All I want for Christmas is to watch Hollywood’s Jesus films, like the full cycle of Star Wars movies, the Matrix, or the Lord of the Rings Trilogy, capped off with The DaVinci Code.
I always liked the savior figure Neo, because instead of abandoning the real world to join a spiritual, imaginary one, he has to break with the imaginary to find what’s real. (He also had a much better concept of Trinity.) The war between humans and machines teaches us about the dangers of inhumane corporate dominance, but I’m not sure I understand or trust the final episode’s reconciliation. It sounds like Washington’s version of health care or finance reform, where the machines are still in charge.
Far more entertaining is the Christ as one who must regain his throne, but not just by killing the orcs, but by gaining disciples through fellowship, loyalty, and courage — along with a faith in children. The evil tyrannical regime has an all-seeing eye that is only a modest extension of today’s surveillance state, which is only defeated by using the signal fires to alert all life forms to the need to fight as one against evil. My favorite scene is when nature itself rebels and the forests save men by destroying the military-industrial complex.
I like the Star Wars idea that God is schizophrenic, with Dark Side and Good Side, and that the Force not only represents all life forms but has to both kill and save itself through hope, a belief in justice and the destruction of tyranny. If you see Luke as Jesus, then you have to accept that his birth is the illicit union of good and evil, and he, like the rest of us, must struggle with the duality throughout life. But Anakin and Padme, Luke and Leia also tell us Jesus is both sexes. Salvation requires the children to avoid the temptations of the Dark Side and still kill the dark side in the parent.
And of course there’s the Jesus was a funny kid movies, like Charlie Brown. Jesus as Charlie has no sin, and he embodies the “love your enemies” via Lucy; we know she will always tempt the Christ by holding the football, and Jesus will always try to kick it and fall on his butt . . . but forgive her. And we know that Jesus is never allowed to win at baseball, the saga in which humans collectively try to conquer failure only to lose; Schultz apparently believed there’s still some flaw in the Christ story.
As strange as it seems, there are those who like the mischievous Jesus in the Home Alone movies, though those who do sometimes grow up and make strange alliances with Grover Norquist. If you want to become a progressive activist, this is probably the Christ movie for you.
My evil cable provider — a satanic corporation called Comcast — cleverly allows all of these Jesus films this time of year even though they’re all just as subversive as the Gospels. I assume it’s because they know that they can sell you worthless stuff, not just during the too often, too long commercial breaks but during the movie with those annoying pop-ups that used to be just at the bottom corner of the sceen but are now spreading like a cancer into the main picture. Only the remote control and Netflix can save us.