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I can't imagine hating movies like Lord of the Rings and Harry Potter simply because they have magic in them. If you accept them as a part of the metaphysics of the movie you're watching, I think the displays of heroism far outweigh whatever negatives there are from the magic. Look at it this way...in movies such as those, magic is not mystical. It is a force of nature. This is particularly true in Harry Potter. The wizards are not wise old men with white beards who call on powers greater than themselves. The wizards are people who had to go to school and learn the principles of magic use. And, magic, just like any other science, has laws that must be followed. Granted, the laws are basically whatever is most convenient to J.K. Rowling at the time of writing, but it is clear that magic is not a force that can be manipulated or have its rules broken by calling upon a deity.

On Harry Potter's theme: it is very, very capitalist. Just think about it. Kids get excited by going into Diagon Alley so they can try out all the newest magical doo dads. Diagon Alley is commercialism at its best. Two of the minor protagonists become successful businessmen, by doing what they love, and they are not condemned for it. Rather, all of the other protagonists seem very pleased with their success. Compare that to the attitude towards the Ministry of Magic. Typical capitalistic attitude towards bloated government bureaucracy. It gets in the way and prevents the heroes from doing what needs to be done. Then you have Percy Weasley. He turns his back on the other protagonists to become a bureaucrat, writing pointless reports on the consistency of cauldron bottoms. And note how Harry, himself, has a vast amount of wealth, which he does not feel obligated to give to anyone but his own closest friends. And even they only get as much as he thinks they need to cover basic school supplies. Even if you refuse to accept magic as part of the metaphysics of Harry Potter, I think all of these factors far outweigh the mysticism.

And I would be quite interested to hear how Lord of the Rings is plotless? I really don't understand how you can watch those movies or read the books and think that they don't have a plot. And if you think that movie could be made without CGI, I'd love to see it happen. As to the plot of Harry Potter...I have found the movies to be somewhat lacking, but that's mainly because they are not very inclusive. The story is actually somewhat difficult to follow, unless you've read the books.

I have not read Terry Goodkind's series, but I am assuming that it has magic in it. Do you, likewise, hate it?

You only replied to the point about plots and the question about Goodkind's series. I make numerous other points about the metaphysics of the books, the nature of magic in them, and the pro-capitalist theme of Harry Potter.

And surely you're not comparing some ditzy Mariah Carey movie to an epic trilogy about an apocalyptic battle between good and evil.

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I really don't think it's fair to say that if you haven't seen it. The CGI is a nice touch, but it is completely unfair to say that the movie "depends on it," in order to wow the audience. There are plenty of scenes without CGI that "wow" me when I watch them. My favorite scenes, for instance, are the ones in which the main 2 hobbits (Sam and Frodo) are on their journey. Very little, if any, CGI is present when they are together. The only parts of LotR that are really filled with CGI are the overview shots of battles. Then, of course, some of the creatures are done with CGI, but I don't think that can be held against the film makers. There simply wouldn't be any other way to do such scenes.

I find it a tad ridiculous that you are accusing LotR of being "an empty husk of a movie" that "depends on wowing its audience with CGI" when you have admittedly not seen it. I challenge you to watch it and still come away with that opinion.

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No. I am comparing a ditzy Mariah Carey movie to an empty husk of a movie that depends on wowing its audience with CGI.

You do realize that both Harry Potter and LOTR were books before they were movies, right? Because your posts give no hint of having this knowledge. I doubt that Tolkien, when he started LOTR in the 40's, thought to write a book that would take advantage of CGI in a future movie, a technology he couldn't have even conceived of at the time. This following quote of yours is what makes me think you may be unaware they were books first, then, later, movies.

Especially with these, it was only compounded by the fact that magic was largely an excuse to flex CGI muscles while the rest of the story had basically no value on its own.
Or, are you saying that the makers of the movie tossed out all the story content to put in and make room for the CGI?

Posted Today, 04:34 PM

It's what I've gleaned from what everybody says about the films.

And since when is it Objectivist methodology to form views on things based, not on observation of facts, but on the second-hand opinions of others?

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Sorry, Moose. I'm not going to watch either for the exact same basic reason I won't watch Glitter [or, for variety, insert your favorite crapy movie you refuse to see... Debbie Does Dallas. The Fast and the Furious. King Kong.]. I have formed an opinion about what would be the best use of mine time, and extremely low on the list, probably below seeing how truly painful having my fingernails ripped off, is watching either Harry Potter or LOTR.

Thoyd, yeah, I work at a bookstore. I know they were books first.

I don't claim "Objectivist methodology" though I do claim reason. I take the second-hand claims (such as to the content and nature of the movie) about Harry Potter--some of which I've been able to verify by watching previews--as a fairly reliable source of information considering the unanymity. Of course, everybody could be lying or mistaken, but that seems highly unlikely. As for their opinions, specifically, I am actually rejecting that since the vast majority of opinion is that these were phenomenal movies.

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I find it a tad ridiculous that you are accusing LotR of being "an empty husk of a movie" that "depends on wowing its audience with CGI" when you have admittedly not seen it.
I find it *extremely* ridiculous. Especially since you (Aleph) omit whether you think that the books are plotless, and the movies therefore plotless in turn, or whether you think that the books have good plots that the movies omit in favor of special effects.

By the way, are there any movies with CGI that you do like.. Or do you automatically assume every movie featuring CGI to be crap without seeing it?

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Oh, I never read the books either. From what I've heard, there isn't much of interest in the storyline, namely due to the magic which predominates these stories. I take CGI to be the only value they have as movies, but it is essentially the magic that bothers me. So I've decided not to waste my time. Compare these books to Ludwig von Mises, Victor Hugo, Herman Hesse, and Sartre or movies like A Lion in Winter, Five Easy Pieces, etc. Even if these turn out to have poor content--which I doubt--they are such a part of the intellectual lexicon that I can hardly doubt that Harry Potter and LOTR could take priority.

I like many of the Star Trek movies. Other than that, I can't really think of any movie which uses a great deal of graphics which I like very much. Maybe there are others, but I'm not much of a sci-fi/fantasy fan.

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Thoyd, yeah, I work at a bookstore. I know they were books first.

Well, there goes half of your argument. The magic was not in there to flex CGI muscle, but were there before.

I don't claim "Objectivist methodology" though I do claim reason. I take the second-hand claims (such as to the content and nature of the movie) about Harry Potter--some of which I've been able to verify by watching previews--as a fairly reliable source of information considering the unanymity. Of course, everybody could be lying or mistaken, but that seems highly unlikely. As for their opinions, specifically, I am actually rejecting that since the vast majority of opinion is that these were phenomenal movies.
So this in this version of "reason", you get your facts second-hand (from, I suppose, the first-handers), toss out their evaluations, and arbitrarily assert your own without ever having come in contact with the subject matter at hand.

You see the problem here is not that you think such and such about X, but that you know nothing about X, yet want to have an evaluation about X.

Compare these books to Ludwig von Mises, Victor Hugo, Herman Hesse, and Sartre or movies like A Lion in Winter, Five Easy Pieces, etc. Even if these turn out to have poor content--which I doubt--they are such a part of the intellectual lexicon that I can hardly doubt that Harry Potter and LOTR could take priority.

Why would I compare Ludwig von Mises to anything at all in the art world? Or Satre for that matter. Does something have to be in the "intellectual lexicon" for it to be worthwhile to experience? Have you experienced these works? You weren't entirely clear because you go on to say,

Even if these turn out to have poor content--which I doubt--

You doubt because you haven't exposed yourself to these works either? Or you doubt because you haven't yet made up your mind about them yet?

Let me give you a sample of how this is done. I have never seen the movie Reservoir Dogs. Many people have suggested this movie to me-even some Objectivists over the years. The only thing that I know about the movie is that it is by Quentin Tarantino. I know that he made Pulp Fiction and Kill Bill. I hated both of these movies emphatically. Based on that, my reason for not seeing it is that I do not like his other works, and do not want to spend the time to try out this one in the hopes that this one will not be a bucket of filth.

But, knowing nothing about the movie specifically, I am held at this point. I can't talk about the plot - haven't seen it. Theme - haven't seen it. Can't talk about the message or sense of life - haven't seen it, camera angle, lighting, acting - haven't seen it. If I do want to talk about these things, I have to go and observe it with my own senses, think about what I have observed with my own mind, and then draw my own conclusions based on that. That is a process of reason.

If you don't want to see the movies - I could not care less. But that certainly bars you from any evaluation of them.

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And why has no one responded to my post on the first page?

I'll respond!...since I have not lost my literary senses...

Your post actually has gotten me interested in Harry Potter. Where you specifically said that with those movies such as LotR and Harry Potter where "magic is not mystical" to them, where you are applying your analysis inside the context of the movies themselves, is truly commendable. Too often I've been dismissive of such movies, but now...ever heightening my literary senses...I will give them more consideration, patience, etc. Thank you!

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And why has no one responded to my post on the first page?

I forgot to add the quote that I liked from that post! Here:

"The religious overtones don't bother me, and I don't think they should bother any Objectivist who watches them. The supernatural stuff is an accepted part of the metaphysics of the movie, just like magic is in Harry Potter and Lord of the Rings." (emphasis mine)

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I don't claim "Objectivist methodology" though I do claim reason.

Wait!!...maybe I should ask him what he means...but he would have to explain a lot, which eventually involves methodology...and if it's not by an objective method, an Objectivist method of explanation and so forth...then why even ask?

You're losing your epistemological voice now...

I couldn't hear you on the other thread and now I can't hear you on this thread...

"Epistemology is concerned only with methodology..." OPAR

...so much for Objectivist Epistemology then...

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Well, there goes half of your argument. The magic was not in there to flex CGI muscle, but were there before.

Actually, not so. I was discussing the movie, not the books. The only value I have heard of in the movies was their amazing special effects.

So this in this version of "reason", you get your facts second-hand (from, I suppose, the first-handers), toss out their evaluations, and arbitrarily assert your own without ever having come in contact with the subject matter at hand.
I have never looked at the numbers which supposedly provide a proof of the existence of atoms. But by the general consensus of people involved, I take it to be a safe bet. I have never seen Glitter, but I take it to be a flakey movie starring Mariah Carey. If you can have nothing to say about that which you have not observed first-hand and concretely, then that leaves the information on which you can base judegments for future action on pretty shoddy ground.

Suppose I tell you that there's a truly fantastic book out. It's by a guy named Wolff. He takes up Kantian ethics and, rather than concluding in democracy and something like capitalism (which Kant had concluded via his ethics), Wolff concludes that the most consistent application of Kantian principles is anarchism. Something tells me that a given Objectivist, though never having read him, would take Wolff to be unworthy of his time. He would consider Wolff's work, in all likelihood, a useless hodge-podge of unquestioned common ethical maxims drawn to their necessary absurdity. He can do so based on common agreements about the content of Wolff's works. If these were false, then the person describing the works would be at fault, not he who takes the descriptions as provisional assumptions.

You see the problem here is not that you think such and such about X, but that you know nothing about X, yet want to have an evaluation about X.

Yet I know some aspects of X. Moreover, we all agree that there are some aspects of X, and so on that basis we can discuss those aspects of X. I know that these movies have magic in them, which predominates the movie to the point that the exclusion of magic in them would leave the works empty. At no point in either of the movies could you forget that the assumption of each movie is a non-human life.

Why would I compare Ludwig von Mises to anything at all in the art world? Or Satre for that matter.
Because they, like the artworks being discussed, have this common element which is essential to our conversation: I have not fully and directly experienced them, but am able to make judgements based on what I've heard about them.

Does something have to be in the "intellectual lexicon" for it to be worthwhile to experience?

Have I at all implied this?

As for IntellectualAmmo, I do not believe I can fully express the degree to which you are a living characature [read also: "cartoon" or "clown"] only magnified by the assumption that your ridiculous mocking is in any way significant to me. That you speak as if I am not here, which you do as a result of your unfounded assertion that the only way to express one's self is to vote (as if, before voting existed, nobody made so much as a peep), is one example. I could give more, but by and large I choose to merely shake my head and move on. But case-in-point, if you want to ask me a question, ask me. If not, don't pretend that you have.

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That you speak as if I am not here, which you do as a result of your unfounded assertion that the only way to express one's self is to vote (as if, before voting existed, nobody made so much as a peep), is one example.

Wrong. Don't you dare take the precious words that I have typed and play with them! "Unfounded assertion"!! I've already said there are times where not voting in an election may be the right choice to make, but not with the last election!! The entire focus was on the last election. Who actually has the "unfounded assertion" here? You can call me a "cartoon" or a "clown" so obviously ad hominem attacks, but don't you ever play with my words like that! I haven't turned you into the mods, simply for the reason that the more you are here, the more you can damage your own reputation.

With you...not claiming "Objectivist methodology", disagreeing with Peikoff's statement in the last election and not voting in it, having a relationship quota which involves having a "slam-your-fist-on-the-table, wake-up-the-neighbors-shouting fight", wanting "at least one good fight every year, and a regular diet of minor fights in-between" in a relationship with a girlfriend...saying that you are al__0 and a philosopher?...surely you've misspelled both of those...they should read: a__h0le foolosopher. read more closely: the breeze is becoming nothing but hot air. I'd say more, but I might have already jeopardized my membership here...but at least I won't let you get away your ad hominem attack and saying I had an "unfounded assertion"...

I could give more, but by and large I choose to merely shake my head and move on.

Please, don't even take the time to shake your head...just move on.

Edited by intellectualammo
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Defintion for fool:

1. One who is deficient in judgment, sense, or understanding.

2. One who acts unwisely on a given occasion

I actually want to say for the record that “foolosopher” was not my pun, but it was paronomasia that I came across in Eugene O’Neill’s play “The Iceman Cometh”.

Edited by intellectualammo
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Actually, not so. I was discussing the movie, not the books. The only value I have heard of in the movies was their amazing special effects.

Actually, you have "heard" otherwise as well. You simply choose what to hear based on a preconceived notion still without examination of any real evidence.

I have never looked at the numbers which supposedly provide a proof of the existence of atoms. But by the general consensus of people involved, I take it to be a safe bet.
Wrong. It is not a safe bet. If twenty thousand scientists came to me and told me there were little things called atoms that make up the world we perceive, I would not consider that knowledge. Much in the same way that if twenty thousand scientists came to me and said man's activities are causing the Earth to warm, I would not consider that knowledge either. Except to say that twenty thousand men with pieces of paper from universities said such and such to me. I would need some data, something to examine to relate to my other knowledge. Someone else's words mean nothing in themselves.

If I just read even Ayn Rand's views on a subject and relate it to nothing I know, she has effectively said nothing at least in relation to my cognition-to what I can say is knowledge.

The issue of atoms would take some reading and thinking in the field before I could say that this is knowledge, otherwise it is faith (faith in the words of others) or mere assumption. Likewise there is good way to judge a work of art as well - experience it. First hand, concrete observation of atoms is not likely for most people to come across probably ever - seeing a movie is well within one's grasp. They are not on the same epistemological level.

Yet I know some aspects of X. Moreover, we all agree that there are some aspects of X, and so on that basis we can discuss those aspects of X. I know that these movies have magic in them, which predominates the movie to the point that the exclusion of magic in them would leave the works empty. At no point in either of the movies could you forget that the assumption of each movie is a non-human life.

We know, but you don't. I have no idea what the last sentence means. Are you saying that these stories could not be translated thematically or even in plot into real world stories? Could not LOTR be placed in WWII, and still have most of its structure in tact? Could not Harry Potter take place in college in the real world with much of the plot in tact? I say yes, it could, and you could keep the theme, a lot of the story structure, and the meaning of the story. What say you on this? And tell me how you came to your conclusion. Did someone else tell that this is false, and I am to take this on faith? Why don't I just talk to this other person since that is the person with the actual knowledge.

Talking about your last sentence...would this exclude all fairy tales, Bugs Bunny, science fiction. How is it an assumption of a non-human life?

Because they, like the artworks being discussed, have this common element which is essential to our conversation: I have not fully and directly experienced them, but am able to make judgements based on what I've heard about them.
And this common element is...? And it is essential why? Again you bring up things you know nothing about. Why don't I just talk to these other people whose opinions you pass to me without effort of exposing yourself to them?

Yet I know some aspects of X. Moreover, we all agree that there are some aspects of X, and so on that basis we can discuss those aspects of X. I know that these movies have magic in them, which predominates the movie to the point that the exclusion of magic in them would leave the works empty.

Wrong again. While I would say that you know there is magic in the movies is a pretty safe bet, that is all you know. You can safely assume that magic is present in these films. That is all. The rest is an evaluation by others.

We can discuss those aspects, you cannot. How do you know that the magic predominates the movie to the point that its exclusion would leave the works empty? Someone told you so. This is the equivalent of: "I'm good because my mom said so." Or "The rich will not get into heaven because the Bible said." Both of these are on the same epistemological ground you are asking me to take seriously.

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I'll respond!...since I have not lost my literary senses...

Your post actually has gotten me interested in Harry Potter. Where you specifically said that with those movies such as LotR and Harry Potter where "magic is not mystical" to them, where you are applying your analysis inside the context of the movies themselves, is truly commendable. Too often I've been dismissive of such movies, but now...ever heightening my literary senses...I will give them more consideration, patience, etc. Thank you!

Wow...glad I could help to change someone's opinions.

I thank everyone for their posts in support of my own views on supernaturalism in movies. I would like to point out, by the way, that LotR actually contains very minimal magic. Most of it is about the dangerous journey of two courageous characters who, despite their small stature and plainness, decide to try their utmost to defeat a great evil. Most of what is left is about war, consisting of horses, swords, axes, and bows and arrows.

The wizards are present throughout most of the story, but the scenes in which they perform "magic" are actually pretty few and far between.

Could a mod split off this topic about supernaturalism in movies? The thread is supposed to be about the new Indy movie, but it has strayed from its purpose.

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Oh, I never read the books either. From what I've heard, there isn't much of interest in the storyline, namely due to the magic which predominates these stories. I take CGI to be the only value they have as movies, but it is essentially the magic that bothers me. So I've decided not to waste my time. Compare these books to Ludwig von Mises, Victor Hugo, Herman Hesse, and Sartre or movies like A Lion in Winter, Five Easy Pieces, etc. Even if these turn out to have poor content--which I doubt--they are such a part of the intellectual lexicon that I can hardly doubt that Harry Potter and LOTR could take priority.
:P

...As someone who has read LOTR and Sartre, I can say that LOTR, as well at The Hobbit, are at least ten thousand, but possibly as much as several million times better than Nausea and anything else by Sartre, both from a literary standpoint, and in the quality of the ideas.

I don't even think LOTR is that great. But it does have a plot, and it's even slightly romantic. And I think the movie adaptation is pretty good, beyond just the special effects. But I don't think I've seen the other movies you mentioned. LOTR isn't the best movie ever, but both it and Harry Potter were fun (for their plots *and* the special effects, and other things including the music and the acting) and I think they were worth watching (i.e., I don't regret watching them). LOTR I like partly because I loved the books when I was a kid. Harry Potter I liked even though I haven't read it yet.

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Hermann Hesse?

Now Victor Hugo I agree with.. I don't think there's any question that Hugo is better than LOTR or HP. But Von Mises.. Did he ever even write any fiction? If not, you could hardly say his books had better plots than LOTR or HP.. They didn't have any plots at all, being non-fiction books.

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Wow...glad I could help to change someone's opinions.

You've made me consider Harry Potter so much so in fact that later today I will be buying a box set of the books! I've also searched around on this forum and have found the comments on the series interesting (esp. the referrences to capitalism...oh, and the ARI article on it too!!). I have to finish what I am reading first though, and go on a business trip this weekend, but I will begin reading them as soon as I can put my pen down...

I want to read the books first, but maybe as I go along I'll watch the movies after each finished book!

Thanks again!!

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Moose, I have only thanked you once. Once is not enough! I must thank you again! I have already read the first two books in the series, and have watched the first movie. I just went out tonight and bought the DVD box set!! I am about to watch the second movie! Watching the movies may rank below "seeing how truly painful it is to have their fingernails ripped off", but it certainly ranks much higher on my list!! But instead of going into detail more about these books and movies, I'll say this...since I really can't wait to watch the second DVD:

J.K. Rowling must have used her pen like a wand, and cast a spell with it, in each and every written line of hers, for I can barely stop reading these novels! Spellbinding they are! Her novels are bewitching me!

Oh, if only my ex-wife wouldn't throw away the gifts I send to my daughter, I surely would have gotten them for her, for when she's older!!

Oh, if she could identify with Hermoine!...with Harry!

Moose, again...Thank you!

Edited by intellectualammo
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(...)

I can relate, none of the books has lasted me more than three days. The movies, though superficial plot wise - as they must be to cover the main storyline of a ~600 page book - are fantastic illustrations of the novels. Having read the book, the movie is a treat. The fourth movie is particularly excellent.

I find it amazing that a series that has restored the habit of reading for pleasure in more than one generation is so frequently disparaged as not worthy of serious consideration as "real literature". Rowling is worth her millions - Harry Potter is really that good. She has probably done more for our future than any living politician - by acting directly on our younger generations' sense of life, as art is meant to do.

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Rowling is worth her millions - Harry Potter is really that good.

Hmmm...millions? Hah! Rowling is worth her billion! She's a billionaire!

Having read the book, the movie is a treat.

Oh yeah it is! I wonder how much say Rowling had with these movies? Anyone know? How did the books go from the bookstore to the movie theater anyways?

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