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Friday, March 23, 2007
Action, Animation, Family
Patrick Stewart , Sarah Michelle Gellar, Chris Evans, Ziyi Zhang, Kevin Smith
The "Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles" movie will be the first all CG animated movie in the history of the franchise. The PG-rated movie will derive its tone from the original comic-book series and will be grittier than the previous live action pictures.
TMNT (2007) | Review
A Lesson in Unity and Reconciliation (Snyder)
It may seem strange to find a profound and even biblical lesson in something like the movie TMNT. After all, these are mutated turtles that know the ways of ninja, not exactly bastions of reality or even logical sense. However, their recent story does indeed hold an important lesson for us, a lesson that ironically enough was taught over two thousand years ago by a true immortal.
In TMNT, Leonardo has gone away to train to be a more effective leader. Unfortunately, he spends more time away than he should and during his absence, his family begins to lose cohesion. Leo’s absence is especially hard on the deeply passionate Raphael, who feels that Leo has turned his back on his family. When Leonardo does return, Raph feels that it would be better if Leo had never returned, and he resents the fact that Leonardo feels like he can pick up right where they left off. Raphael no longer wants to be led, and he certainly doesn’t want to be led by Leo. The resentment and bitterness builds and culminates in an all-out brawl between the two brothers. Instead of fighting the evil that threatens the world, the Turtles find themselves at each other’s throat—very reminiscent of what we often see in today’s society, especially in the Church.
I’ll be the first to admit that forgiveness and reconciliation isn’t easy. It’s hard to let go of our self-righteousness. It’s difficult to ask for forgiveness when we know we weren’t the ones who were wrong. It’s challenging to try to reconcile with someone we feel doesn’t deserve to resume fellowship with us. But then, no one ever said it would be easy; it’s just necessary.
Jesus once told his listeners that before they offered anything at the altar, they should first go and reconcile with anyone that might have something against them (Matthew 5:23-24). This may sound fairly simple, but if you remember the fact that most offerings back then were some sort of animal offering, and that they probably stood in line to get to the altar, it would be pretty inconvenient to drop everything just to go find forgiveness from someone you’re having problems with. Yet Jesus pointed out that this was necessary to do before we offer anything to God, before we can align with Him to fight the evil in this world.
Raphael and Leonardo eventually realize they can’t fight each other if they are going to help save the world from monsters, immortals, ninjas, and the like. More importantly, they remember that despite their differences, they are family. They have to let go of their pride, their self-righteousness, bitterness, and anger. So we too must learn that holding a grudge will always be counter-productive. If we truly want to see this world changed, if we want to see people free, we must learn to exercise the power of forgiveness and reconciliation. The world is threatened by monsters and immortals; and it has been from that fateful day in the Garden of Eden. It’s up to us to put aside that which divides us in order to fight as one. Plus, the fact of the matter is that as children of God, we’re family. We may not always agree, but if we can forgive and reconcile with each other, we too will learn to fight as one—just like the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles.
Copyright © 2007 Hollywood Jesus. All rights reserved.
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