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ON FAITH & MEDIA View Comments

Daybreakers

By
John Mulderig
Source: Catholic News Service

A scrupulous vampire who eschews human blood for the less satisfying animal alternative? No, it's not Edward Cullen of the "Twilight" franchise; it's undead hematology researcher Edward Dalton (Ethan Hawke), hero of the potentially intriguing, but excessively violent, "Daybreakers" (Lionsgate).

Set in a futuristic world where a mysterious plague has transformed the vast majority of the population into blood-suckers, this latest addition to the hoary horror genre revolves around the global emergency provoked when the few remaining mortals can no longer supply the necessary nutriment to sustain their innumerable predators.

Sponsored by a conglomerate that harvests blood from comatose human captives—a sort of macabre version of Archer Daniels Midland—Edward is searching frantically for a viable alternative.

But, as food riots break out and starving "normal" vampires become maddened mutants undermining public safety, people-friendly Edward—already troubled by the ends-justify-the-means nature of his work—discovers that his corporation's CEO, Charles Bromley (Sam Neill), is more concerned about maintaining market share than preserving an endangered species, even one to which he himself once belonged.

An accidental encounter with a group of human fugitives led by Audrey Bennettt (Claudia Karvan) introduces Edward to an underground world of resistance fighters and to the mysterious figure of Lionel "Elvis" Cormac (Willem Dafoe), a unique being who may have unwittingly discovered an alternative—and far more sweeping—solution to the crisis.

Co-writers and directors Peter and Michael Spierig effectively conjure a society where everyday Draculas are the norm—subway stations are packed with nocturnal, fanged commuters, cafes dispense coffee flavored with blood and, being immortal, everyone smokes—and they use this environment to make satiric points about the dangers of corporate excess and environmental irresponsibility.

But the intermittently gory proceedings, which feature needlessly realistic splatter throughout, move toward a climactic scene of orgiastic bloodletting.

The film contains graphic gruesome violence, including decapitation, dismemberment and exploding bodies; upper female nudity; at least three uses of profanity; and some rough and crude language. The USCCB Office for Film & Broadcasting classification is O—morally offensive. The Motion Picture Association of America rating is R—restricted. Under 17 requires accompanying parent or adult guardian.

******
John Mulderig is on the staff of the Office for Film & Broadcasting of the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops. 


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Gregory the Great: Coming events cast their shadows before: Gregory was the prefect of Rome before he was 30. After five years in office he resigned, founded six monasteries on his Sicilian estate and became a Benedictine monk in his own home at Rome. 
<p>Ordained a priest, he became one of the pope's seven deacons, and also served six years in the East as papal representative in Constantinople. He was recalled to become abbot, and at the age of 50 was elected pope by the clergy and people of Rome. </p><p>He was direct and firm. He removed unworthy priests from office, forbade taking money for many services, emptied the papal treasury to ransom prisoners of the Lombards and to care for persecuted Jews and the victims of plague and famine. He was very concerned about the conversion of England, sending 40 monks from his own monastery. He is known for his reform of the liturgy, for strengthening respect for doctrine. Whether he was largely responsible for the revision of "Gregorian" chant is disputed. </p><p>Gregory lived in a time of perpetual strife with invading Lombards and difficult relations with the East. When Rome itself was under attack, he interviewed the Lombard king. </p><p>An Anglican historian has written: "It is impossible to conceive what would have been the confusion, the lawlessness, the chaotic state of the Middle Ages without the medieval papacy; and of the medieval papacy, the real father is Gregory the Great." </p><p>His book, <i>Pastoral Care</i>, on the duties and qualities of a bishop, was read for centuries after his death. He described bishops mainly as physicians whose main duties were preaching and the enforcement of discipline. In his own down-to-earth preaching, Gregory was skilled at applying the daily gospel to the needs of his listeners. Called "the Great," Gregory has been given a place with Augustine (August 28), Ambrose (December 7) and Jerome (September 30)as one of the four key doctors of the Western Church.</p> American Catholic Blog Loving trust and total surrender made Our Lady say yes to the message of the angel, and cheerfulness made her run in haste to serve her cousin Elizabeth. So much in our lives, too, is saying yes to Jesus, and running haste to serve him in the poorest of the poor.  –Mother Theresa

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