The Devil in Movies [12/13/00]

- - Spoiler Alert - This article reveals endings to multiple movies. Do not read if you wish to be surprised. --

What is wrong with movies these days? It seems that nobody seems to take the Devil, or Satan as he's otherwise known, all that seriously anymore. Too many times, he's nothing more than an average dupe who has to wait for a certain time or a certain series of events to happen for him to gain power. That and his minions are even more helpless than he.

In Lost Souls, Satan had to wait for the exact moment a man turned a certain age before he could transform the man into the antichrist. When that moment finally came, a satanic glitch in a car clock revealed the king of lies for what he's worth. In the end, apparently, the devil needed a bulletproof vest as much as he needed a good watch.

It's this kind of human weakness that leads us to wonder what Hollywood really thinks about this fallen angel? For a being who aided in the first sin and has been tormenting people from Job to Jesus with temptations we'd like to expect a little more. Most of Hollywood figures he can be tricked as well as we can.

In the Devil's Advocate, he obviously has the upperhand until Keanu Reeves chooses to blow his own brains out. It's at this moment that everything falls apart for Lucifer and once again, he loses. A similar fate befalls one of his minions in Fallen with Denzel Washington. The demon Azazel leaps from one body to the next by touch and has managed to murder a number of people and ruin the lives of others. His rampage of terror comes to an end when duped out to the woods by Washington, who thereby shoots Azazel's newly possessed body and then poisons himself so as to keep Azazel from finding a new body. (Unfortunately, though, he does manage to get into a woodland animal in the nick of time. I guess Hollywood had to let them win one...)

Of course, the devil has managed to shine, in so much that he doesn't look like a total buffoon, in a couple movies. His possession of Linda Blair in the Exorcist and subsequent possession of a priest in the Exorcist 3 are both excellent renditions. In both, we get an idea that the scriptwriter has done his homework.

The list of devil-wannabees is long. Here's a few lackluster ones that come to mind:

Gabriel Byrne in End of Days
Harvey Keitel in Little Nicky
Robert England in an Episode of Married with Children
Al Pacino in The Devil's Advocate
George Burns in Oh God! You Devil
Bill Cosby in The Devil and Max Devlin

What it comes down to is that Hollywood is busy looking for someone to make out to be a villain. Since the devil can't sue for slander, he's the best target. First, he gets booted out of Heaven, then he gets the boot from everyone in Hollywood.

- - Vane

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Traditionally, Satan is a dark, evil King of Lies. In the movies, he's just something a little less.