And the top grossing films of 2007 were...
• Spiderman 3 - $336,530,303
• Shrek the Third - $321,012,359
• Transformers - $319,071,806
• Pirates of the Caribbean: At World's End - $309,420,425
• Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix - $292,004,738
• The Bourne Ultimatum - $227,471,070
What do an anachra-superhero, giant green ogre, techno-transformer lover, swash-buckling pirate, boy wizard and amnesiac ex-government agent have in common, besides their wildly successful runs at the box office? For help answering that question, check out the following multiple choice options:
• They're all movie heroes who drew in huge teen audiences
• They're all on a quest that involves searching for answers to an important question
• They're all part of a struggle that pits good vs. evil
• All of the above.
If you answered 'all of the above', you nailed it! Consider yourself a well-informed movie connoisseurs of the biggest hits of 2007, not to mention, a brilliant and insightful observer of the culture!
But stop and think for a minute about the bigger picture here regarding the big pictures of 2007. Why do all of the top films of the year share those three over-arching characteristics?
Perhaps it's because teens are flocking in droves to movies that speak to the most basic human challenges and desires: to find answers to important questions and to understand more about the ever-present battle in this world between the forces of good and evil. Teens know that good story-telling wrestles with the big questions of life in fresh and creative ways, including the struggle of good vs. evil, and all of these movies do that in some dimension or other.
All of these blockbuster movies of 2007 are now available on DVD, making it cheap and easy to plan an intentional evening with your unreached friends who are searching for answers to the big questions of life. Questions like: Is there a God? Why is there evil in the world? and Why am I here?
So pick your favorite hit movie of the year, watch it together with your friends and then use the story line to turn the post-movie conversation toward spiritual things. Here are some ideas to help you get started:
• Spiderman 3: Peter wrestles with the eye-opening reality that he is not all superhero purity and goodness, and that the criminals he battles are not all evil and darkness. Talk about how the Bible teaches that evil lurks inside every human heart.
• Shrek the Third: Why do fairytales always include evil villains? Ask your friends if they think there is a spiritual battle raging between the forces of good and evil in the real world. Share what you believe.
• Transformers: Does your outer image match how you see yourself on the inside? Do you ever wish you could transform yourself into a totally different person? Ask your friends if they think it's harder to transform the inside or the outside of who you are? Describe how your relationship with Jesus has transformed you!
• Pirates of the Caribbean: At World's End: Ask your friends what they think happens to people when they die, since there is no "Flying Dutchman" ship to take a person somewhere. Do they believe in heaven and hell? The Bible describes hell as a place of pain and suffering - not quite as funny as what Jack Sparrow experienced being in Davy Jones' locker.
• Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix: When Harry returns to Hogwarts for his fifth year, the school is in disarray because many there are in denial about the evil influence of Lord Voldemort. Do you see any similarities in our world to people who deny the existence of a spiritual battle between good and evil? Ask your friends if they believe there is a spiritual battle raging in the real world?
• The Bourne Ultimatum: Ask your friends what they do when they feel guilty about something. Share from your experience the forgiveness you've received through your relationship with Jesus.
Try prayfully planning a movie night with friends using one of your favorite hits of the year. Break out the popcorn and be prepared with some thought-provoking questions and watch to see how God uses you to turn the conversation toward Him.
Jane Dratz works for Dare 2 Share Ministries in Arvada, Colo., a ministry committed to energizing and equipping teens to know, live, share and own their faith in Jesus. For more information on Dare 2 Share Ministries, please visit www.dare2share.org. Send feedback to [email protected]