By Dr. Tom Snyder, Editor
Surprisingly, some of the movie stars and filmmakers appearing at this year’s Comic-Con Thursday and Friday discussed the importance of moral responsibility, conscience, or family in several major panels and press conferences on their upcoming movies.
Can the idea of faith be far behind???
Mega-star Harrison Ford was perhaps the biggest name mentioning morality when speaking about his new movie ENDER’S GAME, a big-budget science fiction adventure about a child being groomed to lead an army of remote-controlled and youth-controlled spaceships and devices against an alien race of invaders.
In the movie, Ford plays Colonel Graff, a veteran soldier who trains 13-year-old Ender Wiggin to lead children operating the remote-controlled devices against the aliens.
“Graff’s a very complex character charged with an awesome responsibility, who recruits and trains young Ender Wiggin, and who faces a lot of moral issues involving using young people for warfare. And, the complex moral issues are part of Graff’s story. Ender doesn’t face issues of morality until the end of the film, when he knows what’s happening, but Graff is aware of his moral responsibilities all through his part of the story.
“The book deals with a lot of very complex issues of social responsibility and the moral issues that one faces when one is part of the military establishment. I think Graff is a much more complex character than Han Solo [the STAR WARS character that made Ford a superstar].”
He quickly added, however, with a laugh, “That doesn’t mean I regret Han Solo.”
Ford also had high praise for the original novel created by acclaimed science fiction author, Orson Scott Card.
“He has written something [ENDER’S GAME] that I think is of value to us all concerning moral responsibility,” he said.
“What gives it such a powerful emotional tone,” he added, “is these are the issues of our day – the use of young people in the business of war. The character I play is responsible for manipulating young people. The more you wrestle with these issues, the more you realize how important they are.”
MOVIEGUIDE® asked the directors behind the sequel CLOUDY WITH A CHANCE OF MEATBALLS 2 whether their new movie will have any heartwarming, uplifting elements like the redeemed relationship between the hero and his father in the first movie.
“We have a grandfather and grandson relationship in this movie,” Director Kris Pearn said. “This movie is also about friendship. Flint [the hero] made all these friends in the first movie. Now, in this movie, he has to keep them.”
About being able to play the superhero, Spider-Man in THE AMAZING SPIDER-MAN 2, Andrew Garfield said he feels a responsibility to all the younger children who look up to the character as a hero or role model and who buy the movie’s action figure toys.
“It’s not about the actor playing the role,” he said. “It’s about the everyman nature of Peter Parker [Spider-Man’s real identity] and the everyman nature of Spider-Man and what he stands for and who he protects: all creatures great and small. That’s what’s exciting. And, the fact that I get to embody it and try to bring it to life for 5, 6-year-olds, that’s an honor for me, and one that I don’t take lightly.”
Mekhi Phifer (from the long-running hit show E.R. on TV) of the new dystopian “young adult” fantasy, DIVERGENT, and Terry Crews of the animated CLOUDY WITH A CHANCE OF MEATBALLS 2 talked about how they were excited to do the movies for their two sons.
For example, Crewes said he and his son loved the first CHANCE OF MEATBALLS, and bonded over the popular animated comedy. When he decided to take a role in the sequel, he said his son told him he better not “mess it up.”
Cast and crew members for Sony’s upcoming reboot of the ROBOCOP franchise (including Director José Padilha, actress Abbie Cornish, and actors Joel Kinnaman, Samuel L. Jackson, and Michael Keaton), said one of the new things in their version of the story, where a policeman gets terribly injured and the remnants of his body and mind are buried deep inside a robotic incarnation, is their increased focus on the policeman’s family.
Thus, in their version, it’s actually the policeman’s family that re-awakens his humanity, including his moral conscience, his soul and his personality.
In the dystopian vision of DIVERGENT, based on the young adult novel by Veronica Roth, a Christian, society has been transformed into a system where everyone is tested to determine the faction they will have to join. The five factions in the story are divided according to five virtues – those who are honest, those who are selfless, those who are brave, those who are peaceful, and those who are intelligent. In the story, conflict arises because the heroine doesn’t just fit into her family’s faction, the selfless, but also two of the others. This affects her relationship to her family and society.
MOVIEGUIDE® asked the author how this story reflects her faith, and she said she actually feels a total failure at living up to ALL of these virtues. Hence, she implied, the need for forgiveness from God through Jesus Christ.
So, in the end, maybe faith IS an important part – after all – of at least some of the moral and family issues discussed by the actors and filmmakers at this year’s Comic-Con in San Diego.