Tuesday, November 9, 2010

Maintain Equilibrium

This is the movie post I said I was going to write about.  It's going to be more of an analysis of the themes and messages in the film (Equilibrium) rather than a synopsis, but I'll include some other things about the movie later. 

I seem to have come to a similar conclusion about something in the film that another viewer did, on the Christiananswers.net/spotlight movie review website:

Warning: includes spoilers.
Imagine a world without wars, without hate or greed...
Where there are no feelings, no emotion, and where those who dare to feel are hunted down without mercy and eradicated because they are a threat to the status quo...

This is John Preston's world.  Preston is one of the Grammaton Clerics, the elite group assigned to find and destroy "sense offenders" (those who don't take the feeling-inhibitive drug, Prozium) and illegal items that show or try to evoke emotion, such as the Mona Lisa.    

After a chain of events that begins with the death of his fellow cleric and friend at his hand and includes encounters with multiple other people, he stops taking Prozium and begins to feel for the first time.
Eventually, he brings down the evil government leader (and lots of unfortunate, rather foolish guards) so the people can free themselves from the tyranny they've been under.

Now for some of the themes/messages I gathered from the movie or can apply. 
The good:
1) Peace can be just as bad as war...is "peace" and stability so important that freedom must be sacrificed for it?
2) The government's job is only to restrain evil, and it should not do more than that.
3) I think another review mentioned this, but could Prozium be an off-hand reference to the drugs used for kids with ADD/ADHD? (i.e. have everyone take drugs so they will behave and not disturb the peace?)  

The bad:
The use of words such as "cleric", "Father", and "faith"...these words are Christian language, and I'll show the message I believe how their use seems to delivering.

In the film, Clerics (another name for "churchmen") like Preston are bad, "Father", the leader of the totalitarian government is evil and shown to have been dead for many years when Preston tries to meet him.
Also, Preston says he will demonstrate his faith by doing something evil (destroying The Underground or something like that; I forget what exactly he was referring to). 
These things seem to be making the statement that Christianity is evil and responsible for authoritarian governments and the suppression of freedoms (although the opposite is true), "Father" (God) is dead and is just a continued myth to keep people in line, somewhat similar to Karl Marx's statement, "Religion is the opiate of the people."   

However, if, as a Christian, you know that if a country followed the Bible, its government would be limited and only be used to restrain evil and know that totalitarian governments stem from the lack of a moral standard, you can think about the other, positive themes.  

On another topic:
Although this movie, like most action flicks, has completely unrealistic action scenes, special effects, etc., at least it looks pretty awesome - being unrealistic and cheesy would be horrible, but some of the things in the movie, such as Preston fighting with his sword held in the reverse grip, shooting accurately with a fully-automatic pistol in each hand (even behind his head at times, if I remember correctly!), being able to take out around 20-50 guards (I'm not sure how many there were) without getting shot, and having his pistols and magazines pop out of his sleeves and pockets, like they were pushed by springs (did I mention that his rather large pistols were in his sleeves?), and more requires a little bit of suspension of belief, as do most action movies, but it's highly enjoyable to watch all the same.  Just don't go fighting with your sword held in the reverse grip and do other silly stuff like that if you want to stay alive. 
A bunch of guns in Equilibrium were also pretty cool, as you might have noticed. 

I could probably go on for a while longer about the movie, but it's about time I've finished this post, so it is now complete.

-The end

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