Thoughts on Aurora From a Lifetime Movie Buff

Bruce Wayne: You’re gonna destroy millions of lives.
Ra’s al Ghul: Only a cynical man would call what these people have “lives,” Wayne. Crime, despair… this is not how man was supposed to live. The League of Shadows has been a check against human corruption for thousands of years. We sacked Rome, loaded trade ships with plague rats, burned London to the ground. Every time a civilization reaches the pinnacle of its decadence, we return to restore the balance. 
As with so many times in my life, when I’ve wanted to express a thought and couldn’t find a way to, I turned to a movie to say what I couldn’t. And this one is from Batman Begins (2005), an oddly prophetic one given the events that unfolded in Aurora, CO yesterday.
I should preface this by saying that I have been a movie fanatic for as long as I can remember. I’ve spent thousands of dollars on movies in theaters, have an obscene amount in my home collection, and was even a film minor in college- my Honors Thesis was on “The Evolution and Impact of Documentary Film”. There are movies that I know absolutely by heart, and entire films that I know the music cues to, I’ve watched them so often. I listen to movie soundtracks in my spare time, and have a downright encyclopedic knowledge of actors and film contributors.
One of the things I love most about the moving image, and a major reason that motion pictures have been a sustainable art form, is their ability to facilitate escape. People go to the movies to have time where their real life is inconsequential. For that hour and a half, two hours, in the case of James Cameron epics, three hours, you are transported to a world that you do not live in. One that’s elegantly tied together, one that’s scored, and up until yesterday- one that’s safe. When I go home at night after a rough day and throw on a movie, it’s to feel insulated from whatever has bothered me.
To wake up to the news that the sanctity of film’s insular quality has been threatened by someone aiming to cause chaos and harm to fellow moviegoers horrifies me. In the same way that we are sickened each time a place previously thought to be safe is attacked in this manner- airplanes, major landmarks, schools (another issue Colorado has had to face), and now movie theaters, our hearts go out to those who are involved and affected. But we also have to prepare ourselves for the possibility that such events will incite fear. I suspect that this will inspire bag checks and additional security measures at movie theaters- an understandable reaction given the events, but an unfortunate state of affairs for a society that can and should be better.
And so I return to the quote at the top, from the beginning of this trilogy. This is NOT how man was supposed to live. If you go back to the original version of Batman, starring Adam West, this was not the world that he had to save. We have descended into something more sinister, a fact reflected by the increasingly dark nature of the films in this franchise. People shouldn’t have to alternate between seemingly common states of despair and mourning, and outright fear. What in our society is fueling such displays of hatred and carelessness for human life? And how long before it destroys us all?

One thought on “Thoughts on Aurora From a Lifetime Movie Buff

  1. Pingback: The Heart of a Runner | ammamarfo

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