K-PAX

Director
Prot: Kevin Spacey
Dr. Mark Powell: Jeff Bridges
Rachel Powell: Mary McCormack
Claudia Villars: Alfre Woodard
Universal Pictures presents a film directed by Iain Softley. Written by Charles Leavitt. Based on the novel by Gene Brewer. Running time: 120 minutes. Rated PG-13 (for sequence of violent images, and brief language and sensuality).

Central Theme
Many humans hope a wise visitor will arrive on earth to help us understand land live life more intelligently and joyfully.

Story
A traveler named PROT (Kevin Spacey) arrives in New York City’s Grand Central Station claiming that he is from another planet. Police make arrangements for the man to be sent to a nearby mental hospital, where he is treated by a psychiatrist Dr. Powell (Jeff Bridges) who begins to believe his extraterrestrial story after it is corroborated by independent evidence (unlike humans, he sees ultraviolet rays and he baffles astronomers with details about his planetary orbit that nobody but them knows). His unusual kindness and willingness to listen to his fellow patients at the mental institute results in remarkable improvements in their mental health. When he announces a contest, the winner of which will return with him to KPAX, the patient’s enthusiasm and creativity flourishes. His insights into Dr. Powell’s dysfunctional family dynamics result in a restored relationship between the Psychiatrist and his estranged son. PROT recognizes he will be missed when he leaves this planet and this becomes increasingly apparent as the story unfolds.

Mythologies of visits from superior beings are common and underlying them is a human longing for something more coupled with a fear that our race is as good as it gets. Spacey likes PROT’S character because “he is curious, innocent and accepts people as they are.” He refers to this as a film about “belief and wonder.” PROT evokes hope for something better and evokes optimism about a good future for the human race. A fresh look at our lives from an outsider brings clarity to what is right and wrong with life as we know it. As Prot arrives at the mental hospital one of the patients is heard reading from 1st Corinthians chapter 13 often called the love chapter for it’s message that “without love you are nothing. In the background is a Norman Rockwell painting with the caption, “Do unto others as you would have others do unto you.” When talking about revenge and the human tendency towards “an eye for an eye,” PROT specifically says humans have failed to listen to Jesus and Buddha and advises that humans focus on getting it right in their time on earth. He claims on KPAX there are no laws because people already know right from wrong. He also claims to be called to earth (by Robert Porter) when bad things happen. Ironically Jeff Bridge’s character, Doctor Powell, is alienated from his own son and is prodded to reconciliation by PROT. Jeff Bridges likes the ambiguous ending because it allows for a variety of interpretations of PROT.

Certainly Jesus visitation of the planet encompasses these themes but surpasses them because Jesus claims to be the way to the Father offers life eternal and states that he has gone to prepare a place for all his followers. The universality of longing for something more than we are experiencing on earth suggests that there may actually be something more and Jesus says what we are lacking is the abiding sense of God’s presence available in daily life.

Beliefs num
–There may be life on other planets.
–Chances are excellent that this life is more intelligent than that of earth’s humans.
–Simply believing in such an external hope brings a sense of purpose and joy to otherwise distraught people.
–Physicians should heal their own lives before attempting to heal others.
–Earth would be a better place if we listened to our great teachers like Jesus and Buddha.

Questions Worth Discussing num
–Do you agree that there is a human longing for a solution from outside the planet?
–Why do people find such a notion fascinating in a character like PROT, yet don’t seem to connect such a story to Jesus, who also claimed to be from another place and offered wisdom and hope to earth’s inhabitants?
–Do you agree that humans have not listened to the wisdom of Jesus and Buddha? Why haven’t we?
–Is it possible that we will one day receive visitors from another planet?
–Was PROT really from another planet?

Provocative Quotes byline
–I’d forgotten. Wow. Your planet is really bright.
==PROT
–He didn’t come from no gate. He came from nowhere.
==Witness at Grand Central Station
–Let’s hope ET’s qualify for Medicaid.
==Doctors about Prot
–Though I speak with the tongues of angels, but have not love I am nothing.
==Reading in background at mental institution
–Your produce alone is worth the trip
==PROT to Mark
–No laws. No Lawyers.
==PROT to Mark
–Everybody in the universe knows right from wrong Mark.
==PROT to Mark
–You know most of you subscribe to this policy, an eye for an eye, which is known throughout the universe for its stupidity. Even your Buddha and your Christ had quite a different vision but nobody listened to them, not even the Buddhists or the Christians. You humans, sometimes its hard to imagine how you’ve made it this far.
==PROT to Mark
–I don’t know what I believe. But I know what I saw.
==Patient about PROT
–I know who you are. You’re the bluebird.
==Patient about PROT
–I think you should see more of your own family. Invite your son for Christmas.
==PROT to Mark
–You know what I’ve learned about your planet? There is enough life on earth to fill 50 planets.
==PROT to Mark
–I sense when I leave here I will be missed.
==PROT to Mark
–Now if you’ll excuse me, I have a beam of light to catch.Mark, now that you’ve found Robert, please take good care of him.
==PROT to Mark
–My advice is to get it right this time around because this time is all you have.
==PROT to Mark

Posted in Movies, Staublog in October 26, 2001 by | No Comments »

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