The Movies Stardust, The Mummy and other Fantasy Tales

Stardust uses magic to explain the way things are. Why doesn’t this surprise us? Isn’t it strange that so many fantasy tales explain things through supernatural causes?

C.S. Lewis and J.R.R. Tolkien are well-known Christian authors who used magical themes to illustrate Godly truth. In his Chronicles of Narnia for example, Lewis portrays good magic and bad magic, old magic and ancient magic. He uses these different kinds of magic to demonstrate spiritual truth. We might call all God's work “magical,” both His creation as well as in His interaction with creation.

At one point in Stardust the leader of the evil witches, played by Michelle Pfeiffer, uses magic to create a quaint little inn out of nothing. Under normal circumstances such a building would require bricks, mortar, wood beams, etc. But the mere existence of man-made buildings is no less miraculous than Pfeiffer’s display. We could explain that wood beams come from trees, but where do trees come from? We could say trees grow up out of the ground, but where did the life force that drives that growth come from?

Magic is the underlying force that drives everything in the movie Stardust. What makes the king’s amulet fly up to heaven? What gives the Babylon candle its power? Magic. Magical power gives fantasy tales plot. It’s what makes sense out of incredible, fictional situations. We might describe daily life similarly.

It is ironic that secular, fantasy tales are about people who wield supernatural power but they are still fixated on earthly ideals. For example, the witches in Stardust use their magic to stay on earth as long as possible. They have this amazing power and the only thing they can thing to do with it is prolong their fleshly lives.

The Mummy, starring Brendan Frasier, is another example of people who encounter amazing, supernatural power and yet remain enslaved to worldly desires. These men (or mummies who have back from the dead) seek power to rule earth forever. But the earth won’t be around forever. Even the sun will burn out eventually. So such power struggles are ultimately futile.

The Mummy and The Mummy 2 were popular because people are enchanted the by idea that ancient Egyptians had super-magical powers. The average person would like to have such magical powers. The Egyptians might have possessed such power, but they’re all dead now, so it makes little difference anymore.

It is revealing that, even though we are trapped in mortal bodies, we remain interested in supernatural power. Even surviving life right now seems all-important we can’t avoid thinking about different versions of “the Afterlife.” This hints at the reality of God.

Jesus Christ came to explain spirituality. He called everyday, supernatural realities “The Kingdom of Heaven” or “God's Kingdom.” Spiritual or supernatural realities are relevant to daily life according to Jesus.

Worldly people would like to obtain magical powers so they might worship themselves better. However, knowing about spiritual realities is useful only so far as it drives us to worship God better. Jesus is the ultimate spiritual Guru. This is His message.


Anonymous said...

Have you ever read Stardust? It is an amazing fairy tale. Humans just have a fascination of what's not real, and what they don't know, thus literature and film.

Anonymous said...

There is no doubt that people are attracted to the fantasy of magic. But I prefer to think that the success of the Mummy and Mummy 2 was more about the humor than the magic. At least it was for me.