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Peter T Chattaway

Legion

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Bettany joins Screen Gems' 'Legion'

Paul Bettany is set to star in "Legion," a Screen Gems thriller that marks the feature directorial debut of Scott Stewart. Stewart wrote the script with Peter Schink. . . .

Story follows what happens when God loses faith in humanity and sends his legion of angels to wipe out the human race for the second time. Mankind's only hope lies in a group of misfits holed up in a diner in the desert who are aided by the archangel Michael (Bettany). . . .

Variety, February 12

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I am absolutely certain there is some poor theology here somewhere...

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Quaid, Walsh join Stewart's 'Legion'

Dennis Quaid, Tyrese Gibson, Jon Tenney, Charles S. Dutton, Lucas Black, Kate Walsh, Adrianne Palicki, Kevin Durand and Willa Holland will join Paul Bettany in "Legion," the Screen Gems thriller that marks the feature directing debut of Scott Stewart. . . .

Scripted by Stewart and Peter Schink, the thriller casts Bettany as the archangel Michael, the only one standing between mankind and an apocalypse, after God loses faith in humanity. Man's lone hope rests with a group of strangers who must deliver a baby they realize is Christ in his second coming. . . .

Variety, March 27

- - -

Got that? According to the earlier story, God sends his angels to wipe out mankind; but according to this story, Jesus is about to be, uh, born again. How do these two plot points fit together, I ask? (And like I ask at my blog, why is it that so many end-of-the-world movies -- from The Final Conflict to Bless the Child -- operate from the presumption that the Second Coming will be just like the first coming, with Jesus being born as a baby and all that!?)

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My latest blog post on this film. Here, below, is a video clip I used of Doug Jones (the Christian actor who plays Abe Sapien in the Hellboy movies) discussing ever-so-briefly why he accepted a role in this movie:

Edited by Peter T Chattaway

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My latest blog post on this film. Here, below, is a video clip I used of Doug Jones (the Christian actor who plays Abe Sapien in the Hellboy movies) discussing ever-so-briefly why he accepted a role in this movie:

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They're calling this the age-restricted "trailer", but it looks to me more like the demo reel that was played at Comic-Con.

Uh, did the producers of "The Prophecy" series not want to lend their name to this, or are they preparing a lawsuit? This seems to have some elements cribbed from almost every entry in that series, and then blended together in a "Night of the Living Dead" style siege setup.

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LOL! This has some great potential for a slam dunking contest. Let the games begin!

Say what you will -- HUGE laugh at the 40 second mark -- I once had a grandma like that!

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=u8lGCjd9W8U

Edited by Persona

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FOX News Headline: Dennis Quaid Says Apocalyptic 'Legion' Won’t Be On 'Vatican’s Must-See List'

http://www.foxnews.com/entertainment/2010/01/19/dennis-quaid-says-apocalyptic-legion-vatican/?test=faces

Scott Stewart’s latest supernatural action thriller “Legion” is bound to stir up some controversy with its horror-driven (and at times comical) portrayal of the Apocalypse in which an upset God loses faith in Mankind and thus unleashes “evil angels” and the “dogs of heaven” to destroy all living things.

“I don’t think it is going to be on the Vatican must-see list, but it is thought provoking,” the film’s star Dennis Quaid told Tarts. “It’s more Old Testament than New Testament with God’s wrath and all that.”

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What a mess this movie is. When I first heard the premise however long ago, it raised certain questions for me -- questions that I raised here and elsewhere -- and I was curious to see how the movie would answer them. Well, in a nutshell, it doesn't. It doesn't even raise them. In a few cases, it even ignores the basis on which I asked them.

First things first, though: How can anyone make a movie about a rebel angel (Michael, in this case) and NOT bother to make even a passing reference to Lucifer? Y'know, even just a line of dialogue to the effect that "This has happened before, but for a different reason", or something like that? Now, what would have been REALLY daring would have been if they featured a scene in which Lucifer showed up and offered to team up with Michael against God -- not because Lucifer has any interest in saving humanity, but simply because Lucifer wants to stick it to the Big Guy -- and then you could throw in a few extra complications down the road as Lucifer tries to stab Michael in the back, too. I mean, c'mon, there's a rich back-story here, and if they're going to play around with it and subvert it in some way, the LEAST they could do is demonstrate some familiarity with it and, I dunno, make it interesting.

Second thought: Where the heck is the "legion" referred to in the movie's title? We only get a good look at TWO of the angels: Michael and Gabriel. We hear about others, but they seem to do all their work through the human beings that they possess. (Note: these are angels, not demons, possessing the human beings. Just as there is no Lucifer in this film, so too there are no demons.) So Michael, who is rebelling against God because he believes in humanity even when God doesn't, spends a lot of the movie killing human beings that have been assimilated by the heavenly collective -- but with the exception of Gabriel, none of the other angels are even remotely put in harm's way.

Third thought: Are we supposed to believe that angels are just like human beings, except for the wings? Pretty much the very first scene shows Michael landing on Earth and cutting off his wings. He then goes into a bathroom and reaches inside the cabinet for a first-aid kit. And I immediately wondered if angelic anatomy and/or physiology was really all that similar to ours. (Does their blood clot the same way ours does? Etc., etc., etc.)

Fourth thought: There's an obvious Mary-and-Joseph thing going on here, with the pregnant woman whose child is the ultimate hope for humanity, and the man who pines for the woman and is prepared to help her look after the baby even though it isn't his. I confess I even got a kick out of the fact that, the first time we see the woman, she sits down wearing a red blanket over her blue whatever (thus echoing the traditional colour scheme in icons of the Theotokos, where blue symbolizes Mary's humanity and red symbolizes her divinization; compare that to traditional icons of Jesus, who wears blue over red, symbolizing the humanation of his divinity). But c'mon. Why is God trying to wipe out humanity only eight months after this child was conceived? Is this child the Son of God? If so, why is God suddenly pulling the plug? If not, then why does the child matter in the first place? (Side note: The movie never says who the child's father is, but there is, shall we say, no indication that the mother is a virgin. And no indication that there was any sort of annunciation. Though the man who pines for the woman does admit to being kept awake by "dreams" he's been having lately...)

And that's another thing: Is this supposed to be the First Coming or the Second Coming? The director reportedly said that this film pretends the New Testament never happened. But if that's the case, why do the characters use words like "Christ" as a curse-word? How did that word get into their language? (It's kind of like how The Invention of Lying imagines that people will say they live in the "21st century" or whatever even though no one in their world has ever believed in God or religion, and thus, presumably, they have never believed in Christ, without whom we wouldn't have a division between B.C. and A.D. in the first place.)

*** POSSIBLE SPOILERS ***

Sixth thought: There is, one must admit, some sort of basis in the Old Testament for a characterization of God as one who gives up on people and prepares to wipe them out, but can possibly be persuaded to change his mind (or, if you prefer, to un-change his mind). The movie refers to the example of the Flood, and I would also point to Exodus 32, where God threatens to wipe out the Israelites after they have worshipped the Golden Calf; Moses quickly persuades him to let the Israelites live (well, most of them, anyway), partly on the basis that it might harm his reputation among the pagans if he were to kill the Israelites so soon after saving them from the Egyptians. But here's the thing: in both of those examples, God always makes room for a remnant; when he sent the Flood, he saved Noah and his family, and when he threatened to destroy the Israelites, he promised to make Moses into a "great nation" in their place (so, strictly speaking, God wouldn't have been destroying ALL of the Israelites; he just would have been doing a lot, lot, LOT of pruning). But there is no such allowance for a remnant in the scenario envisioned by this film.

Seventh thought: This movie seems to draw a weird kind of parallel between God and the government. Suffice it to say that we hear talk of "militias" that have begun to fight back against the angels. Between that and the fact that this movie's very premise is bound to offend a lot of conservatives, it would seem that the movie's politico-cultural sensibilities are kind of all over the place.

More later, perhaps.

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^^ I'm pretty sure that this is the most thorough, thoughtful, and interesting analysis that anyone will write on this movie, ever. That there might be more coming astounds me :)

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Peter, I really enjoy thoughts 1 through 7, but I think you're really teasing us by holding back on writing down thoughts eight and nine, which I'm positive are:

Thought Eight: How did this film compare with The Prophecy series (which I'm astounded to find is up to five films)?

Thought Nine: Who is the sexier rebel angel Michael - Paul Bettany in Legion or Eric Roberts in The Prophecy II?

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Baal_T'shuvah wrote:

: Thought Eight: How did this film compare with The Prophecy series (which I'm astounded to find is up to five films)?

I've only seen the first film in that series (i.e. the theatrical one; the rest are all straight-to-video, no?), but I had that film (and Constantine) lurking in the back of my mind when I posted the bit re: how dumb it is to make a rebel-angel movie in which there is no mention of Lucifer. The Prophecy and Constantine, bless their little hearts, DID make room for Lucifer in their narratives.

Christian wrote:

: Peter, the film didn't screen for critics here.

It didn't screen for critics here either; a friend and I got tickets to a promo screening.

Edited by Peter T Chattaway

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First things first, though: How can anyone make a movie about a rebel angel (Michael, in this case) and NOT bother to make even a passing reference to Lucifer? Y'know, even just a line of dialogue to the effect that "This has happened before, but for a different reason", or something like that? Now, what would have been REALLY daring would have been if they featured a scene in which Lucifer showed up and offered to team up with Michael against God -- not because Lucifer has any interest in saving humanity, but simply because Lucifer wants to stick it to the Big Guy -- and then you could throw in a few extra complications down the road as Lucifer tries to stab Michael in the back, too. I mean, c'mon, there's a rich back-story here, and if they're going to play around with it and subvert it in some way, the LEAST they could do is demonstrate some familiarity with it and, I dunno, make it interesting.

The more I think about this, the more this seems like a missed opportunity. Not only would Lucifer want to stick it to the Big Guy, but Lucifer, I think, would also want to guarantee that humanity survives on some level, if only so that he can torment humanity. So he and Michael could have forged an interesting alliance, kind of like how the democracies under Churchill and Roosevelt teamed up with Stalin's totalitarianism to defeat Hitler; there would always be this question hanging over their alliance, regarding what they might do to each other if and when they win the current battle.

And just think, the humans fighting alongside Michael might have had to decide whether to team up with Lucifer, knowing that he intended to do them harm once he had helped to ensure their survival. If Milton's Satan could say that it was better to rule in Hell than to serve in Heaven, perhaps these humans could have decided it was better to suffer and live in the world as it is (under Satan's influence) than to be wiped out entirely (under God's orders).

Which leads me to my eighth thought: What exactly does "death" entail in the world of this movie? Is there an afterlife? If so, what is it like? Is it possible for angels to "die", with or without their wings, and if so, what happens to them when they do? (This, obviously, connects to my earlier question re: the physiology and anatomy of angels, and how closely it resembles that of humans.) If we're dealing with ultimate supernatural issues here, then I'd like to get a better handle on what the stakes are. Is the soul merely annihilated at death, or does it continue in some form? Etc., etc., etc.

Ninth thought: In a similar vein, I'd like to know what an angel's powers are. It's hard to get a handle on Michael, because he cuts his wings off at the beginning and seems, for all intents and purposes, to be just another human from that point on. But what about Gabriel? He swings a giant mace around, but if he didn't have a tool in his hand, what would he be capable of? If angels can possess people, then what else can they do? Read minds? Make things levitate? Use the Force? I'd like to think that there is something more to being an angel than simply being able to fly and lift heavy objects. (Yes, they can apparently possess people, too, but I don't believe we ever see Gabriel or Michael do the possessing, so it's unclear just HOW an angel does that sort of thing; do they do it with nothing more than their minds, or do they need some sort of object/device to get inside someone's head?)

Tenth thought: Why are some people possessed but other people never possessed? There is a throwaway line of dialogue to the effect that angels can possess people who are weak-minded or weak-willed -- I forget the exact term -- but my friend and I agreed that some of the characters who never get possessed don't seem particularly strong in the mind/will department. So that throwaway line of dialogue only went so far, for us.

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Ten thoughts on this movie is about nine too many. :)

Here'e the only thought I have on it: This movie sucks.

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I wanted to make this my Facebook status update, but Facebook said it was too long. And so I give it to you good people, instead:

Peter T. Chattaway is a little awed by how much Legion has in common with the other movies showing at the multiplex right now. Like The Book of Eli, it has strong religious and/or apocalyptic elements. Like Avatar, it features a warrior who turns against his boss and his former colleagues to save the natives of some planet or other. Like Creation, it stars Paul Bettany as someone who parts ways with God partly because of the impending death of a child. Like Tooth Fairy, it features a protagonist who has wings, at least some of the time. And like A Single Man, it features a woman named Charlie (or Charley).

Truly, I ask you, has any movie ever brought together so many other contemporaneous movies at the same time?

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'Legion' Director Reveals Comic Book Easter Eggs And Movie Connections

"Legion" arrives in theaters today, but readers of the recent four-issue "Legion: Prophets" miniseries published by IDW already have a head start on the universe created by director Scott Stewart for the film. . . .

MTV: So does "Prophets" lead right into the events of the movie, "Legion"?

STEWART: They call ["Prophets"] a prelude, but it’s not a prequel in any sense. It is essentially taking place during the three days or so that the story of the film is taking place. It’s what is happening to other significant characters in the story, in other parts of the world, and it relates to the central drama of what’s happening in the film.

MTV: What sort of connections did you make between the story in the film and in the comic? Do we see references to these other people and events in the movie?

STEWART: [Laughs] Yes. What the angels are up to is sort of directly related [to the comic], and the character of Michael makes a reference in the story to the prophets. And that’s why the story is called "Legion: Prophets." The characters in the film don’t have any idea what the prophets are, and that’s sort of late in the movie, but if you read the comics you’ll start to get a sense of who the prophets are, among other things. . . .

MTV Splash Page, January 22

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I wanted to make this my Facebook status update, but Facebook said it was too long. And so I give it to you good people, instead:

Peter T. Chattaway is a little awed by how much Legion has in common with the other movies showing at the multiplex right now. Like The Book of Eli, it has strong religious and/or apocalyptic elements. Like Avatar, it features a warrior who turns against his boss and his former colleagues to save the natives of some planet or other. Like Creation, it stars Paul Bettany as someone who parts ways with God partly because of the impending death of a child. Like Tooth Fairy, it features a protagonist who has wings, at least some of the time. And like A Single Man, it features a woman named Charlie (or Charley).

Truly, I ask you, has any movie ever brought together so many other contemporaneous movies at the same time?

Wow.

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Rented this last night.

No arguments from me..... It was a bad movie. I still was able to find some enjoyment out of it though, as I guess not despising bad genre B movies is my achilles heel. wacko.png

I went into it wondering if I'd be troubled or ticked off by any portrayal of God being the kind of guy that would give up on humanity and send his Angels to destroy us. Or any related subversive themes and content ,with its possible influences.

But as it turned out I actually wasn't really all that troubled by this angle, because the film was actually too silly (read dumb) to really be subversive or influencial in a negative way. If anything some of the dialogue at the end actually gave it somewhat of a positive theme.

It also kind of brought to mind for me the Old Testament story where God says that if he can find so many people who are righteous he won't destroy the city.

It would seem that the whole ordeal was really some sort of big test from God not only of humanity but of the angels.

Peter T Chattaway said:

:How can anyone make a movie about a rebel angel (Michael, in this case) and NOT bother to make even a passing reference to Lucifer? Y'know, even just a line of dialogue to the effect that "This has happened before, but for a different reason", or something like that? Now, what would have been REALLY daring would have been if they featured a scene in which Lucifer showed up and offered to team up with Michael against God -- not because Lucifer has any interest in saving humanity, but simply because Lucifer wants to stick it to the Big Guy -- and then you could throw in a few extra complications down the road as Lucifer tries to stab Michael in the back, too. I mean, c'mon, there's a rich back-story here, and if they're going to play around with it and subvert it in some way, the LEAST they could do is demonstrate some familiarity with it and, I dunno, make it interesting.

Kind of like Viggo Mortensen's character of Lucifer in "the Prophecy". Although it wasn't Academy Award material, I do remember that film as being more interesting..... at least according to memory, it's been a long time.

: We only get a good look at TWO of the angels: Michael and Gabriel. We hear about others, but they seem to do all their work through the human beings that they possess. (Note: these are angels, not demons, possessing the human beings. Just as there is no Lucifer in this film, so too there are no demons.) So Michael, who is rebelling against God because he believes in humanity even when God doesn't, spends a lot of the movie killing human beings that have been assimilated by the heavenly collective -- but with the exception of Gabriel, none of the other angels are even remotely put in harm's way.

And why in the hell (or in heaven I suppose) are the "possessed people" acting like evil demons...... shouldn't they be acting like flowing majestic, awesome, angels..... kinda like Gabriel. Wouldn't that be more interesting even in the context of the film premise. If the humans possessed were acting like elegant celestial angelic beings, who acted beautiful, and kind, and loving....... and then turned and kicked @ss. Wouldn't that be creepier?

I mean wouldn't the old lady have been more trippy if she had of said "Your daughters going to burn" and the like in a charming and loving "angelic" way etc, and then crawled around the roof and what not in a flowing and beautiful way. Surely it would have made for a film that was more unique and disturbing.

:Are we supposed to believe that angels are just like human beings, except for the wings?

Yes. smile.png

Art from both the Christian and secular world (also other religions) has been telling us that for hundreds of years.

FWIW... I'm trying to think of a film that has portrayed Angels according to the Bible's portrayal. I mean as spirits of fire with fiery chariots. Or even the multi-eyed creatures around God's throne. But nothing comes to mind.

:Sixth thought: There is, one must admit, some sort of basis in the Old Testament for a characterization of God as one who gives up on people and prepares to wipe them out, but can possibly be persuaded to change his mind (or, if you prefer, to un-change his mind). The movie refers to the example of the Flood, and I would also point to Exodus 32, where God threatens to wipe out the Israelites after they have worshipped the Golden Calf; Moses quickly persuades him to let the Israelites live (well, most of them, anyway), partly on the basis that it might harm his reputation among the pagans if he were to kill the Israelites so soon after saving them from the Egyptians. But here's the thing: in both of those examples, God always makes room for a remnant; when he sent the Flood, he saved Noah and his family, and when he threatened to destroy the Israelites, he promised to make Moses into a "great nation" in their place (so, strictly speaking, God wouldn't have been destroying ALL of the Israelites; he just would have been doing a lot, lot, LOT of pruning). But there is no such allowance for a remnant in the scenario envisioned by this film.

As touched on above the film reminded me of Sodom and Gomorah.

:If angels can possess people, then what else can they do? Read minds? Make things levitate? Use the Force? I'd like to think that there is something more to being an angel than simply being able to fly and lift heavy objects.

And if Gabriel is obviously so much more powerful in angelic form than the "possessed people" then why did the angels possess anybody in the first place? I mean how can a few guys with machine guns fight off thousands of winged angels attacking from the sky? It's not as though they were trying to hide their identity by possessing people, and Gabriel proved that they didn't HAVE to possess people in order to exist in the "real" world.

Edited by Attica

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Attica wrote:

: : Are we supposed to believe that angels are just like human beings, except for the wings?

:

: Yes. smile.png

:

: Art from both the Christian and secular world (also other religions) has been telling us that for hundreds of years.

Well, I didn't mean just in terms of appearance; I meant in terms of physicality etc. I don't think Christian or secular art has said anything about the likelihood of angels needing human first aid kits, or the rate at which angelic blood clots, or even indeed whether angels have blood like humans do, etc.

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Attica wrote:

: : Are we supposed to believe that angels are just like human beings, except for the wings?

:

: Yes. smile.png

:

: Art from both the Christian and secular world (also other religions) has been telling us that for hundreds of years.

Well, I didn't mean just in terms of appearance; I meant in terms of physicality etc. I don't think Christian or secular art has said anything about the likelihood of angels needing human first aid kits, or the rate at which angelic blood clots, or even indeed whether angels have blood like humans do, etc.

Oh.... . Yeah you have a point. I kind of read it as that he had become more humanish because of his decision, and wasn't really connecting his angelicness directly with his needing to deal with the wounds. I'm not sure why I read it that way though.

Edited by Attica

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