The Biblical Allegory of Close Encounters of the Third Kind

Remember that movie about everyday people who are called to do a marvelous work and a wonder, being invited by a vision to a mountain where they will see signs in the heavens as they commune with heavenly beings? The dead are brought back to the Earth, families are reunited, and some are even called to ascend into heaven with the visitors. It all sounds like it’s ripped straight out of the Holy Bible, but I’m actually talking about Close Encounters of the Third Kind. No, it’s not a movie explicitly about the scriptures, but it does appear to be an allegory for Biblical things.

Instead of angels, the heavenly beings are aliens. Instead of divine visions, there are glimpses of unidentified flying objects. Instead of prophets, there’s an electrician and a homemaker. Instead of transfiguration and translation, there is alien abduction.

“This means something. This is important.” That’s the movie’s most famous line. Let’s take this classic movie at its word and see if we can find a deeper meaning in it than the search for extra-terrestrial intelligence. I think we can find a lot of heavenly wisdom pertaining to the last days in which we are living. Please join me as I quote a number of Old and New Testament verses and relate them to the events of Close Encounters of the Third Kind. By the way, I hope I don’t come across as demeaning the scriptures or trivializing them in any way. I’m just interested in making connections between them and a piece of popular entertainment that also speaks to me. Continue reading

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The Unique Chiasmus of Sam Raimi’s Spider-Man Trilogy

I have written many articles in my Cinematic Chiasmus series. I’ve found individual films to be a chiasmus, like Bill & Ted’s Excellent Adventure, Superman: The Movie, and RoboCop (1987). Even though these films spawned sequels, I never felt prompted to examine their follow-ups for similar chiasmic story structure, so I didn’t pursue them any further. But Sam Raimi’s Spider-Man Trilogy is different. After I analyzed Spider-Man and found it to be a chiasmus, I felt inspired to do the same thing to Spider-Man 2. After publishing those two separate articles, I decided to look at Spider-Man 3, even though I hadn’t had a feeling about it one way or the other, and I also found it to be a chiasmus!

This is quite a distinct experience from any of my previous work, even the times when I have looked at film trilogies. I discovered that the Back to the Future Trilogy and the Dark Knight Trilogy are each one big chiasmus, with the first and third films mirroring each other and the second films mirroring themselves. It wouldn’t have made sense to do three separate articles on them because I couldn’t have analyzed the first and third films separately, and they are inseparably connected to their respective second film.

But Spider-Man 1-3 are unique because they could be cleanly separated and analyzed. The first film mirrors itself, as does the second film and the third one. I was able to write about each of them one at a time instead of combining them into a single article. Now that I have completed my article on the third film, I can finally combine my work into one place so that you can see how each film reaches its midpoint and then retraces its steps back to the beginning. I have a special reason for doing so, which I’ll explain below. I’ve linked to each of the individual articles above so you can see the chiasmus in each one even more clearly than you can in these brief descriptions. Continue reading

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Spider-Man 3 Is a Chiasmus, Making the Trilogy 3 for 3!

Oh. My. Gosh. This is truly unexpected. Who could have guessed that Spider-Man 3 would turn out to be a chiasmus, completing the circle and making all three Sam Raimi Spider-Man films examples of Cinematic Chiasmus?

This chiasmus is unlike any other I’ve done before because I went into it without getting a feeling one way or the other about it beforehand. In general, I’ve only analyzed movies for chiasmus after I’ve felt prompted to do so. What About Bob? was an exception because it was prompted by someone else, and I wanted to confirm my negative feeling about it. Continue reading

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The Beautiful Music of Randy Edelman

I never obtained formal musical training, so whenever I write about movie soundtracks I fear I come across as clumsy and imprecise. I don’t have the right terms and language to put to into words the feelings I yearn to share about the music I listen to. I just know greatness when I hear it, and I want to shout it from the rooftops in spite of my shortcomings.

Randy Edelman isn’t a household name among film composers like John Williams or Hans Zimmer, but he has done some brilliant work over the course of his career. I would like to share some of his musical achievements and try to describe what they mean to me. Continue reading

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Jim Carrey at His Finest

In 1997, Jim Carrey received a then-almost-unheard-of $20 million paycheck for his role as a lawyer named Fletcher Reede in Liar Liar. He’s brilliant throughout the movie, but there is one scene in particular in which he really earned every penny of his hefty salary. It showcases what a great actor he is, and I think it’s the highlight of his entire career.
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Get Smart’s Cone of Silence Is a Metaphor for Modern Communication

Comedy is one of the best ways to shine a light on uncomfortable truths. With that in mind, let’s take a look at this scene from the very first episode of the classic TV show Get Smart. Continue reading

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The Most Important Thing to Include in Disaster Movies

Disaster movies can be a lot of fun because they show us something we would never expect to see in real life. There’s just something jaw-dropping about watching things that were built up over centuries destroyed in an instant. But all of that spectacle doesn’t amount to much if it’s missing one critical aspect.

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The Beautiful Symmetry of Beauty and the Beast (1991)

I had planned on analyzing Spider-Man 3 for a chiastic structure before moving on to any other film, but I couldn’t get Disney’s Beauty and the Beast (1991) out of my head, so it looks like this is the one I’m meant to do right now. So be it.

Beauty and the Beast is one of my favorite films of all time. It’s a perfect movie, combining animation and music in a special way no other animated film has managed to achieve. Adding to its greatness, the film’s story is told in the form of a chiasmus. A chiasmus is when the first and second halves mirror each other perfectly, and the main focal point of the story is found at the middle, not the beginning or end.

I’m so excited to show you this chiasmus because it makes this film even more meaningful and beautiful! Continue reading

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Flattery Will Get You Everywhere, Thor

When I was first learning about blogging more than a decade and a half ago, I heard that one of the best ways to befriend other bloggers and get people to talk about me was to first talk about them. Create a top 10 list of bloggers, review another writer’s work, praise their ideas, or even challenge their suppositions. Well, that strategy definitely worked in the case of Thor Bjork because he just started a movie blog called Thor Versus Movies, and he complimented me by reviewing the Deja Reviewer website in his third post, entitled “A Quick Review.” Continue reading

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Like the First One, Spider-Man 2 Is Also a Chiasmus

Did you think we were done finding examples of chiasmus in Sam Raimi’s Spider-Man trilogy after we explored the symmetrical nature of the original Spider-Man? Well, we’re not done. Not by a long shot. Spider-Man 2 isn’t just the best Spider-Man film ever made, it’s also another cinematic chiasmus! Continue reading

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