Most days Cinemagogue is reviewing films that have come out. Today we wanted to look forward and get the mental gears turning for 2013. There are a host of films set to come out boasting incredible themes about our view of savior, the supernatural, our pride, and more. In fact, if you look from winter to spring and summer, the theme shifts from a dark moral muddle to the promise of the world being saved.
Here’s a foretaste of some lessons that may be emphasized in storytelling this year, and your one-stop trip to trailer-town.
January | Gangster Squad:
A movie delayed from last fall because the climactic shootout took place in a movie theater, Gangster Squad as well as February’s Broken City explore cities where corruption yields compromise and morals become grey. I expect we’ll see what happens when protagonists take the law into their own hands and administer justice as they see fit, taking on the attributes of their antagonists. Movies with this moral malaise can almost always yield great conversation about how true justice can ever be found.
February | Warm Bodies:
Isaac Marion’s bite-sized novel has been adapted for film, stealing an idea that’s been rattling around in my brain for years. How about a reverse-zombie story where the shambling protagonist is slowly being restored? The idea that a main character, literally dead in his trespasses, is brought to new life through the power of love (perhaps with world-changing results) is a great theme, even if the film’s quality looks a bit questionable to me. The book tone didn’t seem as quirky/hip as this trailer suggests the film might be.
Also in Feb | Beautiful Creatures:
It would be easy for religious types to wag their finger at a movie featuring magic as it’s presented in this teen romance, but perhaps the concept of an unseen war between light and dark – with both sides claiming particular persons for their side of the conflict – is something we should be engaging head on instead of turning tail and running. In a culture where we err dwelling solely on material world issues, the idea that there’s a spiritual battle going on, and what – if any – agency we have in choosing a side, is an idea worth talking about… where it both reflects and distorts our true battle.
March | OZ The Great and Powerful:
It’s a powerful and controversial “reveal” in The Wizard of Oz, that there is no godlike figure behind the curtain and what we really need for transformation is already within our own hearts. A story that looks at the hubris of the-man-who-would-be-wizard, and how he assumed the role we see later in Dorothy’s story, will undoubtedly produce something provocative for all ages.
May | Iron Man 3:
“I’ve got a lot of apologies to make.” In the first film, Tony repented of his company’s destructive course and got a “new heart”. His pride and self-destructive behavior continued in the second film, however, and only a posthumous gift from his father granted him sustained life. Now that he’s become a one-woman man, we see Stark facing new fears (in that he has something truly valuable to lose). The consequences of the first film (taking down part of the Ten Rings terrorist group) comes full circle as the man wearing ten rings comes a’calling. Tony’s story mirrors the ongoing stumbling and sanctification endured by a transformed believer.
Star Trek into Darkness:
“There’s greatness in you, but not an ounce of humility…” is the quote from the trailer directed at Captain James T. Kirk, who seems to be a few movies behind Tony Stark. I love how the old Star Trek film series forced Kirk to deal with mortality, his womanizing and his racial prejudices, and made him grow to be willing to sacrifice both his ship and “identity” as Captain. It looks as though J.J. Abrams may follow one or more of these ideas and put Kirk in a no-win scenario.
June | Man of Steel:
“You will give the people an ideal to strive towards. They will race behind you. They will stumble. They will fall. But in time, they will join you in the sun. In time, you will help them accomplish wonders.” The most obvious omnipotent savior archetype flies onto the big screen thanks to Zach Snyder and Chris Nolan, and instead of shying away from the parallels it seems they’re fully embracing ths obvious metaphor, as a heavenly father sends his only son to incarnate as a human, yet transform the world with unparalleled power. “My [earthly] father believed that if the world found out who I really was, they’d reject me out of fear. He was convinced that the world wasn’t ready. What do you think?”
July | Pacific Rim:
Okay, I confess… I’m not sure I’ve worked out any deep spiritual themes here. But this movie is for every kid who wanted to see Robotech versus Godzilla, Gundam versus Gamera, Megatron versus Megalon, Battletech versus the Beast from 20,000 fathoms. My inner 5-year old can’t wait for this. Okay, let’s be honest; my inner 40-year old can’t wait either.
What are YOU looking forward to in 2013, and why?
What themes intrigue you and might lead to moments for reflection, for personal growth, or opportunities to grow as family and friends? Start thinking now about what movies might make great group outings with people who need reflections on these lessons and life realities, and schedule some events that include time for thoughtful reflection afterward.