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Summer blockbusters

To illustrate that doing right as an individual is the task of everyone, no matter what the odds.

by James Lamont

Suitable for Whole School (Sec)

Aims

To illustrate that doing right as an individual is the task of everyone, no matter what the odds.

Preparation and materials

  • You need five readers.

  • Download some film soundtrack music by John Williams, composer of Stephen Spielberg film scores. The music from the Indiana Jones series would be perfect. Play this as the students enter.

Assembly

  1. Reader 1: Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull – Indiana Jones races against time and Soviet agents to help a mysterious young man find a legendary artefact.

    Reader 2: Iron Man – A weapons designer captured by terrorists uses his latest design to escape and defeat his captors.

    Reader 3: The Incredible Hulk – A scientist accidentally poisons himself, which causes him to transform into a monster. Now he must avoid the military, who seek to exploit his powers, while trying to find a cure to save himself.

    Reader 4: The Chronicles of Narnia: Prince Caspian – Four children venture into a faraway land and help depose a tyrant and reinstate the rightful king.

    Reader 5: Batman: The Dark Knight – Batman teams up with the police in order to thwart a psychotic villain.
  2. In all these films, a strong theme is the struggle of the moral individual with an evil power (the military, terrorists, oppression) and also with themselves. The heroes of these films must prove themselves worthy of what they seek, through redemption of past crimes or helping others in a greater cause. They are never invincible – all the characters are heavily flawed but struggle to overcome this, which is what makes them truly great. The struggle to achieve salvation from one’s own crimes is the real task.
  3. All these characters involve some form of return. Indiana Jones returns from a long hiatus to go on another quest. Iron Man returns from imprisonment to fight for justice. The Hulk returns to humanity from being a monster to continue his work. The children return to Narnia to finish the task that they started. This shows that the search for good and justice must be constantly worked on and is not easy. But there is an unstoppable drive for it anyway, which these characters demonstrate. Even if one cannot achieve something easily, it is no reason not to strive for it. Even the impossible is worth striving for if it is right.

Time for reflection

Reflection

In these films, the characters are required to do what is right and just in the face of oppression. This resonates in the real world today: nations and organizations struggle to provide aid for the people of Burma, recently affected by cyclone Nargis, against the counterproductive attitudes and practices of their oppressive government. The aftermath of the earthquake in China, by contrast, has been seen and events followed by the world, which is relatively new in China; up until recently, this would not have happened, but China has relaxed restrictions on reporting since the Olympics were awarded to the country.

One should not take the law into one’s own hands, but the law and right are not always the same thing – doing right as an individual is the task of everyone, no matter what the odds.

In the Bible, the Old Testament prophet Micah lived in a time when people were being oppressed and treated unfairly, and he spoke out for their rights. His message is summed up as follows:

‘What does the Lord require of you but to do justice, and to love kindness, and to walk humbly with your God?’ (Micah 6.8)

This is what our heroes and heroines are striving for in these films; this is what we strive towards in this school.

What does the Lord require of you but to do justice, and to love kindness, and to walk humbly with your God?

 

Prayer

Help me to do justice,

To love kindness,

And walk humbly with my God.

Amen.

Music

‘He who would valiant be’ (Hymns Old and New, 205)

‘When I needed a neighbour’ (Hymns Old and New, 548)

Publication date: July 2008   (Vol.10 No.7)    Published by SPCK, London, UK.
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