Warning: Though I was quite careful to avoid plot elements of movies discussed below, there may be spoilers. Proceed with caution.
Summer is here and so are the aliens. In the movies, that is. You may have the impression that these stories are full of laser cannons, gelatinous monsters, or the long-buried artifact on the moon that will change humanity’s destiny. Your impression is misleading. The best science fiction films – even the summer blockbusters – have a human story at their core.
I recently watched Guardians of the Galaxy II for the second time and realized how much more I enjoyed it because it is about family relationships. We also had a second viewing of Arrival this week (see my blog 2016-12-14), an alien invasion tale that is completely encased in and interwoven with a woman’s life with her daughter. Those two films stress how the heart of even a good futuristic adventure should contain the same themes of all great epics – mothers and daughters, sibling rivalry, prodigal sons, coming home, or the birth of a child.
Many Bothans died to bring us this information.—Mon Mothma, Return of the Jedi
The ancient Greeks told stories of gods and heroes to explain the world as well as to make the long winter nights fly by. Tales of epic wars, capricious gods, valiant demigods, and bold deeds created the mythology now taught in schools and used as clue fodder for Jeopardy. The word mythos is Greek for any kind of story but the idea of a myth has come to mean something larger, a story about extraordinary happenings, extraordinary people, in extraordinary times.
While the Greek stories – and the Roman, Indian, Norse, Egyptian, African, etc. – took hundreds of years to percolate into tales that are now thousands of years old, there are emerging mythologies in today’s culture mere decades old. Yet, if you play the game of “what is a mythology,” it’s easy to claim that Star Wars is crossing from a collection of movie plots into the realm of mythology.
A myth is any traditional story consisting of events that are ostensibly historical, though often supernatural, explaining the origins of a cultural practice or natural phenomenon. Myths are often stories that are currently understood as being exaggerated or fictitious. – Wikipedia