Sunday, March 22, 2009

Witch Mountain: The Dog is a Major Issue

We went to see Race to Witch Mountain on Saturday and were all pleasantly surprised; it's actually a nice little sci-fi romp. I had considered checking out Knowing after reading that it too is alien-themed (isn't everything this year?), but realized the missus wouldn't enjoy the violence and I wouldn't enjoy the cosmology.

I've done quite a few Witch Mountain posts already and don't have all that much more to add, but I was quite struck that Junkyard the dog is a "major" character in the film. After looking at Obama and Sirius during and after the election, it was quite striking to see Dwayne "The Rock Obama" Johnson driving to a UFO convention with Junkyard in the front and Seth and Sara in the back. I couldn't help but think there's some greater meaning there, but won't really be able to tell until I watch it a few more times. Aside from Junkyard, I didn't see much Sirius symbolism in the film at all.

The UFO convention subplot reminded me a lot of my beloved Galaxy Quest, but also reminded me of Dragon*Con and my musings on conventions as the new pilgrimages. I did find it interesting that Hollywood loves to demean and ridicule people who take UFOs seriously (like Whitley Strieber in the film) at the same time they depict aliens as a self-evident reality.

Aside from Johnson, Watchmen and Threshold star Carla Gugino plays Dr. Alex Friedman, who is probably an androgynization of UFO stalwart Stanton Friedman. Note that both Carla and Alex are he/she names, and that Carla literally means "man-woman."

Given that the Roswell crash and the mass sightings over Washington happened in the month of July, it was a kick to see Ciaran Hinds - who was the best Julius Caesar in motion picture history, hands down - playing an MIB. However, I thought there was a bit of a missed opportunity with the character- I thought he should have also been an alien spy looking to sabotage the kids' mission. It's interesting that they changed "the bounty hunter" to "the assassin" since the first trailer. Maybe Chris Carter cried foul.

As to the kids, Alexander Ludwig looks exactly like my cousin Andrew, so my wife and I found that extremely distracting. Things like that can take me out of the story, strange as it may sound. But I must say Annasophia Robb is quite a convincing alien. I kept thinking of the Lily Cole discussion as I looked at her manga-huge eyes.

Robb already has an interesting filmography, having appeared in Witch Mountain, Jumper, Bridge to Terabithia and an odious-looking propaganda-piece called The Reaping, which features Hollywood's most destructive and pernicious cliche, the demonic or demon-possessed child.

The image from the DVD cover caught my eye, since it tied into the classic image of Lilith, whom we've been discussing quite a bit lately. But it also reminded me very much of ancient portrayals of Mithras, whose possible connection to aliens and UFOs is on the verge of becoming a fixation of mine. And of course you gotta love "Anna-Sophia" for hitting both the Inanna and Gnostic memes. Keep an eye on this actress...

Looking at the trailer for The Reaping I wondered how many gifted children the world has lost to religious paranoia. This is why our stories are so important. Going from psychopathic, perverted, misogynistic filth like The Exorcist to pro-child, pro-individuation, pro-evolutionary memes in Witch Mountain, Harry Potter and The X-Men is a very encouraging trend in our pop culture. Hopefully the emerging new myths will inspire us to nurture gifted or otherwise unusual children, rather than the abuse we still see in backward, superstitious parts of the world today.