Monday, December 17, 2007
I watched the Golden Compass and DID NOT renounce Christ...
Friday night was Steve's company party - it was six to ten. Yet, after a half hour and some very painful conversation involving a Mai Thai, the one and only LDS in the whole company, and us - we decided to leave.
But we had almost three hours to kill so we drove down the street to the nearest movie theater to see, "I am Legend" - which wasn't playing for another hour, which would make us significantly late for the rest of the evening. Sidenote: regardless of the scathing review our pastor had of this movie (not for theological reasons or anything of the like - but rather than it just ended abruptly and he felt he wasted time - much like Steve and ANY of the Laura Croft Tomb Raider movies - or any movie that Angelina acts in...) I still want to see this. :P But, Golden Compass was playing.
I looked to Steve and we decided to go for it. We already knew about the theological undertones, we knew from reading Albert Mohler's article and listening to his podcast that it's a very well done movie, so I for one, was very interested to sit down and watch this movie. I only wish I had had a pencil and paper to make notes along the way.
Mohler's assessment that this is a very well done movie is spot on - it's a fantastic movie. We never noticed the time fly by and as the theater lights turned on, we were sitting there thinking, "We want more..." - so I have a feeling the second and third movies should be a shoe in to produce.
I will admit, that the first part of the movie, I sat there examining each part. Steve and I would whisper to one another, "Does the 'dust' represent sin?" or "Are the Gyptians representing Muslims?" and so on. But after awhile, we began to settle in our seats and get captured by the film.
Now, while the movie is very well done, the storyline very engaging - I still would not recommend this movie to children. This is NOT a child's movie. In one scene there are two polar bears fighting (see the picture above) and the fight scene is very graphic - ending with one bear slapping the other bear's bottom jaw off, then reaching into the gaping wound and tearing it open. Do not bring children to this movie. To me, this is no better than bringing them to Resident Evil: Extinction. This one may be passed off as a child's movie - but I don't know many children whose parents encourage or allow them to watch such graphic violence, even in just one or two scenes (as there are other graphically violent scenes - this is just by far the worst).
Theologically speaking - the anger and rage towards Christians is very apparent - especially in the beginning of the movie where the Magestrium have more scenes. Please let me note here - while the anger and rage is apparent I only see it as the fault of Christians he's interacted with, public groups like "God Hates F..gs" (<- not their website, I refuse to link to that, but wikki article about them) - I do not blame Pullman. Afterwards, Steve told me if he was still an atheist he would have eaten all that up, went and bought the books, and totally bought into the whole thing. As an atheist, I imagine it does appear that Christians have the sort of wide sweeping and abusive power that is portrayed in the movies. However, no church has had that sort of power since what, the fourteen maybe fifteen hundreds? And yet, we are still paying for those mistakes - another reason to be grateful for grace when it is so starkly contrasted to the long holding grudges of this world. While this world will not forget (nor should they in reality) the wrongdoings done in Christ's name - we know that God in His infinte and unimaginable love and forgiveness - "as far as the east is from the west, so far has he removed our transgressions from us."
This is just a movie - it's not going to make people renounce Christ. If one understands even the basic, simple message of the gospel - they'll understand Christians in general. The only perfect one is Jesus - while we may be saved by His grace, we are not perfect - we are still sinners and we still submit to the flesh from time to time otherwise we wouldn't need Christ in the first place. Have Christian churches made mistakes in the past? Yes of course they have. Is this Jesus' fault? No. It's ours - we made those choices, regardless of how or why we like to justify it.
Do I have a problem with the Golden Compass, it's message, or it's author? Again, no. He's not a Christian - so he's not going to behave like one. It's just a movie - and unless you go in there knowing it's trying to undermine Christianity you're not going to clearly see it. Wait - let me correct this a little. Perhaps one who doesn't know about this (although I don't know they wouldn't since groups of Christians have made it their goal to sound the horn on this one) might go in there, observe the way some groups are personified and then think to themselves, "Ha! This is just like Peter Priesthood down the road..." (I only use that term because I can't think of a Christian one so hopefully you get the idea...) or "this is just like ABC Christian Church down the block... this is just how they act!" - in which case, that's not the author's fault or doing, rather our own and something we need to examine.
So, am I offended? No way. Would I watch it again? Better believe it's going on my Blockbuster que and I can't wait to see the second one. Would I engage someone about the movie? Yes. It was a well done movie, an engaging storyline, and with all the hype it's a great way to talk to people about Jesus, the gospel, Grace Point (since thank God we have been blessed with a church and pastor who have not freaked out over this movie! Yay!) and about whether or not it really is a children's movie... (no again).
If my brothers and sisters in Christ don't want to go see this for any reason - from not wanting people to make money from it, to theological issues, to graphic violence, etc - I understand and I don't fault anyone. I didn't see the Passion - almost a staple now a days to view in Christianity and even Mormonism. I just couldn't sit through more than two minutes - if that - of the movie. That's a whole other blog someday when I have more time on my hands... But to those Christians who are boycotting and making a huge hoopla and ruckus over this movie - I can't help but compare them to the characters of the Magisterium and see remarkable similarities. I believe, they are playing right into Pullman's hands and can only pray that non-believers look past them and still are able to hear the gospel.