Kenneth Chan of the Christian Post not only saw, liked and recommends the remake of "The Day the Earth Stood Still" — but he sees an inspiring and Biblical message in it. Titled 'The Day the Earth Stood Still' mirrors days of Noah, Chan's review both (mistakenly) "finds" and (lamentably) misses essential elements.
Admitting that this is not a Christian movie, Chan opines, "so obvious are the biblical allusions that it will likely be embraced by believers." Um... not by me; but you already knew that.
Chan sees it as "a great modern day retelling of the Noah's ark story." He further asserts that "seeing the destructive nature of mankind in the movie really helps believers and non-believers understand more clearly why God – or any deity or powerful entity – would end the lives of so many."
Chan's conclusion, at length:
The sudden conclusion of the movie, however, may leave moviegoers feeling like an entire third act is missing and may put a damper on whatever suspense or thrills the action-packed film may have built up – which is a shame because the movie has so much going for it.Well.
Knowing this, is the movie still worth seeing? I would say so. The movie is still better in many ways than the cherished original and the message that the movie presents is such an important one for every person in this world. Especially, with the word “Change” on everyone’s mind – particularly in the US – the movie will resonate with many.
And as we are living in a post-9/11 age, more movies with messages like this one are surely needed – as are the people who work for change.
Hopefully, moviegoers will leave this flick not just entertained, but inspired and changed themselves.
For starters, I disagree with every word, as my review indicates.
But let's focus on the attempted Biblical linkage. I'm sure the remake's little global animal-traps are meant to call Noah's ark to mind. But —
- Chan's simply mistaken about the film's core message. The green emphasis is explicit, preachy, and heavy-handed. Everything else is incidental.
- Genesis depicts a sovereign, infinite-personal God who created, owns, and thus is moral judge of the earth and everything else (Genesis 1—2). Yahweh has every right to assess it and judge the universe. By contrast, the aliens have no stake in what the earth does, except as arrogant meddlers. This is a lacunum in relation to the original, where the aliens were saying (in effect) "Blow each other up if you want, just don't bring that garbage out here."
- The judgment in Genesis is morally-based, not ecologically-based. "The LORD saw that the wickedness of man was great in the earth, and that every intention of the thoughts of his heart was only evil continually" (Genesis 6:5). In that vertical and transcendent context, Moses introduces the fact of horizontal violence and corruption (vv. 11-12).
- For my part, I would be deeply distressed if anyone drew any spiritual conclusions in harmony with the movie. Jennifer Connelly's character cries, "We can change! We can change!", producing gales of derisive laughter from my dear wife and me — because the desired (and promised) change is never specified. How is Ms. Connelly's character going to change? Is she going to drive in summer without using her air conditioner? Buy a Prius? Cancel her flight to Europe? Stop throwing away her diet soda cans? A vague commitment to "change" will send a sinner straight to Hell with a silly smile on his face. It is no message a Christian wants to send.
- Further, the "message" of the movie is that we have intrinsic good in us, and if we just work harder, we can bring that good out of our hearts and make everything nice and politically acceptable. It's purely humanistic, purely PoMo, and purely horizontal — unless the aliens are a vertical dimension. If so, they worsen, rather than improve, the situation.
- By starkest possible contrast, the "change" God requires involves changing that heart of which "every intention of [its] thoughts" are "only evil continually" (Genesis 6:5). But we cannot change our own hearts, because they are sick, and they deceive us at every turn (Jeremiah 17:9). The heart is the source of our dilemma, not the source of our salvation. We must be saved from without, by the sovereign power and grace of God, dealing with our vertical wrongs against the absolute and transcendent standard of the Law of God. We need our guilt assuaged, and our natures changed. We need reconciliation to God. The movie neither admits, nor suggests, nor even so much as hints at such a solution. In fact, its message is in direct conflict with the Gospel.
In sum: this movie gives the Christian viewer nothing except a point of contrast with the Gospel. In that way, it may indeed be useful as a conversation-launcher.
But I don't think it's worth seeing, even for that.