Monday, July 27, 2009

Spark Some Discussion

My family and I had a very interesting movie experience this weekend. We saw a commercial for a science fiction, doomsday film and on a whim decided to rent it.

No, I’m not going to recommend it or even tell you the title. I know I have younger readers and this was frankly one of the scariest movies I’ve ever seen. Honestly, I had trouble falling asleep because I kept envisioning waking up to find a tall, thin, blonde man standing over my bed with his abnormally long, boney fingers reaching out for me (okay, so I’m impressionable).

Then why bring it up? The movie had an interesting effect on my family. As soon as the credits began to roll everyone in the room burst into discussion about all the ideas presented and questions left. It was not a Christian movie, but the themes were oddly strong.

The ones saved from the fires were those who “heard the call” and “followed the path.” The elements sparked a lot of questions…Those creatures were certainly aliens…but allegorically could they also be angels, coming to earth to take the chosen before the finally destruction? Is that supposed to be the tree of life? The new heaven and earth? Adam and Eve? Noah’s ark? Personally, I found the end to be extremely strange for a big budget Hollywood film.
The main character, a scientist who declares throughout the film that life is nothing more than a purposeless accident, finishes the story by clinging to his father, a Christian pastor, and declaring he now knows death is not the end of life.

Before long we were discussing what we believed, what other’s believed, how each idea appeared to different viewers, what could have influenced the writers, and then we were on the internet looking up different reviews, movie facts, and quotes, trying to see if we could understand the writer’s perspective.

Interestingly, one of the reviewers said he did not like the movie because he walked away with more questions than answers. I’m all for stories that have nice, neat endings, but is there not also value in a film that encourages people to talk about deep issues and search out more answers?

6 comments:

pegleg3941 said...

Film was designed to show things and a lot of horror screenwriters are breaking that intentionally to unsettle you. It is precisely the effect that people go to see horror films to find. Well, that or all the Christian-bashing.

Emily Ann Benedict said...

Um…you’ve lost me a bit….
But either way, I think horror writers are going for the “ick” factor and are not usually hailed for great storylines. I can’t think of one that asks serious questions or evokes discussion. Not that I watch horror films, but one can’t seem to make it through this day and age without knowing about them.

Elisa said...

I know exactly which movie you're talking about, interestingly enough we just watched it this past Thursday, too.

Agreed, there were some terrifying scenes, and certainly a lot of fodder for discussion as you've experienced it within your family.

Personally, I tend towards an angel's theory, particularly since these alien creatures seemed to have wings towards the end, and their capsules when releasing the 'chosen ones' to the field appeared to have angel wing shapes while leaving. Or maybe it's just that I was looking for some hope in that rather devastating scenario.

With regards to horror movies in general, I believe the worst out there are the slasher movies, what's even worse is that they draw enormous numbers to the box office or rentals - what does that say about society overall...
I like a good spooky story, movie or book, but rather on a different level, psychologically surprising, a well thought through thriller.

Elisa said...

oh...and as far as your poll for books goes (WHO actually clicked on 'what is a book' - LOL!):
I definitely prefer a traditional book over any other media. Love browsing the web for articles, information, quick research etc. But nothing beats the real thing. That might however be a generational reading experience or preference, teens and folks in their early 20s grow up so differently, would be interesting to hear how that group feels.

Jeannie Campbell, LMFT said...

interesting post. i think there is definitely value in films that spark discussion, esp on a Christian wavelength. some examples in my life have been the DaVinci Code and Brokeback Mountain. i don't agree with them, but it's definitely a starting place with others.

pegleg3941 said...

Some horror films do have a decent plot and questions in them. I believe Stephen King is known for his stories (I've only seen a couple).