Important lessons learned while watching movie
Monday, November 11, 2013 4:24 AM
I don't watch many movies. Of the movies I do watch, few of them are seen while still in a theater. The first movie I saw in the theaters was, I think, "Spongebob: The Movie." At the time, I was excited.
I have seen a fair number of movies in the theaters, but probably less than 20. I don't often get caught up in the buzz surrounding a movie. When I have, I've experienced both regret and supreme satisfaction.
I saw the disappointing sequels to "National Treasure" and "Transformers" and the horrible fourth "Pirates of the Caribbean" film. However, I also saw the last three Harry Potter movies and the first Chronicles of Narnia film. These were winners.
The movies I particularly enjoy are those that dig deep into my soul and resonate with a foundational principle of my being. Sometimes it's difficult for me to tell if I'm connecting more with the story or with the soundtrack. I'm a sucker for great soundtracks. The best way for me to tell if a movie really meant something to me is if I experience something I call a "movie hangover."
A couple weeks ago I determined I would see the movie "Gravity" in theaters. The film had already topped the box office charts for three straight weeks and the buzz over it began to influence my desires and eagerness to see it. Just a few months prior, I had watched the trailer for "Gravity" online and scoffed. It looked like just another far-fetched sci-fi thriller using the vacuum of space to induce a suffocating audience experience. I assumed its only redeeming quality would come from its special effects. Superficial reasoning aside, I was still drawn to it. As I watched, I quickly learned I was wrong about "Gravity's" superficiality. In fact, in just an hour and a half, I discovered a depth of meaning for which I wasn't even searching.
For those of you who haven't seen the film I won't reveal anything specifically relevant to the plot. The movie itself wasn't as important as were the lessons I again learned from it.
Lesson one: We have one Earth and we are obligated to take care of it. This lesson is learned whenever I spend time contemplating the vastness of space and the beauty of the Earth. "Gravity" gives plenty of grand vistas of a computer-generated Earth, but it drives home the point anyway.
Lesson two: Persevere. Whether or not characters in "Gravity" died, one of the main themes present throughout the film is that of perseverance. This intangible characteristic may seem so cliché in its description, but it is what it is. Perseverance spawns hope. Hope spawns increased perseverance. In our daily lives, we are confronted with a myriad of trials. Some are relatively minor, whereas some seem to have the ability of eradicating hope and weakening resolve. Depressions, addictions, procrastinations, stresses and so many other vicissitudes of life seek to tear us down. Where then does perseverance come from? Something I felt "Gravity" said about perseverance was that it acts through us, but does not originate with us. There needs to be an external, motivating factor, e.g. God, a friend, family member, etc. We may have a persevering spirit, but we cannot turn that into hope or greater perseverance without the uplift from someone else. I don't think this demeans what we can do in and of ourselves, but shows a beautiful human need and dependence upon others.
Lesson three: Life is worth it. No matter what our struggles are or how inept we are at persevering, choosing to live is the right choice. We are coming up on the Thanksgiving and Christmas season, a time when I like to watch "It's a Wonderful Life." This movie, along with "Gravity" expresses absolute certainty in the triumph of life over death.
We live in a world desensitized to death. As if the news wasn't saturated enough with it, cultures promulgate death to alarmingly glamorous degrees. I'm sure most people I could ask would agree the death of a family member isn't an enjoyable thing. This makes sense. I have to ask: does it make sense to enjoy watching television, movies, and other media where death is treated as trivial? If so, why? Why do we choose to subscribe to multiple perceptions toward death? Why not life?
These are just three of the lessons I learned while watching and pondering "Gravity." It's interesting how a movie can linger, not so much in its visual nature, but in its essence.