The Bitcoin double top's finally played out as anticipated, if quite a bit later than originally thought, which means that the firm of H.L. Ham has secured some lunch money. Interestingly, the currency basket of Facebook's Libra has also recently been revealed, as having a makeup of 50% greenbacks... and 7% Singapore dollars?! Not sure how they came up with that, but we can hardly complain, can we?
So, in celebration, here's to explaining entrepreneurship with three movie reviews, two of which were viewed in-flight on my recent Kenya/Dubai trips (I was debating releasing all of them in a single blog post, but figured it would probably be too much for most readers). Without further ado, let us kick off with the only entirely-negative title:
The despicable protagonist and his post-wish harem
A remake of that monstrosity of cultural appropriation otherwise known as Aladdin, this Disney cash-grab sets out to offend as many sensibilities of right-thinking citizens as possible... and succeeds. It was a blessing that I caught it from the back of an economy plane seat, that I did not have to suffer through obscenities at any scale larger than a postcard. Notwithstanding my staunch disposition towards free speech, I confess to not being too aggrieved were the Media Literacy Council to ban this degenerate flick, lest impressionable young minds be poisoned.
Where can we even begin? Entertainment being what it is, it is perhaps impractical for every offering to elevate its audience morally - for who can resist an occasional copious overdose of pyrotechnics, horror and gore as a guilty pleasure? - but this repellent minstrelsy stands out in having absolutely no redeeming qualities. It begins with the premise itself; in contravention of its source material, the indisputably Chinese identity of the main character has been forcibly erased (this is par for the course for Hollywood's brand of selective passive-aggressive racism, where they throw out an oh-she's-so-smart minority Mary Sue sideshow every so often to quell substantive criticism, while routinely shooting up, beating down and otherwise humiliating the threatening ethnicity of the season)
But perhaps it's just as well that the leading man's traded in his rice farmer's paddy hat for a turban, given what an inveterate scumbag he turns out to be. As showcased throughout the opening parkour montage, guy's a strapping, fit young man, but does he turn those gifts towards the betterment of society? No! Agrabah is, by all appearances, a bustling and prosperous entrepot city, the sort with near-zero voluntary unemployment akin to present-day Great America, and one imagines that a honest lad would be able to snag any number of fine opportunities - security guard, shop assistant, deliveryman, promoter... he certainly had the social skills for it. Heck, busking with the chimp would probably have brought in a pretty penny.
None of these jobs were good enough for the "hero" that's getting shoved down our throats, though. No, his idea of fun is to live on the dole, while cheating and robbing mom-and-pop merchants merely going about their business to feed their families. To top it off, he regularly maims the local police constables trying to maintain some semblance of order, and no, you won't see their side of the story, as they're unconscious in the ICU surrounded by their weeping wives and kids. So he tried to win some sympathy by sharing a loaf with some urchin, but are we really going to say Al Capone or the Yakuza are good guys now, due to such calculated public-relations stunts?
Capone ran a soup kitchen, what did Trudeau do?
Oh, it gets worse. Most of the robber barons of old, after earning their initial fortune via unscrupulous means, at least had the foresight to reinvent themselves and make a second career on the straight. Not this reprobate. Despite regularly pawning pickpocketed jewellery at the underworld fence, guy remains perpetually broke, never having thought to sensibly deploy those ill-gotten gains. Gentlemen, I'd call him a parasite, but that would be unfair to leeches, which do have some specialty medical applications. Not that accurate labelling is legal in the current SJW-dominated era, where you'd probably have to refer to him as an "undocumented trader", or risk a punitive fine.
I'm barely suppressing the urge to throw up, so let's go on to the other main character, Princess Jasmine. Clearly, from her name, this chica should be Chinese too, which would have at least given Singaporean business undergrads a second option when selecting a role model for case studies. Right, so there's some possible Persian etymology, which still doesn't explain how Disney went on to cast her as British-Gujarati, but you'll understand if I don't want to get into all that hot mess.
And a hot mess, she is. This spoilt crazy cat lady in-waiting - I mean, just look at the size of that pussy, what is she feeding the poor chonker? - doesn't seem the type to gracefully age into eccentric cookie-baking aunt; she's well on the road to bitter expired-socialite-dom, the kind that says shit like "I mean it's one banana, what could it cost, ten dollars?". Actually, that sort of affluenza's not so bad, because they might at least offer to pay the ten bucks. Not our narcissistic raisin, who instead displays her latent Communist tendencies, by straight-up appropriating the goods of an unfortunate hawker, before having the effrontery to act all offended that she was expected to compensate him, like a common peasant. She didn't even have the manners to offer to flash her boobs in lieu of payment, as the lower-born but far more dignified working girls from the next movie would have done. Her parents should be ashamed.
As a matter of fact, he is. Sultan-daddy's suffered a multi-year headache attempting to procure a suitable husband - heaven rest his soul - for her royal pain-in-the-arse highness, only for her to reject her latest sincere suitor out of hand. The fellow's offered a whole bloody army, mind, which I'd say is a complete steal for one wilful and frankly not-very-bright lass; guy's pretty rad with the dad jokes besides, and has like the coolest fur hat, but she snubbed him basically because "he's not a cat person"?! And then pines after the motorcycle-straddling bad boy without a lamp to piss in? I mean, not that he has a motorcycle either, but it doesn't matter, the point is that these two delinquents were made for each other.
Ah, right, there's a third star. Behold:
Bro, you got a problem or sumtink, bro?
(Original sources: james-camerons-avatar.fandom.com, cinemablend.com, breakyourownnews.com)
I don't know about you, but I wouldn't want to be Will Smith when the Avatar sequel comes out in 2021. As Trudeau is belatedly discovering, what seems a right hoot now could well transpire to be unspeakably racist, with the passage of time.
No, the only bright light in this story, the only named character who's not some variant of opportunistic outlaw-terrorist, insufferably elite by dint of having fallen out of the right sequence of vaginas, or a lazy fantasy rapper-caricature slathered in hip ultramarine sunblock, is the Grand Vizier, Jafar. The Sultan may be a well-meaning figurehead, but if there's one man who's made Agrabah the functioning trade hub that it is today, it's Jafar. Fellow joined the civil service despite being a street rat - completely unlike the protagonist, mind - claws his way up for decades doing all the dirty but necessary work such as forceful retrenchments, and all he gets is a "know your place" by a dimwitted monarch whose last independent achievement was probably locating the correct teat? I'd be pissed too.
His dismissal probably spelt the slow decline of the city-state, but being a responsible and industrious man - virtues that do not apply to the rest of the lot - he took the initiative to restore himself, and moreover repaid malice with kindness, by offering his fellow urchin-to-be-made-good a job. Of course, the Yellow Ribbon Project fails, as the thief reverts to looting mid-salvage mission, and gets his deserved comeuppance by being trapped in a rockfall. And the world would have been the better for it, had he not resolved to rub one out in the darkness, and been awarded three wishes out of nowhere by a bastardized Na'vi.
And I say the world would have been better off because, what would a prudent, honourable man spend his precious wishes on? World peace, trite as it may be? An endless supply of food, to feed the hungry? Simply ending poverty? Perfect justice? To know the mysteries of the universe, as the more scholarly such as Jafar would have (and in fact, did), and which would have allowed him to achieve all of the above outcomes to a degree? No, Mr. Dashing Rogue wasted his first wish just getting out of there, when he could have easily synthesized it into creating a secret underground lair with minions and aliens and Godzilla or something. Okay, lad's not very educated, far better men than him have come to ruin when faced with a lottery windfall, fine. Two more chances, what'll it be?
"I want to be a prince."
No, you dumbf**k, the world has enough idiot princes already! And even if that status was that important to you, you could have claimed it as a side-effect of any number of supernatural magic powers that, you know, normal princes wouldn't have! I had to cover my eyes when he then rode into Agrabah on an elephant clogging the main throughfare with his entourage like some classless nouveau riche flaunter, because disrupting the city's trade as a private citizen wasn't enough for him. It was a great relief when Jafar eventually took custody of the magic lamp, because it was clearly not being used to its full potential.
Help, help, I'm being oppressed!
[Guard's expression: is she *seriously* singing in this situation?]
Little Miss Princess has taken badly to the long-overdue transition of the kingdom to the far more competent Jafar - and this is before he also becomes the most powerful sorcerer in the world. Instead of appreciating what his abilities could do for her people, Jasmine's instead all me, me, me, and takes to squandering her days on bad karaoke. My respect for Jafar only grew, when he took one for the team by agreeing to wed the irritating dame for continuity of lineage and all that, and I must admit to having mixed feelings, when she nicked the lamp and dove off the balcony. On one hand, the last major obstacle to Agrabah rising to becoming a significant global power had been removed, but on the other hand, should Disney really be glorifying suicide to kids? Anyway, I switched over to watching the flight information updates at this stage, because I couldn't bear them tearing down the only true go-getter here.
In summary, this movie promotes some extremely deplorable and selfish wish-fulfilment habits, and I would strongly discourage parents from letting their children near it. Shame!
Next: Place Of Privilege
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