Saturday, June 13, 2009

If C. S. Lewis wrote Wall-E

Okay, so we're in Oklahoma for me to write me dissertation. Naturally then I have been watching movies and rereading the last four Harry Potter books (almost done with Deathly Hallows). Anyway, I have recently watched both Narnia: Prince Caspian and Wall-E. I had seen Prince Caspian in the theatre, but this was the first time I had seen Wall-E. In some sense (alright, just in my mind), there are similar messages in these movies. There is a strong theme of environmentalism, or at least there is in the book Prince Caspian. It is more muted in the movie, but it is still there to some extent. The message is obvious in Wall-E, however. The whole reason for Wall-E's existence is to clean up the mess that human beings have made so that the near-future humanity can return back to earth. What is more interesting for me, of course, is the religious undertones of both movies. Wall-E first. The film is about finding love but also finding redemption. The solution is very humanist, however. Human beings must take control of their own destinies to reclaim the earth. Humans have stewardship of maintaining the earth's health. They had abandoned it to go into space and allow someone to fulfill their responsibility, but in the end the humans aboard the Axiom (the ship they all fly around in) determine that they have to fulfill their duty. There is a quasi-religious duty humans have to "till the earth and keep it" (so to speak).

The religious themes are much more obvious in Prince Caspian (at least to a certain audience). Lewis offers a critique of both industrialization and urbanization, especially towards the end of the book--especially with the waking of the trees and the destruction of the bridge at Beruna. The Telmarines rely on machinery and technology and they are destroying the land of Narnia and marginalizing the animalistic creatures of Narnia. Aslan's waking of the trees is an encouragement to find religious fulfillment in nature and the power of nature. It is a Christian Romantic (think Emerson not Harlequin) view of the world, particularly in response to changes and violence of Europe in the mid-twentieth century. Tolkien has the same position in Lord of the Rings (think "Saruman has a mind of metal and wheels, he does not care for growing things").

So this gets me thinking about the new conservative Christian interest in the environment. Now there are plenty of conservative Christians who believe that Genesis gives the right to do what ever they want to the earth--"have dominion" (Gen. 1:28) meaning to rule earth however--but there are many who are starting to argue that God expects human beings to be stewards of the earth and not lords. I mean if you can get Pat Robertson and Al Sharpton to agree on something that is something worth noting. And I think, what kind of stance am I taking to the earth? Should I have a more Romantic view toward creation instead of my mind of metal and wheels? Why does Aslan sound like Qui-gon Jinn?

Anyway, this is what I'm thinking about instead of writing my dissertation (which is nearly done BTW--ha!). So everyone recycle your plastic and your paper for the good of the earth and perhaps your souls.

Oh, and Aslan and Wall-E might both be types of Christ-figures. Hmmmmm.

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