The Industrial Revolution
It’s basically sequel to that one about the cotton gin. There’s more Eli Whitney, if you’re into that. I’m still kind of weirded out by how his inventions helped slavery stay operational for years, and we’re just expected to let that go. Maybe that’s just me. I can’t just embrace interchangeable parts like that.
Also, the stuff they do to kids is pretty disturbing. I don’t want to say too much about it, but, like, yikes. If you’re squeamish about that kind of thing, maybe stay away. The industrial revolution is like Saw for child labor.
The special effects are pretty great, though. For the time, I mean. No one had ever done stuff like that before because the technology just didn’t exist. Remember how amazing we thought Jurassic Park was when it came out? This was like that but two hundred years earlier.
On the other hand, the whole industrial revolution seems like kind of heavy-handed symbolism for capitalism and the growing divide between the upper and lower class. I don’t want to say too much, but they definitely ended things in a way that would allow for a sequel about a service sector based economy.
The Civil Rights Movement
I like that there was a happy ending, for sure. I’m not going to say how it happens, but it’s really satisfying. Also, I’m not going to give everything away, but so many of your favorite people die off in the middle when you think they’re going to be the heroes in the end.
This doesn’t ruin anything either, but the part with the bus is so tense. Takes the action in a direction you don’t see coming.
The Birth of Jesus
It’s got a magical realist vibe but not in a hokey way. The family stuff is really weird. Like, Chinatown weird. It’s pretty cool, but I think a lot of people who are super into it like it for all the wrong reasons.
The Life of John F. Kennedy
So it’s kind of like Good Will Hunting. There’s this guy from Boston, and he’s really smart and charismatic. The love interests are all pretty hot. There’s a celebrity cameo and musical number in the birthday scene that’s cool, but, you know, I’ve seen stuff like that before. Plus, it’s like… I know his family is rich, and he’s really good looking, but it’s a weird coincidence that the main guy and his brother both become so powerful. I’m probably just splitting hairs there.
The ending is a twist, and I guess I buy it. It’s kind of ambiguous, like Reservoir Dogs. I don’t know. Don’t Google it. Everyone has their own ridiculous theory, and it’ll ruin it for you. We’ll talk about it after you see it.
The Storming of the Bastille
Normally I’m not into foreign stuff, but this kicked ass. Robespierre is an epic villain. The Reign of Terror was the most frightening European class war since the Spanish Inquisition. Plus, the name of the Committee of Public Safety has a chilly 1984 ring to it. It’s cool that we still have Bastille Day but that doesn’t say anything about who won. I wasn’t sure going into it whether the royal court was going to hold out or the revolutionaries would win in the end. Good job, the French.
Neil Armstrong Walks on the Moon
You’d think that the name would give it all away, but the moon landing was about so much more than the actual “walking on the moon.” It’s like the tearing down of the Berlin Wall or Abraham Lincoln: Vampire Hunter. It’s not about Neil Armstrong walking on the moon; it’s about how he gets there. The journey of three astronauts into unexplored territory. The triumph of the American space program over the competing Russian space travel experiments.
The whole story is really an allegory. It’s Animal Farm with rocket boosters. So, honestly, the plot doesn’t even matter. You get it all from the title. It’s the exploration of themes (ingenuity, progress, nationalism) that really make this event resonate. I don’t want to get too into it around people who haven’t seen it yet.
I do think the name “Buzz Aldrin” is a little cartoonish, though, and the quote: “One small step for man, one giant leap for mankind” is going to be worse than every Borat catch phrase combined.
Obviously I won’t say what happens, but it’s like, you call a boat “unsinkable” and it just seems like it’s asking for trouble. You see the ending coming a mile away.