Hera Hilmar as Hester Shaw in Mortal Engines © Universal Pictures 2018. Used by permission.

Mortal Combat: The clash of values in Mortal Engines

A thousand years in the future, the high-tech world of the 21st-century is ancient history. It is of interest only to archaeologists who look for old tech – fragments left after from the 60-minute war which wiped away civilisation around the globe. Facing dwindling resources, the towns and cities have become mobile, travelling around the plains on vast caterpillar tracks in pursuit of smaller, slower towns which are sources of valuable resources as well as potential competition. This is “Municipal Darwinism” – survival of the fastest. The largest of the predator cities is London – a vast multi-deck machine with enormous metal jaws into which can be drawn prey such as the small mining town which attempts to escape at the start of this story.

Image by .brioso. CC-BY-NC-SA-2.0

Seven stories we keep telling

Over the course of around twenty years of analysing films, books and other media, I have often been struck at the ways in which storytellers keep telling the same kinds of tales over and over again. That’s not to say that the narratives they construct are inevitably wearied or hackneyed; far from it. There is extraordinary diversity in the way that the themes have been explored. Yet, it remains the case that, under the surface, most if not all stories are versions of a limited number of key themes.

Art’s Desire: Responding to Film and Literature (part five)

This is the fifth in a series of six posts, which was first published as an article in Anvil journal, Volume 28 No 3 (November 2012), and is published here by kind permission of the editor. Celebrate the good1 Image from iStockPhoto.com If the ideas actually make sense, we need to acknowledge that fact, even…

© Ian Broyles. Used under a Creative Commons (CC-BY-NC-SA-2.0)

Art’s Desire: Responding to Film and Literature (part two)

This is the second in a series of six posts, which was first published as an article in Anvil journal, Volume 28 No 3 (November 2012), and is published here by kind permission of the editor. Two-faced human beings Adam and Eve were tempted by the freedom to make their own moral choices; they wanted…

Are Fairy Tales Finished?

An interesting piece by Mike Cosper on The Gospel Coalition Blog about Walt Disney’s announcement that it will not make any more princess fairy tales, at least for the foreseeable future. I was particularly struck by this observation:   I can’t help but wonder, though, if the cognitive disconnect between today’s families and the world…

Jeffrey Overstreet on the how of storytelling

Encounter 10: Jeffrey Overstreet on the how of storytelling from International Arts Movement on Vimeo. Jeffrey is a great, insightful Christian film critic whose perspectives I value highly. This lecture was given at the International Arts Movement Encounter 10. These posts may be related: Art’s Desire: Responding to Film and Literature (part six) This is…

© rpb1001, used under a Creative Commons licence.

Running film discussions for outreach

Why and how should we use film discussions in evangelism? Using films within our communication is very helpful because film is an extremely popular medium. Long-form television is arguably more popular, but film remains immensely important. Second, film is powerful because it is ‘multimodal’ – it doesn’t communicate in a single mode (images, spoken words,…

Art’s Desire: Responding to Film and Literature (part six)

This is the last in a series of six posts, which was first published as an article in Anvil journal, Volume 28 No 3 (November 2012), and is published here by kind permission of the editor. Two more aspects of responding to film and literature 4. Morality Image from iStockPhoto.com We have considered the moral…

Art’s Desire: Responding to Film and Literature (part four)

This is the fourth in a series of six posts, which was first published as an article in Anvil journal, Volume 28 No 3 (November 2012), and is published here by kind permission of the editor. Image from iStockPhoto.com Worldviews in film and literature While not wishing to over-emphasise this aspect of responding to art…

© Humberto Marum. Used under a Creative Commons licence

Art’s Desire: Responding to Film and Literature

This is the first in a series of six posts, which was first published as an article in Anvil journal, Volume 28 No 3 (November 2012), and is published here by kind permission of the editor. Reflecting or shaping? Marvin doesn’t like living in a media-dominated world. He doesn’t watch television, avoids the cinema, shuns…

Alice in Wonderland

This article was first published in Idea magazine (March/April 2010) and on Culturewatch.org. © Tony Watkins, 2010. Yet another film foray into Wonderland demonstrates the abiding charm of Lewis Carroll’s Alice stories. But Tim Burton’s surreal fantasy isn’t just a retread of the much-loved children’s story, however; it picks up Alice’s story several years on….