Wednesday, May 12, 2010

hope and Hollywood in the face of apocalyptic

From Mark Moring in Christianity Today...

Moring opens with a a powerful father/son scene near the end of the film, The Road (derived from Cormac McCarthy's 2006 book) . Moring says the book and film are both "depressing and redeeming" and "depicts one of the most loving father-son relationships to appear on the big screen"

From there, he turns to his broader theme: the role of hope in Hollywood efforts, especially in the face of apocalyptically-flavored current events.

In a fear-filled world where war, terrorism, and economic collapse bring the question of death and the afterlife to the fore, the film industry has delivered more stories to fuel the question—though not always providing answers.

The result in 2009 was a record $10 billion at the box office in the United States and Canada, where theater attendance was up 4.5 percent over 2008 despite an economic recession that saw cuts in consumer spending in almost every other sector.

Much of that record windfall came from a near epidemic of movies about the end of the world—from...Transformers: Revenge of the Fallen and 2012 to the tongue-in-cheek Zombieland and more thoughtful fare such as Terminator Salvation, District 9, and The Road. The trend continued in 2010 with two end-times thrillers, The Book of Eli and Legion...and the documentaries Waiting for Armageddon and With God on Our Side...January also saw the wide release of The Lovely Bones, depicting a teen girl's view of heaven (and our own longing for it). More such films—pre- and post-apocalyptic—are on the 2010 tap.

Moring then asks:

Why are so many of us flocking to the theater when we're pinching pennies more now than in decades? And why are we spending our hard-earned money on movies about the end of existence?

Two things are at work: First, when the economy is down, movie attendance often goes up...Second, people are asking, perhaps more than ever, what happens after we die...

Moring's closing punchline goes back to that powerful father/son scene in The Road:

Hollywood may not know that the answer has in fact been revealed, that a Father and his Son wait on the other shore.


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