Tuesday, June 26, 2007

About A Boy Review

About A Boy is a daring comedy that strikes at the heart of all people. Meet Will, a selfish shallow 38 year-old man who is "an island" surround by his cool stuff. Meet Markus, a geeky socially inept and isolated 12 year-old boy. By the attempted suicide of Markus' mother Will and Markus are thrown together. Comedy most certainly ensues.
Will has attempted to preserve his life in isolation. He has all that he needs, DVDs, CDs, casual relationships with women and the like. His philosophy in life is: if people can make you happy then they most certainly can make you unhappy. So Will chooses to be an "island" with no real interaction with people. Yet, because of this Will in a sense becomes un-human. It is only through the spending of time (unwillingly at first) with Markus that Will becomes 'human' again. This first occurs during the time that they both are watching Xena and Will asks "How's your mother?" It is his first attempt in the movie to be interested in the needs of another person.
Markus on the other hand, needs more of a emotional support. He is terrified of what would happen if his mother committs suicide again. So he seeks out Will. In doing this Will teaches Markus about individualism and identity. Both of the characters grow, Markus to discovery of identity and Will to discovery of community.
As Christians we need to have both! We have an identity that is not lost: saint and sinner at the same time. At times we want to be an "island". Our sinful nature seeks out isolation, self-centeredness, and 'shallow'-ness. Yet as a saint, saved by the sacrifice of Jesus Christ, we are called to a community, not just a community but a family. As a Christian we can never be truly alone because our Jesus is always with us. "I am with you always...". Certainly there are times that we do need to be alone. But these times are when we draw upon the Word of God to refresh us and send us back out into the world. Our purpose in life is to "love your neighbor". Now that could be your family, friends, neighbors or anyone. We are to seek the needs of others. About A Boy draws upon the concept that there needs to be community in order to be human and that our purpose is to help others.
This movie is rated PG-13. It has some strong language but is quite an excellent film.

Wednesday, June 20, 2007

Superman Returns Review

Finally Big Blue returns to the silver screen. Superman Returns is a wonderful delight to watch. Producers, actors, and directors finally have discovered how to make superhero movies. Superman Returns captures the essence of the first two Superman movies (Superman I and Superman II with Christopher Reeve as Superman). Superman has been the most iconic and long lasting superhero. As such there is a certain type of mythos attached to the Superman. Superman is a larger than life character, god-like if you wish. Superman Returns captures the Superman mythos. With in this film, there is no better Christ-like figure than Superman.
The Superman Christ-like figure is proliferated throughout the film. Even Singer resigns in claiming that there is a spiritual sense to the movie. First, Superman is an Alien who lives in the world but is not of the world. Superman is also sent to earth by his father, Jor-El. As is explained by Jor-El, played by Marlon Brando, Kal-El aka Superman is sent to earth to bring them to the 'light'. He even states "I send them, you my only son...". Those references bring to mind quite clearly Jesus Christ. John 1:4-5 "In him was life, and the life was the light of men. The light shines in the darkness, and the darkness has not overcome it." And John 3:16-17 "For God so loved the world, that he gave his only Son, that whoever believes in him should not perish but have eternal life. For God did not send his Son in to the world to condemn the world, but in order that the world might be saved through him." Superman is raised by simple farmers similar to Jesus being raised by a carpenter.
Superman is also referred to as a savior by Lois ("The world doesn't need a Savior"). And yet Superman points out to her that he hears all of the 'worlds' cries for a Savior. Almost as if the prayers of the people reach Superman when he is floating above the earth. Probably the most clear picture of Superman as a Christ-like figure is the last quarter of the film. Upon realizing what Lex Luthor was doing, creating a perverted version of Krypton-like land in the ocean, Superman sweeps to action. But Lex had the land interlaced with Krptonite. Weak, Superman is beaten and stabbed with a Krptonite 'knife'. The whole scene is quite similar to Christ's Passion...being beaten and pierced. To stop the Land growth Superman lifts the perverted land and casts it out into space. As on the cross Jesus Christ takes the whole worlds sin, so does Superman in throwing the land away. Especially when he 'dies' and is floating in a cruciform shape before descending to earth.
The whole movie plays upon the Christ-like figure of saviors. Superman is most certainly a Savior. The movie is well done, even though it is long. I highly recommend it.