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Aug. 21st, 2012

CapAlert Alert #2: The Avengers

It's been over a year since I did one of these, mostly because there weren't any movies that came out that had funny CAPReports. But on a whim, I decided to check out their review of The Avengers. I'm glad I did, the result is comedy gold. Now, I can't quote the whole article like I do for the Parenting for Sadists series, so I strongly suggest you visit the link and read it for yourself, since I've only taken a small percentage of the article here for quoting. As usual, colored text is quotes directly from the site.

The article starts out with the writer going on about how surprised he was that the movie actually did score a PG-13 rating on the CAPAlert model, because of how violent the movie was. There's some talk about how the scoring system is unbiased, and some more confusion as to who actually was in the Avengers (Hawkeye and Black Widow apparently weren't Avengers in the comic books. I can't answer that to whether or not that's true, since I've not read the comic books, but that's beside the point anyway).

There's some plot summary, and warnings for spoilers, and then we get into the real “meat” of this review. The following paragraph is the second paragraph in their “wanton violence/crime” section.

The violence content of The Avengers is clearly more than enough to warrant reminding mom/dad about God's Word regarding the influence of violence. God warns us of the influence of violence dozens of times from the Old Testament to the New Testament but Proverb 16:29 puts the issue rather succinct. In Proverb 16:29 God warns that violence is "catching": that it can lead one into the way that is not good. In addition to God "publishing His findings" about the influence of violence, four professional public health agencies has published findings which warn that viewing violence in and as entertainment can, among other things, lead the viewer, especially the young, into real life violence and can lead the viewer to believe violence is an effective means of settling conflict. Whom else needs to warn us about the influence of violence in and as entertainment before we start to believe it?

Um... the Chitauri were aliens that were trying to take over the world. OF COURSE they're going to be firing at the humans. And I've said it before, I'll say it again: watching The Avengers or another movie no more makes you into a violent person than standing in your garage makes you a car. It is an Action movie, after all.

From the “impudence/hate” section:

Thirteen times someone spews one or more of the three/four letter word vocabulary. One time what is claimed to be a British slang term of vulgarity which I will not explain was used. [Col. 3:8, Eph. 5:4] While none of them were the most foul of the foul words, 13 uses of profanity says more through an attitude of impunity, self-appointed absolution from accountability, than the words themselves. Additional matters of impudence and/or hatred include planning the extinction of the human race, forcing it into submission, lies and a brother stabbing his brother.

BWAHAHAHAHAHAHAHA. I'm assuming the “British slang term of vulgarity” was the “mewling quim” line. Honestly, though, the vast majority of people weren't aware of that word until the movie came out. I had to Google it, even though I had an idea, and I had to explain it to my brother. Also, again with the aliens. They're trying to take over the world. OF COURSE they're going to talk about how to subjugate the human race/cause the extinction of the humans. But I'm also pretty sure the Chitauri don't actually exist, and are not actually planning to take over the world and destroy all humans. IT'S AN ACTION MOVIE, NOT A DOCUMENTARY. If it was, we'd be in trouble. But it's not.

Moving on to the sexual immorality section of the review, there's some complaints about the Black Widow's costume, and the scene in the beginning where Captain America is in the gym, hitting a punching bag and the camera focuses on his ass. That scene has been made into gifs and have been posted all over the Internet. And hey, I can't really blame them. Chris Evans has a very nice physique, is it a sin to appreciate the assets God gave him, if you believe that? *snerk*

Then, they get to the Hulk's scenes, where he changes back into Bruce Banner:

Note that the following discussion is rather graphic but if your kids watch the film they will see it. Ruffalo, who played The Hulk is seen completely nude in two scenes. His genitals are conveniently hidden by his legs but he is nude and a crotch view is displayed. The "excuse" of the filmmakers to display such vulgarity in and as entertainment is likely that the Hulk, when he shrinks back to normal, would not have clothing that fit. Well, if such is "excusable" how and why did the Hulk find clothing large enough to fit his enlarged form that was previously covered by smaller clothing? It is adamantly obvious the filmmakers used this configuration of "excuses" to show nudity in a PG-13.

So what makes the display of nudity a sin? One might try to excuse nudity in and as entertainment with the argument that there is nudity portrayed in many Bibles and on the ceiling of the Sistine Chapel. Let me remind those who would try such an argument that God did not put the nudity in the Bible nor on the ceiling of the Sistine Chapel. Man did. God speaks darkly of "nakedness" 47 times in the KJV from Genesis to Revelation. He even warned the priests to not climb the steps to an alter lest the wind expose their nakedness to the people below

WAHAHAHAHAHAHAHA. I can't even form a coherent response to that. Just... just... I hope this guy never has to take an art history class. Lots of nekkid ladies in high art. In fact, most of the art you study in an art history class is either religious, or naked women. Lots and lots of naked women. And everyone knows the Hulk's pants are very stretchy, so they can enlarge with him. But if you stretch something out, it doesn't always go back to its original size. That's why Bruce Banner always had problems after transforming. The Hulk's pants were way too big for him! Duh! And if nudity is such a sin, then why didn't God give Adam and Eve little leafy pants to wear when they were in the Garden of Eden? Why aren't babies born in little suits? Please excuse me for being crude, but you don't come out of your momma dressed.

The Drugs and Violence category and the Murder/Suicide categories don't really have anything that wasn't covered in earlier sections or that I haven't already dissected, but the “Offense to God” category is where the real fun is.

While there is sci-fi action that would mimic levitation and creation of energy, there is no presence of Satanism, occultism, witchcraft or the like in this film. But God's name is abused once. And once is once too many. [Deut. 5:11]. The film (and the comic) depends heavily on polytheism through embracing Norse gods.

Um... yeah? Loki and Thor are Norse gods. There is historical basis for them being deities, since they were deities in the Viking religion. But, if you look at the Avengers universe, Loki and Thor aren't exactly gods at all, they're technically aliens. Aliens with god-like powers, sure. But they're aliens all the same. There's not really any mention of religion at all, except for the scene where Captain America intends to confront Loki and Thor, and the Black Widow warns him that he should probably sit this one out, since they're basically gods. Captain America replies, “Ma'am, there's only one god, and I'm pretty sure he doesn't dress like that.” You'd think the CAPAlert people would love this movie, since Captain America basically gives lip service to their religion. But I guess not.

All in all, the CAPAlert managed to pull out another hilarious gem of a review for a great movie. Cheers, CAPAlert!

Jun. 4th, 2011

CAPAlert Alert #1: TRON and TRON: Legacy

Ah, CAPAlert, I remember the days in high school when my friends and I would look up our favorite movies on this site, wondering exactly what half-assed reasons they would give for what they found offensive in relatively in-offensive movies, or the fact that they would have no problems with some of the most violent, graphic films in history (Passion of the Christ, for example). This was always a good way to entertain ourselves, because we never quite managed to figure out exactly what their criteria for rating a movie was- it's kind of all over the place. And laughing at the ridiculous reasoning behind their reasons for rating a Pixar movie equivalent to an R-rated movie- this site is basically comedy gold, and it's not even trying to do so.

For a while, I had forgotten all abut this site, but I stumbled across it today, and then found their TRON reviews. Strangely enough, they watched the 1982 movie, then the 2010 movie, to compare them. What they found is... interesting. I'll let the CAPReport speak for itself.

There are many things the comparative reveals, but I'll bridle my energy and not itemize each of them. Besides, I suspect our readers are of a caliber that can figure out the things the comparative says without me enumerating them all. But I will a few. I will first ensure that everyone understands that the "13-PG" label for the 2010 Tron means it earned a final score in the range of scores earned by PG-13 movies in the comparative baseline database (the "13" in "13-PG") but the MPAA rated it PG (the "PG" in the "13-PG"). Thus the 2010 version of Tron earned a CAP PG-13 equivalent final score but is rated PG by the MPAA.

For the first comparison consider the influence density figures. Tron: Legacy presents 38% more assaults on morality and decency than the Tron 1982 version. Next, the final score of the 2010 version represents a 17.3% degradation in wholesome content.

Now, I'm not 100% sure what they're trying to say here, but it's coming across to me as them thinking that TRON: Legacy was worse content-wise than the original. Now, uh, I'm not quite sure how they ended up with 17.3%, but maybe it's some special kind of fundamentalist mathematics that I'm not privy to. What I do know about the CAPAlert ratings system is that each movie is rated out of 100. A movie with a score of 100 would have nothing objectionable in it. The lower the score, the less they like it. As it turns out, the 1982 film scored a 70, while the 2010 film scored a 62.

But the real funny here isn't the pseudoscience behind the scores, it's what they take as characteristics to lower the scores. In the 1982 film, the score in the “sexual immorality” category was 56. That's almost half of the points gone, and for what reasons? Let's let the site speak for itself:

Sexual Immorality (S)- 56 out of 100
  • form-fitting outfits, repeatedly
  • admission of sexually immoral behavior
  • suggestion of prostitutes

“Suggestion of prostitutes?” Dude, what the hell kind of TRON were you watching? Because I'm pretty sure that's not the same TRON I watched. I also don't remember any “admission of sexually immoral behavior.” Maybe it's because my standards a little lower, but I'm seriously wracking my brain here, and I can't think of anything here. And “form-fitting outfits, repeatedly?” BWAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHA. Excuse me while I laugh my ass off. Yeah, they were form-fitting. It was done to make it more “science fiction-y.” But here's what they had to say about that, in their explanation section.

The form-fitting outfits worn in this first Tron were not as form revealing as the outfits worn in the second but that is a matter of subjectivity. The outfits worn in this version were still form-fitting more than one ought to wear to school or church.

If you wear a Grid suit to church, PLEASE take some pictures, because I would literally pay good money to see that.

While this particular article has a lot of WTF in it, the review of Legacy is even more confusing. While they don't get so much into the nitty-gritty details in this one, the beginning of the article has the most convoluted disclaimer ever:

… the actual CAP Analysis Model (the Findings/Scoring section) makes no scoring allowances for trumped-up "messages" to excuse, to manufacture justification for, or to camouflage assaults on morality and decency, aberrant behavior or imagery with "redeeming" programming. A noble destination does not excuse an ignoble path. Disguising sinful behavior in a theme/plot does not excuse the sinful behavior of either the one who is drawing pleasure or example of behavior or thought from the sinful display or of the actors/actresses demonstrating the sinful behavior or the writers of it. We make no attempt to quantify the "artistic" or "entertainment" value of a movie. Whether a movie has any positive value or "entertainment" value (which many do) is up to mom/dad.

I don't even know. Does this guy not realize that sometimes to get to the result you want, you might have to do some less-than-savoury practices? Sometimes, in order to do an ultimately good thing, you have to do some bad things on the way. Despite what these people like to think, life isn't black and white. It's full of varying shades of gray. Without going into details here, I will say this: the plot of Legacy is dependent on these sorts of gray areas.

Anyway, moving on from the existential debate here, I have to say that this part of the review cracked me up: in the “Offense to God” section of the review, the reviewer writes this:

Kevin Flynn is, many times, referred to as the "Creator" (with "C" capitalized), as a deity with overtones of being God, as "the one who made us.

BECAUSE HE'S THE ONE THAT PROGRAMMED THEM, DUMBASS! Most of the characters in these movies are computer programs. Do you know how we get computer programs? I'll tell you something: they don't magically appear on your computer, someone had to program them for them to work. It's not unlike your religion's creation story- people wouldn't have gotten on Earth if your God hadn't put them there, programs wouldn't have gotten into a computer without a programmer making them. I know that's a bit of a hard concept to grasp, but they're not trying to offend you.

This is going to become a semi-regular series, because CAPAlert is too much fun to snark on. I know how this must look, with the series on Michael and Debi Pearl, and now this one, but I'm actually not trying to write an anti-religion blog. The Parenting for Sadists series is meant to expose cruelty to children, and I would do the same if the Pearls with any other religion, or non-religious. This one is just funny. Look through the website if you feel like it, it's a convoluted mess of bad web design, pseudoscience, and holier-than-thou pontification that is just too entertaining to leave alone.