Monday, August 04, 2008

Appleseed & Revelation

His tail swept a third of the stars out of the sky and flung them to the earth. The dragon stood in front of the woman who was about to give birth, so that he might devour her child the moment it was born.
~Revelation 12.4
No, I am not blogging about D.A Carson's recent talk at St. Andrews. That passage was being featured as the opening scene of Appleseed. It's a Japanese futuristic animation, a movie that I watched over the weekend. I rented it because usually I don't get to watch sci-fi animation because someone doesn't like to watch them. And since that someone is not in town over the weekend, so I thought it's a good opportunity to be "boy" that every boy will always be.

I heard about this anime some months ago through my colleague, Ar Bao. At that time, I took slight interest in the show as I've not been a fan of anime since Dragon Ball Z, Evangelion, Beast War, and Initial D. The last one that I watched is Initial D: The Fourth Stage.

And so with curiosity over Ar Bao's liking (Ar Bao is a film-maker) over Appleseed, I rented the DVD. And in the first few minutes of the show, I found myself being blown away by it. That's what happens when one approaches a movie without preconception of what one will get from it.

First, the computer-graphic (CG) is impressive. Before I watched the anime, I watched Starship Troopers 3, a B-grade flick. The visual effect in ST3 is ugly. I was surprised in the millennium of War Craft 3, there is still such lousy effects. And believe me, after 60 minutes of bad CG, it gives you more reason to be convinced that Appleseed able to give to the 21st century what Star Wars saga gave to the audience of the 70s.

Second, it has an outstanding plot (what else!). The anime depicts a post-3rd-world-war world where humans are being (finally!) publicly acknowledged as evil. Humans are deem dangerous due to our often unstable emotion-driven decisions. Our emotional responses (eg. anger/lust) frequently being overly fueled, which led us to hurt one another (eg.war/rape).

Hence in that world, humans are being pacified through Bioroids. These Bioroids are some sort of human clones that had their emotional stimulus being suppressed through genetic-modification. They do not get angered or lustful as compared to real humans, yet they able to experience laughter, joy, and other positive emotions just as real humans. However, despite having all the positive responses and deprived from negative reactions, these Bioroids incapable of experiencing love. Reason is that their reproduction abilities had also been suppressed in order to ensure that they do not breed and take over the human race. Their existence is to live among humans to serve as buffers that pacify humans' emotional eruption, preventing us from destroying one another. So, in this way, the survival of humanity can be ensured.

Exciting already? There are so much more to the story (like what is 'Appleseed'?) but I just give the background so that it will not spoil the movie for you if you plan to watch it.

Third reason why I was blown away by the movie is because of a personal theological inclination. After exposing to Philip Hefner's small booklet on the relationship between humans and technology, my whole paradigm of the future (hence the interpretation of the book of Revelation) shifted. That means, I have a rather unconventional eschatology (study of the last things) now. And the movie captures my eschatology. A future where humans cannot but to admit that their nature of adaptation has brought them to a phrase where technology plays the essential part of humans' survival, and in turn humans' final destiny (the coded yet more familiar term is "the second coming").

Don't start asking me, "what about Christ's bodily re-appearance during his second coming?" If I know, I won't be blogging here la. I'll be busy reading palms, telling fortunes, writing best-seller books, and change my name to Lilian Woo or Joey Woo.

There are other stories on how the future will be like, but this one is a good one, especially when it explores the fundamental problem of humanity. A problem that St. Paul had mentioned over 20 centuries ago (Romans 3.10-11, 23). Appleseed emphasizes on the realness of humans' problem on one hand and gives an insight of how such problem can be resolved on another.

And after watching that, I went sci-fi mad. I rented 3 other DVD: the sequel to Appleseed, the Ex-Machina (produced by John Woo), Evangelion 1.0, and Ghost in the Shell 2: Innocence. All are Japanese sci-fi anime. All explores the emotions and problems of humanity in a post-human world, an exploration which very very much reflects our current human condition. And I'll watch all by tonight!

P/S: Perhaps now it is more apparent why I think Carson's last week preaching on Revelation 12 is rather unexciting. But again, it's more of differing preferences.

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