Sunday, August 23, 2009

Review of two films

By Byeong Woon Hwang.

Contact (1997)

When Ellie was young, she was enthusiastic amateur radio operator. She was good at math and science, and eventually, she became radio astronomer who has the aim of finding alien.

One day, she received mysterious signals from Vega. In the signals, there were blueprints of a single-seat transporter which can travel through universe. Despite a huge cost, human being managed to build the transporter. The world got hope and at the same time, fear, especially in religious society.

Ellie was chosen as a pilot, so she finally went through several wormholes by the transporter. She arrived in Vega, met an alien, and got back to the earth. But unfortunately, as she departed, the communication between her and control tower was down. She travelled universe about 18 hours, but her long travel was observed as a moment by people in the earth, so it seemed that she did not go anywhere. Because there was no communication, nothing but noise was recorded in her video camera, there was no objective evidence of what she experienced.

While I was watching this movie, I could feel how the universe is awesome. Especially, the opening tells us vividly how universe is big and in Ellie’s words, “how tiny and insignificant we all are.” The camera moving from the earth, Mars, Venus, the solar system, nebulae… Passing through Galaxy, group of galaxies, cluster of galaxies… That was too beautiful for words.

This movie gives us a lot of thing to think. The most salient feature in this movie is the conflict between religion and science, quite an old fight. “Do we have to accept as a truth what could not be proved?” In fact, it is very hard to answer, maybe nobody could answer. Ellie says as a scientist, she relies on empirical evidence and when it comes to religion, she believes there is no data. But soon she faces with the situation that her experience cannot be proved, which is true as a matter of fact. In the public hearing after her journey, she admits that if she were the observer, she would be incredulous and skeptical as them, but also says she would not withdraw her testimony because she can’t.

This movie seems to say that science and religion have to be harmonic, rather to be confrontational, by showing the love between Ellie and an eminent religious expert. In addition, by showing that truth could not be admitted as a fact because of the lack of evidence which is the characteristic of science, they are also saying that religion is not a something that should be criticised for lack of evidence by the position of science.

Here is what I was thinking of religion and God. First of all, we must define whether abstract things have to be said as presence or not. Does love is real thing? Does mind and thinking exist? If we say those things are exist, then I would say God also exist, but only in our mind. We have admit that there is a being that does affect entire human life and society, not directly, but indirectly through each individual’s a way of thinking and ultimately, through their behaviour. So, I can say it does exist. To some, God exists in various shapes, but to some, he does not exist. But at least I would say that the Bible or any other scriptures are fictions, because they are not abstract things, and there is no single objective proof that those events in the Bible had actually happened. They are nothing but tools to intensify their belief. As an abstract idea, like religious belief, we do not need to prove it and we must respect their belief as well, but when it comes to the fact that every intellectual being could accept and admit, clear and scientific evidence must be accompanied, which is why I am saying the Bible is a novel. There are three things: belief, facts, and the truth. But still, nobody knows what the truth is. We all are just the one who pursues the truth.

Blade Runner (1982)

Los Angeles, November, 2019. Streets full of skyscraper and incessantly flashing neon lamp. The overpopulated earth is no longer a good place to live. In order to reclaim new colonies in space, a genetic engineering company called Tyrell has made clone, virtually identical to a human, called “Replicant,” which is helpful to hazardous exploration and colonization because of their outstanding strength and agility, and easy to control because of their limited longevity of 4 years.

One day, several replcicants comprised of 3 men and 3 women escaped from a colony to the earth, the forbidden place to them. Deckard, a superior retired policeman of special police squads known as “Blade Runner,” had an order to kill them.

Replicants' purpose of the escape was to find the way to expand their longevity. They infiltrated Tyrell Company to meet the Dr. Tyrell, the maker. They begged longer life. However, they found the fact that it is impossible, so they killed Dr. Tyrell. Deckard managed to kill three of them and finally struggled against Roy, the leader of them. At the decisive moment that Deckard was about to fall off a high building, he was saved by Roy and then Roy's longevity became exhausted.

This movie deals with various themes like religion, capitalism, exploitation, memory, identity, and existence which make us to introspect after watching the movie.

In this movie, as everyone can see, there are creator and creature, like God and humans in the Bible. Tyrell may stand for God, Roy may represent Jesus Christ, and other people are mankind full of sins.

While the final showdown between Roy and Deckard, when Roy found his hands were beginning to be paralysed as the indication of his death, he pierced his hand with a nail not to be numbed by extreme pain. He looks like Jesus Christ at that time. Afterwards, he saved Deckard’s life, although he had chance to kill him. In one hand, he had a nail, in the other hand, he had a dove. When Roy died, the dove flied to the sky, which symbolises liberation and peace. I think it represents Jesus’ infinite love towards humanity. Jesus died in behalf of them in order to forgive their trespasses.

What if we know when we will die? Some may live at random, without thinking. Some may ask themselves continuously about their inevitable death. Born without possibility of extension of life span, Roy bear a grudge against his creator and themselves, at last, by killing his father, he expresses their rage.


Bryan P. Stone, 1998, ‘Religious Faith and Science in Contact’, ‘Journal of Religion and Film’,, Aug. 21, 2009.

Kellner D., Leibowitz Flo. & Ryan M., 1984, ‘Blade Runner: A diagnostic critique’,, Aug. 21, 2009.

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