Friday, March 26, 2010

"You Know Monsters."

In which the first Hellboy film is seen as an allegory for the Christian identity.

The first Hellboy film begins and ends addressing the question: “What makes an individual the person that they are? Is it their origin or the choices they make? At the risk of spoiling the film, the answer the film makers chose is the latter. Hellboy comes into the world as a baby “demon.” (Theologically speaking, this movie is less Bible and more Lovecraft.). However, he is raised by a loving, Christian man whom he calls father. There are several ways that the film can be seen as a representation of the Christian life being all about sinners loved by and choosing to live for a father figure.

Hellboy denies his nature. He grinds his horns away and tries to fight evil in the world. Late in the film, he must choose to believe that his father’s opinion of him is truer than his own nature. He is effectively changed by the love of others. Most people in the world who know of his existence think he is a monster. Even he thinks so at times. Those who truly know him know that he has a good and loving character.

The “true” monsters in the film are also interesting examinations of a Christian understanding of evil. When one is killed, two emerge to take its place. Hellboy’s fight against them can be seen as a picture of the Christians struggle against sin. It is a lifelong endeavor. He doesn’t just struggle against his own nature, but also against all the evil that the world throws at him.

There is more discussion along these lines and about the second film (see more next week) on the podcast “More Than One Lesson.” If you find these films interesting, you might check it out.

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