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Proteus – film about Ernst Haeckel (2004)

This is a worthwhile film about the 19th-century luminary Ernst Haeckel. I just watched it on DVD. The special features indicate that it took 22 years to make! The filmmaker creates elaborate animations of Haeckel’s scientific artwork using old-school editing techniques, because he was first inspired to make the film before PCs went mainstream. Amazing.

The depth psychiatrist C. G. Jung is not mentioned, but Jungians and other seekers interested in alchemy as an inner-outer process should be pleasantly surprised. I give this film 5 out of 5 for sheer dedication. It was nice to see the old-style animation. Brought back memories. I grew up with that stuff. Storyline was mature and interesting as well. Nice blend of art, science and history.

My advice — For those keen on this kind of thing, buy the DVD or grab it from the library. The special features are every bit as interesting as the film. At least, they were for me. 🙂 Here’s what Scientific American had to say.


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DVD Review – Elementary My Dear Watson: The Man Behind Sherlock Holmes

rf_holmes

Reality Films

Title: Elementary My Dear Watson: The Man Behind Sherlock Holmes
Genre: Documentary, Mystery, Biography
Production Company: Reality Films

I came to this video knowing precious little about Sherlock Holmes and his creator, Sir Arthur Conan Doyle, except that Holmes is an antiquated super-sleuth with a trusty sidekick, Dr. Watson. So Philip Gardiner and Brian Allen’s Elementary My Dear Watson: The Man Behind Sherlock Holmes was a learning experience, for sure.

The film includes a good deal of b&w clips from the early days of cinema. It even shows Sir Arthur Conan Doyle, himself, talking about his craft and personal convictions.

It seems that Doyle turned to spiritualism in 1906 after the death of his wife, a personal tragedy followed by several others around the time of World War I. Doyle became so engrossed in parapsychology that he went public with his views, this sometimes bringing him into conflict with his peers, including his personal friend, the skeptical magician and notorious escape artist Harry Houdini.

But Elementary My Dear Watson digs even deeper than this. The film outlines the entire inner/outer world that played on Doyle’s creative imagination, from his early days as a hesitant Catholic right up to his fascination with gnosticism and alchemy. And instead of painting a Doyle as an infallible hero, the documentary tells of his rank humiliation for endorsing Victorian-era fairy photos that proved to be hoaxes.

Such is the plight of pioneers willing to think different and take risks. Their flashy successes are just as visible as their, perhaps, unavoidable stumbles.

The DVD includes the bonus feature, The Madness of Sherlock Holmes, which presents another side to the central story. Serious fans will definitely want to watch both segments to get the whole picture on Doyle.

And what a fascinating picture it is. Travelers of the spirit will gain insight from this film’s journey into the past, as will laypersons, students and experts interested in the wily and whimsical world of Victorian history and culture.

Since first writing this review in 2009, Hollywood has given Holmes and his sidekick Watson a serious makeover… a testament to the lasting appeal of Doyle’s creative genius.

—MC

This review originally appeared at Earthpages.org


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mini review – this means war

not very realistic and reese witherspoon isn’t my type… but still, good chemistry between chis pine (who played james t. kirk in star trek) and tom hardy as two CIA agents using all their skills and resources to get the same woman… http://www.imdb.com/title/tt1596350/ this movie is all about timing… very slick cinematography, good supporting cast and some funny moments…


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Apocalypse 2012: The World After Time Ends (DVD Review)

This review also appears at Earthpages.org

Title: Apocalypse 2012: The World After Time Ends
Genre: Conspiracy, Prophecy, End Times
Production Company: Reality Films

Apocalypse 2012: The World After Time Ends is a bit of a mind-bender. Just when you think you can forget about the world’s problems, sit down and have a nice cup of tea, along comes Reality Films with this engaging, sometimes disturbing film.

The premise of Apocalypse 2012 is that the Earth is alive, a living organism. Hippies from the 70s or students from the 80s might remember James Lovelock’s Gaia Hypothesis. Or maybe Lewis Thomas’ The Lives of a Cell. These two scientists have their differences, but both agree that the Earth looks like it’s some kind of self-regulating, living system.

That’s a nifty idea, but Apocalypse 2012 takes it to a whole new level. A panoply of elders, sages and unorthodox thinkers all seem to be saying that the Earth doesn’t just look alive. It is alive—and not just as a simple organism or self-adjusting system.

Many of the film’s speakers believe that Mother Earth is a conscious entity, one that demands payback for terrestrial abuses. So 911, for instance, wasn’t caused by a single group of extremists but, rather, by our collective exploitation of the planet. We’ve been treating the Earth as a money making resource instead of seeing it as a source of life. And this, according to the film, is an unforgivable no-no just asking for planetary retribution where countless people get hurt and die.

Pretty heavy stuff. I started to feel a bit glum after the first hour. So I paused the DVD and went out to do some shopping. (Food shopping that is, and thank God I didn’t drive a SUV or the roads might have cracked before me..!).

Reality Films

Okay, honestly, I struggled a bit with this film. Part of me felt it was naive but another part sensed that it was important. At least, important for me to see at the time.

On the plus side, 2012’s archival footage and editing are amazing. It’s worth watching for that alone. And the soundtrack is effective. Also, its eclectic mix of speakers aren’t identified until after the show is done, which is a great idea. This sort of levels the playing field so we hear what’s being said without prejudging on the basis of credentials or honorary titles. (I hope that’s vague enough to avoid a spoiler!).

On the not so great side, the DVD offers a simplistic view of history that seems to glorify a distant, golden age that most likely never was (unless one takes Adam and Eve and other creation stories literally). The industrial revolution is portrayed as the Big Bogey Man that’s chasing us toward our collective downfall. But what about the Black Death of the Middle Ages, and various other lethal diseases spread by contaminated water in ancient and medieval society? All this happened well before the industrial revolution.

Having said that, can we really deny that the 21st century is dangerously imbalanced, globally speaking? The news media tells us that so-called mental illnesses are on the rise, as are the environmentally polluting drugs manufactured to treat them (most people forget that man-made medications, now matter how nicely they’re presented by pharmaceutical marketing agencies, are constantly being urinated back into the water supply). And as 2012 rightly says, the oil supply will eventually run out. Not even the Canadian oil sands are limitless.

Reality Films

But as to what happens next, I disagree with some of the film’s more gloomy pundits. I’m no gambler but would be willing to bet that God allows us to continue only so far on our haphazard course until we come up with better solutions. Technology isn’t necessarily the problem. We just need to develop better technologies, as many green companies already are (ask Neil Young if you don’t believe me).

I mean, where would we be without electricity? Just think of music. No Chuck Berry and “Johnny B. Goode.” No synthesizers or digital keyboards. No Close to the Edge or Fragile by Yes. Come on. Obviously this blending of art and technology was meant to be. True, those classic 70s albums warn us, as does 2012, to take stock of our situation and make a better world. But I believe God knows what’s going on, and won’t let us slide too far without giving us the necessary light and practical conditions to make that change happen. In the worst case scenario, a lot of people might go insane, murder, die or commit suicide. But the whole human race won’t.

Apocalypse 2012 was probably also meant to be, a DVD that uses all sorts of high tech gadgets and natural resources to get its message across. But just because something is meant to be doesn’t mean that I agree with everything it says. To be fair, though, the second hour affected me more positively than the first. I could feel it working away on my opinions, shaking my proverbial cage, and compelling me to reflect.

And that’s exactly what this film sets out to do.

—MC


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Review – Secret Societies and Sacred Stones: from Mecca to Megaliths (DVD)

Courtesy: Reality Films

This review also appears at Earthpages.org

Title: Secret Societies and Sacred Stones: from Mecca to Megaliths
Genre: Conspiracy, History, Occult
Production Company: Reality Films

We tend to make a distinction between organic and inorganic substances. Not too many question this. On the chemical level, the difference between organic and inorganic materials gets pretty complicated. Some inorganic materials, for instance, transform and become organic after entering an organism.

In the everyday world of things we can see without the help of high-powered microscopes, anything that eats, passes waste and reproduces is called organic. Inorganic materials aren’t as dynamic as organic compounds. So conventional wisdom tells us that organisms are alive, while inorganic things merely exist devoid of consciousness.

With these kind of cultural assumptions under our belt, we merrily blast out rock obstacles to build roads and bridges without feeling the slightest bit guilty. We’re not really hurting anything. Rocks just are. They don’t have pain receptors and don’t cry out when blasted sky high.

At least, that’s what we think. Another Reality Film, Apocalypse 2012: The World After Time Ends, puts forth the opposing idea that the entire Earth is alive (read my review).

Secret Societies and Sacred Stones is the perfect follow up to Apocalypse 2012. It outlines some of the unconventional beliefs informing the idea that the inorganic realm is truly alive.

But before I get into the specifics of this DVD, I should mention two things that those familiar with subatomic physics will already be aware of.

First, the centuries old distinction between matter and energy is hopelessly outdated. Second, inorganic substances, like rocks and stones, don’t just sit there. Inorganic material vibrates. We can’t normally see, hear or feel the vibration because it’s subatomic, and must be measured with a high-tech instrument.

And maybe I’ll mention a third thing. I’m going to tell a little story about myself. A story that happens to be true.

When I was a teen my parents owned a place in Georgian Bay. It was an old summer cottage built on the Precambrian rocks that are known as the Canadian Shield. These rocks are more than ancient. They’re literally billions of years old.

The Precambrian rock floor at Georgian Bay

One day at the cottage – and I can’t remember why or how, but I do know that I was completely sober – I suddenly had an intuitive flash. Sort of like a minor epiphany. But this wasn’t about God. It was about the island on which the cottage stood.

I saw it all in a completely new light. The rocks underneath me, extending out several hundred feet to the waterfront, were vibrating and alive with an incredible, vital energy. I believed that I saw those rocks as they really were. Not how we see through the eyes but, rather, through the soul.

It was awesome. Afterward, I went outside and stood barefoot on the rocks. I was overjoyed. Looking at the small black ants busying themselves on the rock surface, I realized that they were the same stuff as the rocks, just more organized (today I’d say I believed instead of realized they were the same stuff, only because I’ve had many more years to think about these kinds of things).

If I hadn’t had this experience, I probably would have thought that the ideas in Secret Societies and Sacred Stones were flaky. But I don’t take such a simplistic approach any more.

So that experience, combined with the findings of subatomic physics, has given me an open mind to appreciate what this DVD has to offer.

Secret Societies and Sacred Stones is a useful compendium of all things mineral and immaterial. It compels us to question the age-old distinction between animate and inanimate reality. It does this by delving into a broad array of topics which, so it suggests, are intimately related.

Underlying the film is the notion that stones have power. And this power was known to ancient cultures, including the Egyptians. Sometimes the power was good. Other times bad.

To ward off evil, stones like lapis lazuli, emeralds, and turquoise were used, sometimes as amulets and other times as ceremonial objects. Stones also had the power to sing. This idea is not only biblical (Luke 19:40) but is also found in Gnostic secret societies.

Stones could also be used for darker purposes. The film tells of failed Kabbalists whose intention isn’t pure and, like Darth Vader, are eventually consumed by the dark side. These Faustian reprobates use stones to try to control people, nature, spirits and wandering souls. It seems the stone acts as a kind of amplifier for their own darkened minds.

Again, I might have found this hard to believe. But, and to add to my own story, I brought a palm sized stone home with me before our Georgian Bay cottage was sold.

I first went to Georgian Bay as a baby. Born in May, my parents took me to the cottage for the May 24th weekend, which is a big deal in Canada. So I was just a few days old when first exposed to the rocks, pines and clear blue waters of the Precambrian Shield. And I walked barefoot on those rocks every summer during my childhood and teenage years. So the connection is deep.

And now, when the time is right, if I pick up that Precambrian stone in the city, I can inwardly see and feel the whole summer scene at Georgian Bay. It all comes back, almost as if I’m holding some kind of magical audiovisual recorder.

So yes, I do believe that stones can open doors to the unknown. But mind you, my only experience with them has been positive.

Whether or not God gives me certain memories when I hold the stone, or whether the memories are facilitated by the stone itself, I cannot know. But the memories do come. And in 3D.

Along these lines, Secret Societies and Sacred Stones tries to link up the inner technology of Kabbala, the pseudoscience of alchemy, and the modern science of chemistry. As one of the experts in the film puts it, chemistry is merely further down a “stream of ideas.”

The DVD also suggests that stones mirror what’s inside ourselves. So, on the one hand, stones have power. And, on the other hand, this power ultimately resides within. Additional areas covered are divination, runes, and Grail legends. Apparently Grail legends can be traced back to emerald cups of power and, possibly, to simple sacred stones.

To top it off, the film touches on the idea that our planet was seeded by life forms that fell to Earth from meteors.

All very far out stuff.

Or is it?

As for production values, director Philip Gardiner makes ample use of dark vignetting, old film effects and cgi. Whether or not one finds these techniques effective would probably depend on where one’s at, artistically and spiritually.

What this film occasionally leaves out in factual detail is compensated by its unusual breadth. To fully enjoy this DVD, I had to lay back, forget the small stuff, and just absorb all it has to offer.

Secret Societies and Sacred Stones is the perfect solution for anyone wanting to learn more about esoterica, alternative histories, spiritual warfare, and the quest for the eternal self.

Special features include unseen footage and comments from the cast of The Stone Movie, also by Gardiner, along with several haunting music videos and trailers.

—MC


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Review – Finding God: The Enlightenment (DVD 2 of 3)

Title: Finding God: The Enlightenment – Disc 2
Genre: Body Mind Spirit, Religion, Meta-Physics
Production Company: Reality Films

(Review for Disc 1 is here; Disc 3 is here)

Philip Gardiner’s Finding God: The Enlightenment is a three DVD set including Quantum Mind of God, Science of Soul, and Ancient Code.

Disc 2, Science of Soul: The End-Time Solar Cycle of Chaos in 2012 A.D., asks whether the year 2012 will bring about a quantum leap of consciousness or possibly a global nightmare.

Closely following Dr. John Jay Harper’s book Tranceformers: Shamans of the 21st Century, Science of Soul explores these and other compelling questions.

The film’s innovative graphics and haunting soundtrack set the mood for a detailed examination of the mythic symbol of the axis mundi (world axis). Also, possible links among DNA, psi and global transformation are investigated.

Those sympathetic to the philosophy of natural pantheism, where the universe is taken to be God and therefore conscious, will find much in this DVD to support their beliefs. Meanwhile, believers in theism (where God is conceptualized as ‘wholly other’ from Creation) might bristle a bit at its unabashed syncretism.

Regardless of our guiding beliefs, Science of Soul carries an ethical message that few sane people would find fault in: To love and live peacefully among ourselves. And when you think about it, no one fully knows just what God is and how the divine interacts with organic life and the supposedly inorganic universe.

It’s probably just a matter of time before Science of Soul’s integral approach is embraced by the gatekeepers of both contemporary scientific and religious thought. But a comprehensive gelling of Big Science and Big Religion might take a little longer than most of us would hope for, given the deeply entrenched historical biases that inform our 21st century worldview.

We shouldn’t be discouraged, however. As a catalyst for this much needed dialogue, Science of Soul is a definite step in the right direction.

–MC

(Review for Disc 1 is here; Disc 3 is here)


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Review – Finding God: The Enlightenment (DVD 1 of 3)

Title: Finding God: The Enlightenment – Disc 1
Genre: Body Mind Spirit, Religion, Meta-Physics
Production Company: Reality Films

(Review for Disc 2 is here; Disc 3 is here)

It’s critical, the situation is pitiful
Bear in mind, you gotta find somethin’ spiritual
We never gain, ’cause we blame it on the system
You oughta listen whether Muslim or Christian
Or any other type religion or creed

–Guru, “Living in this World,” Jazzmatazz, Vol. 2: The New Reality

Philip Gardiner’s Finding God: The Enlightenment is a three DVD set including Quantum Mind of God, Science of Soul, and Ancient Code.

Disc 1, Quantum Mind of God, is a sweeping journey of exploration, encompassing ideas from the North African theologian St. Augustine, the French philosopher René Descartes, to the German quantum physicist Max Planck and beyond.

The soundtrack blends Gregorian chants, Hindi pop and contemporary New Age music. And the narration presents a unique 21st century theological synthesis, with a seamless array of graphics and images garnered from many sciences, religions and wisdom traditions like alchemical gnosticism and Shamanism.

Topics covered include the apparent importance of quartz, granite, vibrational patterns, magnetic movement and the pineal gland, all of which are said to link the micro and macrocosmic structures of nature and the larger universe.

Basically, this film is about life. And while mathematical equations try to provide the “how” of life, Quantum Mind of God rightly points out that equations, alone, cannot explain the “why” of our existence. Statistics might indicate how most of us are likely to behave on a given day or month with respect to certain predefined variables. But numbers can’t predict how specific individuals choose to exercise their free will.

There are always exceptions to the rule.

Some folks seem to forget that fact and end up looking like hypocrites. Just as we chop up nature into tiny pieces for analysis and dissection, some people’s minds seem to be arranged in almost discrete compartments. These persons often judge this or that moral action while turning a blind eye to their own questionable tendencies.

In short, not everyone is psychologically mature and integrated. And this psychological epidemic extends not just to the dull-witted or so-called “uneducated,” but arguably to all levels of society.

The antidote to this social malady, according to Gardiner, is holism. We must recognize the whole and not just the parts. This seems especially so when it comes to ESP (extrasensory perception).

Findings have repeatedly shown that ESP works better when emotion is involved. Be it the emotion of mature interpersonal attachment or even the basic arousal induced by erotic images, ESP is more pronounced when human beings are emotionally and physiologically activated, instead of just relying on abstract thought (disinfo.com¹ and disinfo.com²).

Quantum Mind of God’s message of individual freedom and, yet, basic interconnectedness is a timely reminder that we’ve got to get it together–within and among ourselves, and with the One who created all our selves.

–MC

(Review for Disc 2 is here; Disc 3 is here)