Religion in Pop Culture
Platoon, directed by Oliver Stone, and "Saving Private Ryan," directed by Steven Spielberg, are two movies flush with Christian Symbolism. Both films feature scripture, Platoon opens with it, and in Saving Private Ryan, there is a character that often quotes scripture. While there are some similarities between the two movies, like having a Christ Figure, and a conflict between good and evil, there are metaphors that make the films different from one another. Platoon features more complex metaphors, and focuses on a power struggle between two characters that represent good and evil. The Metaphors in Saving Private Ryan are obvious, and more focused on the lost returning home, then on a struggles between good and evil. Saving Private Ryan heavily features the theme of "Gods work" and "god's will" while Platoon addresses the greater struggle between good and evil, and more so the chaos of war; though both films display Christian metaphors, the films differ in the presentations of their Christian themes.
"Saving Private Ryan" directed by Steven Spielberg, was released in 1998. The film, set in France during World War II, follows a small squadron of men led by Captain Miller (Tom Hanks) on a mission to find Private James Ryan (Matt Damon.) and send him home. Ryan has three other brothers that have been killed in combat, and the U.S government has issued orders for his return.
The dichotomy of good and evil is a common theme in both Christianity and the Bible, and plays a large role in this film. World War II was a conflict between the Allied forces (United States, United Kingdom, etc.) which represent the "Good" pitted against the Axis Powers (Germany, Italy, and Japan,) which represent the ‘Evil." The Axis Powers come to represent Evil because of the atrocities they are committing against other people (i.e. the Holocaust) for seemingly no other reason but to control the world. The Allied Forces become the good, because they begin to liberate other countries, and people from Axis control. The power struggle between the "good" forces and the "evil" forces becomes the backdrop for Captain Miller’s Mission. The General, who gives Miller his orders, could represent God, being as he is his world is considered law. By extension, Millers mission represents God’s will. Captain Miller eventually becomes the Christ figure in the movie, leading the mission to its conclusion (Madvig). Millers’ mission is to save the "lost" Private Ryan. Miller and his men must return the "lost" Ryan to his "home". Ryan can be a symbol that represents anyone who could be struggling with faith, or anyone who could be struggling against evil, thus being "lost." Home symbolizes different things, but in Christianity, returning "home" can mean going to Heaven to live alongside Jesus, or finding faith, or finding Jesus. Ryan is "lost" in the middle of war-torn France, in the middle of the giant conflict between good and evil. As the movie progresses...