As in the movie Bridge to Terabithia, in which two friends create a magic kingdom to escape the troubles in their lives, Hollywood has always set out to whisk us away to other worlds where we can spin webs, sail pirate ships, or disappear through the wall on train platform 9 ¾ to battle evil. Though 2006 was a lean year for big-budget films, 2007 was a Cineplex heaven for box-office smash sequels, animated blockbusters, and fantasylands-a-plenty.
While I value what some believe to be more important movies, created to explore the human condition or to attempt to change the world, I am also a blockbuster junkie. To me, there’s nothing like the experience of sitting in a darkened theatre and peering into worlds that spring forth and offer a couple hours of pure escape.
Listing your favorite blockbuster movies is kind of like offering pictures of Spiderman to the loud-mouthed Jonah Jameson, chief of the Daily Bugle—you hold them forth with your eyes squinted and head turned away as you await the reaction. Gulp! Here goes:
The Simpsons Movie . . . smart, ironic, hilarious, and tackles one of the creator’s favorite themes—the environment.
Spiderman 3 . . . more story and characterization than Spidey 2, but the movie also catapults you right back to your bedroom floor reading comics with its high action.
Pirates of the Caribbean 3: At World’s End . . . Johnny Depp alone is worth the price of your movie ticket, but adventures on the high seas with a touch of romance will have you at the edge of your seat.
Bridge to Terabithia . . . one of the most imaginative and shocking movies this year.
Shrek the Third . . . Princess Fiona’s band of royal girlfriends still has me smiling a year after its release.
Hairspray . . . a musical about a loveable teenage girl with a message about following your dreams and looking beyond appearances. You will hum the songs for days.
Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix . . . I know, I know, some Christians don’t read or watch Harry Potter, but in my mind the themes of good and evil in this series of books and movies are comparable to those in the Narnia books.
Firehouse Dog . . . the story of a boy, his firefighter dad, and the mystery of a town’s arsonist. Great for kids 9-12.
Freedom Writers . . . inspiring movie of a teacher who changes inner-city kids.
The Last Mimzy . . . aimed at kids but will be a bit creepy to some. Cool concept.
Bee Movie and Ratatouille . . . two hilarious animated movies that have a good message but may be a bit too complex for kids under 10.
Ocean’s Thirteen . . . I know, we shouldn’t cheer for criminals breaking into a casino, but Brad Pitt and George Clooney are SO cool!
Sicko . . . OK, every once in a while you have to get serious about the sad state of the health care system—which is the reason why you will later escape into movie fantasyland!
Do I recommend all of these movies for you? No. Do I apologize for the movies I watch? Nope. Will you shake your head and throw down The Banner over some of my choices? Maybe. But life is serious and full of grim news—just click on CNN. I work in that world every day. Movies that transport me to other worlds give me permission to escape, dream, laugh, shiver, and ponder my own place in the universe. When that happens, film has served its function.