Category Archives: Movie Reviews

Going Godless All the Way

Image result for images of primeval tv show

[Note: Sorry I’m late today. I decided that if I didn’t do my bike ride early, I’d never overcome the temptation to skip it later in the day.]

Patty and I have been watching Primeval, a hit science fiction series from the BBC. We watch if for Tim Haines’ dinosaur and monster effects, really the best in the business–the closest you can come to really seeing these animals. We also enjoy the sometimes very goofy characters, and the fact that these fictional people are, with only one or two exceptions, extraordinarily chaste.

But what astounds me most about it is its deep and total atheism. Not that they speak a word against God. He has simply been written out of the show. In the whole series, there’s only one brief–and really a little bit touching–scene in a church, and that’s all it has to show for the non-material side of things. I mean, they don’t even take the Lord’s name in vain: which is a good thing, but it’s also like nobody in this show has ever heard of Him.

Ah, science fiction… See, there are these holes in space and time, called “anomalies,” and dinosaurs and other creatures pop out of them to wreak havoc in modern England, and this little crew of amateur scientists has to shoo the monsters and close the anomalies… You get the idea.

There are good-guy scientists and bad-guy scientists butting heads, and what we wind up with is a clash of two 100% atheistic world views. One (the good guys) would be “Let Nature/Evolution take its course.” The other (the bad guys) is, “We must control Evolution.” Both envision the ultimate extinction of the human race. Sorry, no salvation. Well, there can’t be any if there isn’t any God, can there?

As the series builds to its climax, the thing that drives the bad guys is the Quest for the Ultimate Free Stuff (and nobody is to make a profit! isn’t that great?). I kind of like that part of the story–you see where the untrammeled lust for Free Stuff gets you, and it ain’t good.

If your Christian faith is solid, this series will not hurt you. Won’t turn you into a pagan, a New Ager, or an atheist. At the end of my workday I’m tired and want to veg out. Dinosaurs romping across my TV screen helps me relax. I enjoy Primeval–but–but–

But a steady diet of Godless science fiction, beginning in childhood–no, that I wouldn’t recommend. Not for anyone. At best it’s a handicap to be overcome. At worst, it gets lodged in your brain and you can’t get it out, and you wind up worshiping false gods and idols.

Mark me, I don’t say the solution to this is to slap on a lot of “Christian” decals and call it “Christian science fiction.” That won’t fool anyone.

Consumption of “entertainment” is a form of self-education, and we really need to learn to be more careful with it.

 

 


Memory Lane: ‘The Vikings’

This movie was a huge hit when it came out in 1958. All over my neighborhood there were skinny little kids running around with sticks and yelling “Odin!”

We all would have loved to try this Viking oar-walking stunt, but we didn’t have enough oars for it. That’s Kirk Douglas himself doing it in the movie, so how hard could it be?

(Editor’s note: I’m posting the happy stuff now, before we get the report on Robbie’s blood work from yesterday. She ate normally last night and this morning, but you never know what dreadful thing diagnostics might uncover.)


Scary Martian Comes to ‘Life’

Image result for images of life science fiction movie

Hey, we saw a cool science fiction movie yesterday, a nice and scary one–Life, which we rented from amazon.

The ideology of unbelief dictates that life be found on other planets. Somehow that’s supposed to prove there is no God. You’d have to ask them how that works. Although I wouldn’t bother.

But if there were… this movie shows you what might happen.

“Oh, boy, Martian soil samples! Why, look at that–a little tiny organism… let’s see if we can wake it up…” Cue to Colin Clive in Frankenstein, screaming exultantly, “It’s alive! It’s alive!

Actually, messing around with alien organisms seems like it would be a very bad idea. Somebody on that space station should’ve read The Andromeda Strain. But they do screw around with it, they just can’t help themselves, they give it a cutesy-poo nickname–and of course it winds up loose, and sets about killing everybody there. It’s sort of a half-octopus, half-starfish that gets bigger and bigger and smarter and smarter with every victim it devours.

And everything goes wrong. They should’ve watched Jurassic Park before they left earth. All these carefully thought-out protocols and procedures, all the bright ideas of scientific whiz kids–well, the Martian monster doesn’t know and certainly doesn’t care about any of that.

I really didn’t notice who was in the cast. All the characters were too busy trying to stay alive, and had no time to devote to personal issues. I can say the film was well-acted, well-directed, fast-paced, and with a straightforward cinematography that didn’t make my wife seasick, watching it. A very effective study in suspense punctuated by frantic action.

Again and again the movies we make tell us that our science isn’t all it’s cracked up to be, and warn us to proceed with caution. On some level, we know this!

And yet we never listen. It’s not Martian monsters that devour us, but bright ideas and clever societal innovations dreamed up by blockheads hailed as sages.

 


‘Jurassic World’: a Comment

Image result for images of jurassic world

I watch Jurassic Park movies because I love to see dinosaurs. I also appreciate them as a form of escape: cooling my brain down for a bit.

So we watched Jurassic World today, and grooved on the special effects. Even if their Mosasaur is as big as the Chrysler Building, it’s still way cool.

But the thing is, these movies have something important to say. And that is… At some level, we modern people know we’re whistling Dixie, playing with dynamite, and totally full of self-delusion, thinking we’re in control, we’ve got it covered–and then the dinosaurs get loose. These movies, and others like them, would not be made if we did not know that.

And yet we act as if we know nothing at all. We keep on playing with fire. Ooh-ooh, genetic modification! Ooh-ooh, brain implants! And so on–no end to the folly. Professing ourselves to be wise, we become fools (Romans 1).

We do keep God busy, don’t we? Busy diverting us from self-annihilation.


Immortal Cinematic Art

Remember this, from 1958–The Attack of the 50-Foot Woman? Whaddya mean, you missed it? You must be anti-science.

It does raise a fascinating question, though: where did she buy her bra? Like, you can’t just walk into Wal-Mart and pick up a bra for a 50-foot-tall woman. “I take a 150ZZZ+…”  Not to mention the rest of her unmentionables. And her shoes. Shoes would be a real problem.


Movie Review: ‘Risen’

If you like “Bible movies,” Risen is a good one. And let me tell you the best thing about it.

It’s a single scene, starring an actor in a small part. Richard Atwill plays one of the Roman guards who was on duty at Jesus’ tomb when He rose from the dead, and he tries to tell you what is was like. It would be wrong of me to reveal any of the details. I highly recommend seeing it for yourself.

Risen is the story of a Roman army officer, Clavius–played with stern conviction by Joseph Fiennes–who is ordered by Pilate (Peter Firth) to track down Jesus’ body, arrest the disciples, and prove that the Resurrection was a hoax. And this without drawing a single paycheck from a modern teachers’ union.

There’s a lot of grim and even gruesome detail in this movie; but on the plus side, it’s a loving and realistic rendering of Jesus and His disciples. I would have liked to see more of Pilate’s inner conflict that the Scripture suggests, but you can’t have everything. Fiennes is really good, and so are all the actors playing the apostles. There’s a trace of Catholic bias in it, but that really shouldn’t be a major problem for the viewer.

On the whole, though, the screenplay sticks fairly close to Scripture. No movie can be a substitute for the Bible. But a good one might draw a viewer nearer to it.


Laugh Out Loud at ‘Clockwise’

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Yesterday Patty thought we needed a break, so she went to youtube and found us one of the funniest movies we’ve ever seen.

Clockwise (1986) stars John Cleese as Mr. Stimson, a headmaster at an English public school. In his youth, Mr. Stimson had a terrible problem managing time. He overcame it by becoming a pompous control freak obsessed with being on time, and has just been elected chairman of a national headmasters’ conference.

The premise is simple: Stimson has to go to the conference and give a speech. What ensues is a bizarre train of errors, each one worse than the last, as Stimson tries to make it to the conference on time. The cast is chock-full of persons you’ve already seen in many British sitcoms: Geoffrey Palmer (As Time Goes By), Stephen Moore (The Thin Blue Line), Anne Way and Pat Keen (Fawltey Towers), and Joan Hickson (Miss Marple, plus assorted Carry On movies), and several others. And they are all at their best! No one ever babbled and dithered better than Joan Hickson.

You’d think it’d be a fairly straightforward errand, to go to a conference and give a speech–but you wouldn’t believe how complicated it gets. It’s like one of those nightmares in which your feet stick to the ground, you lose your clothes, the police are looking for you, and so on. Those things aren’t so funny when they happen to you, but they’re a scream when they happen to John Cleese.

Laughter is one of God’s gifts, and not the least of them. And this film will give you barrels of it. Try it, you’ll like it.


A Tidbit from the Archives

Hey, if you’re shut in by the weather today, or just feel like reading a little more of this blog, visit the archives and call up this post from Oct. 6, 2014–“What We Can Learn from Bad Movies.” What does America’s immigration policy have in common with Plan 9 from Outer Space? Well, yeah, okay, Plan 9 was better than anything ever produced by the Obama administration–but read the post. I think you’ll like it.


‘The Shack’: F-

Image result for images of the shack by william young

So here’s another movie that I do not plan to see, based on a best-selling book that I would, at all costs, avoid reading: The Shack, by William Young.

Steve Brown, of Key Life Ministries, to whom I listened on the radio for some years, was wild about the book when it came out. I never understood that–and neither, he admitted, did most of the other people in his audience. Steve is a rather conservative guy. I interviewed him once; and when someone picked up the phone and said “Key Life Ministries,” I asked the stupidest question I ever asked in my life: “Hello, could I speak to Steve Brown, please?” Steve has a deep, deep, sonorous, down-home voice, impossible to mistake for anyone else’s: impossible, but I did it anyway. As if there could be two voices like that! My only defense is that I never expected the president of the ministry to answer the phone. But I digress.

The Shack preaches universalism: the doctrine that anybody and everybody goes to heaven no matter what they believe. Why, then, be a Christian, if worshiping a ham sandwich will get you there just as well?

So… the protagonist has had some serious agony in his life, and he needs answers. He wanders around until he finds this shack; and in the shack, just hanging out, he finds what Mr. Young is pleased to tell us is the Holy Trinity.

God the Father, Yahweh, the Great I AM–well, that’s a black woman. This has to be liberal para-Christianity’s oldest cliche. I’ll bet there were cave men who were bored to death by it. So give Mr. Young an F- for originality. The Holy Spirit is a prattling Asian woman, and God the Son, Jesus Christ Our Lord, the King of Kings–well, he’s just this laid-back, chilled-out, loosey-goosey Middle Eastern Guy. And the message is, Everybody gets saved.

What Bible did Mr. Young get that out of?

For whatever my opinion may be worth, this seems like a very serious sin: trying to use God to bear false witness against His own enscriptured Word. The Shack can’t be right unless the Bible is wrong about virtually everything. And that, in a nutshell, is what liberal para-Christianity is all about. You can’t believe the message of The Shack unless you disbelieve the Bible.

Give The Shack another F- for theology.

If you have to choose between seeing this movie and watching the grass grow, go for the grass.


Last Days, Or Just Bad Days?

Image result for images of walt disney tearing his hair out

Gone are the days…

I understand why people think we’ve living in the Last Days, in the run-up to the Apocalypse, as described in Revelation. We’re living in an age of freaks and weirdos, with powerful and wealthy institutions promoting wickedness for all they’re worth.

Walt Disney’s movies and cartoons were a big part of my childhood. Who didn’t love Mickey Mouse? Donald Duck? Dumbo? What kid didn’t watch the Disney television shows?

Now Disney is about to release a live-action remake of its 1991 animated cartoon feature, Beauty and the Beast, featuring what is proudly billed as the “entertainment” giant’s “first exclusively gay moment” ( http://www.nowtheendbegins.com/disney-first-exclusively-gay-moment-hits-screens-beauty-beast-live-action-version/ ). I think there are a lot of us who would like to be excluded.

This is a film intended for children. To teach them that “gay is great,” I guess. Like they teach them in the public schools. Like parents allow strangers to teach them. Why do they allow it? Don’t ask me. Ask the Bible. Romans Chapter One, the part about reprobate minds.

This is evil, this is poison, and those of us who oppose it have no power to stop it. We can’t get at the controls of the runaway train.

What can we do? More to the point, what will God do?

What I say unto you I say unto all: Watch!  –Mark 13:37


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