For Aleteia this past week I reviewed the new pro-life drama, Gimme Shelter. Despite the glowing reviews from Bishops around the world, I have to admit I was hesitant to watch it because of a few reasons, not the least of which was the presence of Vanessa Hudgens in the lead role. Fortunately, though, it turns out she can actually act, so it all worked out. Besides, my only other choice for the week was I, Frankenstein. I know, you’re probably thinking that sounds like just the kind of movie I’d want to watch given the nature of this blog. But really, take a look at the one-sheet for the movie…
Now, does that hunk of photoshopped crapola inspire anyone in anyway to want to see I, Frankenstein? No, it didn’t me either. What in the world happened to fun movie posters? It used to be that a decent poster alone could be enough to make you want to empty your pockets and buy a ticket. Just take a look at the following Frankenstein posters and you’ll see what I mean.
Frankenstein Conquers The World (1965)
I Was A Teenage Frankenstein (1957)
Frankenstein and the Monster From Hell (1973)
Frankenstein Meets The Space Monster (1965)
Now those are real posters! They make these films look like a blast. Who wouldn’t want to see these movies after looking at those things. I know I did, because I’ve seen them all now. My only regret is that I didn’t get a pair of them there space shield eye protectors the last poster promised. I could sure use those for some of the movies I watch around here.
Now I’m sure you’ve heard the old saying that you can catch more flies with honey than with vinegar. Well, for the most part it’s true. I don’t know exactly how many people shelled out a few bucks to see any of these epics but it has to be more than went and saw I, Frankenstein this past weekend. That movie bombed hard. And I would have to guess that part of the reason is because the advertising for the thing was joyless. Look at that poster for I, Frankenstein again. Could it make the film look any more like a slog than it already does? I don’t know, maybe if they added a picture of Bill Maher standing in the background or something.
People respond to a joyful presentation. Just ask Pope Francis. In a homily back in May 2013, The Pontiff poked a little fun at Christians who look dour all the time. “Sometimes these melancholic Christians' faces have more in common with pickled peppers than the joy of having a beautiful life.” His Holiness noted. “If we keep this joy to ourselves it will make us sick in the end, our hearts will grow old and wrinkled and our faces will no longer transmit that great joy, only nostalgia and melancholy which is not healthy.”
Of course, Pope Francis wasn’t implying we should walk around all the time grinning like an idiot. “If we want to have fun all the time, in the end it becomes shallow, superficial, and also leads us to that state where we lack Christian wisdom.” he explained, “It makes us a little bit stupid, naive, no?… Joy is something else. Joy is a gift from the Lord. It fills us from the inside.” And being filled with that joy, it should show up on our faces whenever possible. And in those sad times when it’s not, it can still be expressed in our demeanor. Trust me, just like with the movie posters, people will respond better to a happy package.