This site celebrates cinema (ok, "movies" to most people), spirituality, and science fiction through movie reviews, essays, short stories, and other information on these topics. Why these three topics? These are three main themes I most enjoy writing about--especially when the areas overlap such as in a science fiction movie with spiritual themes. (A mythic core that these topics share is discussed in A Prince, Machines, and Stillness.)
Although atheists with no imagination may want to look elsewhere, other viewers are invited to surf among the following sections:
- Cinema (films, movies, flicks) reviews and more: Go to Movies Page
- Spirituality in surprising places, from the apocalyptic to the zany: Go to Spirituality Page
- Science Fiction stories, articles, and movie reviews: Go to Sci-Fi Page
Here are some highlighted items among the sections of this site:
is the One: The Matrix Trilogy's Postmodern
Many films have used Christ figures to enrich their stories. In The Matrix trilogy, however, the Christ figure motif goes beyond superficial plot enhancements and forms the fundamental core of the three-part story. Neo's messianic growth (in self-awareness and power) and his eventual bringing of peace and salvation to humanity form the essential plot of the trilogy. Without the messianic imagery, there could still be a story about the human struggle in the Matrix, of course, but it would be a radically different story than that presented on the screen. (This article is published on the Journal of Religion and Film.)
- Unmasking the Spirituality of
Spider-Man and Spider-Man 2 offer surprisingly profound spiritual lessons when unmasked from their comic-book disguise. No other films have so evocatively explored the downside of being a superhero. Peter Parker, the reluctant everyman messiah, must constantly choose between self-interest and self-sacrifice, choose between his own needs and those of others, choose between his own social life and social obligation, and make all these choices while being misunderstood and unappreciated. Being a superhero never seemed so difficult.
- Middle Earth's Messianic Mythology Remixed: Gandalf's Death and Resurrection in Novel and Film In the mythology of the very influential The Lord of the Rings, J. R. R. Tolkien employed several Christ figures, the most obvious being the wizard Gandalf. In Tolkien's "fundamentally religious and Catholic" novel, the symbolism of Gandalf's "death and resurrection" scenes was implicit, but Peter Jackson's film versions visually made Gandalf's Christ-figure symbolism more explicit. (This article is published on the Journal of Religion and Popular Culture.)
Superhero's Mythic Journey: Death and the Heroic
Cycle in Superman
Superman, the original superhero, is a culmination of the great mythic heroes of the past. The hero's journey, a recurring cycle of events in mythology, is described by Joseph Campbell. The three acts in Superman: The Movie portray a complex calling to the superhero's role, consisting of three distinct calls and journeys. Each of the three stages includes the death of someone close to him, different symbols of his own death and resurrection, and different experiences of atonement with a father figure. Analyzing these mythic cycles bestows the viewer with a heroic "elixir." (This article is published on the Journal of Religion and Film.)
The mysterious Shroud of Turin has provoked controversy for centuries. Many believe it is the authentic burial cloth of Christ. Many believe it is a forgery. What if, however, there could be a final proof beyond any doubt that it was genuine? What if that proof went terribly, horribly wrong for us all? If you were told such a story by a barely glimpsed stranger, would you, should you, believe it? (This article is published on Smashwords.com.)
- Fighting Evil with Another Kind of Evil? The ultimate antihero messiah for the post-9/11 "War on Terror" era can apparently be found in The Chronicles of Riddick, the sequel to Pitch Black. Overcoming evil with evil, unfortunately, seems to be the spirit of the times.
- The Word Warrior: A Post-Apocalyptic
A Doomsday Virus loose on the Internet causes all nuclear weapons to launch. Darn those military contractors for not keeping their virus checkers up to date! Although the post-civilization job market leaves much to be desired, with a little ingenuity, writers can still earn a buck (well, old cans of food).
- History Lessons: Time-Travel Films as
Science fiction films often examine cultural issues through a magnifying glass of technology-tinged fantasy. How do time travel films comment on people's views of time and history?