The story revolves around William Wilburforce's life's work to ban slave trade in the British empire. As an American, it was a story I'd never heard (or even considered) before. In our classrooms we only get to hear the story of our own Civil War, which had the same result for the United States but at a much grizzlier cost. What's even more fascinating is that the movie takes place more than half century before the Civil War even starts.
Wilbur, as the protagonist is known (probably to distinguish him from his friend and the British prime minister, William Pitt), is probably one of the most eloquent orators to square off against Parliament, but as soon as he bears the standard of abolitionism, he faces opposition that crushes him and his cause. The ultimate theme is how much someone is willing to sacrifice himself for a good cause. After years of political defeat, humiliation, accusations of sedition, and stress-induced illness, he still summons the courage to see his cause through. The best quote of the movie has to be from Lord Charles Fox, played by Michael Gambon (a.k.a. the new Dumbledore), once Wilbur's bill finally passes:
"When people speak of great men, they think of men like Napoleon - men of violence. Rarely do they think of peaceful men. But contrast the reception they will receive when they return home from their battles. Napoleon will arrive in pomp and in power, a man who's achieved the very summit of earthly ambition. And yet his dreams will be haunted by the oppressions of war. William Wilberforce, however, will return to his family, lay his head on his pillow and remember: the slave trade is no more."
That puts me to shame both as an American and as a Latter-day Saint. Well, I can't do anything about the fact that England ended slavery in an infinitely more refined manner than America, but as a Latter-day Saint, I have the greatest cause on my shoulders. Thanks to my habit of introspection, I realize that I can do so much more to share the Gospel because I really have no reason not to. I'd like to lay my head on my pillow and remember that I did some true good in this world, and it's well within my capacity.
I definitely recommend this movie for inspirational, romantic, or entertaining purposes.
Now onto other pressing matters...
I remember seeing the first movie and wondering why the heck I knew so little about Iron Man before it came out. He's a self-built superhero, he's cocky as all get-out, and he's so good at blowing stuff up. My kind of guy. So I just had to see the sequel with my buddies on opening night. Even with my hiked-up expectations, I was not disappointed.
My favorite parts:
- Tony Stark sassing the U.S. Senate
- A drunk Iron Man brawling with War Machine with the DJ cranking out "Robot Rock" by Daft Punk (priceless)
- Tony's robot Jarvis telling him, "Congratulations, sir. You've made a new element."
- The twirling laser attack that cuts through everything
- Some choice quotes I'd prefer not to admit I laughed at
I wouldn't be surprised if I see it once or twice more in theaters. I don't care what critics are saying about it--so much, in fact, that I haven't bothered to check what they're saying--it's got plenty of action, lots of humor, and the right amount of, um, non-action to keep the audience engaged. Also recommended.
I take a freight elevator and press fast forward