Friday, September 22, 2006

Good and Evil in Film: Pirates and Giant

Earlier, I did a post about Pirates of the Carribbean: Dead Man's Chest asking Are We Born Pirates or Do We Become Pirates?

MCF had some great thoughts point out that characters like Jack Sparron (Johnny Depp) "find a way be something better instead of being selfish," while Elizabeth (Keira Knightley) "finds something truly dark within herself and acts on it."

(Like MCF) Mercurie concludes with the thought: "I'm not sure that anyone is purely good or bad. We have the capacity for both in all of us."

Sheri Ann made some excellent comments where in summary she says: "Yes, i believe we are all born "pirates" if you want to say a pirate is someone who is inheriatly bad, but also capable of doing good. Every person on earth, no matter the status of their heart, is capable of doing a good deed. Many choose not too, but they can. "

I think a film like Pirates of the Carribean presents a very simplistic vision of Good and Evil suggesting that the good can fall and the evil can rise.

A Different Take: The Iron Giant

Brad Bird's "children's film" The Iron Giant presents a more complex view of Good and Evil in the story of the Iron Giant. (warning: Iron Giant spoilers will follow)

In the Iron Giant, the giant does some "bad things" like eating up cars, tractors and shutting down the power plant. His destructive "evil nature" is built around him acting on impulse and not knowing of any other way.

Yet, as Hoggarth helps The Iron Giant understand how to be good (aka be more like Superman and less like the destructive super villian), The Iron Giant learns, and although his nature based on his size and habits may at times be destructive, he has a deep seeded desire in him to be good, largely because of the affirmation he receives from his protector/savior Hoggarth.

Yet, as the situation becomes hostile and millitant around him, the choice to fight back or be peacable becomes very difficult and the Iron Giant, with the assistance of Hoggarth must make serious choices about which nature he will give into...the evil nature, that response in defense to to the violence around him with violence, or with the humility and self-sacrifice of a hero with the most honorable intentions.

I think The Iron Giant is a beautifully meaningful film, and I am impressed with the complicated perspective it gives into the ideas of good and evil as presented in cinema.

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Terence Towles Canote said...

I honestly think that The Iron Giant is one of the greatest animated movies of all time. Indeed, I don't even think of it as a children's movie, but as one of those films that can be enjoyed by adults and kids alike. In fact, I think it may well be a movie enjoyed by adults more. As you point out, it has a complex view of good and evil. I think it also has some important things to say about heroism, tolerance, and what it means to be human. It is certainly a remarkable film.

Um Naief said...

I saw this movie just this year or late last year. First time for me and I loved it. It does show a complex view of good and evil in such a touching way.