Matt and I are both big movie buffs. My movie watching pretty much has been on hold while in seminary, but we do make it out to the theatre semi-regularly (when there’s something worth seeing).
This morning, we went to see the movie Sucker Punch. I was attracted to the story-within-a-story premise and the highly stylized visuals. The movie reminded me of Quentin Tarantino, Sin City, and The Lord of the Rings, with a liberal dash of anime. Overall, it was a good popcorn movie…
…that is, until the voiceover at the end.
The final voiceover soured the movie for me because it 1) breaks the art rule “show don’t tell” and ham-fistedly lays out the moral of the film (I don’t like to be preached at) and 2) its moral is plain wrong (I really don’t like to be preached at with ridiculous lies).
The last lines of the film say something to the effect of, “Who chains us, and who sets us free? It’s you.”
Essentially it said, “We control our destiny; we shape reality in our minds literally.” Um, no, we don’t actually. That would be nice, but it’s simply not true.
Without the voiceover, Sucker Punch could be a movie about sacrifice and bringing light and hope into darkness and evil. I like giving people hope, but hope in my own ability is misplaced.
As I watched it, I’m reminded once again that people are getting messages from pop culture about reality all the time. A lot of those messages are wrong.
I don’t believe disengaging from culture is the answer to this problem as a church leader. In fact, my conviction that we need to engage culture in a way that helps everyone in our congregation to do the same grows ever stronger. The only way I can teach people to navigate the barrage of messages they’ll encounter is to navigate those same messages and separate truth from fiction.
My prayer is to bring real, dependable hope to into a broken and hurting world.