Monday, September 14, 2009

This time, 'District 9'

I have a thing for science fiction. I took in 'District 9' this afternoon. I was kind of bored with it at first, and thought about leaving (which I have done maybe 3 times). It had that jumpy quality that 'Blair Witch' and whatever that movie was where the aliens attack New York. I hate that stuff, it makes me want to throw up. But I moved back a few rows (in an otherwise empty theater); and after awhile, the movie became very interesting to me.

Warning: it is rather bloody and in some ways disturbing. But in many ways interesting and thought-provoking.

Meanwhile, let me digress back to the previews. Do you enjoy those? I try to arrive at the theater with enough time to see those. I noticed one preview for something called 'Legion,' in which God--this is what they said, I'm not interpreting this--was so angry at the world that he sent a bunch of angels to exterminate everyone. Another take on the creepy/dark supernatural/"we deserve to be punished" theme that shows up a lot. When does it open? January 22. What do you make of that?

While I was watching that...

...and it doesn't look like something I want to see, because among other things, I absolutely refuse to take part in a movie that depicts angels as villains or enemies of humanity. Sorry--absolutely wrong answer. Maybe it really won't be that way (it's amazing but true: movie makers will present a film, in the previews, in a way very much contrary to what the movie is really about), but that's my reaction based on their own preview.

...anyway, as I was watching that preview, I thought of something I've observed before--and now I'll share with you for your thoughts. Does it seem to you that a fair amount of films and literature is all about how we're gonna get it? We've got it coming and we're really going to be slammed? Put it another way: how often does a futuristic movie depict the future as something sunny and positive, or even something more or less like our world? In the former category, I'd put the whole 'Star Trek' series; they exude a great optimism about the future. In the latter, I'd put the Philip Dick movies, "Total Recall," "Minority Report" and whatever the movie was with Ben Affleck having his memory wiped. Not terrible futures, but not utopian, either.

Then we have the movies in which the future is bleak: Terminator; the new flick about the Mayan calendar, "2012" I think; and the animated movie out right now, called "9." Then there are the environmental apocalypse movies: "Waterworld" and "Day After Tomorrow" (which I think should be a double feature every Earth Day--but few would get the joke). And a lot more.

Is it just me, or does Hollywood have a widespread sense of foreboding? Here's an even more edgy idea: does this reveal something unconsciously at work in our culture? Someone said that if you really want to know what's at work in a culture, don't read it's non-fiction, but it's fiction; because there's something unconscious at work there. (Did Flannery O'Connor say that? I pick these quotes up like barnacles but never remember where I got them, sorry--maybe one of my readers knows?)

Anyway, that's what I thought about during the previews; then came the movie: "District 9.

What are your thoughts about any of this?


Jeffrey Pinyan said...

Check out this vapid dialogue from "Legion":

Michael: I knew He'd send you, Gabriel. You were always so eager to please Him.
Gabriel: Unlike you... the rebellious son.

F in angelology. Perhaps the writers should've read Mike Aquilina's Angels of God!

Jeffrey Pinyan said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Rudy said...

I agree with you that Hollywood is obsessed with the end of the world. Of course it all carries a political, philosophical and religious agenda behind it. In most movies the disaster is usually the result of some evil conservative Christian Republican of whatever brand not heeding to the warnings of usually enlightened but “rebellious” liberal scientists and heroes. Of course the heroes are men and women of action not encumbered by Christianity, they are usually hard boiled and realistic “scientific” types and most religious persons are pictured as bumbling idiots who in their fanaticism endanger everyone else.
Hollywood’s treatment of the future is a hopeless and dark one, but I think the agenda is to indoctrinate us to be docile to the secular saviors that will rise to shepherd us through the storms. Perhaps they are preparing us to accept Antichrist.

Dymphna said...

I did like one thing about District 9. The aliens are not beautiful, sexy or even smart. They are sullen, dangerous and aparently breeding like rabbits. It's about as far away from ET as you can get.

Fr Martin Fox said...


Yes, I liked the realism. So often, aliens are depicted as angelic and vastly superior and all alike. These were depicted as having a variety of personalities, subject to the same sort of corruption we are subject to (in the world of this movie, would missionaries be sent to baptize them?).

Greta said...

On the comment about Hollywood being obsessed with the end of the world, that is not surprising in one way. No matter how we try to beat down and bury our conscience, it has a way of sitting in the gut and grinding at you in a way it is hard to ignore. Only when you have chosen finally to be devoid of God in your heart, mind, and soul to such an extent that God sees there will be no change do I think the conscience dies. This is my theory as to how some people can seem to drip evil. In many ways, many in Hollywood have intent to try and do good, which shows me that the conscience is far from dead. For many, it seems like they have a misplaced God in that they seem to see many gods such as wealth, power, and of course government driven solutions for the masses to dumb to be like them.

Faith is a gift from God I find that once given, it is very powerful, but also housed in a human body filled with weaknesses. I also believe there is a war going on in the universe that we cannot see and most of the time are unaware exists between the forces of good and evil. I often think of the negotiation between God and Satan over good and evil and Job was made the center of that dispute. I wonder if there a hundreds of other battles and disputes we cannot see or are blissfully unaware of and I also see many of them that are centered on Catholic priests and other religious.
Not sure if the movies with all their imagination will ever capture a drop of what we could see if we only had faith the size of a mustard seed.
So Hollywood is worried at times driven by that grinding in their gut the same way I and all sinners are in our lives. That is what makes it so important that the religious in our world speak out boldly and give us the hard message for even if we reject it, it causes the consicence to gain increased sharpness. If they are silent, I suspect even the stones are crying out in the unseen battle, but at times, we do not hear and are lost.

In a discussion about the pro life person shot recently, I talked with a pro choice person who was trying to make the point about the signs he was holding and where he was doing this. Maybe he was one of the "stones" God inspired because so many bishops and priest are reluctant to send out the hard truths. What an opportunity lost with things like the ND shame where the bishops should and could have spoke in unison that abortion must end and no pro abortion person can be welcome or honored in any way in Catholic places.