Over the past couple of weeks I have watched two very different science fiction films. The Titan and Beyond Skyline. I enjoyed both of the films though neither of them were what I would call great - I'm pretty easy to please.
As you may have figured out, if you are a regular reader, I analyse things. I'm always searching for meaning: the message. I want to take something from every conversation I have, every film I see, every book I read.
Many action films, including science fiction, are humanistic. That is they present a human saviour. Mankind is under threat, or doomed and a man must save them. A group of people will assist in this process, but in the end, one person will be called upon to make a sacrifice of some sort, usually their own life, in order to save everybody else. I'm generalizing here, of course, but this is a blog post not a book.
The general idea is that no matter what happens, or how bad things get: no matter what danger we face, people have the brains and the courage to solve the problem.
In The Titan, the problem is the resources of the over populated earth are severely depleted and we need another planet. The Earth is the Titanic and we need to get off. The solution is to resettle on Titan. Further complication: people will need to be genetically modified in order to live there. Enter a mad scientist with a mega billion dollar budget. Add a select team of military personnel upon whom said mad scientist will experiment, using what he calls forced evolution. What could possibly go wrong?
In Beyond Skyline, hostile and technologically superior aliens attack earth for some reason. A small group of freedom fighters resist them and ultimately, with the assistance of another group of aliens, defeat them and usher in a new era of human alien cooperation. Lovely.
The Titan is a very serious, focused drama which champions the humanist cause. Beyond Skyline is a sloppy, action packed film with some very cool battles, especially the martial arts scenes in which the aliens show remarkable skill. Pleasingly for a sci-fi and action fan like myself, it also offers quite a few nods to well known films in the genre. It was a bit of tribute film in some ways.
These were two very different films, but in the end people save themselves, overcoming insurmountable physical suffering with courage and determination. The human spirit always triumphs.
People are resilient, intelligent, resourceful and courageous, generally speaking. They are pretty damn tough. Not indestructible or incorruptible, but impressive nonetheless. Most of the aliens who encounter our species come away with new found respect for us, and we respect ourselves as well, and rightly so.
If only we faced material problems and physical threats, we could confidently rest in our heroes to save us. However, the greater challenges in our lives our spiritual and emotional. What we see is only a reflection of a deeper struggle within. Everybody needs a saviour. To be more precise, what we need is The Saviour: Jesus Christ.
Look around: nothing but Band-aid solutions, fantasy and hubris.