Wednesday, June 29, 2005

What I'm Watching

A few recommended movies, new and old. First is the 2003 release Luther, starring Joseph Fiennes and Sir Peter Ustinov. Just got this on DVD, though I saw it a couple of times in the theatre. It is excellent, but extraordinarily fast-paced. Those who know the story will be amazed at how much ground it covers, especially in the first half hour. But the script, acting, and cinematography are top-notch, and you will seldom find a major Hollywood film with this clear a presentation of the Gospel, and they did it without ever mentioning the Rapture or the Antichrist!

Second is The Forgotten. This came out last year, I believe, and I saw it recently on DVD. This is a fairly creative suspense/thriller with some unexpected punches, not the least of which is a surprisingly vivid pro-life message. It also highlights a key Biblical theme, which is that of remembering (Deuteronomy 32:7; I Chronicles 16:12; Psalm 78; Psalm 88:12). In a key moment, one character says, "there are worse things than forgetting." The main character responds, "No, there aren't." A wild ride, and thoroughly worth the time.

Third, The Incredibles. Saw it on DVD for the first time recently. Very unusual, for a super-hero movie. Not many in this crowded genre will go out of their way to praise the virtues of family life, or skewer American egalitarianism, or what one character describes as "new ways to reward mediocrity." Another time, one character says that "everyone is special," to which an insightful child replies, "which is another way of saying that no one is." As I say, rare stuff. In one deleted scene, which is included in the special features, a mother blasts a smart-mouthed "professional woman" for suggesting that being a mom and homemaker is throwing away life. But it's not just the Christian and moral themes: the animation is stunning, the writing is stellar, and the characters are staggering (so much for the alliteration). A thoroughly enjoyable piece of work, and the bad guy (Warning: spoiler ahead!) eats it in the end, blasted to smithereens in a most satisfying conclusion. I'm with C.S. Lewis on this: let the witches, giants, dragons, super-villains, etc., be soundly killed at the end. How else can we teach our children about the utter folly and certain death of Evil?

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