Saturday, June 02, 2007

God In The Movies - 9 Reviews In 18 Paragraphs

Okay, it's been a while since I reviewed any movies, DVDs or TV ... so here goes a long one. Nine reviews in eighteen paragraphs:

Pirates Of The Caribbean: At World's End
What can I say about the third installment of Pirates? I mean really, I think what I enjoyed about it most is that it finally ended the second movie. My main motivation to see At World's End was to get a conclusion to Dead Man's Chest, not to see a new adventure.

I discussed this in my review of Dead Man's Chest, but I think a disturbing trend in recent movies is to simply not conclude the story line in anticipation of the next movie. Pirates and Eragon are just a couple in this trend and I have to say, "I need some resolution." The only series I felt comfortable expecting another movie was the Lord Of The Rings. Other series such as the Star Wars, Harry Potter, and Alien resolve each movie just fine while still allowing room for another movie.

As for storyline and spiritual issues, I'm still in a daze from this movie. There was a lot happening and less clear cut spiritual themes. All-in-all, I enjoyed the third Pirates more than the second (because it resolved), but not more than the first.
Shrek The Third
Shrek 3 is more of the same of the first two. If you enjoyed the first two, you'll like The Third. The main themes of this movie involve stepping up and taking responsibility. God has a plan for your life for which He has prepared you. You may not feel prepared, but that is where we need to rely on Christ power and strength.
Spiderman 3
Like Pirates, there is a lot going on in this movie - there are seemingly at least four villains. But unlike Pirates, it was easier for me to pick out a meta theme. You see really, the main villain in Spiderman 3 is ourselves. We can be our own worst enemy when we allow sin (the black tar-like symbiotic alien stuff) to enter our lives. When we know Christ we have a choice to either be controlled by sin or to be controlled by the Holy Spirit. For more, I'll refer you to Mark Batterson's insights on Spiderman 3. Great stuff in this movie!
Meet The Robinsons
I especially enjoyed Disney's Meet The Robinsons. If course, we saw it for the kids. I was one of the few kids movies that I've seen in a long time that didn't contain a lot of sexual innuendos and adult humor. It's also one of the few kids movies that's been release in a long time that is rated G, not PG. It proves that you can make a great movie for the family without all that other junk! To me it is a story about making a choice to see things in a positive light and not letting negativity take over your life.
The Invisible
I read some foreign reviews of The Invisible and they hated it. Maybe it's an American thing, but I rather liked it.

First off, Andrea and I debated whether or not to take the kids (it's PG-13). We're pretty bad at making those decisions, sometimes. In the end, we decided not to take the kids because of "some sexual scenes involving teenagers." Truth be told, it wasn't all that bad in that area. At the same time, there are a number of mature themes, violence, and ... I'm not sure how to explain this, but it's one of those movies from a teen's point of view - where most adults are portrayed as not in control and making a lot of stupid decisions (I might argue that there is some truth in that).

Anyway, it was a pretty good movie by my standards. Good storyline, cinematography, and okay acting. I was pleased that one theme portrayed in the trailers really didn't surface - the whole idea that "you're dead, but if you can find your killer you can come back to life." While I take movies that that in stride (it IS fiction after all), The Invisible ended up being more of an out-of-body "find your assailant before you die" kind of movie. It that better? I don't know. I enjoyed it anyway.
Wild Hogs
Guys getting older and going through that mid-life thing. This is one of the better, light-hearted comedies I've seen at the movies in a long time (Now on DVD). While there is some language and sexual banter, I found Wild Hogs to be a delightful refreshment. Somewhere along the way, we learn to enjoy life, take risks, and be content with the blessings we already have - all spiritual themes to be sure.
Music And Lyrics
Andrea and I saw this on Valentine's Day - Awwww, isn't that cute. Now you can see it on DVD. While we enjoyed Music And Lyrics when we first saw it, I have to say it's one of those subtle movies that grows on you. We find ourselves referring back and laughing at the movie time-and-time again. I think I especially connected with the film because of my background in the music industry. With Hugh Grant playing a washed-up 80's band member, I saw a lot of parallels. Again, this is also a good movie that touches on sticking to your principles, being content, and most of all - the sacrifice of love.
16 Blocks
Finally, here's one I caught on cable (also out on DVD). First of all, 16 Blocks has a lot of violence and language in it. But I thought the story was great.

Bruce Willis plays an aging cop in New York on an unwanted, seemingly simple job of taking a incarcerated witness downtown to testify. Here's the problem, dirty cops want the witness dead - no testifying for him. It ends up being quite a struggle for the aging Willis to keep the "bad guys" at bay.

Why do I like the film? It's a story of redemption and second chances. I suggest you check it out!
Okay, you had to watch it on television to get this one, but near the end of the season a choice was made that shocked everyone. I like Survivor because it is a study of human nature. If you missed it, there are two contestants you need to know: Yao-Man, a older man who had won a new $60k truck, and Dreamz, a younger inner-city kid who works with youth.

Basically it went down like this... You-man won the truck and Dreamz had never owned a car in his life - he wanted that truck bad. So Yao-Man mad a deal. "I'll give you the truck and, when we're the last four and if you win immunity, you'll give it to me." Dreamz went for it saying "I swear to God."

Sure enough, it came down to the final four and Dreamz won immunity. The agreement was to give the immunity over. In interviews, Dreamz said "I need to be a man of my word. I need to set an example for my son."

Well needless to say, everyone was shocked when Dreamz actually went back on his word and kept the immunity necklace. Understand that you have to have watched this to get the impact and understand Dreamz's character. He's not a lying, conniving, strategist. I find it interesting that, in the end, he chose his "wants" over his "character." That's going to be hard as a role model for inner-city youth.

With all this said, I pray we continue to look for spiritual themes in media. They serve as great touchpoints for conversation with those who have yet to surrender to Christ.