Blade Runner’s Vision of Hell

Blade Runner: The Final Cut, directed by Ridley ScottWhat is hell like? The Bible gives us images of unquenchable fire and a smoke that goes up forever. But C.S. Lewis opted for a different metaphor in The Great Divorce: a drab town where it is always dark and mostly empty. Hell, in Lewis’ depiction, is a failed city: a place of crowded loneliness and frustrated aspirations.I thought of Lewis’ hell as I rewatched Ridley Scott’s 1981 dystopian masterpiece, Blade Runner. The film takes plac … [Read more...]

Ender’s Game Plays by the book…or at least close enough

Review of Ender's Game, Directed by Gavin Hood[This review is written for those who have read the novel or already seen the film. Find a summary of Ender’s Game here.]“In the moment when I truly understand my enemy, understand him well enough to defeat him, then in that very moment I also love him.” – A.E. WigginFor decades—28 years to be exact—Orson Scott Card’s science-fiction classic Ender’s Game stumbled through Hollywood in a never-ending journey from book to screen. Card himself tol … [Read more...]

42 and Jackie Robinson’s Legacy of Nonviolence

Review of 42, Directed by Brian HelgelandThe story of Jackie Robinson is familiar to most Americans, but being an American who grew up overseas, I must confess ignorance of this iconic hero before watching 42. (The educational value of the film itself makes it worth watching: among other things, 42 underlines the exalted position of “race” in the American consciousness). America’s pastime was tainted by the pollution of segregation and 42 tells us of a man who tried to expunge this stain whil … [Read more...]

The Raiders of the Lost Ark Discover That “Our God is a Consuming Fire”

Review of Raiders of the Lost Ark, Directed by Steven SpielbergWhen I was growing up, I read a lot of The Hardy Boys and The Sugar Creek Gang series, adventure stories in which boys solve mysteries, chase bad guys, rescue strangers, discover mysterious caves, explore abandoned mansions, recover exotic artifacts from far off lands, and learn Important Life Lessons along the way.  Much later I learned these were the latest in a long and venerable tradition of boys adventure serials that were … [Read more...]

May the Force Be With You

Review of Star Wars, Directed by George Lucas If you ask a cinephile what his favorite decade was, chances are he will pick the 1970s.  That decade was full of movies that movie lovers love to love--really dark, gritty, tragic, violent movies like A Clockwork Orange (1971), Mean Streets (1793), Taxi Driver (1976), The Godfather, Parts I and II (1972, 1974), The Deer Hunter (1978), and Apocalypse Now (1979).  These are movies that reflected their pessimistic times and, film buffs like to cl … [Read more...]