wingspan • december 11, 2009
ew point of view point of v 2012 entertaining, but repetitive movie
The Lost Symbol long, but definite must read
Natalie Rice Feature Writer
point of view T
he “lost symbol” is really not lost. As much as Dan Brown, author of five novels including The Lost Symbol, tries to steer his readers away from their initial speculations, he is unsuccessful. Our favorite main character from The DaVinci Code and Angels & Demons, Harvard professor of symbology Robert Langdon, appears for the third time in a book similar to the first two. In The Lost Symbol, a deranged man who calls himself Mal’akh attempts to become a god. In order to do so, the Masonic Pyramid must be found and deciphered to obtain a hidden symbol’s location that will unlock the Ancient Mysteries, the lost wisdom of the ages that in the hands of the unenlightened of the world have the potential to be devastating. Mal’akh holds Langdon’s close friend captive to blackmail Langdon into deciphering the pyramid. The location of the lost symbol is made obvious early in the novel. Throughout the entire novel, I was almost certain of what the symbol was as well as where it was hidden. Most readers could have figured it out. Despite the fact that the most important detail of the book is staring the reader right in the face, this 509-page book is worth the long read, and while Brown might have ruined some of the surprise, he almost makes up for it. Toward the end of the book, there is a twist that no one will ever expect. The constant cliffhangers every three chapters kept me going and wouldn’t allow me to put the book down. Every time it seemed one problem had been solved or one code deciphered, another presented itself. Critics say that Brown’s The DaVinci Code, Angels & Demons and The Lost Symbol are too similar and his descriptions and backgrounds of historical landmarks are things that readers don’t care about. I couldn’t disagree more. While the plots of the three novels are, granted, very similar, the situations that Langdon comes into contact with vary. Despite what critics say, The Lost Symbol sold a million hardback and virtual copies worldwide on the day of its release. Authors write to sell books, and Brown has done just that.
he San Andreas Fault opens into a giant chasm as the remnants of the San Francisco coastline slide into the depths of the Pacific Ocean. Yellowstone National Park erupts in a blaze of hot lava and ash. A tsunami pours over the massive Himalayan mountains. And so civilization comes to its tragic end in the apocalyptic thriller 2012. 2012 is based on the predictions of several ancient civilizations, most notably the Mayans, that the year 2012 would mark the end of civilization as we know it. This apocalypse would come about as a result of huge sun flares heating the earth’s core to boiling point and causing widespread crust displacement. The movie follows the story of Jackson Curtis (John Cusack), a typical divorcee trying to reconnect with his two kids while obsessing over his career as a struggling novelist. When he takes his son and daughter on a camping trip to Yellowstone, he meets an eccentric radio host who tells him about giThe plot of 2012 is ant arks being built to withstand very comparable tsunamis that will mark the end of the world. to that of 2004’s Curtis, dismissing the man as The Day After crazy, returns home only to find San Francisco crumbling around Tomorrow. him. In a race for their lives, Curtis, Their similarity his kids and their mother and stepis apparent father must outrun the widespread earthquakes across the planet to from the very find the arks and save their family beginning. before it is too late. The plot of 2012 is very comparable to that of 2004’s The Day After Tomorrow. Both disaster films were directed by Roland Emmerich, and their similarity is apparent from the very beginning. Each movie follows multiple personal aspects and a governmental aspect that provide different points of view; however, other similarities in the plot and resolution lead to a predictable ending for the film. While 2012 is at no point lacking in excitement or suspense, the feats accomplished by Curtis and his fractured family are decidedly unrealistic. Each disaster scene ends in an unusually close call as they hurtle over giant fissures, the cracks or billowing clouds of smoke following mere feet behind them. These escapes, though entertaining, are not ones that would ever occur in reality. On the other hand, the special effects, also similar to those of The Day After Tomorrow, could be mistaken for truth and add a heightened sense of excitement. Amongst the suspense are moral lessons about love, forgiveness and sacrifice that add a strong emotional factor. These scenes are deeply touching and are accentuated by the acting, which is superior to Emmerich’s former disaster movie. In the end, though, the action wins out and frequently undermines the emotional factor. Despite the unrealistic escape scenes and similarity to other apocalyptic movies, 2012 has enough to entertain fans of disaster movies and is best seen on the big screen. Although not one for viewing again and again, it was an interesting and timely film that created an ominous feeling about the future.
point of vi w point of view
This is It a worthy movie, useless album
Catherine Swift Feature Writer
ur generation has been interested in Michael Jackson for all the wrong reasons, but that could change. With the recent release of the film This Is It and the accompanying album of the same title, fans are getting a chance to see the Jackson of tabloid fame change back into one of the most influential musicians of his generation. The album serves as a soundtrack to the film, chronologically taking listeners through the planned concert sequence. In addition to garnering over $23 million on opening weekend in North America alone, the documentary shows what the concert was meant to be. It more than hints that the loss of the event could reasonably be mourned as much as the loss of its star. The two-disc album includes many of Jackson’s well-known hits with a few new tracks thrown in as a selling point. It is cleverly marketed as a crucial companion to the film but is definitely not worth the $13.99 iTunes price. Truly devoted fans will enjoy individually buying the few new tracks, one of which is an unconventional and speculative poem entitled “Planet Earth.” The artist’s hit “Earth Song” with a theme of environmental awareness similar to “Planet Earth,” is featured in the film. Jackson, soaring on a moving cherry-picker structure, sings as a mini-film showing the beauty of nature and the contrasting destruction of it pan out on a massive screen. Though the video is elaborate and moving, it is one of the simplest sequences in the show. In designing the concert, Jackson pulled from all available resources, the most impressive of which was his own creative genius. The film serves as a window for the fan and the curious to perceive a part of Jackson’s humanity. True, the transformation of behind-the-scenes footage into a blockbuster film without the artist’s consent is exploitation, and there is no doubt he would cringe to know that audiences worldwide were seeing unfinished rehearsals. The album is generally a waste of resources, but the film, though at times excessively worshipful in tone, is exceptionally worthwhile. It provides a fascinating look at the “man in the mirror.”
Fox TV’s new Glee season’s surprise hit
Ashley Heywood Staff Writer
id word, Kurt prepares for his big moment. If he hits the high F note in “Defying Gravity,” the solo will be his, and he will prove that a boy can sing just as well as any girl. A montage between Rachel’s audition and his own builds the anticipation for that sweet note. Then Kurt sings, and his voice cracks. The audition is lost, and Rachel gets the solo. Later we learn that Kurt threw the audition to spare his father any further grief from having a “fag” for a son. The new Fox series “Glee” is an imaginative take on high school drama because of its musical components. Ryan Murphy, the director of “Nip/Tuck,” created this new hit. The pilot episode aired in May as a preview to the series. Airing right after the “American Idol” finale, an audience already fueled with adrenaline declared the first episode of “Glee” a hit. It raked in an unexpected 9.62 million viewers and ranked 14th in the weekly program ratings. After this positive response, the season officially premiered in September. Although the ratings haven’t reached that peak since, the show continues to draw a steady viewing audience. The series is about the failing McKinley High School Glee Club and the school’s Spanish teacher, played by Matthew Morrison, who tries to save it from humiliation. He faces a spiteful cheerleading coach destined to destroy the club. It has all the components of a regular high school drama: teenage pregnancies, disabilities, sworn enemies and struggles for acceptance. Although “Glee” offers all the same issues as other teenage dramas, its compelling plot will have the viewer coming back. Every episode is guaranteed to entertain. The stingy cheerleading coach, played by Jane Lynch, becomes the co-leader of the Glee Club in later episodes. Her heartless actions make the viewer stand and cheer for the club members. She tries her hardest to break up the club, looking for every loophole or trying to set the members against one another. In the series, the rivalries between the two coleaders of the club make for a fascinating battle. “Glee” features a cast of stereotypes. From the shy nerds to the peppy cheerleaders, the contrasts between the members are nearly a world apart. In one episode, we find the stereotypical rebel befriending the innocent theater buff. The odd combination of outcasts and in-crowd creates tension. The cast includes a mixture of misfits all adding their own flair. The viewers’ perspectives on the characters are constantly changing with all the drama and cat fights. From one episode to the next, the viewer finds another little outcast to call his or her own. Combined with the dramatics of a musical, “Glee” is an organized mash-up of all things “teen.” Mixing traditional Broadway classics and today’s chart-topping pop hits make the show engaging. The series’ only downfall is the repetitiveness of topics. Most teenage shows have the same issues. The series offers little new content. However, the creative spin that the music adds to the show compensates for this. Although the subject matter is overused, the show is still entertaining, witty and creative.
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