When I was a child, I spoke as a child, I understood as a child, I thought as a child; but when I became a man, I put away childish things. (1 Cor 13:11)
I went to the drive-in, seriously one of the few in the country still open, to see Bee Movie. Let me tell you, in my circle of friends one of the best ways to get to see a movie in its theatrical release is to go to the drive-in. We have children, so when a kids’ movie comes out we head straight for the drive-in to see it and whatever is playing after it. We put up with the childish movie so we can see the grown-up movie so to speak.
This time the movie was Stardust, which I hadn’t even heard of until I saw it on the listing with Bee Movie. I asked a few people, including my wife, what Stardust was about because I started thinking of Las Vegas. What I kept hearing was, “It’s the fairy tale for adults.” I thought, “Huh, sounds like an oxymoron.” But I was interested… and eventually the fairy tale for adults aspect of the movie is what MovedMe about this tale.
See, I believe most fairy tales have a great message, something that speaks to the heart and tells us about life. Kinda like Jesus’ parables that gave us deep, meaningful lessons through story without being preachy. This fairy tale is no different; it speaks of growing up and putting away childish things: through a fairy tale, no less, which makes it even better!
Last thing I’ll say before we get into the review is that this adult fairy tale tells the story without being jaded… which in my book is always a plus. Jesus told his disciples that the kingdom of heaven belonged to little children (Matt 19:14). I think Jesus partly meant that a child’s innocence, maybe even naivete, gives it the ability to still hear the message within his parables and teaching. Maybe we need some of that innocence and naivete to hear the message within this “adult fairy tale.”
Putting away childish things
The first and biggest thing about this movie is that it is about a boy, Tristan, who through the tale becomes a man. You see it physically as the story starts: he is rather dumpy, just kind of plain, and hasn’t taken on the physical nature of being a man. He is even called a “shop boy.” Then later he takes on the physical appearance of a man, clothes hair and all… even his facial expression changes.
We see him changing from boy to man in his relationship to women. He goes on the quest to win the heart of Victoria, who has no interest in him whatsoever; she seems to be toying with him, really. He doesn’t know anything about her, just the idea of her, kind of like a young boy’s crush on a girl.
He comes to realize this in a scene with Yvaine, where they are tied up in the pirate ship. He has been blabbering on about how he is going to do this great feat to win Victoria’s heart. Yvaine asks him to describe Victoria and he can’t. Yvaine then asks if Victoria is doing anything to win his heart, and of course he cannot answer that either.
At the beginning of the movie we see that Tristan cannot fight. He is bested by a pretty boy that Victoria will eventually marry. Through his adventures with Yvaine, Tristan learns to fight and fight well, besting Captain Shakespeare and earning his respect.
These things, and many others, are what it takes to become a man. We must, as the verse above states, put away childish things. As a Minister to men I’ve observed that many of us, including myself, have not put away childish things. We still look like boys, wearing our hats backwards and such. We like the idea of women, thus addictions to porn, but not the hassle of a real relationship. We don’t learn to fight for our families, friends, and community at large.
This movie is a call to us of the male persuasion older than 18 to stop being boys or just guys, and be men! Many may disagree with me about the age, but most societies on this earth and before the industrial age considered manhood even younger. Believe me, our society needs our post-pubescent males to act like real men and not boys, or worse, adolescents.
What to do?
In the movie, Tristan finds Yvaine, his true love. It seems from the moment he met her he stopped being a boy and started to become a man. Well, the first thing we do to start the journey to manhood is find our true love… God and his Son Jesus Christ. You might think it’s weird to fall in love with a man, even if he is God, but one of the fiercest warriors and greatest kings the world has ever known fell in love with God. King David’s love songs are documented for us in every Bible in the book of Psalms.
This is key though: we cannot love well, without being loved and loving God first. Trust me, I’ve tried! Once you have found that, then you can love a woman… a real woman. This too is key. You cannot have a relationship with a picture on screen or page. A real woman can challenge you to be the man that you were meant to be. You know, Tristan felt like being a man when Yvaine said,
“If there’s one thing I know about all my years watching Earth, is that people aren’t what they may seem. There are shop boys, and there are boys that just happened to work in a shop for the time being. And trust me Tristan, you are no shop boy. You saved my life. Thank you.”
I know when I’ve done something manly (creating and keeping a budget, or doing a bunch of yard work, or hanging a big mirror) and my wife tells me so, I want to do more manly things! She is a great partner who encourages me also to be the man with my kids, in my church, and at work.
Last, I think we must be willing to risk failure. At the beginning of his quest Tristan seems utterly hopeless. No fighting skills, never been past the wall, merely a shop boy. Yet here he is going on a quest for a fallen star against enemies that he doesn’t even know about. Yet go he did!
That is what being a man is all about. Regardless of what we may look like on the outside we don’t have it figured out… far from it most of us are morons. Yet God made us to be risk takers, which means we will fail, but need to learn from that failure and press forward.
I’ll leave you with a final thought, for the male readers of adult age. Maybe you are single with no prospect, or married and your wife is unhappy with you, or you are wandering with no real purpose or reason for living. It doesn’t have to be. You can find the love of your life and live an adventure that you’ve only heard of in “fairy tales.” You may need to buckle down and get serious about life and the God that holds the key to life. Join me in that adventure, will ya?