Sunday, August 05, 2007

Fallen on ABC Family

Fallen started out as a Walt Disney TV movie in 2006 about a high school student, when approaching graduation on his 18th birthday, learns quickly that he is an angel. In 2007, ABC Family added two more two-hour episodes to the 2006 film (now “The Beginning”) on Aug 4 and 5: The Journey, and The Destiny. The book and series are based on a novel by Tom Sniegoski, with the screenplay adaptation by Sara Cooper. The website is here.

The Beginning started out as if it could really be a subtle family drama, in the spirit of the Smallville Pilot in 2001. Once Aaron Corbet (Paul Wesley) starts sprouting wings and waving wands of fire and flying through the air to battle other fallen angels, the story loses its grip.

In the 2007 episodes, we do learn the theology. Aaron is a nephilim, which is a child of a human mother and angelic father. But he is the Redeemer, with the ability to return any fallen angel, including his father Lucifer, to Heaven.

Since the film event is based on a novel, the impression that I get of it as television is somewhat muted. Nevertheless, it seems that studio executives feel more comfortable with a story about “angels” if it tracks back more of less to Revelations. This guarantees a certain audience with Evangelical Christians, many of whom will like this movie. The character Aaron is genuinely wholesome (like Clark Kent as long as he is stays away from red kryptonite, or like Kyle XY), someone anyone would be proud of as a son.

There are a couple of exchanges between Aaron and Lucifer in the final episode that do track to practical societal moral problems.

One of them is simply the fact that Aaron had been orphaned because after his mother gave birth, she died, as a natural result of being born as a nephilim. The idea that a mother is sacrificed in childbirth used to be well known in earlier times, as childbirth was dangerous, and the idea that a single child can consume so many resources creates interesting moral problems.

As a nephilim and Redeemer, Aaron has the "power" to send fallen angels back to Heaven. He can "sense" those who in need of "salvation" but often resents being expected to "save" them, against his own personal moral judgment. Is Salvation really by Grace alone, or does one have to atone for sins (karma) first?

Then, Lucifer asks Aaron to “save” him. Aaron is in a position of being asked to do something he is wrong to secure his own destiny with God. Aaron says, he would spend eternity in Hell himself to keep Lucifer from getting back to Heaven. That is, Aaron is saying he can protect “good” by sacrificing his own eternal life. In a sense that sounds like a conceited thing to say, that Aaron himself can decide good and evil for everyone else.

The talking dog Gabriel was great. The film could have used a cat, too.

I have a 2006 review of the first film here.

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