Wednesday, May 27, 2009

TRANSFORMERS, STANDARDS and THE HIDDEN MESSAGES IN MOVIES



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!

-StrongJoy

13 comments:

Wings over Earth said...

Hi Strongjoy,

I was amazed at the wisdom and spiritual insight’s given in your response to Transformers (2007).

We do live in very technical age with many visual, audio and social cues. Our developing ‘technical’ culture has bought virtual existence into a powerful and possibly confusing existence.

As a child I was aware that my strong family network and relations were a very wonderful aspect of seeing God’s creation through the eyes of both love and suffering. Surely life, though God’s eyes, is about our given human fallen nature, and yet the historical events show that we were redeemed and blessed with new grace – many times. That is of importance more than ever, so sure it would be God’s choice to move his own spirit into his creation and create the divine fruit and truth. We live in times of some very diverse forces (good and evil – light and dark). It is not about money really, even though all modern concepts push us to that demand.

Surely, we have, as Christian’s a new opportunity to re-unite the real sense of God’s community, and to write and create greater truth’s and art. I have always seen the best art in God’s trees, land, mountains, birds, fish and the stars. We need to begin the creation of God’s new world soon, for we live in dark and troubled times.

I see today, more people with modern disease and disabilities; yet many live longer and have more spare time, suicide has increased as has drug misuse, divorce and sexual mis-adventures.

Yet behind our pain and losses, there is a new message born out of our human condition and onfusion. It is for those blessed with God’s spirit to move with courage, faith and love. It is the real journey, no technical virtualization will be required.

Hold on to all that you are and all that you have learned,
for these things are what make you unique.
Don't ignore what you feel and what you
believe is right and important;
your heart has a way of speaking
louder than your mind.
Hold on to your dreams;
achieve them diligently and honestly.
Never take the easy way or surrender to deceit.
Remember others on your way and take
time to care for their needs.
Enjoy the beauty around you.
Have the courage to see things
differently and clearly.
Make the world a better place one day at a time,
and don't let go of the important things
that give meaning to your life.
Peter Bowey

Miss Eyebright said...

This was an awesome post! My sister and I love to watch movies, and discuss them for weeks afterwards, and we long for GOOD movies that are also good in quality.

Thanks again!
Have a very bright, very cheerful day!
Miss Eyebright

Alison H. said...

All I have to say is AMEN

Alison Paige said...

All I have to say is AMEN.

Martha said...

You're right about some movies, but not all. The "Star Wars" series (especially "The Empire Strikes Back") is all about striving for goodness. Also see "Chariots of Fire."

StrongJoy said...

Thanks for your comments, everyone! They are all very much appreciated.

Martha, maybe I haven't communicated my point very well. I'm not trying to denounce all movies as being mediocre. There are many movies that I am a huge fan of. The list would be incredibly long - I have some of them listed in my profile. And yes, The Empire Strikes Back is CERTAINLY one of them. I even wrote a sonnet for that movie :) - http://beyond-the-loneliest-star.blogspot.com/2008/06/sonnet-ii.html

I guess I was just trying to say that a LOT of movies being put out by Hollywood today (and some of them very popular among my close friends) strike me as falling a little short of the mark.

I'm wondering if maybe we need to re-think our values and decide what we're going to accept in movies, and what we're NOT.

I do also realize that some movies use scenes that aren't entirely praiseworthy in order to state a broader point, and I think that the message in some films is so good that we can overlook these minor things. Definitely. But I didn't think that TRANSFORMERS was one of these. Just from my own viewing of it, I thought that in this movie the emphasis on lust and laziness overruled any other good messages. Of course, many people (even my friends) disagree with me, and that's perfectly fine.

Thanks for taking the time to comment and voice your opinions! I really appreciate that.

Seize The Day!
-StrongJoy

Lucie said...

I must echo Alison H. AMEN

I also love what C.S. Lewis has to say about this subject...and many others. :)

ourspareoom said...

I must echo Alison and Lucie and whoever else. AMEN!
I've been trying to find your blog for ages, but I just found out from Raora that I was not spelling the web address correctly. Now I'm finally back on! Keep up the good work!
~Meg

Anonymous said...

Hi Strongjoy,

I would first like to thank you for your insight into the 1st trannsformer movie, with regards to the relationship between the young boy and girl.

But what one of the reasons I wanted to see that movie, was for the other hidden messages. In this movie, there was a representation of good and evil, (fallen angels and heavenly angels), the cube (alstruct), Hoover Dam, and what underneath. etc...

If you would allow me, I would expand on the topic in a later post.

But remember that satan uses Hollywood as a tool.

This latest movie Transformer "Revenge of The Fallen",

The title says it all.

I will see that movie today.

C.

Anonymous said...

I can see where you are coming from Anonymous, and there is alot to see in Revenge of the Fallen believe me ^ ^,

On other hand I am really happy to see there are others out there with; eyes in which they can see, and brains in which they can think. The very parts so blatant in the human body with so much potential, yet we still don't use them to their full capability.

I love films not because they project their effect on the mass public and destroy morality but because they leave out clues and ideas which are pretty interesting, but also because the films in nowadays and old are awesome too ^ ^

SEAN! said...

i mean, come on! Its a movie, a great one may i add. It was popular, full of action, and all round amazing. You go to see a movie for whatever reason you say, action, humor, romance... You don't have to THINK bout the movie. Just enjoy...

sarahlife said...

Hey sweets! Well put! Though, I didn't really mind Transformers. It caught me at the right time, when I really didn't want to put too much thought into anything. I watched the cartoon, had the toys, wanted to see the movie. It's based on a cartoon, for cryin out loud, it hasn't occured to me to take it seriously. Yet, I am much older, and I can handle the undertones, and that is where the difference lies. Anyhow, I also believe the entertainment industry is systematically changing history by using poetic licsensing to make truth more entertaining. Don't get me started on life stories, Pocahontas, etc. My other peeve is some of the greatest litureature being butchered by poetic liscense as well... Now I'm just ranting, sorry!

StrongJoy said...

Sarah,

Oh, rant away! I was quite enjoying it :)

And yes, I completely agree about the great literature thing - take the Disney cartoon version of The Three Musketeers, for instance (Bleck) or The Prince And The Pauper! Jeepers! It really annoys me when they trivialize classics to that degree.

Seize The Day!