Wednesday, May 27, 2009


I believe that every painting, book, or movie reveals in some measure the worldview of its creator. This may not be intentional, but it's inevitable. This is why it’s so important to be aware when we expose our eyes or minds to these things. Although literature and art are just as full of ideas, I think that our generation needs to be especially careful with movies.

The entertainment business has one simple and foolproof tactic for changing the culture. They realize that people watch movies for entertainment and therefore don’t generally tend to think when they are watching movies. Therefore, they know that they can get away with a lot in movies that they might not be able to get away with otherwise. They also know that the ideas they put into movies are going to influence our culture, even if we aren’t aware of what these ideas are. And even if we think that we won’t be affected by these ideas, we can’t help it when we watch so much television. Thus, it’s imperative that we recognize and identify the ideas behind the movies we watch.

I think that the movie Transformers (2007) is a perfect example of this concept. The movie revolves around the life of a highschool kid in a “typical” American home. He’s a dork and doesn’t make good grades in school. He has no character. He does not work hard and his life is obviously full of impurity. One day he sees the school football captain’s girlfriend (a cheerleader) walking down the street in very provocative clothing and is immediately smitten. He spends most of the rest of the movie trying to impress this girl and spite the football captain. In the end he becomes a “hero” through no merit of his own, saves the world, and gets her. The movie ends with the girl lying in his arms on the hood of his car in a very inappropriate position for an unmarried couple.

I was very disappointed with this movie. It struck me as being a blatant glorification of pre-marital sex and mediocrity. I just kept wondering, “What’s the point?” I feel like this generation’s standards are too low. Why are we accepting films that are gradually chipping away at our values? Why aren’t we saying, “This isn’t good enough. It has to be better.” The trouble with us is that we are far too easily pleased, too easily satisfied. I just LOVE what C.S. Lewis says about this in “The Weight Of Glory”:

“Indeed, if we consider the unblushing promises of reward and the staggering nature of the rewards promised in the Gospels, it would seem that Our Lord finds our desires not too strong, but too weak. We are half-hearted creatures, fooling about with drink and sex and ambition when infinite joy is offered us, like an ignorant child who wants to go on making mud pies in a slum because he cannot imagine what is meant by the offer of a holiday at the sea. We are far too easily pleased”.

A lot of people have told me that they like this movie because of the special effects which, I will acknowledge, were awesome. And I certainly don’t think there’s anything wrong with being intrigued by the astonishingly realistic cinematography displayed in so many modern movies. Modern movies thrill me with their special effects and pristine film quality. It’s amazing to me that humans can make such incredible works of art. However, I think we need to start holding our artists to higher standards. If we, as a nation and a culture, continue to just accept whatever Hollywood sees fit to give us, we are going to drop our standards and lose our values.

Seize The Day!