Sunday, September 4, 2011
Cowboys...Aliens...and the Grace of God
Just took Gabriel to see the new summer blockbuster Cowboys & Aliens! I knew from when I first heard the title I was going to love it because ...well...it has Cowboys...and Aliens. Nuff said!
Anyhow as I was watching the movie I was struck by how much the idea of redemption and God's Grace underpinned the movie. That wasn't surprising as when I saw the credits roll at the beginning I noticed one of the screenwriters for the film was Lost writer Damon Lindelof. The Catholic Lindelof was known for including Christian themes such as redemption into the story line of Lost so it came as no shock to me when I saw similar themes in Cowboys & Aliens. Even the "preacher" in the film (played by the always solid Clancy Brown) was a man of conviction who brought life and grace to those he met.
Like I was saying though, it was the message of God's Grace that really struck me. Harrsison Ford plays local land baron Woodrow Dolarhyde. At the beginning of the film Dolarhyde's arrogant, spoiled son Percy shoots the town's deputy more from stupidity than maliciousness. The "law" in the form of the Sheriff arrests Percy and has him sent to another city for trial. Dolarhyde rides into town to rescue Percy and although he knows Percy is a silly spoiled child, he is still his son. The scene of Dolarhyde attempting to get his boy free though is interrupted by the "aliens" who sweep down from the sky and kidnap a number of town folk including young Percy.
Despite the fact his son has shown to not be deserving of his Father's love, Dolarhyde mounts a posse to go and save him as well as the rest of the townspeople. Along the way Dolarhyde shows himself to be a "father" to other "adopted" sons along the way.
In the end, Percy is saved and when he sees what his father has done to redeem him, it changes who he is. His behaviour begins to model that of his father. In turn, Dolarhyde informs his son he had the bank checks redone to reflect the new family business name, "Dolarhyde & Son".
In the same way, we have done nothing to earn our heavenly father's love other than to be his children. It is when we realize the blessed position we are in and the love our father has for us that we can begin to experience genuine transformation in who we really are.
Another great illustration from the movie was when Jake Lonergan (Daniel Craig) who was a wanted felon, is given his freedom at the end of the movie. After he had demonstrated selflessness and his own change of character, the sheriff and Dolarhyde inform him that when the Federal Marshall's came looking to arrest him, they told them Jake Lonergan died in the battle. The old man that he used to be was dead and the law has no hold on a dead man. He was free to go.
Cowboys and Aliens was great summer popcorn fun. Seeing Harrison Ford back in action (heck, admittedly I grew up watching Harrison Ford) fighting...shooting bad guys...and being, ...well...Harrison Ford is all I need in a summer movie. Plus it has Cowboys...and Aliens!
Can you really beat that?