Paeter is no longer posting to this blog. His new reviews and thoughts on geek entertainment (including all those previously posted here!) can now be found conveniently organized and archived at The Spirit Blade Underground!

Monday, March 5, 2012

The New Home For "Paeter's Brain"

First off, I want to thank everyone who has chosen to follow and read this blog over the last few years. It's one I've really enjoyed writing. And in a way, I'm not stopping.

But the kinds of things you're used to seeing here will now be found elsewhere.

If you've enjoyed my reviews and discussion of how my faith interacts with my geekiness, I'm now posting all of those thoughts over at which serves as a hub for a community interested in combining the geek lifestyle with a life lived for Christ.

Thanks again for reading and I hope to bump into you again soon!

-Paeter Frandsen

Thursday, February 23, 2012

Movie Reviews have Moved!

The changes to my blogs are slowly moving along. The first big one was the transplanting of my archived reviews to The Spirit Blade Underground, including my latest review of "Ghost Rider: Spirit Of Vengeance", the first of my reviews to be posted at its new home!

So if you're interested in that review or any 0f my future reviews, be sure to find them at their new home at The Spirit Blade Underground!

Thursday, February 16, 2012

The New Home For My Reviews!

This week I've begun "transplanting" my movie reviews to The Spirit Blade Underground, which will be the new home for my movie reviews starting this weekend, with my review for "Ghost Rider: Spirit Of Vengeance".

Although before now, The Spirit Blade Underground has been designed mainly for updates for my production company and a weekly Bible study, I'm changing the focus a bit to make it a hub for celebrating and examining geek entertainment culture from a biblical perspective, as well as exploring the Bible from a geek perspective.

So if you've enjoyed reading reviews of movies, or my thoughts on video games and board games of the geek persuasion, I think you'll enjoy the new "Spirit Blade Underground"!

The new posting format and emphasis of The Spirit Blade Underground will be taking shape over the course of the next few weeks, but I will plan to make an announcement here once it's gotten into the new groove.

I'm excited about the upcoming changes and I hope you enjoy them!

Stay tuned!

Tuesday, February 14, 2012

Skyrim Worship Revisited

Since posting my thoughts on the religions of Skyrim, I've taken something of a newer approach in a somewhat "meta-gaming" vein. Now I've determined that my character is in some way "immortal", with origins from a higher dimensional plane. I've decided that my character has the same knowledge that I do. Namely, that his real name is Paeter and he lives in the real world and no one he interacts with in Tamriel is "real", but rather simulations of reality that some dark force has placed in my path to conceal the existence of the "First Cause", which I feel compelled by reason to seek out.

For this reason, a quest for power and dominance over Tamriel has become my focus. Not in the usual power-mad way you might think, since as I mentioned, my character is aware that his environment is an illusion and none of the "people" he interacts with have any real feelings. They are deceptive simulations.

Rather, my quest for power is so that I might finally have the strength to go toe to toe with the biggest, baddest cosmic "god" they can throw at me, and get him to squeal regarding the truth of the "First Cause" before he dies.

For this reason, I take on every quest I can, since knowledge and experience gives power toward this end. I do the "good" things and the "evil" things, playing the sick game of whatever dark power is trying to deceive me, until I can finally strip away the lies and begin my true quest for the truth.

Obviously, this would be a scary and psychotic way to approach real life (so I don't recommend it), but the difference here is that my character, an extension of me, knows objectively, based on irrefutable evidence, that his experience of Tamriel is an illusion.

In one sense this is an extremely nerdy way to take a game too seriously. Definitely pretty wacky, but a lot of fun. I even "sold my soul" to the daedra "Nocturna" in exchange for the power she coughed up, but little does she know she's gonna a get major butt kickin' too when the time comes! Stupid fake deity...


Saturday, February 4, 2012

Chronicle (Movie Review)

Reviewing movies is usually fun, but sometimes when I go to review a movie, I have a strong suspicion that I won't enjoy it that much. Ordinarily, I wouldn't spend money to see it, but because I've built my podcast largely on sci-fi, fantasy and horror movie reviews, I feel an obligation to see and review every flick in those genres that I can as they come out. This means that it's very common for me to walk into a theater suspecting I won't have a good time and walking away feeling like my time and money were wasted. But there are those other times, when a movie could have turned out terrible, that I breathe a sigh of relief when it turns out to be a solid flick.

This was not my experience with "Chronicle". I suspected it might be an annoyingly shallow film, but hoped for at least a decent sci-fi movie, based on the trailer. Instead, what I got was a fantastic sci-fi film that fans of the genre will kick themselves for not seeing as soon as possible.

"Chronicle" is about three high school seniors who discover a mysterious, presumably alien substance underground. Their exposure to the object grants them all telekinetic powers which they learn to control more and more as the story progresses. At first, their abilities are merely sources of entertainment, as they play practical jokes on others, or in some way use their abilities to gain attention and favor with others. But Andrew, who is constantly mistreated and misunderstood, begins to lash out with his powers, bringing severe harm to others.

If at some point you begin to feel like you may have seen this movie before, you've probably watched the classic anime "Akira" at least once. It seems clear the writers took inspiration from Akira at several points, both visually and in terms of the story itself. Although "Chronicle" has far more sympathetic characters, and also a plot that makes sense.

The movie is shot in the increasingly popular documentary style, similar in some ways to films like The Blair Witch Project or Paranormal Activity. I've seen several movies that use the same shooting style as this one, but I've never been more impressed with the variety of ways in which the camera was used while still limiting every shot we see to what an "in story" camera could potentially record.

We start the film limited to only what Andrew captures with his video camera. But as the film progresses, we begin to see events through multiple camera sources including a blogger's video camera, news footage, in-store security cameras and similar sources. And in the second half of the film, telekinesis is also applied to control of the cameras, allowing for some angles never seen before in a "doc" style movie, but that are still consistent with the limitations of using only "in-story" cameras.

This may give you the impression that the shooting style will be used to cover up a low budget and keep the movie grounded. But by halfway through this movie, things are anything but "grounded", as the boys learn what a simple ability like telekinesis really makes possible. By the end, the scale on which their powers are used is nothing short of epic, and I was thrilled and thankful that many of the most jaw-dropping moments were not spoiled in the trailer.

Not to say that this is just an effects film, either. Andrew is the character through whom we experience most of the story, and despite the dark turn he eventually takes, it's hard not to be sympathetic with him. He is picked on mercilessly by other kids, abused by his step father and only develops friendships with the two other boys because of a shared common experience. Relative unknown Dane DeHaan plays the troubled, socially awkward Andrew with great sincerity, and may even remind you of a real kid you know or knew in high school.

My complaints about the movie are few. I would have loved to see actual high school age actors playing these parts. Seeing twenty-somethings in these roles has become common in Hollywood, but the film could have had added realism and intensity if they had cast more age appropriate actors, or changed the plot to be about college students.

Although most of the effects are wonderful, I felt that a few of the visual effects shots could have been better. A floating baseball comes to mind. (Why not just use fishing line, guys?)

Throughout the movie I ran into numerous themes worthy of discussion on the ride home from the theater. Andrew's cousin, Matt, who also gains super powers, has been reading a bit of philosophy for one of his classes and often has little nuggets to spout about human nature. He contends that we are "creatures of will" and can never have our desires satisfied. And biblical anthropology would agree with this, I think.

We are free creatures gifted with free wills, and yet because of sin we are separated from God, who is the ultimate source of fulfillment. Until the day when he removes our ability to sin and gives us new and perfect bodies, all of our attempts at self-fulfillment will fall short. It's possible the theme of "failing to fulfill our own desires" was an intended parallel to Andrew's story, who seems to believe that he can use his powers to get the things he wants from life.

Andrew himself also shares a personal philosophy that is intriguing. At one point he tells his camera that he has been thinking about evolution. Specifically natural selection and "survival of the fittest". He reasons that because a lion does not feel guilty when it kills a gazelle, that there would be nothing wrong with him harming or even killing a weaker human being.

This is a very striking statement, as it clearly demonstrates the inevitable, horrifying result of consistently applying a belief in naturalistic evolution to the way we live and think of others. Taken out of the realm of academic theory and applied to life, naturalistic evolution will lead to terrible harm inflicted on one human by another. This movie is far from an argument for theism, but it stands out among sci-fi films as being willing to shed light on the "dark side" of a worldview taken for granted by millions.

Near the end of the film, Matt comments that even after all Andrew has done, he is still not a "bad person". I have to say, after seeing all that Andrew had done to that point(watch the movie and see for yourself!), I'd love to ask Matt for his description of what a "bad person" WOULD have to do to earn the title! Does a poor upbringing or being mistreated by others give us license to lash out and harm or kill people? When DOES a person go from good, to neutral, to bad, and how does Matt know what this objective standard is?

Sure, it's being a bit nit-picky, but beneath the surface of small comments like Matt's are unstated yet deeply held philosophies about who we are and what right and wrong is that can be harmful if not examined and picked apart now and then.

Chronicle is a fantastic, dark-toned sci-fi flick that could have been revolutionary but settles for being a fantastic must-see film. It is also likely to give you some things to ponder about who we really are as humans when the curtain of idealism no longer hides our innermost desires.

Rated PG-13 for for intense action and violence, thematic material, some language, sexual content and teen drinking.

Quality: 9.0/10

Relevance: 8.0/10

Friday, February 3, 2012


For those who were confused about me talking about my production company on this blog, I apologize. That post was meant for The Spirit Blade Underground Weblog and I accidentally posted it here. (I've since deleted it and re-posted it correctly.)

No wonder I'm looking to restructure my blogs! I can't keep track of the way I'm doing things now!

Thursday, February 2, 2012

Additional Blog Options

(Copied from a post I wrote on the SBU Forums)

Okay, so my thoughts are still bubbling in a pot of ideas regarding the new direction of the blog(s).

What would you guys think of me moving the reviews to the SBU blog and changing the tone of that blog to be more about geek culture from a biblical perspective? I'd still keep in search of truth and one post per week about company/project updates, but the third post, and any additional posts, would be focused on Geek culture.

I haven't looked into all of bloggers options yet, but I'm hoping that if I go this route I could set up multiple feeds so that those who are only interested in one category of posts could just follow those (In Search Of Truth, Company Updates or Reviews/Geek Culture).

I feel like my personal/random thoughts find a better home on the forums, and I think something like this scenario would help centralize the presence of SBP and also bring more focus to what I'm doing on the web.

Any thoughts, questions or alternative suggestions?