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My normal inclinations lead me to conclude 2001: A Space Odyssey.  But today my opinion has changed.  No longer is it a Star Wars or Star Trek movie.  Not one of The Matrix trilogy.  Nor is it a “B” movie with Leslie Nielsen.  Nope.  None of the above.  The greatest SciFi movie ever is It’s a Wonderful Life.  With James Stewart, Donna Reed, and Lionel Barrymore.

What makes it so great?  It contains two postulates.  The first is of a world where a single man, George Bailey, is able to change the lives of the whole community, and even the world, through selfless behavior.  One might expected, allowing for the uncertainty princple along with a casual viewing of Forest Gump, that the actions of an individual might impact others in a cascading or domino effect.  But a moral world — the best of all possible worlds — where a man is driven entirely by morality!  That is the stuff of pure fiction.  And a world with those characteristics, being visited by the alien Clarence, is certainly a world which we might someday visit.  If it exists.

The second postulate adds to the richness of the movie.  It proposes a possible world where the hypothetical actions of George Bailey, should they be absent, turn that world into one much like our own.  It is a world filled with greed, vice, and corruption.  It is a world driven by fear and police power.  This non-existent world can be avoided if only the moral and decent, the completely unselfish persons, maintain their morality consistently.

Of course the aliens Clarence and Joseph are able, on a moment’s notice, to change reality to suit their particular bent.  That is nothing like the world of the Bible.  It is a god of fantasy.  Much like the Q of Star Trek, it is a universe which cannot exist but in the minds of the writers.

Such is the fantastic world of science fiction.  But this hypothetical world leaves no room for redemption.  There is choice and freedom, but even these remain contingent to the whim of the lesser deities.  There is morality, but again it is what the authorities, both political and spiritual, demand.  There is love and fear, and these exist in perpetual conflict as the strings of time and space exist in conflict.

It is not a Christian movie.  It is SciFi at its best.

Merry Christmas, everyone!

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