My consideration of iconic movie scenes reminded me of one sequence that might not be considered as memorable. It’s from a movie that didn’t get enough respect to my way of thinking. It’s one of my favorite Steven Spielberg movies, Empire of the Sun. Here is the clip I’m talking about.
Sixteen-hundred supercharged Rolls Royce horsepower. That’s why electric cars will never replace the internal combustion engine in the hearts and minds of the American male. You have to know that deep down we are all still just ten year old boys.
There is obviously a lot more going on than the rat-a-tat-tat of machine guns and things getting blown up. I have to say, though, that machine guns and explosions and that supercharged sound and the the incredible grace and beauty of the P-51 Mustang awakens something in me, something visceral that I don’t quite understand, something that a rational modern peace loving person should not have. Well there you go.
I suppose you could say it’s about liberation and that’s part of it. The slow motion flyby with the pilot waving speaks to that. I’ve struggled over the years with why this scene wakens such emotion in me. I think what happens here is that Jim, after having to grow up very quickly, has suddenly reverted back to the ten year old boy that he is and I have become a child with him. Then comes the devastating thought that he can’t remember what his mother looks like. You have to see the whole movie to get the full impact of this scene.
This takes me back to my previous post. Steven Spielberg is first and foremost a story teller. The special effects are great but it’s the story that brings me back. Great movie makers are great story tellers. My favorite authors (Irving, Doctorow, Conrad) are great story tellers.
We think that we can reach people for Christ by sermonizing, by scripture verses, by the Roman road to salvation. I think it’s the story that captures people, that starts them on that road.
And ultimately I think it’s my story (and your story) that makes the difference.