in Krakow ghetto

https://www.grunge.com/142302/the-true-story-about-oskar-schindler-from-schindlers-list/

https://www.big-lies.org/jews/jews-poland-revisionism.html

https://encyclopedia.ushmm.org/content/en/article/german-invasion-of-poland-jewish-refugees-1939

Re-examining Spielberg’s Portrayal of Polish-Jewish Relations

https://sites.google.com/a/csumb.edu/hcom352-schindlers-list-1993/historical-accuracy-of-the-film

https://www.thejc.com/culture/features/is-schindler-s-list-fatally-flawed-1.43304

https://www.revisionisthistory.org/shindler.html

https://www.revisionisthistory.org/revisionist6.html

http://www.nizkor.org/features/techniques-of-denial/schindler-01.html

http://www.nizkor.org/features/techniques-of-denial/appendix-1-01.html

Hoffman, Michael A., and Alan R. Critchley.  “Swindler’s Mist: Spielberg’s Fraud in Schindler’s List”.  January 1, 2001.  https://codoh.com/library/document/488/

swindlers mist

ScrapbookPages Blog.  https://furtherglory.wordpress.com/2015/03/03/did-amon-goeth-have-the-authority-to-order-executions/

Burkeman, Oliver, and Ben Aris.  “Biographer takes shine off Spielberg’s Schindler”.  The Guardian.  November 25, 2004.  https://www.theguardian.com/world/2004/nov/25/germany.film

Smith, Diitia.  “Book Adds Layers of Complexity to the Schindler Legend”.  The New York Times.  November 24, 2004.  http://www.fpp.co.uk/Auschwitz/Schindler/OOF1104.html

Arthur R. Butz, The Hoax of the Twentieth Century, 4th ed.  Castle Hills Publishers.  February 2015