Monday, July 02, 2007

The Gospel According to Transformers


I just got back from seeing the new Transformers movie which I would rate at about 6.5-7.0 on the cool-movie-o-metre. Being an early 30s Gen-Xer, watching Transformers brought back alot of childhood memories. My brother and I had lots of the toys: Optimus Prime, Megatron, Starscream, Dinobots, Constructacons, Soundwave, and my personal favourite Sunstreak. One theme that kept emerging out of the movie was "no sacrifice, no victory". This I think is a fitting summary of Col. 2.15 where death and triumph are key elements of the function of Christ's death. Atonement and triumph go hand in hand. The divine victory comes ironically in the midst of death, degradation, and disempowerment. Mark 15 is a parody of the Graeco-Roman triumphal procession and the Evangelist wants us to see that Christ's death is also his coronation. Jesus proclaimed the kingdom of God and yet in the titulus above the cross, we find proclaimed the kingship of the crucified. For further details on the movie see the review by Mark Hadley.

8 comments:

Eddie said...

Interestingly enough, even as the main character (name forgotten already) went to defeat Megatron confessing the mantra "there is no victory without sacrifice", neither him nor Optimus Prime (who was willing to sacrifice himself) did not sacrifice themselves. They did not have to.

Great movie, Special effects are insane!

Steve said...

The Optimus Prime toy was undoubtedly the coolest. Although, the price tag left most of us living covetous lives. I envy you for having it.

I haven't seen the movie yet, but can't wait to see it this weekend.

Alex said...

The KING riding on a DONKEY, which is I guess now called the TRIUMPHAL PROCESSION. You have to love the irony/subversion in that story.

Incidentally, my brother and I always wanted the optimus prime toy also, but because of the aforementioned price we never obtained it either, but only hoped from afar.

Michael Westmoreland-White said...

The difference is that the Gospel accounts show Jesus sacrificing himself nonviolently. The Transformers, like most military, superhero, cop, etc. action movies show self-sacrifice that is ARMED and only comes when one cannot just overpower the enemy. This is not gospel, but what Walter Wink calls the "myth of redemptive violence."

It still looks like a fun movie, but I am wary of drawing too close parallels because I think that most of our churches have already bought into the myth of redemptive violence too much and should be encouraged constantly to see the DIFFERENCE between the Gospel narratives and the dominant narratives of our culture.

J. Richard Thacker said...

7.0? This rates at least an 8.5...

Michael said...

I give the movie a 10, and I still have my Optimus Prime.

Rabbi Saul said...

The king riding on a donkey in a triumphal procession - yes, that is irony. In the Bible, kings normally read donkeys in times of peace (e.g. the coronation of Solomon, when David mounted him on his own donkey).

BTW, I think that the triumphal procession is as much or more an echo and subversion of the Maccabean entry into Jerusalem as that of the standard Graeco-Roman ones.

Nance said...

Well there goes my theory on the film lacking any substance beyond an awesome premise and great effects!
And I have to say, responding to eddie's comment about Prime in the end not having to sacrifice anything, I'm not sure that that's the case. You hear Optimus Prime mutter something to the effect of "forgive me, brother" to Megatron after the decepticon Leader bites it. This implies an incredible conviction of the sanctity of life on Prime's part(supported by his character throughout the movie), and it would seem that he felt to lose anyone to end this senseless violence--even an enemy--is a sacrifice.
"No man is an island" and all that...