2¢ Christmas, Christian Critique, Was it really that bad?, What the bleep was that?!

Christian Critique: The Star

Well, that was a massive disappointment.

Bo (Steven Yeun) wants to do something important with his life like joining the Royal Caravan, but God has a bigger plan in store for him: Being the Donkey that Mary rides to Bethlehem and the hero who’s behind saving Jesus from a really early demise. Yes. that’s the plot. Somebody, please cringe with me.

Christians suck at making faith-based movies. So does Hollywood. Christians not making good faith-based movies is disappointing. Hollywood not making good faith-based movies is disappointing, but expected and predictable. I wanted this to be good. I wanted it to be great. It was neither.
There are major Biblical inaccuracies:

  1. John is already born and in attendance at Mary and Joseph’s wedding
  2. Mary tells Joseph about Jesus after they are married and is far along enough that she has a massive baby bump.
  3. The Wise Men visit King Herod before Jesus is ever born, not two years after the fact. When Herod is informed of there being a new king, he sends a guard with two dogs to track Mary, Joseph, and Jesus down and put an end to this new Kindom before it ever has a chance to start. I wish I was joking.

This movie was like Bible fan fiction. Really bad Bible fanfiction. Written by people unfamiliar with the original source material. AKA THE BIBLE!! I don’t know if the writers are Christian or not. I’m hoping for the sake of the movie that they’re not. Because if they are, this is embarrassing. They don’t even mention Jesus by name until close to the end. He gets name-dropped twice. Other than that he’s referred to as the baby and God’s son. Considering it’s a Hollywood movie, I’m surprised they mentioned Jesus by name at all.
I liked that Joseph was played by Zachary Levi and that the movie showed both Mary and Joseph struggle with the idea of being responsible for Jesus. I thought that was realistic. But that’s all I liked. Other than that the movie was long, I got bored, and stared at my phone which I don’t usually do if I’m enjoying something. Read the Bible instead. It’s better. So much better.

2¢ Valentines, Christian Critique, Dare to Compare

Dare To Compare and Christian Critique: Valentines Edition + Galentine’s Day Pick: Brave

The Lady and Tramp remake was a pleasant surprise. Despite being a nearly shot for shot remake, it was still enjoyable. I liked how Jim Dear and Darling were actually a bit of character development and a more active role in the story. It’s funnier giving it a romantic comedy feel. These two things were the only improvements over the original. It’s longer than the original, but doesn’t drag on forever like Mulan did.

Several changes were completely unnecessary including gender-bending Jock and changing  the beaver scene by replacing the living Beaver with a beaver statue when Lady and Tramp go to have Lady’s muzzle removed.

Despite replacing the Siamese cats, which are now deemed offensive, with R&B singing alley-looking cats, the original song is still catchier. I get why they changed it. I don’t think it was an improvement. Not bad, even fun, but not improved.

No one has ever animated animal expression like Disney’s Nine Old Men could! The bland CGI animals are definitely NOT an improvement over the original. Because of this, I found the most romantic scene in the movie to be bland and lifeless. The original scene was emotional and made me feel something. I felt nothing during the remade version.

The remake was one of Disney’s strongest of the bunch, but was still no match for the original classic. 

Brave is the often forgotten middle child of the Pixar canon. It isn’t Inside Out or Soul, but it’s a good movie in its own right. Pixar tries their hand at a princess movie and it’s a good one. It stands out from its Disney siblings by not focusing on any sort of romance. Instead it heavily focuses on the relationship between mother and daughter. I love romance, but this story is refreshing and is just fine without it.

Headstrong daughter, Merida and her equally headstrong mother, Queen Elinor, constantly butt heads about everything including whether Merida should get married or not. Merida says no. Elinor says yes. Merida runs off and asks a witch for a spell to change her Mum’s mind. But the spell changes Elinor into a bear instead. They have til the second sunrise to change Elinor back or she’ll stay a bear forever.

Brave is refreshingly different from the rest of their movies. It’s a shame it doesn’t stand out from the pack more. The story’s fun and emotional. The animation is beautiful and realistic especially those waterfalls and backgrounds! And it has a good message about family and you being the one in charge of changing your fate.

The story’s darker in places and might be a bit too much for some kids, and there’s some unnecessary nudity, but this movie should be fine for most families.

Old Fashioned was a response by the Christian community to compete with the BDSM-heavy Romantic fantasy franchiese, Fifty Shades of Grey. It’s no coincidence the two movies were released a week apart from each other so that they could compete with each other on Valentine’s Day and give couples a wholesome option.

I’ve never read or watched Fifty Shades, but I do know enough to know it’s trash. Though it’s trash that countless Christian women enjoyed. I found it fascinating the amount of Christian women that were obsessed especially Christian women that considered themselves conservative.

Clay believes in courtship over casual dating and lives by a strict purity code. So strict, he won’t be alone in the same room with a woman he’s not courting! Amber (Elizabeth Roberts), we’re told in the movie summary, is wild and carefree. We hardly see that side of her onscreen. We’re also told she travels aimlessly with no plans to settle down. Thus, breaking a huge rule in writing, Show Don’t Tell. This movie does that a lot. The most interesting parts of the story are the details you’re told not shown. For example, the few details shared about the pair’s past relationships were more interesting than the actual story.

The acting is wooden though Elizabeth Roberts is a better actor than Rik Sweltzwelder. The main characters are bland and the actors don’t have good chemistry. Because of this, they’re not convincing as a couple. In comparison, the supporting characters, David and Lisa, have better chemistry and better story in the short time they have onscreen. 

I felt that Brad, the sleazy  DJ, was unnecessary, and he was the worst actor of the bunch. He didn’t add anything to the story except they made it extremely obvious that this is the kind of  person you wouldn’t  want to date.

There were a couple of cute moments like Clay and Amber drawing their dates at random from a shoebox, and Amber clogging the sink to get Clay to fix it. 

The last half hour was the strongest. I actually liked it. Amber and Clay both screw up and his Aunt Zella nails him to the wall for acting holier than thou and holding others to an impossible standard instead of extending the same grace that God has given him to others. She also helps him see that he’s worthy of a second chance at love even after all the mistakes he made with his ex.

What it made up for in morals, it lacked in quality. Better writing and acting would have improved this movie greatly, and you could’ve had sexual purity at the core without introducing the concept right up front before Clay and Amber ever got together! 

I understand and appreciate what the filmmakers were trying to do, but they could’ve done it better. They get an A for effort.