I saw the movie “War of the Worlds” recently, and boy was it awesome. The effects were amazing, the plot line was nerve-wracking, the acting was sensational, and Dakota Fanning will receive an Oscar nomination for her performance (you heard it here first). And as much as I would love to harp about Dakota Fanning, I need to focus on the plot of the movie and the hypothetical questions it presents.
I think everyone is aware the movie is about alien life forms attacking Earth and attempting to eliminate the human race. What got to me in this movie, in addition to the superb acting, was the question of, “When faced with near certain death, do you keep fighting to survive, or do you simply succumb?” It makes for a great debate, and it is a question that is not easily answered. Think of all the clichés. “The ones that died were the lucky ones.” “There is no hope, so why not give up?”
What is it that drives us to survive, especially when faced with the direst of circumstances? Is it faith in God? Is it some other powerful idea like a child, a spouse, a friend? Or does instinct simply kick in and push you to live?
I like to think that when faced with the task of protecting my children and fighting for their lives, there is nothing I would not do. I like to believe that I possess the strength and courage to do whatever it takes to ensure their well being. Like Arland D. Williams Jr. in the icy waters of the Potomac in 1982, I like to think that I am willing to forego my own health and safety for that of my family. This is one of those situations where you hope you don’t panic, you expect to react accordingly and you pray that you never have to find out.
I guess it all comes down to strength, courage and faith. Do I have what it takes? I don’t know. I barely had what it took to sit through the movie. But life is not like Hollywood, and the path we take is stained every now and then with pain and tragedy. It’s our ability to persevere and survive that make us uniquely human. And it’s in believing and never losing focus of that ultimate goal of survival that we are able to realize our own happy endings.