I went to see “The Mummy Returns” with No.1 son. I confess. I thoroughly enjoyed it. You should see the resurrected evil phantom guards crawling along the walls of famous London buildings. Man, that was cool!
Ok, ok, the story included references to unchristian stuff like reincarnation. But hey, the pace never slacked enough for anyone to do any serious metaphysical analysis.
There is one very powerful moment toward the end of the movie that slowed down enough to portray a very clear choice. The two main male protagonists were in horrendous danger. The only ones that were in any position to save them were their respective ladies.
But any rescue attempt would be fraught with danger to life and limb. The bad guy’s lady chickens out. The heroine rushes out through falling debris and saves her man. Sacrificial love wins the day!!! Again.
It is surprising how themes like the victory of good and evil, and the power of sacrificial love, continue to dominate the movies. Hollywood is about entertainment. But the movie industry is also about making money. Movies that hope to win the hearts (and pockets) of audiences cannot waver too far from popular sensitivities.
And people want happy endings. People want good to triumph over evil. People recognise the power of sacrificial love. A fallen humanity still retains a memory of how the world should be even if they may not experience it in their lives.
As Paul reminds us in Romans 2:14-15a
When Gentiles who do not possess the Law carry out its precepts by the light of nature, then, although they have no law, they are their own law; they show that what the law requires is inscribed on their hearts, and to this their conscience gives supporting witness….” REB
A sense of what should be is inscribed on our hearts. Perhaps what people see in real life is so far removed from the real desires of their hearts that they need to go to the movies–to take a break from unfulfilled hopes, to see their deepest hopes fulfilled on screen.
Now how do we let them know that their deepest hopes are not doomed to eternal disappointment, that good does win in the end and that yes, the secret of true life is sacrificial love? How do we connect their stories to Gods’ so that they can share in God’s happy ending? At the very least, the next time we go to the movies, we can keep our ears open. And hear afresh the desperate longings of the human heart.