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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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John Paul II: “Open wide the doors to Christ,” urged John Paul II during the homily at the Mass when he was installed as pope in 1978. <br /><br />Born in Wadowice, Poland, Karol Jozef Wojtyla had lost his mother, father and older brother before his 21st birthday. Karol’s promising academic career at Krakow’s Jagiellonian University was cut short by the outbreak of World War II. While working in a quarry and a chemical factory, he enrolled in an “underground” seminary in Kraków. Ordained in 1946, he was immediately sent to Rome where he earned a doctorate in theology. <br /><br />Back in Poland, a short assignment as assistant pastor in a rural parish preceded his very fruitful chaplaincy for university students. Soon he earned a doctorate in philosophy and began teaching that subject at Poland’s University of Lublin. <br /><br />Communist officials allowed him to be appointed auxiliary bishop of Kraków in 1958, considering him a relatively harmless intellectual. They could not have been more wrong! <br /><br />He attended all four sessions of Vatican II and contributed especially to its <em>Pastoral Constitution on the Church in the Modern World</em>. Appointed as archbishop of Kraków in 1964, he was named a cardinal three years later. <br /><br />Elected pope in October 1978, he took the name of his short-lived, immediate predecessor. Pope John Paul II was the first non-Italian pope in 455 years. In time, he made pastoral visits to 124 countries, including several with small Christian populations. <br /><br />He promoted ecumenical and interfaith initiatives, especially the 1986 Day of Prayer for World Peace in Assisi. He visited Rome’s Main Synagogue and the Western Wall in Jerusalem; he also established diplomatic relations between the Holy See and Israel. He improved Catholic-Muslim relations and in 2001 visited a mosque in Damascus, Syria. <br /><br />The Great Jubilee of the Year 2000, a key event in John Paul’s ministry, was marked by special celebrations in Rome and elsewhere for Catholics and other Christians. Relations with the Orthodox Churches improved considerably during his ministry as pope. <br /><br />“Christ is the center of the universe and of human history” was the opening line of his 1979 encyclical, <em>Redeemer of the Human Race</em>. In 1995, he described himself to the United Nations General Assembly as “a witness to hope.” <br /><br />His 1979 visit to Poland encouraged the growth of the Solidarity movement there and the collapse of communism in central and eastern Europe 10 years later. He began World Youth Day and traveled to several countries for those celebrations. He very much wanted to visit China and the Soviet Union but the governments in those countries prevented that. <br /><br />One of the most well-remembered photos of his pontificate was his one-on-one conversation in 1983 with Mehmet Ali Agca, who had attempted to assassinate him two years earlier. <br /><br />In his 27 years of papal ministry, John Paul II wrote 14 encyclicals and five books, canonized 482 saints and beatified 1,338 people. <br /><br />In the last years of his life, he suffered from Parkinson’s disease and was forced to cut back on some of his activities. <br /><br />Pope Benedict XVI beatified John Paul II in 2011, and Pope Francis canonized him in 2014. American Catholic Blog Lord, may I have balance and measure in everything—except in Love. —St. Josemaría Escrivá

 
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