Movies are fickle things. Tim Burton is one of the most amazing directors to create a world immersed in his fantastic vision. Why is that Beetlejuice and Edward Scissorshands are still full of wonder, but recent Tim Burton fantasies such as Charlie and the Chocolate Factory and Alice in Wonderland are not “wonderful” or perhaps “wonder-full”? I know my age makes a difference regarding wonder. It’s a piece (and only a piece) of why I love the original Star Wars trilogy and am much more ambivalent on the second threesome.
Wonder is that which arouses astonishment or marvel. Things enriched with positively experiences of amazement and transformation. The High Holy Days are supposed to that. Choirs, robes, shofar, sermons, big musical pieces, the sheer number of attendees are all supposed inspire you into awe. Thomas Carlyle said, “Wonder is the basis of worship.” Nowadays, we often seek such wonder differently. Choirs and robes are often no more. Sermons often don’t live up to the anticipation. The music and even the congregation are intentionally scaled back for alternative or intimate services. At least the shofar is still the shofar.
Memory is a gift. Through memory we bring people back into our lives. We relive the wonderful and tragic giving us strength and teaching us lessons. Memory lets us cherish nostalgia and enables us to remember what happened on last week’s Breaking Bad since the recap at the beginning barely hits the highlights.
That’s why it is such a shame that Hollywood has no memory. If they did, there wouldn’t be so many remakes.