3rd. article in our 7week series on Sci-Fi/Fantasy
Science Fiction and Fantasy films allow us as an audience to indulge our minds in the “what ifs” of our imaginations. They bring to life the adventures, places, and people/creatures we have dreamed since our youth. They can also hold spiritual messages enlightening us to dig a little deeper within ourselves to connect to others and find our own truth.
Spirituality can refer to an inner path that enables one to delve deeper into the essence of their true self. This can include morals, beliefs, and a connectedness to a higher reality. Sci fi/fantasy films generally incorporate themes of tolerance, courage, compassion, love, believing in oneself, human connection, and conquering evil. Most Sci fi/fantasy films aren’t blatantly obvious in a spiritual message, but you can find gems hidden throughout that have a deeper meaning. Below are some films I felt carried some very spiritual moments.
James Cameron’s AVATAR depicts a strong spiritual connection between one world and another. The Tree of Souls connects the Na’vi to their ancestors and is considered the most spiritual point of existence. The tree is able to connect with the world as well as its people. Many people believe that life continues after death and we are intermittently connected. Some have felt the presence of those on the other side and that what we see with our natural eyes is nothing compared to that of our spiritual eyes.
E.T. and Elliot have a very emotional connection that ultimately becomes a physical connection (i.e. mimicking one’s behaviors and characteristics). E.T. also acts almost Christ-like in his healing powers, goodness, and resurrection after death. E.T. brings a purity that is endearing and inspiring. Again, in the scene above, E.T. tells Elliot “I’ll be right here.” For many of us, knowing that we have loved ones on the “other side” brings us comfort. It is never easy saying goodbye, but feeling their presence after they are gone can give us more peace.
This clip is pretty self-explanatory and one of the best representing those who try to manipulate and destroy but through sheer inner strength and courage, good conquers evil.
The NeverEnding Story
Michael Ende’s story is filled with many spiritual traits such as courage, faith, the forces of evil that pray on our weaknesses, pride, humility, and forgiveness. The “Nothing” is destroying Fantasia, and as we learn from Gmork, the wolf, we learn the “Nothing” is the creation of human hopelessness, sadness, delusions, and madness. When Fantasians pass through the nothing,
“They will become delusions in the minds of human beings, fears where there is nothing to fear, desires for vain, hurtful things, despairing thoughts where there is no reason to despair.”
The only way to destroy the “Nothing” is to fight against it with inner strength, love, and hope.
The Chronicles of Narnia
The themes in these chronicles are endless: life and death, resurrection, prayer and response, suffering and the apparent abandonment of God, faith and proof, leadership, lost spiritual heritage and re-discovery, and finding meaning in our existence.
Why does it seem we need spirituality in our films? Is there a purpose to displaying positive and uplifting attributes conquering the evil and destructive ones? How does it affect our culture? Are we looking for deeper meaning in our own lives?
 Ende, Michael. The NeverEnding Story. Pg. 151