It should be thought provoking and inspiring, no less so for the large audience it will be reaching. It is perhaps the largest audience ever to be exposed to the Dharma in American history!
The film traces Shakyamuni's journey from the sheltered confines of his father's castle walls, to the streets of India, where the reality of aging, illness, death and the path of the Arhat provoke what is essentially an Existential break down, prompting him to leave all he knows behind in order to find Enlightenment.
Shakyamuni's journey is the human journey--each of us is called to awaken to our True Nature, perhaps not in such an extreme manner, but certainly in whatever way we can. Every journey is unique, as unique as each sentient being, but journey we must if we are ever to be free of suffering.
What the Buddha realized under the Bodhi tree is that we are all already Buddha! When Mara, in a fit of frustration finally demanded to know who would witness the Buddha's enlightenment, and who he thought he was anyway!, the Buddha simply touched the earth. With his touch, the Earth Goddess roared, "I am his witness!" Mara was vanquished, at least for awhile....
The Buddha also proclaimed that his enlightenment was the world's enlightenment, was every sentient being's enlightenment, "I, and all the world..." We are all Buddha, but it is up to each of us to realize our Buddha Nature. That's revolutionary, even today. Especially today! We are all called to the journey, but it requires taking ultimate responsibility for ourselves--our thoughts, words and deeds.
Can we rise to the challenge?
There is a lot of fun, interesting information at the film website: www.pbs.org/thebuddha
Check it out!