07 August 2011

31 July - "the first week of summer, a strange and breathless time"

Tuck Everlasting (2002)

dir. Jay Russell (Ladder 49, 2004)

Alexis Bledel (Sin City, 2005)
William Hurt (The Big Chill, 1983)
Sissy Spacek (Carrie, 1976)
Jonathan Jackson
Scott Bairstow
Ben Kingsley (Species, 1995)
Amy Irving (Carrie, 1976)
Victor Garber (Sleepless in Seattle, 1993)
Elisabeth Shue (Leaving Las Vegas, 1995)

This movie definitely tends towards the sweet and sentimental. I might pop it on the shelf next to A Little Princess and The Secret Garden, but of course this can't really approach the special place I've got in my heart for those two treasured classics. I never read read the book, but I think I might like too. The plot is endearingly simple. The main character, Winnie, runs away from her strict parents and discovers the fountain of youth in the forest and a family of immortals. Winnie has dual conflicts, first to protect the Tuck's secret, and second to decide whether or not she should drink from the fountain and join them.

There is also a very sinister villain known only as the Man in a Yellow Suit. I think I would have liked to know more about him. There's one scene where he's sitting in a graveyard, perhaps contemplating his own mortality, and the priest comes by to say hi or something and the man in the yellow suit starts talking like what would you pay to live forever and the priest says, "You speak blasphemy," and the man in the yellow says, "fluently." I would like to know what makes that guy's heart so dark, and it was clever to make him wear such a lively colored outfit.

The immortality trope begins to wear thin, though. I mean in other movies like those ones about vampires or whatever and the people are always complaining about what a drag it is. But there's that awesome element to it as well, like, all the benefits. So what it there was a magical fountain that would allow you to live for, say, 500 years? or 1000? Would the negative aspects of immortality be tolerable if you knew there was an expiration date? Because the benefits seem pretty sweet. Not that I'm trying to provoke a Faustian deal or anything. Maybe I had better stop talking about it.

But the Bible talks about lifespans that were many times greater than we have here in reality. Methusalah, Noah, those types lives like 300 or 400 years or something. I guess they had to live that long to get about the business of populating the earth. Which reminds me of something else that been bothering me and has nothing to do whatsoever with Tuck Everlasting (which is an entirely compelling movie but I think I've grown bored with the topic and so I'm going to talk about the Young Earth Creationism instead). I met a gentleman a few months ago who told me that he did not believe the Earth to be much older than 6000 years. I don't have a problem with that standpoint but I do have a problem with the underlying logic. Archbishop Ussher was the first guy (I say that, but he was probably preceded by some lesser known Hebrew scholars) to calculate the age of the Earth to be about 6000 years old (he proposed the exact date of creation to be Sunday, the 23rd of October, 4004 BC). He did this by very carefully reading through the Old Testament and calculating the passage of time by the number of generations, because the Bible is really specific about who begat who and suchlike.

But if the Bible says that Noah died when he was 950, then obviously we can't be throwing around assumptions about the length of generational time. Ussher was throwing a crap shoot. And I read that the reason that all those ages are so big is because the Sumerian number system wasn't translated correctly into Greek, so Ussher wasn't even working with accurate sums!

So I say that it's cool if you're into literal Biblical interpretation and want to believe that fossils are red herrings buried underground by Satan to test your faith and that the uniform growth rates of coral reefs are something that you just ignore. But I don't think that the Young Earth Hypothesis, as based upon 17th century mathematical data, has any grounding in accurate Biblical interpretation whatsoever, and so the support of such data should in no way be considered the duty of any good Christian.

That chick was in Gilmore Girls.

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