Last Saturday I posted about how I thought Evan Almighty was “fun”. I stick to that. I enjoyed it. But that doesn’t mean I approved of it as a masterpiece, or especially as a theological piece. In that, it had many problems of course, as movies usually do that attempt to appeal to a “wide audience” and “derive” something “relevant” to a “diverse” audience. This set of critiques from Kaz are all on target, as afar as I’m concerned:
Interspersed in all this is a story about faith and family and about taking the opportunities provided us to do small things to make the world, and our lives, better. While the overblown sentimentality of the film may lure some “faith-based” movie-goers into the theaters, the movie hardly touches upon anything relating to Christianity. God, once again, is here to teach us to do good which in this case means protecting vital natural forests and ending suburban sprawl–all while bringing the family together. It’s too shallow and too easy for anyone to take anything away from the film other than a whisp of a feeling that if you had a beautiful wife, three cute kids, and a positive attitude, that’s all life is about. Oh, and being nice. Spare me.
I found a bit overblown on the idea that God did this “mini-flood” that simply brought the ark literally to the steps of the capitol, where the “bad guy” was confronted with his greed. Kind of making short thrift of the worldwide problem that the story of Noah sought to address. And then, the revelation that the solutions to all this lie in “Random Acts of Kindness”. I referred to this in my original post here. The idea that we’re in a broken system (politics included—- whereas here, in Evan Almighty, it is implied that the political route is the way to effect the system—ie. the ark’s destination was the capitol building).
I ‘ll have to stick by my assessment that such panning of the film like some critics did, and my friend Kaz, is assigning a little too much importance to “meaning” in this case, and dismisses the idea that this was light, really light, comedy. I figure I must have needed some mindless humor. I’ve found myself really down a lot lately, and I enjoyed my time at the theater on this one. I can say this while at the same time acknowledging that it is downright lousy as a theological lesson (which, can itself be, a challenge to the kind of deifying of “America’s political process” if we recognize it as such).
I was reminded of some of this “deifying” last night as I saw again some of “National Treasure”, where the the Declaration of Independence was practically worshipped. One scene when they are using the glasses to see the map on the back of the Declaration, Cage’s character shudders with awe and says “the last time this document was in this room, it was being signed”. It was like the equivalent of “holy ground” or something. Certainly this type of “awe” is ascribed to the “mechanisms and history of U.S. history, especially during the approaching days.