Sunday, September 16, 2012

When black is presented as a gorgeous splash of colors

One of the ideas I found most striking in weekly doctrine classes I attended in the 1990s was that though evil is real, it is often presented as something attractive and alluring. "If it were revealed to human beings as what it really was, then it would be easy to say no to it," a friend further explained later. "Imagine the devil appearing to people as the embodiment of evil -- grotesque, hideous, with the most offensive stench you can think of... really the opposite of beauty, goodness, truth -- of course everyone would be horrified! Even the most hardened criminal would probably be so terrified by the sight that he would run to God for mercy!"

I thought about that a lot and I still do; it does make perfect sense.

That being said, I am always fascinated by the battle between good and evil in movies, especially when it involves superheroes, sword-wielding freedom fighters, light saber-brandishing protagonists, spaceship-bound teams whose mission is to protect planet Earth, and even children who carry out their quest to uphold the good with the aid of polyjuice potion and some wand-flicking. Growing up, though, I remember thinking from time to time where God was in the stories -- how Superman didn't ask God for help when Lois Lane died (Superman I), or how come Luke Skywalker or any of the other characters never went to church, or if Harry Potter ever mentioned the word "God" in the books (I've read only books one and two, and half of three). Purely human heroes from more realistic settings (ones that didn't involve aliens) such as Zorro and Balian of Ibelin (Kingdom of Heaven) at least acknowledged the authority of God.

What I notice in such movies is that the good and evil characters are often presented with stereotypical qualities. It's therefore easier to distinguish the good guys from the bad guys. When I first saw the video below of an "infantile"-looking Darth Vader and equally cute Storm Troopers, it occurred to me that this would be a clever way to urge people to find vices or even really evil things more acceptable -- and later on, even desirable and preferable to virtue. Vader is so cute here that one may forget the dark side he represents.

Below that you'll also find a video of really brilliant piano-playing -- it's a rendition of the Harry Potter theme. I'll put some notes on that below the video. Fascinating music, skill at work here, and the mood -- of course befitting of the movie's plot. The costume, the flickering candles, the dark surroundings coupled with the incredible piano-playing can all make one forget that despite the sub-themes of friendship and courage that are very much part of the movies, there's the magic, witchcraft and the occult that are portrayed in a positive light quite expertly. Parents, you know what that means.

Ok, so enjoy!

God protect you, and don't let the precious become an obsession. And may the Force be with you :-)

From the YouTube page:

This is a video we produced of Jarrod Radnich performing his original
copyrighted arrangement of Hedwig's Theme from Harry Potter. This is played
in REAL TIME and is not sped up. It is part of his Virtuosic Piano Solo
Series sheet music, which includes suggested fingerings to obtain this

Sheet music and the MP3s for this and other arrangements are available
through Radnich's website:

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