Personally, I see a particularly compelling slate of films that, from my perspective, create a fascinating landscape for exploration and conversation. We’ve already had Chronicle, The Grey, and The Hunger Games, all providing some intriguing looks at human nature, from depraved to animalistic and, finally, sacrificial. Coming up tomorrow is Wrath of the Titans, looking at relationships between flawed gods and their equally compromised and confused men.
A Hunger Games review will hit the site this weekend, although I’ll be in costume somewhere amidst rows of graphic novels at the Emerald City Comic Con. I thought it might be good to lay down a primer on the films coming up in the spring and summer. It’s one thing to read a spiritual review with meganarrative comparisons after seeing the film, but the real question is are we all developing a hunger to walk into the theater and engaging the films in a deeper way that stimulates our growth and ability to see God’s story? We’ll look at some of my favorites coming up in the ensuing months (follow the links below for the film trailers):
Can people not only put aside their differences and work together, but recognize some of those differences as being important to a team, working together as “one body”? Can they even become a family? This has always been a theme of the Avengers comics, and director Joss Whedon (Serenity) is renowned for story-preaching the idea of “made” families bound tighter than blood relations through shared experience, direction and mission. A superhero team like this has all the makings of a metaphor for the church, according to Romans 12.
From the devil to the first man and woman, vanity has always been the inspiration of all kinds of depravities, and so in our 21st culture of facelifts and prolonged adolescence Charlize Theron’s evil queen represents all of us in some respects. Perhaps that’s why she boasts the lion’s share of the trailer? I think the best thing about the preview is that Kristen Stewart is practically mute. We could only hope the movie uses that same device. A lot.
Not since Tron: Legacy have I been stoked for a movie revisiting an old, created sci-fi universe. Although not a prequel in the strictest sense, I’ve always cared less about the phallic-headed alien and held more fascination for that giant pilot in the seat, and that mysterious ship carrying the face-huggers in the 1979 film by Ridley Scott. A movie that not only seems to address this question but takes it back to our very origins of mankind– perhaps an intelligent design?– should make for great a conversation stoker about where our race came from, and where it’s heading.
Secret and/or alternate histories are always intriguing, and the notion of a war going on beneath the surface that some of us don’t see is fantastic for parallels. Is the story of the world we’ve been told a true and comprehensive account, or is there more if we’re willing to scratch beneath the surface? Why is this type of fanciful storytelling tickle our psyche? Is there a true and fantastic undercurrent to our metanarrative?
Guilt, responsibility, discovery and conflict abound in our web-headed underdog’s story. It seems this film may deal with a secret past, Peter’s parents, and a legacy of invention, borrowing a page from Tony Stark’s daddy issues in Iron Man 2, and also the contrast of people who use those gifts for good and evil, for sacrificial or selfish reasons. I also hope it will also serve as an apology for Spider-man 3.
What if you woke up and realized you’d been a horrible person, programmed as well as willing to do all sorts of horrible things? If an incident sparked an incredible life transformation and hit the reset button, what would you do now? People from your old way of life would seek to pull you back in, as you try to live a new way of life and set right the wrongs you were party to. Matt Damon’s character was a wonderful parallel for the transformed life, so it’s exciting to think what Jeremy Renner’s story will provide.
Obviously, this tops my list as a hopeful for both the thinking movie and action movie of the year, as Nolan wraps up his Bat-opus. Back as far as Batman Begins, I was hoping the conversation with Ra’s Al Ghul was far from finished, that Bruce Wayne’s attempt to find a redemptive gap between his father’s hopeful pacifism and his mentor’s cynical terrorism– to be both salvation and vengeance for Gotham– was destined for failure. In Orthodoxy, G.K. Chesterton once made the argument that Christianity is uniquely the only path that bridges this tension (the bridge being Christ himself, not Batman) so it will be curious to see where this comic book commentary rises or falls.
What stories are YOU hungry to see unfold, waiting in anticipation like Katniss Everdeen outside a bakery? Hopefully the one you’re waiting for doesn’t turn out half-baked. Let us know here at Cinemagogue and we’ll do our best to include your review in our upcoming mix.
I’ve gone off the grid on spoilers for the flicks I’m most psyched for: Dark Knight Rises, Prometheus, and Star Trek 2: The Wrath of Cumberbatch (which is due in 2013, I guess).
I was really disappointed with the Hunger Games and its watering down of the message from the books by sanitizing the violence to a point that made it safe for the whole family. So, I am hoping that the films coming up will be better.