I'm taking a short break from the theological stuff today. With the summer movie season coming up, one thing is sure: the children's movies -- i.e. the movies I'll actually have a chance to see -- will have morals, and those morals will be worse than merely sappy, they will also be wrongheaded. No, don't get me wrong, I plan on enjoying the movies anyway. Of the 3 movies discussed below, I enjoyed 2 of them very much. The other, being a sequel, was mostly stale left-overs that never quite got warmed to the level of the original. Here is a sampling of kid-pic moralism:
Film: Mulan II
Moral: "My duty is to my heart."
The problem? In practical daily use, it equates selfishness with morality. That "duty to my heart" bit only gives good results if you have a pure heart. And that just scratches the surface ...
Film: The Incredibles
Moral gaffe: "Everyone's special." "Then no one is special."
Did you ever look at a field of bluebonnets? It is spectacular. But no one flower is "special". When, exactly, did people start thinking that, to be good and worthwhile, you had to "special" -- that is, different from everyone else? Doesn't that assume that "everyone else" is not really good and worthwhile? Since when did we find our value in what separates us from others instead of what we share with others? And what exactly has that done to our sense of belonging together as a people?
Film: Pirates of the Caribbean / Curse of the Black Pearl
Moral: "Sometimes an act of piracy may be the right course of action."
Yes, but the other 99 times out of 100 piracy is murder and theft. (Is piracy the result of "My duty is to my heart" kind of thinking? Hmm.) If the film industry wants something novel and innovative, how about a pirate movie where the murderers and thieves are portrayed as bad guys, and those trying to stop them are portrayed as brave and worthy? Of course, anyone getting their sense of morality from Hollywood pirate flicks has worse problems than whatever morally questionable package the filmmaker is selling. Pirates I was a fun movie. It just would have been better if they hadn't tried to tack on moral overtones at the end.