What I want to share with you encapsulates my reasons for loving science-fiction movies, the purpose for our review site, and the value of being attentive to worldviews all around us.
Sci-fi has been a favorite genre of mine for a long time. The reason being, when you watch genuine science fiction you’re going to get a message. Rarely is authentic science fiction purely about flying in space and meeting aliens or robots taking over the world. The best Sci-Fi carries a deep message behind its often cutting-edge visuals.
Certainly older science fiction like, the original Star Trek series, carried a lot of social commentary with it and was revolutionary with its messages on race-relations and war. The Planet of the Apes (the 1968 classic) is one of my favorites as well. In it we see a struggle between restrictive and oppressive religion versus science and tolerance trying to move the species forward. I love that! As a Conservative Evangelical Baptist, I love the message that movie puts forward. Not because I agree with it, but because it has the courage to say something in an inventive and powerful way. If we are going to have a conversation about these issues, let it be robust! Let’s skip with the pleasantries and tackle what’s going on, from a certain point of view.
And that’s really the point, being able to identify what point of view we are talking about and engaging with it. Some of my favorite science fiction movies carry messages I completely disagree with. Being able to identify the underlying message trains your mind see worldview in other places.
I want to get to the moment in time where it really hit me hard. When the concept of “worldview” stood out boldly to me, outside of conversations about apologetics and world religion. When worldviews became a clear, daily life event.
Another section of the Sci-Fi world I love is the old black and white Sci-Fi movies from the 50’s. Invasion of the Body Snatchers, The Time Machine, War of the Worlds and my favorite of all The Day the Earth Stood Still. This isn’t a post reviewing movies necessarily, but I do recommend the 1951 version of The Day The Earth Stood Still and mildly recommend the 2008 version.
The original version is such a great view into 1950’s culture and social norms. Its main thesis is that humanity’s destructive desires are reaching a critical point in the “atomic age” and are now becoming a danger to ourselves and civilizations on other planets. A representative (Klaatu) is sent to speak to world leaders and warn them that we are becoming a threat to peace in the galaxy and need to change our ways.
The crazy space elements are all there for you to enjoy, but when I saw the end of this movie for the first time I was blown away! I could not believe that for all this talk about anti-war, anti-nuke, peace talk there was a (possibly unintentional) view into a world that no longer exists. A presupposition that could not be erased even with the most far out story.
Be prepared, I’m about to give a 65 year old spoiler. Klaatu is shot and is thought to be dead. Gort, the metallic body guard pictured to the right, carries Klaatu back into the spaceship and puts him in a machine that appears to revive him. The female lead (Hellen) follows Gort into the ship and watches. As Klaatu sits up, this conversation takes place:
Hellen: I thought you were…
Klaatu: I was
Hellen: You mean… he (Gort) has the power of life and death?
Klaatu: No. That power is reserved to the Almighty Spirit. This technique, in some cases can restore life for a limited time.
Can you believe that?! We are talking about a story that involves flying saucers, aliens, and robot enforcers and the power of life and death is reserved to “the Almighty Spirit.” Back in the 50’s it seems, even in the wildest of stories, God can be given his due.
Now let’s contrast that with the 2008 Keanu Reeves version. In a scene taking place in a cemetary, movie-ruiner Jaden Smith begs Klaatu (Keanu) to bring his father back to life. Jacob (Jaden Smith) had seen Klaatu revive an injured police officer earlier in the film and thought he could do something similar for his father who died overseas in the military. The stark, modern parallel to the revival scene in the 1951 movie is much less reverent. Klaatu simply replies “Jacob, nothing ever truly dies. The universe wastes nothing. Everything is simply… transformed.”
My, how the times have changed! Seeing this movie in the theater, I immediately turned to my wife and started poking her and rambling about how this was the modern secular version of the 1951 version movie and that line proved it.
It’s rare we get to see this time-capsule example of how the times have changed and the worldview a movie presents. This one has always stuck with me and really pushed me to look harder at the movies I see. And I want to encourage you to do the same.
Tim and I are passionate about taking the stories of our time and showing you that more is being communicated than simply the words on a page or script. Ideas, social commentary, and presuppositions about the world are being presented. So when you read a book or see a movie, don’t just let it speak to you, speak back. Examine the thoughts it’s presenting and make the conversation robust!
If you’d like to discuss the thoughts presented in the post or want to talk about great science fiction, leave a comment or send me an email at firstname.lastname@example.org
Don’t forget to follow us on Twitter @World_Re_Views, where we do mini reviews and talk about worldview trends in movies and literature.
Post by Ryan