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One of the most talked-about movies of the year is also one of the funniest! In this hilarious comic fantasy from writer/director Kevin Smith (Clerks, Chasing Amy) two banished angels (Ben Affleck and Matt Damon) find a loophole that would get them back into Heaven. The only snag? They'll be destroying existence in the process. In an effort to stop them, The overworked Voice of God (Alan Rickman)taps cynical mortal Bethany (Linda Fiorentino) to save the world by preventing the angels from reaching their unholy destination: New Jersey! Throw in two unlikely prophets named Jay and Silent Bob (Jason Mewes and Kevin Smith), the quick-witted yet little-known thirteenth apostle (Chris Rock) and a sexy, former muse with a case of writer's block (Selma Hayek) and you've got an hysterical and thrilling race against time packed with an all-star cast.
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How much easier the job of misleading the humans is when the poison is coated with the sweetness of humor. It is simply amazing how much cruelty, depravity, and lies a human will swallow if a tempter can convince his patient "that's funny!" Even so, it seems-- no, it is obvious writer and director Kevin Smith knew he had his work cut out for him in getting audiences to put their discerning minds into solitary confinement while the rest of their mental facilities "had fun". The opening credits begin with an actual injunction to do this very thing!
"Disclaimer: 1) a renunciation of any claim to or connection with; 2) a disavowal; 3) a statement made to save one's own ass.
Though it'll go without saying ten minutes or so into these proceedings, View Askew would like to state that this film is- from start to finish- a work of comedic fantasy, not to be taken seriously. To insist that any of what follows is incendiary or inflammatory is to miss our intention and pass undue judgment; and passing judgment is reserved for God and God alone (this goes for you film critics too... just kidding)..."
Smith demands a double standard; HE can pass judgment and ridicule and mock the Enemy's Church and its teachings as being ridiculous and irrational and sexist, but anyone else who points out the film's bigotry, shallowness, and deliberate inaccuracies (e.g. "lies") is being "thin-skinned", "literal-minded", and above all, "humorless". Still, there is more than a whiff of desperation in Smith's "disclaimer". Likely he realized just how hypocritical he was going to be and decided to deflect some understandable backlash by using the "it's just a work of "fiction/fantasy/comedy/art" defense used to perfection by the likes of Oliver Stone and Dan Brown.
As a work of "fiction/fantasy/comedy/art" the film is a mess. It is a good thing Smith's established audience, either in theatrical release or post-release recordings, is well-noted for further debilitating their already corrupt intelligence by means of self-medication. A sober human is quite likely to find Dogma's pretensions to comedic-criticism not only exceedingly trite and not very funny, but also incoherent.
The prime example of Dogma's internal inconsistency is it concedes the objective truth that the Enemy did grant the Catholic Church, through the office of Peter, the charism of infallibility in matters of faith and morals when the Church said she was speaking on such matters definitely and decisively. Then in blatant contradiction to this clearly stated point, all through the film Smith "reveals" to the lead character where the Catholic Church is wrong on its definite and decisive declarations of faith and morals. Dogma explicitly attacks the perpetual virginity of the Enemy's human mother, the masculine persona of all three persons of the Trinity, and in claiming a "13th Apostle" was edited out of New Testament (for absurdly anachronistic reasons!), attacks the Church as a reliable transmitter of Scripture. Implicitly, Dogma also goes after the one-time-only Incarnation (the Enemy is shown being vulnerable to physical attack because he again assumes a body to play Skee-Ball) and the doctrine of the Trinity and the Divinity of Christ (the "13th Apostle" recalls Jesus as just another charismatic wisdom-teacher).
The great contradictions of Dogma seem to reflect the contradictory attitudes writer-director Smith holds against the Catholic Church. Smith, raised a Catholic in our smokescreen-era of utterly-fictional über-liberal "spirit of Vatican 2" clearly resents the Church for remaining utterly opposed to murder for convenience (abortion and euthanasia) but he also clearly despises shallow, publicity-hungry bishops, as well as bland Masses performed by decidedly "un-fatherly" priests. For us tempters, it is a true delight to hear humans droning in boredom through the Nicene Creed because these contemporary "believers" never once were made aware of the blood of martyrs which testified to each and every tenant of that prayer.
Dogma, as to be expected in its pandering to the "spirit of the age", hits all the expected notes. Anti-abortion protestors are portrayed as imbeciles, Catholic hierarchy in the case of Cardinal Glick (Carlin) as hustling salesmen, and Catholic religious in the case of one nun in full habit, gullible to the most superficial and smarmy atheist "apologetics". It's the old method that still works so well; portray those you disagree with as ugly stereotypes and those you agree with as rational, reasonable, and above all, attractive. It worked well for Goebbels and equally so for Smith. Of course, Smith has his "disclaimer" ready to abandon responsibility, which is something Herr Goebbels had the minimum honesty not to do.
Regarding the "spirit of the age", it is also obvious Smith was much enchanted with neo-Gnostic apologist Elaine Pagels (Smith praises her in the end credits!). Pagels' words come out as revealed doctrine from the mouthpieces of Rufus the 13th apostle (Rock) and Serendipity the Muse (Hayek). That's another valuable propaganda tactic Smith uses with gusto; your side must always use spokesmen who at least sound reasonable and truthful--and in Dogma's case, show a lot of skin which is apparently some fact verification by human standards. Of course, the "truth" the Catholic Church expresses in Dogma is not only "sexist" it also threatens all of existence--though the latter, only by so ad ignorantum misstating the doctrine of plenary indulgence that even Martin Luther would be disgusted by Smith's deliberate misrepresentation.
For junior devils who are unfamiliar with the doctrine, plenary indulgences are the Church's allowance for "substitute penances" for sins already confessed and repented for under the Enemy's sacrament of Reconciliation. In other words, if the sin is NOT confessed and NOT repented for, then the sin is NOT absolved no matter how many indulgences the sinner partakes of--or as in the case of the abuses in the late Middle Ages which Luther quite rightly (even by Catholic standards!) objected to, purchased.Smith's plot device which drives the entirety of Dogma is two "fallen angels" Bartelby (Affleck) and Loki (Damon) will have their disobedience forgiven if they ONLY step through the doors of a certain Church (for which plenary indulgence has been granted by Glick and "approved by the Vatican"), and since that forgiveness will contradict the Enemy's declaration of eternal banishment from Heaven then all of existence will wink out because of the contradiction. Never mind angelic disobedience to the Enemy earns a spirit a firm place in our Father's house and not eternally exile to Wisconsin! Bartelby and Loki only seek entry into Heaven by a "loophole" without a trace of contrition (showing again their fitness for our Father's house) a loophole that is solely of Smith's imagining. No repentance (impossible for a spirit!), no confession, so any indulgence is null and void--which is something these characters would know right from the start.
However, these simple facts about indulgences are something most humans, including most Catholics, do not know--hence the effectiveness of Dogma as propaganda because it relies on the disgusting creatures' dependable ignorance. I cannot praise enough our field tempters` particular efforts in sabotaging Catholic catechesis for almost five decades as well as their more general successes in the destruction of history education.
Many "cradle Catholics" are ripe fruit to be plucked by such superficial propaganda as Dogma--they are utterly unaware Smith is insulting their intelligence to further an agenda of fornication, sodomy, murder (abortion and euthanasia), and elitist "insider theology"--for after that's what Gnosticism has always been. A tempter is always on firm ground if he appeals to a human's desire of being among the "enlightened few" -and the deception for us is all that more delightful when the human's snobbery to belong to the "in crowd" actually rests on their abysmal ignorance! It is always amusing to us devils that the enemies of the Catholic Church frequently accuse her of being "anti-body" and especially "anti-sex" when the demonstrable fact is the Church has always celebrated physical existence as "good" because the Enemy declared it so, and likewise the Church celebrates marital sex, when open to fertility, as being good for the same reason. It was always our-sponsored Gnosticism which attacked physical existence as evil, and procreation especially so. That tactic could lead humans to a variety of sins under the variety of mutually contradictory expressions of Gnosticism--everything from genital mutilation (re:"Marcion" or "Heaven's Gate") to sodomy, murder and treason (re: "Albigensian-Catharism").
To conclude, a tempter should aim Dogma at the most susceptible patient; one who his ignorant in his or her faith and already involved with serious sin and seeking ANY justification to keep sinning, no matter how superficial and contradictory. Using the flippant condescending "humor" of Dogma, a tempter can insulate his patients against the Enemy's most effective and subtle calls to Grace.
When I went to the theater to see DOGMA I was on vacation in Newport Road Island with my wife when a trusted friend recommended that we see this film. The party in question shall remain nameless, but after seeing this movie I questioned his sincerity and certainly his advice from that day on. We also were not able to see the very excellent GREEN MILE which was also playing, and I suppose I regret missing that film as much as catching this one.
I am also dismayed at the number of multi-star votes this film received on Amazon. It would appear that the producer, director or some vast left wing conspiracy must be members of a large "family" (or some other organization) who have a vested interest in this film. I simply can't believe the outcome of the Amazon statistics. Someone has been stuffing the ballot box!
Life can be complicated when we don't know who to believe. The movie "Dogma" states that there is not a thing known as God. If there's no God, than what is it that we have to worship? In this movie "Rufus" states that all we have are beliefs that there's a God but an idea that he exist. In a real world certain people believe that they have spoken to a God, instead they are talking to his messenger rather than the Holy one. After watching this movie, I have to say that I am still not convinced by what is being said about God being real or not.
"Dogma" starts by warning the viewers to not go out and hurt each other because God himself has sense of humor and that what we see in the movie should not be taken seriously. The story in "Dogma" is about two angels trying to get back in heaven from which they have been kicked out from. "Loki" refused to kill in the name of God because "Bartleby" convinces him to not do what God told him and they both get expelled from heaven. However, they found a way to get back in heaven so they can prove God wrong. "Bethany" is sent to stop "Loki and "Bartleby" from entering heaven.
We talk about God has if we have known him/her or spoken to him. Well, the movie says that God is not a thing, but I believe that someone is above us and in our minds throughout life. "A belief is not merely an idea the mind possesses; it is an idea that possesses the mind." There is an anonymous somewhere in the clouds guiding us or else we would never hear of Allah or Jesus. If there's no God, then Jesus or Allah wouldn't be real because someone is above to control the movement of the sun from West to East. "Faith is believing in a God that you know for a fact is not real." The thing is that many of us have lost faith in God ourselves, and everything else that exist. So we need some physical appearance of him in order to believe that God is there in spirit.
God himself knows who he is and there is nothing we humans can do to change that. God alone as the power to do what we can't think nor can we say anything on the angels that we see in our dreams. In this movie "Bartleby" narrates that humans have been given the choice of freedom to do what they want while the angels have only one choice which to live as Gods. Therefore, he decides to take out his long term partner "Loki" by cutting his wings off. After doing this, he then decides to kill him for deciding not to go through the arch. Killing "Loki" was not enough; he tried to enter the arch by force and failed to enter the arch because of God being in his presence. Life can be tough as an angel for you have to do everything or get ruined by God. When you are kicked out by God then you have no other ways of getting to your previous position. If you can't live up to your rights than you might as well stay where you were thrown at or find a way to get back at him. God has the will to control any so there's no way to get back to heaven without his notice.
The throne of a King shall not be deceived. When you are an angel, you do what's right for your King. When you are a King you do what's right by pleasing your people. "Ours was designed to be a live of servitudes, worship, and bowing and scraping, and atrocity. You are not talking about going home; you are talking about War on God. I have seen what happens to the proud when they take on the throne." If none of you can agree on a thing than a conflict might start, which will lead to your backups rise to the power. Overall, we need to leave God where he might be and everyone goes back to living their pious lives.