Thursday, July 5, 2007

1 Corinthians 13:11 and Giant Alien Robots

GPop and I took Son to see Transformers yesterday. The afternoon was a mess of thunderstorms, so the theater was packed. Son's prognosis of the movie was that it would be "really cool." His assessment was that it was "awesome."

Somehow, in the space between hearing about this movie about a year ago and seeing this movie yesterday, I became old. My assessment: "Meh."

Throughout the movie, my reptilian hindbrain was quite impressed with the giant alien robots, and how much doo-doo I would be in if one of the Decepticons decided to squish me. The slightly more advanced id portion of my psyche coveted the nifty-cool cars.

Fuddy-duddy superego kept counting fatalities, tallying property damage, noticing plot holes big enough to drive Optimus Prime through, and wondering about the motivations of the Decepticons. (Power good. Autobots bad.)

Spoiler alert (highlight to see text)
Plus, I wonder about the sacrifice Optimus Prime was willing to make. If he was willing to sacrifice himself to save his planet or ours, that's all well and good. However, when you listen to the monologue at the end, right before the end credits, you hear that because of the destruction of the Allspark, it's no longer possible to resurrect the planet of the Transformers. So, basically, Optimus Prime was willing to sacrifice not only himself to save his species, but also sacrifice the future of his species to save the current crop.

"If I can't play with it, nobody can play with it. [SMASH]"

And, does the State of California no longer require titles to be transferred when cars are sold? Why was the boy able to acquire a Camaro without getting a title, insurance, etc.
End spoilers.

I ended up using this as a teaching moment or three with Son. GPop and I explained why we thought that the movie was entertaining, but we had to be careful about how we think about entertainment. When we suspend our disbelief for entertainment purposes, we expose our values to manipulation (he says, hoping nobody calls Shenanigans). Entertainment can serve as propaganda, just because of that filter removal coming from suspension of disbelief. I can see this being related to the controversy around violence in video games as well.

Anyway, the messages to Son were that he should think carefully about how entertainment makes him feel and what it makes him think. If he feels that he is getting some kind of new world view out of the entertainment, spend some time to examine those thoughts and feelings so that he can incorporate them appropriately.

Son seemed to listen. I'm so proud of him.

UPDATE: More over at Geek, Interrupted.

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