Summer kids movies: “Earth to Echo” & “Dragon 2”


At my work (daycare), we took the kids to see a couple kids movies recently: “Earth to Echo” and “How to Train Your Dragon 2.” Here’s what I thought 🙂 (Contains spoilers.)

Earth to Echo

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“Earth to Echo” is a movie about how some kids find a lost alien and help it get to its spaceship and get home. Just some initial observations: it’s filmed like the boys are filming it with handheld cameras, each of the pre-teen boys has his own cell phone, and they use the word “Dude” way too much. You’d think it’s a nice kids movie and all, but it actually features kids breaking rules and doing all the wrong things. But somehow that’s ok because of their quest to help the cute little alien. Quite the “ends justify the means” story.

The movie makers made the story so that these kids “have” to do all these things you’d never want your kid doing. Like lying to their parents and sneaking out of the house. Like sneaking out to bike out to the desert at night. Like going into a bar and to a wild teenager party (dim lights, drinking, dancing, women, and all). Like stealing and driving (on the road!) a car and a truck. Like avoiding and fighting police because they’re conveniently the bad guys. Like chatting about “hot” girls and kissing. Like breaking and entering. AND did I mention that these kids can’t be more than 12 or 13?! And the only kid who has any moral scruples and protests is made fun of, and then ends up just going along.

Oh, but they help the little alien escape the bad guys and get away to its home. Yeah, it’s got a message of friendship as these kids face danger, help each other, make friends with the alien, and grow to appreciate each other more…all while disobeying their parents and breaking the law… Which is supposed to make all that bad stuff not so bad at all? Quite fitting that the company that made it is named “Relativity Media” 🙄

All in all, not a recommend. This is no family-friendly movie.

How to Train Your Dragon 2

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I haven’t seen the first one in this series, but that didn’t seem to be a problem; this story was good on its own.

Dragons. They used to be the terror of the Viking village, but now the people have learned to get along with them and have domesticated some. But now rumors fly of a stranger who’s capturing dragons for a dragon army of his own, which he’ll mind control using a huge “Alpha” dragon, and then use to terrify the villages into submission. How do they stop him?

This story does stay true to the real meaning of family as a close-knit unit, though there are some problems at first.
• Hiccup has grown some years, and it’s time for him to get ready to take over as chief, but he doesn’t want to be chief, and ignores his father’s talk and training to go exploring. By the end, though, he does accept this responsibility.
• Hiccup disagrees with his father on how to handle the hostile stranger, thinking he can go and talk him into a peaceful solution (he is later shown to be wrong about this, and realizes it). Yeah, the peaceful way doesn’t always work.
• But the strangest thing regards Hiccup’s mother, who believed dragons were good even during the wars against them. She was presumed dead in a dragon raid when Hiccup was a baby, but was actually carried away, and in this movie, is revealed to have been living with the dragons for 20 years because she chose them over her family life (she didn’t know that the villagers and dragons are now friends). That, I thought, was not a right choice at all, and surprising for a mother to leave her baby (Hiccup). But when Hiccup and his father find her, she is apologetic for her selfishness and agrees to return, so that was good. The whole family fights together in a battle, which is very neat. Family is encouraged in this film.

Another positive message is the one of how powerful unity is. Hiccup’s friends don’t desert him in tough situations. He and his family together are a formidable force in battle. All the dragons standing together defeat the huge “Alpha.” Shows what being united and brave can do 😎

Two are better than one, because they have a good reward for their labor. For if they fall, one will lift up his companion. But woe to him who is alone when he falls, for he has no one to help him up. Again, if two lie down together, they will keep warm; but how can one be warm alone? Though one may be overpowered by another, two can withstand him. And a threefold cord is not quickly broken.
– Ecclesiastes 4:9-12

This movie was better than I expected. Still some things to think about, but a good movie overall.

The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey


We unexpectedly got to see The Hobbit on Thursday! It was the first time we’d seen a Lord of the Rings film on the big screen, and it was fantastic! The sweeping scenery is so beautiful, and the score just rousing. Costumes are amazing…the elegance of the Elves, the ruggedness of the Dwarves, the coziness of the Hobbits. The movie’s plot is quite different from the book’s, but all in all, considering how this prequel trilogy draws on the Appendices and other writings of Tolkien and is meant to explain the backstory to The Lord of the Rings, I appreciate the changes. The major incidents in the book are present in the movie and there are many word-for-word lines as well, which is nice. 🙂

Though I do love the epic feel and battles of The Two Towers and The Return of the King, The Fellowship of the Ring is my favorite of the “Lord of the Rings” trilogy because of the closeness of the group. And An Unexpected Journey has the same feel. It’s just like going on the journey with the Fellowship; even more so because of the way the group has to learn to bond and work together.

At the start of the movie, we are introduced to a bumbling group of Dwarves with a mission to reclaim an old kingdom and treasure that belongs specifically to them and to a Hobbit named Bilbo who isn’t sure why he’s there or even if he wants to be. By the end of the movie, the group has come a long way from that. Bilbo finds sympathy for the Dwarves and the courage to fight. Proud Dwarf leader Thorin comes to respect other races. And a new evil shows itself in the forest as the White Council discusses how to deal with it.

“I cannot guarantee his safety,” says Thorin of Bilbo. “Nor will I be responsible for his fate.” On this journey, the Ring comes to Bilbo, and later passes to Frodo, setting off a chain of events that puts the future of Middle Earth in the balance. Bilbo’s fate changes the fate of Middle Earth. But it is clear that it is more than “fate.” In one of my favorite quotes from The Fellowship of the Ring, Gandalf tells Frodo,

“There are other forces at work in this world, Frodo, besides the will of evil. Bilbo was meant to find the Ring. In which case, you were also meant to have it. And that is an encouraging thought.”

Through it all, the Creator of Middle Earth watches and orchestrates things to save His Faithful.

Pictures (from thehobbitblog.com and The Hobbit Photo Gallery) and videos:

So, what was your favorite part of The Hobbit? 😀

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Sun


A cool shot into the sun that my sister took

~ Took these pics of sunflowers on a bright, sunny day 😀 Can you see the bee on the last three?

Truly the light is sweet, and a pleasant thing it is for the eyes to behold the sun:

~ Ecclesiastes 11:7 ~

Blossoms


~ Took this pic of apple blossoms during a Colorado spring 🙂

The flowers appear on the earth; the time of singing has come, and the voice of the turtledove is heard in our land.

~ Song of Songs 2:12 ~

Fruit 2


Fig leaf

Figs

Grapevine

Grapes

~ Pictures taken by our family at the Getty Villa in Los Angeles

Be not afraid, ye beasts of the field: for the pastures of the wilderness do spring, for the tree beareth her fruit, the fig tree and the vine do yield their strength.

~ Joel 2:22 ~

  • Fruit 1 (starshiningforever.wordpress.com)

Chick-fil-a


(these pictures were taken by our family at VisionHeirs’ awesome Living History Days)

August 1 was designated Chick-fil-a Appreciation Day, to support the company and its CEO Dan Cathy for his commitment to the Biblical principle of traditional marriage—marriage between one man and one woman. Our family visited a restaurant at about 9:45 pm yesterday, and were told that many Chick-fil-a stores had to close because they had run out of stock! At other locations, lines stretched down the street; August 1 was a day of record sales for Chick-fil-a! We are so glad. Let us continue to support the company and others like it, that dedicate to stand behind the principles of the Bible.

Blessed are they that keep judgment, and he that doeth righteousness at all times.
~ Psalm 106:3 ~

Say ye to the righteous, that it shall be well with him: for they shall eat the fruit of their doings.
~ Isaiah 3:10 ~

Thus saith the Lord, Keep ye judgment, and do justice: for My salvation is near to come, and My righteousness to be revealed.
~ Isaiah 56:1 ~

(these pictures from Chick-fil-a’s website)

Read more here

Fruit 1


~ Some pics I took of peaches, one of my favorite fruits!

And God said, Let the earth bring forth grass, the herb yielding seed, and the fruit tree yielding fruit after his kind, whose seed is in itself, upon the earth: and it was so. And the earth brought forth grass, and herb yielding seed after his kind, and the tree yielding fruit, whose seed was in itself, after his kind: and God saw that it was good.

~ Genesis 1:11-12 ~

Esther Doll


Trinity Christian City International is Trinity Broadcasting Network‘s (TBN) building in Southern California.  TCCI is such a fun place to visit—they have gardens, fountains, a cafe, a gift shop, a museum with paintings, sculptures and ancient Bibles, a recreation of the Via Dolorosa, and a really cool movie theatre where they show movies TBN has made: The Revolutionary 1, The Revolutionary 2, The Emissary, Omega Code, Megiddo, and One Night With the King–the Bible story of Queen Esther (click the names to watch the movie :)). On certain nights they do free live recordings of their “Praise the Lord” TV program. Lots to do and see! 😀  (Find your local TBN TV station here.)

We recently visited TCCI with our grandfather and he got some gifts for his grandkids at the gift shop. I got this neat little Esther doll.  She’s about 5 inches tall. Although I plan on recreating some of Esther’s “One Night With the King” dresses for her, I really like the outfits she came with—a peasant one, including a brown tunic and pink top with a rope belt and tambourine…

                

…and a queen outfit, a shiny white dress with orange trim and a necklace.

               

Isn’t it pretty? 🙂

This doll is a special part of my collection.

Flag Day


(June 14 is Flag Day in the USA)

~ I took these pictures in Western Colorado

Thou hast given a banner to them that fear Thee, that it may be displayed because of the truth. Selah.

~ Psalm 60:4 ~

Sand


~ Pic taken by me on a CA beach

How precious also are Thy thoughts unto me, O God! how great is the sum of them! If I should count them, they are more in number than the sand: when I awake, I am still with Thee.

~ Psalm 139:17-18 ~

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