Rev. Steve Sanchez

Rev. Steve Sanchez
Swedenborgian Minister

Tuesday, December 16, 2014

More Examples of Specific Spiritual/Biblical Themes in Movies


Here are more examples of Biblical themes.  Please ad your thoughts and examples in the comment section.
Theme: The Apocalypse. In many movies – ‘A Boy and His Dog’, ‘Blade Runner’, ‘Silent Green’, ‘The Day the Earth stood Still’, ‘Terminator’, ‘Waterworld’ and countless super hero, science fiction, and horror movies, the Apocalypse is depicted in various ways. In ‘Man of Steel’ there is an apocalyptic vision of the end of the world. When superman is taken into Zod’s ship Zod gets into his head and tells him of his vision to destroy all the people of earth. Superman is shown sinking into a sea of skulls and screaming out as Zod reveals his hellish vision for earth. Superman is horrified at this genocide. This corresponds to the greatest vulnerability Jesus had while on earth; that is, his infinite love for all humanity, and correspondingly his pain at the possibility of their destruction. During His ministry Evil forces could effect Jesus by destroying, capturing and causing pain and suffering to humanity. This vulnerability can be seen (among other places) When Jesus enters Jerusalem the last time - he weeps, because he so loves humanity, and his great plans for Jerusalem have been lost. The evil forces are like terrorists on earth who kill and capture innocent people to horrify and control their enimies. At the end of the movie when superman has Zod by the neck Zod retaliates by using his lazer eyes to almost kill innocent people standing nearby, and Superman screams out in moral agony for him not to do it, and finally kills Zod.
Theme: Hades and Sheol. In the Matrix there are parrelels between the trainman and the god of the underworld, Hades, who ruthlessly ruled the dark realm named after himself. In mythology Hades was a lesser god who received the short end of the stick when realms were divied up to rule, but he was given total power over his realm. The train man also has total control of his dreary realm, called ‘mobile avenue’, and is said to be between worlds from which no-one can escape. Like Hades the trainmans realm of power is a place of bleak nothingness, in a kind of limbo, separate from life and God; and no one can come in or out, except by Hades will. The trainman says to Neo, “Down here, I make the rules. Down here I make the threats. Down here... I'm God”.
Theme: Humanity Rejects or Kills the ‘One’ or the Savior. In the movie ‘Starman’, in which Jeff Bridges is an alien that is a Christ figure, most of the people are afriad of him and what he can do, and the government tries to kill or capture him; but there are a few who see him and help him. Batman and Spiderman are also treated as the enemy of the police or military; as the mainstream authroites try to kill them. This happens in a lot of movies and is a very sigificant theme; They can be intrepreted as an allegory of humanities, in the Old Testament the Isrealites, rejection of the Lord. Movies often depict the trauma, loss, and tragedy associated with this rejection. Again in Superman this theme is huge; a big part of the story is that superman cannot reveal his identity untill his time comes. His father convinces him that he must painstakingly keep from revealing his identity for otherwise people would reject him, or even kill him. When he is a kid he is assualted by bullies in the presence of his father, but he does not fight back; he turns the other cheek. Indeed, his father sacrifices his own life for this principle; - when a tornado is about to destroy him, he signals to Kent to not come save him, for otherwise he would reveal his true self. This theme also demonstrates another important principle, that is, that Jesus profoundly disciplined himself to not reveal himself untill his time came. He did not use his powers to fight his enemies, but allowed all to act in freedom, both enemies and those who loved him.
These themes are also in the The Green Mile; the central character is kind, gentle, and has miraculous powers of healing - a Christ figure. He performs healing on several people, he suffers greatly from understanding love, and he sees with great pain humanities cruelty to each other. He is thought to be the enemy of society and is imprisoned and killed by the authorites.
Theme: Jesus reveals himself and teaches to good, common people. In the Bible the disciples were salt of the earth fisherman not educated men. He chooses simple good men who can be taught. It is an essential part of the Superman story that his parents are simple, honest, American farmers. Spiderman’s back story is similar in this way also. In the Hobbitt this is a very big theme. It is part of the whole meaning of the Hobbits and their shire that they are kind, innocent farmers, but in their hearts hold great courage. Gandolf gives a speech expressing how it is true to the workings of life that the defeat of evil in the darkest of times would come through simple, common, salt of the earth folks – humble hobbits.
Theme: Ressurection and Healing. This is a clear Christ allegory in several movies, such as ‘Starman’, ‘Matrix’, ‘The Lion the Witch and the Wardrobe’, and several other movies. Similarly in movies and stories there is a figure who is able to heal, such as Gandolf in the ‘Lord of the Rings’. Neo resserects Trinity; Lucy heals with her magic ointment in Narnia; in ‘The Green Mile’ the Christ figure heals the wardens wife of terminal cancer.
Theme: Overcoming primal truama. This is a large subject to include, but worth identifying because of the trauma of dealing with the darkness I dscussed above.  The trauma of dealing with cruelty and unjustice, the emotional struggle of change and growth, the pain of emerging into our true identity, and the yearning to recognize and be in alingment with the goodness of the Lord – are expressed in the intense situations movies portray that ‘show what someone is made of’ in a crisis. There are inumerable movies of this kind; some examples not mentioned are ‘Platoon’, ‘Snitch’, ‘Shawshank Redemption’, and ‘Awakenings’. Also soundtracks in movies have become very effective at evoking these feelings. Many movies have intense gutteral sound-effects, and powerful, redemptive music, (matching incredible heroics on screen) that increase the feeling of truama, greif, healing and love. A great example of this is ‘Schindle’s List’, which contains such beautiful moving music set against the most intense injustice and suffering. In the end Schindler is overcome with such redemptive love he is infeebled like a baby with tears. In Captain Phillips at the end the truama he suffered is depicted very effectively along with caring treatment. In superhero movies The powerful sounds of evil machines and characters are  juxtoposed with the glorious rizing musical strains while the superheros battle to save innocent people – the sounds contribute enormously to an emotional impact that taps into our deepest fears and yearnings. In ‘Man of Steel’ there are several times where Superman lets out an intense primal scream as he performs his feats, such as when he saves his mother, or when he destroys the world machine. He screams at the end - first as Zod threatens to kill innocent people, and then again after Zod is dead and the struggle is over. He is bowed in silence and then he lets out a primal scream that comes from the incredible effort and feelings of birthing into his true identiy and powers, - and mourning the loss of Krypton, - and the love of saving humanity on earth. These actions are reminiscnet of the passion of Christs when in the Garden He cries out to His father in His agony and effort to fulfill his mission.
 Theme: The internal of humans reaches into Heaven, and the external is in the world. In the movie ‘Pride and Prejudice’ Elizabeth is shown in meditative states reflecting on things. In one scene her inner view is depicted by showing the colors one sees as you look at the sun through closed eyes. Then her inner vision is depicted by a scene of her standing at a beautiful precipice while music washes over in increasing waves expanding the feeling of an elavated view; she is feeling and percieving the trancedance of true love. The movie examplifies ‘love truly conjugal’, which I believe, only those whose internal is open to heaven and the Lord can expereince.
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