Wednesday, February 29, 2012

Super 8 and Wolf's Cross

This week I have watched a movie and read a book which have caused me to take a look again at the nature of good and evil in people, and the reality of the grey.

SPOILER ALERT: If you don't want to know anything about Super 8 or Wolf's Cross, you might not want to read this post. However, I don't give answers away and I don't tell you what happens in the end.

Wolf's Cross by S.A. Swann
From the back: Maria lives a simple life in a small Polish village, working for the lord of the nearby fortress. Motherless since birth, Maria has been raised by her father and stepmother. Around her neck she wears - as she has always worn - a silver crucifix, to protect her from the devil. Or so her father tells her.
But when a contingent of badly mauled Teutonic knights, including a handsome and gravely wounded young man named Josef, as for succor at the fortress, Maria's quiet and comfortable world shatters. For the knights are Wolfjagers, an order dedicated to the extermination of werewolves, and Maria, unknowingly, is one of the creatures they hunt. Only the crucifix about her neck prevents her body from changing into a lethal killing machine.
When Maria meets Darien, a wolfbreed bent on exacting a terrible revenge on humans, she will learn the truth about herself, and find her loyalties - and her heart - torn in two.

I enjoyed this vivid, paranormal adventure/romance very much. It's not the best werewolf story I've ever read, but it's certainly not the worst. My favorite part of this story was the multi-faceted character portrayal. Nobody was pure and innocent. Nobody was evil personified. The church was portrayed as having both people who struggle with the truth and strive to do right, and also close-minded ignorant bigots. I read about commoners who were nasty and others who were good-hearted. The nobles (often portrayed as arrogant and cruel) were responsible, thoughtful and aware of the needs of their servants. The three werewolves in the story all struggle with a vengeful desire for chaos and a passionate need for the safety of family and home.

I loved the fact that there were people I could relate to in this story- I struggle with wicked thoughts, yet seek to serve the true and pure.
There were no wicked sinners with hearts black as sin in this story, and no pure innocent shining saints. Instead, the characters fell in the grey middle.

Super 8
From Wikipedia: The film tells the story of a group of young teenagers who are filming their own Super 8 movie in a small town in 1979 when a train derails, releasing a dangerous presence into their town.

This movie is a little bit like a "What if!? What if E.T. arrived and the government captured the alien instead of letting him go? And what if they locked him up and experimented on him? And what if he was WAY bigger, stronger and scarier??"

Again, what I liked the most about this movie was that most of the characters were neither pure as snow nor grimy with evil-
The alien got angry and mean because of the experiments done to him and the years of prison-life.
The scientists & military agents wanted to know the truth and did not set out to turn the alien insane. Besides, one of the scientists knowingly commits suicide to set the alien free.
The kids do stupid selfish things, and wonderful sweet things.
The military personnel who come in to clean up the mess are probably the most unabashedly evil presence in the movie; however, one of the more important characters in the movie is a police officer who does both stupid, mean, selfish things and heroic crazy stunts.
Even the loser dad and the pot-head end up doing pretty cool amazing things.

I could relate to these people: the parents driven to find their missing kids, the teenage awkwardness and self-consciousness, the military terror towards the alien, the alien's need to go home.. I got what drove these characters and it wasn't clear-cut- it was all very grey.

I often want things to be more clear-cut, but a lot of the time they are not. A lot of time it's more grey. When the path is clear (stealing is a bad idea, it hurts me and the person who owns whatever I want. Murder is a bad idea, life is precious and needs to be protected), I can stick to the straight and narrow. But when it gets confusing, I have to pick my way through the grey as well.

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