I did something rare yesterday; I saw a movie in the real theater. A matinee of course, though. Fortunately Transformers was still out, so I could take advantage of the high quality sound systems in ‘real theaters’ (the dollar theater has decent visual, but bad audio-but for chic flicks, the audio isn’t as important, I’ve found).
The movie was quite delightful, if you can use such a word for a movie whose plot centers around alien robots battling each other for a ‘cube’ which can turn blow dryers into robot warriors. But it really was a good story, with great action sequences, and some cleverly written dialog. Seriously.
One theme which periodically popped up was the goodness of humanity. The Darth Vader of Robots (Megatron) questions why it is that another robot would be willing to sacrifice himself for humans. After all, humans were quite inferior and were incredibly selfish and destructive. We can all agree with the latter two, but honestly, I’ve never met a robot I’ve felt inferior to. Maybe that’s just me.
Optimus Prime, the Luke Skywalker of the Robots, noted that the humans really hadn’t been around all that long. Give them some time, they have some good traits. They are in essence good, and just need to work some kinks out (a modernistic worldview of humanity). There were several other exchanges which reinforced the goodness of humanity-a theme, or at least a hope, that I’m seeing in news reporting and more and more in pop culture.
I really don’t think that I’m on one of those communist witch hunts to see this stuff. But if I am, I repent and want to remind you that I’m neither a communist nor a witch.
But when I see the goodness of humanity expressed on the big screen, or more importantly the big screen of our culture, or even more important than that, the big screen of our hearts, I see one big enemy of the gospel. And it breaks my heart. For the gospel actually affirms more greatly the dignity of man than any other modern/humanistic worldview.
Christ didn’t die to ‘work out the kinks,’ but to provide salvation and hope for a people devoid and unworthy of such hope. However by his sacrifice, Christ affirms to the the world that while we are not worthy to be saved, we are still ‘worth’ saving. That’s far more dignity than our buddy Optimus would confer upon humanity (although let’s not blame Optimus, he’s just reading his lines).
That’s some serious dignity, and humanity truly does long for dignity. But it only comes if we can first ‘eject’ our notion of a latent goodness in humanity. And instead embrace the goodness of Christ, who is the hope and Savior of humanity.
What about the superfluous subplots involving the hackers and the army guy and the gratuitous T&A? My take is that it was nostalgic for those who liked Transformers as kids, but the original cartoon movie was better. The NYTimes got it right: the film “is part car commercial, part military recruitment ad, a bumper-to-bumper pileup of big cars, big guns and, as befits its recently weaned target demographic, big breasts.” I give it a B-.