Monday, September 10, 2012


THE CONQUEST OF SPACE, a 1950s Disney(!) film, is a truly amazing movie. You can find it on You-tube (of course). It bears watching by anyone who's an atheist. Why? How? (SPOILERS ...) Certainly not for things like story; pedestrian at best (outside of ... well, you'll see), or acting; Ross Martin is the only non-cringeworthy thesp in the lot, and he doesn't last long. The rest are terrible, although they don't have much to work with -- they're all cultural stereotypes. (One gets the feeling that if a black crew member had been included, he'd be asking for watermelon-flavored food pills.) The vision of the future is the usual 1950's society with a couple of decades tacked on. Nevertheless, it is truly amazing for one character's through-line only: the expedition's leader, a Bible-thumping Fundamentalist who comes to the conclusion during the voyage that leaving Earth without the permission of the Almighty is an offense unto Him, and who eventually sabotages the expedition before being killed by his own son. Heavy stuff, for an obviously teen (at most) oriented family film. But what really had my jaw hanging was that there was no effort at all made at the end to absolve either the Captain (other than the fairly obvious conclusion that he was batshit crazy), or God. Nothing is said to the effect that it's cool with God for us to leave the cradle, nor is any attempt made to justify the Captain's actions (not among the crew, at least, although there is consensus that he'll be presented to the public as a martyr). But we get the strong sense that his faith had nothing to do with his sacrifice, or so they'll spin it. Again, hard as it is to believe, the film takes a very clear stand for atheism (or at least against organized religion), with no mealy-mouthed apologies. Truly amazing ...

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