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The Fountain (**)
Directed by Darren Aronofsky
Written by Darren Aronofsky
The Fountain
Principal Cast
Hugh Jackman -- Tomas/Tommy/Tom Creo
Rachel Weisz -- Isabel/Izzi Creo
Ellen Burstyn -- Dr. Lillian Guzetti
Mark Margolis -- Father Avila
Stephen McHattie -- Grand Inquisitor Silecio
Fernando Hernandez -- Lord of Xibalba
Cliff Curtis -- Captain Ariel
Sean Patrick Thomas -- Antonio
Donna Murphy -- Betty
Ethan Suplee -- Manny
Ratings
Ratings are based on Rick's four star system.
One star - the commercials are more entertaining than the viewing.
Two stars - watch if you have nothing better to do.
Three stars - good solid entertainment.
Four stars - you never dreamed viewing could be this good.
Past Feature Reviews
A review by Rick Norwood

The Fountain is not fantasy or science fiction. It is the story of a doctor whose wife is dying, and who foolishly tries to save her life instead of enjoying their last days together. That's it. So, why am I reviewing it for a science fiction web site? Why, to save you seven dollars and fifty cents, of course. I'm always thinking of you.

There is, within this slight, short, and mildly boring film, another film, which is the story of a book being written by the dying girl. The book is also called The Fountain and it is written in beautiful calligraphy. I've never known a writer who could write without scratching things out and rewriting, but if a writer could write finished copy in a beautiful hand, it would certainly read like this. The plot of the book, and the plot of the film within the film, is that of a Spaniard looking for the Tree of Life and discovering that in order to live you must die. Again, that's it. The history, science, and religion in the book within the film are all as muddled as you would expect in a first draft by a woman who admits she hasn't studied any science since high school. The poetry ("Death is the gateway to awe!") is written by someone with a tin ear. The philosophy reads like the philosophy of a person who studied at the feet of Rod McKuen.

The images in the film, which are why the previews make it look like science fiction or at least fantasy, come in two flavors, dark and sparkly. I prefer the sparkly. Several of the reviews of the film have stated that parts of the film are set in the future. They aren't, they are just another chapter in the book, and are allegory. The reviewers assume that if it is sparkly, it must be the future.

The only thing left to talk about is the religion, which is a New-Agey mix of Christianity, Buddhism, and Mayan religion. May I speak frankly? Everything a Christian knows about God comes from the Bible. Either the Bible is true, or it isn't. If it isn't, then there is no point in being a Christian. If it is, then the main, number one, believe-it-or-else message from God to us is that there is only one God and that the very worst thing you can possibly do to offend this jealous, angry, righteous, all-knowing, all-powerful God is to believe in some other god. If, for example, you think the ancient Mayans had a piece of the truth, too, then you are damned for all eternity to the lowest pits of hell. It says so right there in the Book. God says, "Thou shalt have no other gods before Me!" and He's not kidding. It is not OK to believe in God and then believe in some other gods, too. The Israelites tried that. It did not turn out well.

So, if you are going to be a Christian, be a Christian. Give away all your money to the poor. Turn the other cheek. Comfort the sick and those in prison. Pray silently and in private. Root out your own sins instead of telling other people about theirs. Because that is what the Bible tells you to do.

And forget about the religion of the ancient Mayans.

Quite a few people on the IMDB message boards liked The Fountain, and so you may like it as well, if you are in the mood for Philosophy 101 with pretty pictures. But, please, do not mistake The Fountain for deep philosophy. It has exactly the same philosophy as The Lion King: Akuna Matata and The Circle of Life. I loved The Lion King, but nobody ever called it "deep." If you want deep philosophy, read The Book of Job. "Again there was a day when the sons of God came to present themselves before the LORD, and Satan also came among them to present himself before the LORD."

Copyright © 2006 Rick Norwood

Rick Norwood is a mathematician and writer whose small press publishing house, Manuscript Press, has published books by Hal Clement, R.A. Lafferty, and Hal Foster. He is also the editor of Comics Revue Monthly, which publishes such classic comic strips as Flash Gordon, Sky Masters, Modesty Blaise, Tarzan, Odd Bodkins, Casey Ruggles, The Phantom, Gasoline Alley, Krazy Kat, Alley Oop, Little Orphan Annie, Barnaby, Buz Sawyer, and Steve Canyon.


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