Friday, June 27, 2014

What could have been

Elsewhere I wrote at length about how much I enjoyed John Milton's books, Paradise Lost and Paradise Regained, with riders forewarning how the English used in it is simply ancient. So you can imagine my disappointment when I heard that plans were shelved to make a Paradise Lost movie. They said the visual effects required to film that one were going to push up its cost and make it unprofitable. (Funny, that never stopped 'Avatar'.)

Profit was the motive, which assurance failing, rendered the whole enterprise useless in the producers' eyes. But what a wonderful chance for evangelism was thus lost! How about if they had lost a few million dollars ad gained the kingdom of heaven a few million souls? Then they'd have had treasure in heaven.

Nevertheless, it was going to be made in Hollywood, and big-name movie stars had been cited in leading roles. At this, two alternative scenarios cross my mind.

FIRST. If I have learned anything from watching Hollywood adaptations of Christian narratives, I wouldn't trust Hollywood with such sensitive foundational doctrines as the origin of sin, the war in heaven, the creation of the world, the temptation and fall of man. Judging by one enthused critic who declared that it was going to be a cross between Lord of the Rings and 300, sublime spiritual subtleties would be sacrificed in favor of a haze of dramatic special effects, battle scenes, cinematic acrobatics. Out with Milton's incisive wit, cue arrogant quips, for the trailer. Any number of unbiblical teachings would have made their way into the movie. (Look at the recent Noah movie for comparison.) For example, early on, "Paradise Lost the movie" assumed a "sympathy for the devil" shade in critic's opinions. Therefore the very real possibility is that Hollywood's Paradise Lost, if it ever came to fruition, would have been, like so many movies out of Hollywood, a disguised ode to Satan.

OTHERWISE, it could be that Hollywood took a real good look at Paradise Lost and realized that no amount of ingenuity could transform it to anything other than the powerful evangelism tool it had the potential to become. Even if it had been heavily adulterated into a gore-fest, it would have forced them to address the great spiritual WHY of the fighting, even superficially. It would have excited curiosity-relevant-unto-salvation in its viewers. For all its faults, Paradise Lost (the book) paints a vivid picture of the love, righteousness and truth of GOD contrasted with the pride, wickedness and lies of Satan. However we (should) all know that Hollywood is not about the kingdom of heaven. So, because a kingdom divided against itself can not stand, Hollywood scrapped Paradise Lost movie altogether.

These thoughts above are what I think. Otherwise the nearest I've come to a scripturally sound audio-visual reconstruction of events culminating in the fall of man was Cosmic Conflict by Amazing Facts. The visual effects, script, and acting fall far short of Hollywood capacity, but they did their best and shared what light they have. And it's real bright light, I tell you!

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