Movies

A Movie Review of Pete’s Dragon (2016)

Pete’s Dragon by James Whitaker (Producer) and David Lowry (Director)

Type: Fantasy

Basic Plot: Pete, an orphan, has been cared for by a dragon for six years. One day a little girl notices him, changing Pete’s and his dragon’s life forever.

Quality

Plot: 3/5 Average: I felt like this was a mixture of Tarzan and Calvin and Hobbes. The story was a bit predictable, even though it wasn’t cliché. It moved at a good pace, though most of the movie was made up of slow, sentimental moments. If there had been fewer emotional moments, you probably would have been able to feel with the characters more.

Acting: 4/5 Well Done: The acting was believable. The actors were able to make you feel with the moment with their realistically calm and gentle tones and motions, but the continual sentimental-ness of the movie kind of made you take it all for granted.

Scenery and Music: 3½/5 Above Average: The scenes and costumes weren’t terrible or outstanding. They didn’t look fake or cheap in any way and at the same time weren’t overdone to the point of unrealism. The dragon was made with realistic fur. It looked like a part of nature almost. The only unreal thing was probably the eyes, as the eyes were expressive in a human like manner. Music was about average. It wasn’t played often or extremely memorable, but it also wasn’t played poorly or obnoxiously.

Moral: 2/5 No Clear Moral: After I finished watching this movie, I wondered what the purpose of it was. There wasn’t really any message in it. There were light traces of Your Parents Are Dumb and Your Neighbor’s Evil, as most of the adults never knew what to do when they had a problem, unlike the children.

Overall: 3/5 Average: In quality, when considering the story, it wasn’t terrible; it just didn’t seem to have a point. It felt a bit like a waste of time because of this. As for acting and details concerning the dragon animation, both were well done. In quality I think children five to twelve would like it best.

Moral Content

Official Rating: PG

Sexual and Inappropriate Content: 1/5 Immodesty and Slight Suggestiveness: A man and woman are living together and have a child before they are married. Pete’s thighs, back, and chest can be seen throughout the movie.

Violence: 1/5 Light Violence: A boy’s parents die in a car crash that is heard. The baggage flying through the air as it falls can be seen as well as the crushed car. A man tells a story about a dragon fight. Some men go in the forest to hunt a dragon. Some men shoot a dragon with darts and tie it with rope. A dragon knocks people over with its tail. A dragon breathes fire on a bridge and later falls through it with some people. A man slams his face against a window on accident. A girl falls from a tree and gets a scrape. It is not shown. A boy falls from a tree and gets knocked out from a head crash. A woman pushes a waitress. A dragon pushes over a construction vehicle. People reassure a little boy that they won’t hurt him.

Swearing and Using the Lord’s Name in Vain: 0/5 None

Emotional, Intense, and Disturbing Content: 2/5 Some Lightly Scary Content: There are a few crying sounds after a boy’s parents die. A dragon roars a bit scarily a few times. People and animals are afraid of the dragon. A boy asks if the dragon will eat him. Wolves howl and chase a boy through a dark forest. A bear roars at a boy, loudly but really scarily. A woman talks about her mom when she died, and characters talk about the death of Pete’s parents. Guns are aimed at a dragon. A dragon and a boy pass out at separate times.

Religious Issues: 0/5 None

Magic: 2/5 Fairy Tale Magic: The movie revolves around a boy who was raised by a dragon and whether it’s real or not. Dragons are shown in drawings and woodwork and a song is sung about them. A man talks about a magic feeling and deciding to trust it.

Others: A boy has shoulder length hair. The credit song is has an electric/classical style.

Overall: Personally, I’m a fan of dragons the way I’m a fan of witches, there is no such thing as a good dragon. I also didn’t like that two unmarried people were living together with their ten to eleven year old daughter and the fact that Pete’s was so underdressed. I don’t strongly recommend it for those reasons, but if someone had no problem watching it, I would recommend seven to eight and older as the dragon’s roaring may scare younger children.

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Books

A Book Review of Cleopatra VII Daughter of the Nile

WARNING: Reading this article may give away things in the story ranging from unimportant to plot turners.

Cleopatra VII Daughter of the Nile by Kristiana Gregory

Type: Children’s Series, Diary, Historical Fiction

Basic Plot: Cleopatra’s family members are all fools or cruel schemers. Desiring to live long enough to be queen, Cleopatra uses her wisdom to retain her father’s honor while in Rome.

Quality

Plot: 3/5 Average: The plot was not extraordinary, but interesting enough to read. It covers a long period of time, but does not say as much that happened during that time as it could have.

Writing Style and Setup: 3/5 Below Average: The writing style was natural, but the setup was sometimes awkward. The writing style was descriptive and realistic, but did use a lot of simple sentences. Usually she did use sentences though, which was better than authors that tend to use fragments on a regular basis. The awkwardness came in when she tried to set up the timeline. She didn’t always clarify when the entry was being written, and sometimes she dragged a story into two entries that may have fit well in only one. This may make a reader confused if the story was being told on two different days or if it was being told in the same day in different entries.

Moral: 4/5 A Very Good Moral: The moral shown throughout the book was the virtue of personal wisdom. Cleopatra’s father and sister are fools, and her other sister is evil. Her father is also living in Rome, a city that hopes to conquer her country and is filled with rude people. Even if everything and everyone else is foolish and crude, Cleopatra decides personally that she would rather be a dignified queen than to sink to the level of others. This is a very good moral, and the only improvement could have been to show it even more throughout the book.

Overall: 3/5 Average: The quality is average, though the moral is definitely very good. I believe that children would enjoy this book at the age of eight to fourteen.

Moral Content

Sexual and Inappropriate Content: 2/5 Suggestive Content and Immodest Pictures: Women bathe in the presence of male guards and female servants (though whether it is a bath in the way we associate with or not, I do not know) and use public bath houses. Characters sometimes “leer” at women. Characters are said to sing and say crude and vulgar things, but it is never specified what these things are. Characters hug and are mentioned to have hugged. Cleopatra accidentally cuts off the robes lower robes of a man, as she is startles when he picks her up. It is suggested that he may have been partially naked for a time, though he is covered again later with a cloak. Cleopatra kisses a man once. She talks about accidental touches, such as if their arms brush. It is mentioned that in a story, a woman keeps a man as her “love slave.” It mentions that Cleopatra was lovers with at least two men that were possibly not her husband. It is mentioned that men are naked when crucified. Several pictures showed in the historical notes show details of women’s breast, some possibly showing it naked.

Violence: 3/5 A Lot of Brief Mentions of Violence: Assassinations attempts and threats are throughout the books. Several characters are killed in various ways that include poison, strangling, weapons, and execution. A slave is eaten on stage by a lion, though Cleopatra refuses to watch it. It is mentioned that animals are killed by humans or other animals. Cleopatra is pinched by anonymous people while she is in the streets. Cleopatra writes that for its violence that Rome can burn for all she cares. She thinks that crocodiles will bite the fingers of children off. It is mentioned that slaves are whipped at and beaten. It is mentioned that a girl cut a man’s ears off. There is mention of Nero burning Rome as well as persecuting the Christians with death by lions.

Swearing and Using the Lord’s Name in Vain: ½/5 Suggestive: Several times it is mentioned that characters use vulgar and improper language, though it never says what is said.

Emotional, Intense, and Disturbing Content: 3/5 Disturbing Content: A man is mentioned to be “called the Bearded Executioner.” There is worry over the common people killing from anger, as well thoughts and attempts at gathering soldiers to fight them. Eventually soldiers are brought to fight people in Egypt. A woman threatens to kill and animal, and Cleopatra wonders about its survival. Several disturbing death threats are sent to Cleopatra, including a skull and a picture of Cleopatra headless. Several people want kill to others, and sing about killing people. Other characters wish to see displays of violence or to hurt others. Characters worry and wonder that either they or someone they know will be or has been killed, as well as wish to stop killing. Characters are threatened with execution. Characters are mentioned to have gotten hurt. Characters grab weapons, and a woman holds a knife at a girl’s throat. Cleopatra points a sword at a man once. Crucifixion is described in detail and mentioned throughout the book. A man’s house is mentioned being on fire. Some of the deaths of people are morbid and slightly detailed. Characters drown or are mentioned to have drowned. Cleopatra sees a woman’s severed head and the bodies of people on crosses. It is mentioned that a character died from a fever. People are mentioned to have committed suicide in different ways. It is mentioned that a man’s tongue was cut off as a punishment. A woman is strangled to death, though Cleopatra does not witness it. A man is “run over” by a chariot. A woman has her husband killed. A girl almost drowns. Cleopatra leaves a play at the crowd encouraging a crucifixion of a man. Blood is mentioned at least twice.

Religious Issues: 2/5 Suggestiveness and Mythology: Cleopatra prays to Isis, the main goddess of the Egyptians, and several other false gods are mentioned, as well as that hippos are thought to be goddesses. Pagan temples, figureheads, the sphinx, and the use of incense are mentioned. God is once referred to with a little ‘g.’ Boats are named after false gods and a false goddess. Hercules, a nymph, and The Odyssey are mentioned. The religious reasons for pyramids are mentioned. A verse from the Bible is used that is not the King James Version. Some people wonder if Alexander the Great is the Messiah, though it is not said that he is, and one person says that he isn’t. A boy wants “to become a rabbi.” A man is against helping Egypt because he believes it goes against their prophesies.

Magic: 1/5 Suggestiveness and Mythology: A mirror is referred to as a “magic mirror.” There is mention of people worrying over various superstitions. Mythology is mentioned throughout the book. No magic is done in the book.

Others: There is mention of wine and dancing throughout the book. Characters often get drunk in the book, and sometimes their drunken state is described in detail. A man is known to greatly worship a false god of wine. Other characters are merely mentioned to be drunkards. Cleopatra wishes to make a law against “drunkenness,” but she changes her mind when she realizes her father won’t regard it. A girl prays that her father is drunk so that he does not punish his slaves. Characters are mentioned to play with dice, hinting that they may have been gambling. Cleopatra is mentioned to have married her brother.

Overall: I don’t really recommend this book as much as I would other Dear America books. The references to mythology in the first person, immodest pictures, and disturbing content cause me to not recommend it.

 

Books

A Movie Review of Horton Hears a Who

WARNING: Reading this article may give away things in the story ranging from unimportant to plot turners.

Dr. Seusse’s Horton Hears a Who by Bob Gordon and Bruce Anderson (Producers) and Cinco Paul and Ken Daurio (Directors)

Type: Cartoon

Basic Plot: Horton has found a tiny speck that has a city on it, though all of his friends believe he is a liar. Likewise, the mayor of the town has found out about Horton and is facing similar problems.

Quality

Plot: 3/5 Average: Though the plot was cheesy and goofy in some ways, it was not cliché. There was no teen or child rebel (which I am very thankful for). There is no self discovery journey. There are no “I misunderstood you” speeches. It was a relief. The story was not overly unique but it was more creative than the average movie for children these days. Some of the humor was probably the most creative part of the story, though there was slapstick humor for children.

Graphics: 3/5 Average: The graphics were not out-of-this-world, amazing, but they were not unpleasant to watch. Details were lacking in comparison to newer movies but not bad quality. Hair, fur, and feathers were the best detailed features.

Moral: 3½/5 A Good Moral: The moral of this movie could easily be applied to the Christian life in several ways yet also not apply in a few others. Horton’s belief in something that you “can’t see or hear or feel” is mocked by his friend and hated by his enemies. Several characters tell him that it’s fine if he wants to have a speck city as long as he doesn’t ever tell anyone or say anything about it. He is also told that he will be well treated if he denies Who-ville’s existence. Similar things are told to the mayor of Who-ville. Throughout a majority of the movie, Horton refuses to deny the existence of Whoville, even when threatened to be locked away. This could easily be applied to Christianity, as many people believe that Christians should be able to believe what they want, they just need to not “impose” their faith on others. We should be like Horton who says, “I meant what I said, I said what I meant, I mean what I said, one hundred percent!” One should be careful before telling their children this is the main moral of the movie though. Some children may think that if they stay a Christian, eventually everyone will agree with and believe him, as everyone does with Horton at the end of the movie. This is not true, as the Bible does say, John 15:20 “Remember the word that I said unto you, The servant is not greater than his lord. If they have persecuted me, they will also persecute you; if they have kept my saying, they will keep yours also.” Another misconception a child may develop is that God is just as silly as the idea of Who-ville or a giant, invisible elephant, and they may grow up believing God is as much as a fairytale as the Cat in the Hat. In conclusion, good things could come from the moral of this movie, and overall I recommend it, but be careful in explaining the moral to children so that they do not form any false ideas.

Overall: 3/5 Average: I recommend this movie in quality to families and children, specifically twelve and younger.

Moral Content

Official Rating: G

Sexual and Inappropriate Content: ½/5 Slightly Inappropriate Content: An elephant is hit on the bottom with a branch and has a large sore there. Characters shake their butt to the music at least once. A man is shown in a bathtub.

Violence: 1/5 Light Cartoon Violence: A man makes shooting motions with his hands. A monkey bites another monkey’s tail. Monkeys attack an elephant with bananas, though no one gets hurt. Characters punch the air. A vulture attacks an elephant with its claws. A man grabs another man by the neck and shakes him. A man and a mouse are run over. A kangaroo pokes an elephant in the face. A man is worried about being crushed by a chandelier. A man gets stapled in the head twice and partially crushed against his porch with furniture. A person accidentally slaps some people, and a person kicks somebody. A man is booted out of a room. An elephant is poked with sticks. An elephant imagines he can do lightning attacks and karate, and attacks monkeys and a tree. Violence is mentioned briefly in conversation.

Swearing and Using the Lord’s Name in Vain: 0/5 None

Emotional, Intense, and Disturbing Content: 1/5 Light Possibly Disturbing Content: A man gets watered sprayed in his eye and a shot in his armed, both on accident. Characters wish to destroy a city that they believe does not exist and attempt to do so by boiling it. A vulture describes the supposed violence he had against an elephant. An elephant refers to the jungles as a “house of death.” Characters scream, and tears are in a character’s eyes once. A goldfish is presumed dead, but it was only unconscious. Animals take an elephant and tie him and put him in a cage.

Religious Issues: ½/5 Slight Mention: A girl says she has an imaginary world where everyone worships a queen that is coincidentally named after her. A vulture attacks a character and can be considered scary by some.

Magic: ½/5 Brief Mention: An elephant imagines he and a mouse can use lightning karate powers and travel with lightning.

Others: A man wears a punk/rock outfit. The characters sing a little bit of a rock song at the end of the movie. Some hiphop music is played once. A picture shows a painting of a guy in a ballet dress. A guy once refers to a girl as “bro.”

Overall: 1/5 All Ages Appropriate: I would say that almost anyone of any age could watch this, as most if not all of the violence is done in a slapstick manner, and most things that would disturb younger people would be seen humorously by children and adults. Babies and toddlers may find the vulture scary, but other than that, it is recommendable.

Books

Book Review of The Good Earth

WARNING: Reading this article may give away things in the story ranging from unimportant to plot turners.

The Good Earth by Pearl S. Buck

Type: China, Classic

Basic Plot: Wang Lung and O-lan start as poor Chinese farmer, but go through of life of good and bad that leads them where they never thought they would go.

Quality

Plot: 4/5 Amazing: The some of best plots show the life of a person that has the soul as real as our own but a world that is foreign. The Good Earth definitely has this. The characters personalities and hearts are deeply shown in their actions and words, and they are relatable and realistic. One could almost see these people being people in real life. Even if we don’t know someone like the characters in real life, the characters strongly follow human nature.

Writing Style and Setup: 5/5 Excellent: The Good Earth easily grabs your attention and can hold it for long periods of time. The style is simple, but the descriptions are thorough and deep. Every detail was far from redundant or unnecessary, and made the story seem

The setup was also good, going in a chronological order of Wang Lung’s life, starting at his marriage and ending near his death. Wang Lung’s perspective is shown from a third person point of view, yet with as much of his personality as if it were first person. Transitions through time were done well, also, as a person may feel themselves age and change as the characters do.

Moral: 2½/5 A Partially Good Moral: The story is more chronological than moral, but I believe it still has a moral throughout The moral seems to be that devotion and hard work will eventually pay off, as well as shows human nature. Though Pearl S. Buck was not against Communism in China and some anti-capitalistic things may be seen in certain parts of the book, the book shows that capitalism and hard work will lead you to prosperity. Even if the book was meant to discredit capitalism in some ways, it shows more that proves capitalism is good rather than bad. Wang Lung starts out dirt poor, but dies extremely rich because of his hard work. Another thing shown in the novel is human nature, as the characters and their personalities and actions are completely human and realistic.

Overall: 4½/5 Amazing: This is probably one of the best books I have ever read, and I highly recommend it in quality. Though I believe any age could enjoy it, I believe the older you are, the more you will appreciate it, as the more you will have experienced the life Wang Lung is experiencing.

Moral Content

Sexual and Inappropriate Content: 3/5 Suggestive Content: A man takes a bath with the intent of looking nice for his wife on his wedding night, and it mentions him grabbing her after she goes to bed. A father tells his son that pretty slaves are often not virgins at marriage. A man will not let his wife be seen by others until he has “consummated” his marriage. Women breastfeed, and some detail, such as the amount of milk or that is flows on the ground, is mentioned. Concubines are mentioned throughout the book, and a man eventually buys a girl from a house that basically becomes his concubine. It also details over several chapters his obsession with this woman that includes her denying him her room when she is upset at him and the way he feels when she touches his arm. Though the book never describes sex, whether in detail or not, it does mention how certain characters feel before and after the experience. The level of detail is limited to how the body feels, the type amount of lust, or how fulfilled one is afterward, body parts and bodily functions really not being mentioned (and if they are, they would be very undertone, as it is mentioned a man is unsatisfied for not having his complete fill of a woman, whatever that may mean). A man visit’s his father’s concubine, though she denies that they did anything physical together. A man accuses his concubine of being “a whore and a-whoring” because of this. A man calls his son’s concubine a “harlot.” A father finds out his son is visiting a prostitute and goes out of his way to keep him from seeing her again. She is referred to in the book as a “whore.” An elderly man sleeps with a young girl, though it is never said whether he actually does anything inappropriate with him or not. It is mentioned that an old man starts to feel lustful for girls that are little more than children. A woman mentions that the female slaves in her old home were used sexually by all of the men in the house while the girls were still children. Because of a girl’s fear of young men, a man wonders what may have been told to or happened to her. A man thinks about how his wife’s breasts are unattractive. Toddlers are outside playing, naked. A woman hides jewels in a bag in her bosom, and her husband finds and takes them from there. A man is worried his cousin will not remain a virgin because she hangs around men and lets them touch her arm, and her father says he worries about her bearing a child before marriage. A man touches and possibly grabs the breast of his female cousin but is stopped by his uncle from doing anything further. She is sent away to protect her virginity. A man spies on the women of the house, though this is probably not considered immodest today. He also lust after them and is finally allowed to make a slave girl pregnant. One girl begs to not be given to him, though she is nearly made to. It is mentioned that concubines were raped by thieves. It mentions that a man sleeps less with his concubine because he is old. A woman makes a suggestive comment about her body. A man says his son loves his wife like “a harlot” because his son worries about his cousin watching her. A woman wishes to marry someone because she had once slept with a man she was not married to. A man is so loosely dressed that some people believe the wind could blow his clothes away and that “he might suddenly stand naked.” A man works at night while he is naked. Some idols are mentioned to be naked. A man believes that another man he finds was sleeping with a woman while unclothed. An ox is mentioned to have been “well castrated.” It is mentioned that the picture of Jesus on the cross shows him barely covered. “Lewdness” is used sometimes to describe the way one woman speaks. There is mention of characters having lust

Violence: 2/5 Usually Non-Descriptive Violence: Descriptions that include violence such as “like a dog that has been kicked” are used. There is mention of characters wishing to hurt other characters. A man “pounds” on a mans back in a semi-playful manner. A woman says that she was beaten daily when she was a slave and talks in her sleep about it. It is mentioned that other slaves had been beaten. It is greatly suggested that a mother murdered her newborn child by crushing its neck. Adults discipline their children with slaps and cuffs, and a man slaps his grown nephew. A man beats his nephew to protect his daughter. It is mentioned that a woman hit a man with her fan. A boy is mentioned to have been punched in the eye. A man beats his son and concubine with a reed. He also beats his son at a different time and ends up missing him and hitting the boy’s mother instead. A boy slaps his younger siblings when he is irritated. A man beats his servant. A man is mentioned to have been beaten up by robbers. A man threatens to hurt his head if he doesn’t get what he wants. A man lifts his arm against his uncle, but does not harm him. A man throws a rock at a dog. Animals are mentioned to be whipped. A man is mentioned to be stabbed through. A man shakes his wife, and it is described as “violence.” Characters make promises on violence, such as “I will do this or cut my throat.”

Swearing and Using the Lord’s Name in Vain: 2½/5 Mostly Appropriate Usage of Certain Words: The term for a female dog is used three times, twice appropriately and once in a way that probably wasn’t its proper form. Forms of “ass” are properly used four times.

Emotional, Intense, and Disturbing Content: Emotional and Lightly Disturbing Content: Many emotional and slightly intense things are throughout the book. Starvation is descriptively gone over for many chapters. Parents wonder if they should sell their children into slavery, and some parents do or are mentioned to have done so in the past. Some characters buy slaves, and a man buys a woman to be his concubine. Characters sometimes wish to kill other characters, though rarely are attempts made. One boy does think of a way to drown his relatives, though it is never acted upon. Characters die or are mentioned to be dead or dying, sometimes with barely a mention and sometimes explicitly and emotionally. The most descriptive death is of a man’s wife, who is not truly loved by her husband the whole time she dies. Death is sometimes also used in “what if” circumstances, such as “if someone had died.” Usually people die of old age, though sometimes it is murder or suicide, and there is brief mention of suicide when it is not performed by the characters. A man believes his retarded daughter would have been killed if she was sold as a slave, and he wishes that she be poisoned after he has died. A woman says she would rather have her child killed than sold into slavery. War is mentioned, and soldiers kidnap people and force them to be their slaves. A man worries about dying this way. Characters mention both going to war and wanting to go to war. Some soldiers invade a village and threaten the people with knives. A tract shows Jesus dying on the cross. A propaganda article shows a man stabbing another man. A man is mentioned to be physically abusive, and a different man says he is a good husband because he is not a wife beater. A man threatens to kill another man, even though he has no intention of killing him. An ox is killed for food, and a man is sad about it. Other animals are mentioned to be dead or killed for food. Cannibalism is mentioned to have happened and possibly be happening during times of famine. It is suggested that a dog ate a dead baby. A man pretends that he wishes his child was dead. There is mention of men being dead and insane from the torture of robbers. Characters buy coffins for old and dying relatives and show the coffins to them. Characters cry and scream. Blood is mentioned throughout the book, sometimes at birth, from an injury or corporal punishment, or when coughing. Characters have bruises, blisters, calluses, and scars. A boy has his “eye swollen” from violence. A man tells his son that if he leaves his room without permission he will kill him. A man was fed meat that he slightly suspects may have been human. A man’s daughter is accidentally left outside all night. Characters wish to burn down a rich man’s house. It is mentioned that a starving child looks dead. A man will not leave his daughter with his sons because he worries she will be abused. Characters are mentioned to be in pain from child birth. Sicknesses are briefly mentioned.

Religious Issues: 2½/5 Suggestive: Pagan temples, incense, spirits, worship of ancestors, religious books, and false gods and goddesses are mentioned as well as believed in, though some characters show less fear and belief than in them than others. Things are thought to be good and evil omens. A man tries to fool what he believes are listening spirits. Characters believe in earning merit to go to heaven. Meditating, no doubt in a pagan context, is mentioned. A track of Jesus is found and, not being understood, is used as the lining of a shoe sole. Buddha is used for decorative purposes. Priest and abbots of Buddhism are mentioned. Buddhist and Taoist funeral rituals are observed with some detail, such as what the priest wear. Characters buy and make clothes for idols. It is mentioned that characters do things believing it will give them good luck. “Idol” is used for descriptive purposes.

Magic: ½/5 Brief Mention: “Magic” is used for descriptive reasons. A walking stick has a dragon on it for decoration. A train is described and thought of as a dragon. There is brief mention of a man that is supposedly a geomancer. No magic is done in the book.

Others: Gambling, tobacco, wine, tobacco pipes, and water pipes are mentioned, and characters sometimes try to coerce other characters to partake in some of the mentioned activities. Men have long hair throughout the book. Characters smoke opium, sometimes getting addicted to the point of body deformation and death. A boy comes home drunk once. “Drunk” and “wine” are used for descriptive purposes.

Overall: 3/5 Teenager Appropriate: I would recommend that a person be at least sixteen, if not older before reading it because of the suggestive and emotional content.

This review does not include commentary, forwards, or afterwords any version may have. It does not include the review, the prologue, or epilogue that a special version may have.