Saturday, October 28, 2017

Why Christians Need to See Blade Runner 2049

If you can handle three short scenes of nudity (one is an animated ad that is sexual, the other so clinical to remove any sexuality, the third very brief), then you need to see Blade Runner 2049. It is a beautifully crafted film. Running at 2 hours and 45 minutes, it starts slow but accelerates to a breathtaking ending. The acting, writing, and effects are excellent and come alive in some of the most stunning cinematography I've ever seen of which it should win an Oscar for.

It is also the most disturbing film I've seen in ages. I warn you, if you do see it, it will attempt to suck every last essence of hope in your Spirit. So why would I recommend that you see it? Because it is the quintessential humanist movie. If you want your agnostic, atheist friends to have their worldview smacked into their (and yours) face, then have them watch this film with you. It's not pretty.

In Blade Runner 2049, the world has suffered a major ecological disaster (the one the global warmers have warned about for the last fifty years and fortunately has not occurred). Trees are gone and animals nearly non-existent. Food is grown in protein farms. Humans are cloned in vats and are called 'Replicants' who are used as slaves and considered soulless. Ryan Gosling does a great job portraying one who is used to hunt down an older version of the Replicants who went rogue in the first movie.

The movie takes place in the greater Los Angeles area. A great wall has been built to keep back the rising Oceans and Las Vegas was nuked with a radiation bomb. The city is filled with apartment complexes that have small apartments built like safe rooms to keep out the residents who literally reside in the stairwells. It rains constantly. The law exists but is barely keeping things together and is overruled by corporations which pretty much do what they want. Nine worlds outside Earth have been colonized, however, although not stated it is pretty much understood; only the ultra-rich have left, and hints from the first movie indicate that there is war there also.

In short, a dystopian nightmare.

Francis Shaeffer, in his book, "The God Who is There" discusses a 'line of despair' that modern man crossed when he discarded God and Biblical Truth.  If there is no God, then there is no truth except which that he creates himself and man can never verify that what he creates is real. Blade Runner takes that philosophy and slaps us, repeatedly, in the face. Harrison Ford states defiantly in the film, "I know what is real!" but we, and him know it's all bravado. The film painfully tries to find truth and reality in a world collapsed with no religion and no moral code. It is difficult to watch.

There is a nice plot twist and I won't spoil it. The Replicants become the center of the story, and possibly the hope of the future. Soulless machines who can kill without remorse and are free from any moral constraints become the heroes. Why not if a man is not made in God's image but is simply an accident of the Universe?

Blade Runner 2049 has barely made $200 million in worldwide box office sales. Why? I was in a theater that was about seventy-five percent full. When it ended, you could have a heard a pin drop. No one likes to see the full implications of their worldview played out, albeit it beautifully, in front of them for three hours, even Christians. The Biblical worldview ends in hope; it doesn't remove the pain and despair we will feel at times in this fallen world but it offers peace and joy in the midst of them and a promise of a future and eventually ultimate redemption.The humanist philosophy as Blade Runner so aptly portrays, will have none of that. Life without God is indeed hopeless and offers no comfort from pain and trades the assurance of reasoning and truth with despair that comes with the lack of a concrete reality.