Christian Movie Reviews

Christian Movie Reviews October 17, 2014

Buddy_christI was laying in bed the other night with my Android trying to figure out the title of a movie by searching for “that movie where the shadows kill everyone”. I didn’t end up locating it, but I did stumble across something else. It’s almost like Google knows me.

I suppose I shouldn’t be surprised that there’s specifically Christian movie reviews. How could I resist?

For this particular review (and comments!), the movie in focus was “Maleficent.” (2014) The actual review is fairly standard, and doesn’t show a lot of Christian bias, though it does address that aspect towards the end.

As for offensive material, there isn’t much. There is fantasy witchcraft, spells and magic, which is expected considering the source material.

[snip]

Another concern is that fairytale fantasy magic, curses and witchcraft may be confused with the real kind that the Bible strongly warns about. 

Gasp!

The reviewer spits out a couple Bible quotes

It also has redeeming quality when it deals with forgiveness of those who wrong us.

Luke 6:27—But I say unto you which hear, Love your enemies, do good to them which hate you.

This is a lesson that should hit home with Christians in these troubling times.

Consider this grokked. Again, the review is tame. Then… then, there’s the comments. I’ll take snippets from different ones.

My point here isn’t so much to mock, as it is a morbid curiosity into the minds of my fellow citizens.

Positive—Wow! This is a life lesson movie! A little scary for my 6 year old but my 7 and 9 year olds learned about: holding on to your anger, guilt, forgiveness, redemption, and love. Afterward, we all talked about how we can be like Maleficient and Stephen ourselves and how wonderful it is that Jesus forgives us. He is our ultimate example!!!

It’s like UP’s “Squirrel!” dog… this reviewer is talking about the merits of the movie, then suddenly, Jesus.

 First, while I agree there are some redeeming features in the film, it suffers from some very bad messages, and a disturbing trend in revisionist fairy tales.

I’ve honestly never heard of the phrase “revisionist fairy tales.” First, I’m not sure why anyone would care. Second, that’s how most of them have grown to be they way they are today.

Second, the idea that there is no “true love” of men and women is a recurring theme in this society and revisionist fairy tales. That “true love’s first kiss” is not a knight in shining armor is not new to this film, either.

So your beef with the movie is that it’s a little to reality-based? How is this a bad message? I’d think sending a message to girls, that this is how life operates, would be good. Apparently, that’s me.

This is the final problem; all the heroes are women, and all the villains are men. There are no exceptions (unless you count the crow). It is a trend in revisionist fairy tales that is an attack upon family and the idea that marriage between a man and woman is the “happily ever after” which God intended. It is a bad message for young children.

Sure okay – maybe it could have used to mix up the genders a bit more… but an attack upon the family? An attack on the idea that maybe life isn’t a stable as their religious notions would have them believe?

Maybe it’s healthy for the younglings to think about these things instead of being totally ignorant until they run face-first into that particular wall.

Moreover, the movie professes to answer questions (that were not raised before) about Maleficient’s true intentions. Her intentions always seemed direct and harmful, and she was feared by young children. This Maleficient tries to blur the lines- to suggest evil (as the name implies) is not so bad- this is what made it morally offensive for me. Children come away thinking- That the original Maleficient (who showed no change of heart) and Evil are not that harmful.

It reminds me of a little argument I saw somewhere once… where someone was posting photos of Hitler, where it was showing more of his “human side.” Someone took issue with this, because it was essentially sugarcoating the fact he was an evil person, somehow. The ultimate point brought up is that we really should remind ourselves that people like Hitler had kind and gentle sides, and could be very personable. It’s so easy to dismiss someone like Hitler as a fluke – someone who was just clearly evil, instead of an inner potential in us all.

Life isn’t divvied into clear unambiguous good, and clear unambiguous evil. This is an important lesson about life – one that, the sooner learned, the sooner we can improve the world.

Life is nuanced.

So it becomes clear to me that I will have to discuss this film at length with my children, if they ever happen to view it in the future. What I want them to see is that, despite the evil king’s evil actions, Maleficent’s bitterness and hostility is not the right path to take either. And that, unlike in “Maleficent,” True Love is between a man and a woman… just like in one of my favorite stories: “The Princess Bride.”

Yes, clearly, this is a critically important issue, apparently. Several commenters brought up this “1 man 1 woman” concern so far.

I believe it is part of Hollywood’s revisionist attempt to subvert all that is good. The basic problem here is that Hollywood, apparently in an attempt to be “edgy” has decided to revise our fairy tales so that there is no clear hero, and no clear villain. This is contrary to what I consider the primary purpose of fairytales, which is to train up children to love a hero and loathe a villain.

Feel free to not take your screaming brats to the movies. Screaming about what? Probably Jesus.

On the other hand, Hollywood’s been out of ideas for a long time now, so maby it’s all they’ve got left. (Do we really need yet another Spiderman reboot? Maybe they’ll start rebooting the Spiderman story multiple times per movie, soon)

Fairytales serve an important function in transmitting at least 4 key cultural tropes to the next generation. 1. Belief in the Supernatural (or God) 2. Belief in heroism and trying to be heroic 3. Belief in romance and getting married 4. Belief in patriotism and loving your country

Strangely, I don’t care for any of those. Well, maybe romance.

The “belief in heroism” seems strange to me… similar to a belief in martyrdom. It’s kind of creepy. I think there’s a difference between trying to do the right thing, and going out of your way to be a “hero.”

All four of these beliefs are damaged and subverted by this movie.

I haven’t seen it. I’m starting to warm up to the idea.

1. The Supernatural is pretty much only represented by evil witchcraft. God is not really present in the movie. 

By the Great Gorblestoppers of Maplethorpe, what curse is befalling upon our nation? This is important. There’s a movie, and it doesn’t include God.

I watched “The Edge of Tomorrow” (which is pretty much a recycled Stargate SG1 episode), and the only aliens represented were bad aliens. Where were the good aliens?

2. Heroism is subverted because the villain turns out to be pseudo-heroic. There is no clear hero, only a villain who manages to reform herself. Big whoop. 

A good life lesson.

3. The two main love interests do not get married in this movie. (This is a disturbing trend in Disney movies lately, because for the modern liberal mind apparently marriage is no longer something to celebrate unless you are gay).

Gays destroyed JT’s marrage (soon).

I think there’s an increasing trend that people are realizing that they don’t need a piece of paper to define their relationship… and that’s all they’re missing. “Big whoop”, as you say.

4. Patriotism or love of country is also subverted because the human king and kingdom turn out to be the evil villains.

I doubt this person is an Obama supporter. I don’t buy that patriotism and “love of country” is automatically a good thing. These are things I think the country needs to earn.

Yep, there can be no doubt that Disney has been infiltrated and taken over by liberals who are trying to be, you know, “original thinkers” by which they mean “let’s attack all that is holy and good and invert all traditional values to glorify their polar opposites.”

Slavery was also a traditional value.

I am very concerned about how evil is being portrayed in the movies presently. “Maleficent” follows the same theme which is evil is just misunderstood or they could not help it because of their circumstances. When I was last at the Disney parks, I noticed a lot of more villains than when I grew up as a child. There were hardly any villains. I mention this because our society seems drawn to evil.

Or maybe society is maturing, and doesn’t have quite a black-and-white attitude that it used to?

What is forgotten is that she chose to do evil just like Anakin chose to go to the dark side. Parents, I would caution to be aware that the message that is sent to our children is it is OK to choose evil, if evil has been done to you. The Bible says to do good to those who are evil to you. Pray for those who despitefully use you.

Maybe it’s better that these concepts are addressed, provoking thought, before they encounter these situations in the real world? There’s a common theme here – shield the children from the outside world.

This was a surprise.… it was purely evil! I don’t know why I thought it would be anything else. Yes, it tries to paint a picture of good going to evil because of the circumstances… then back to gooď? I don’t think so. You may have said that Satan was good and fell because of his circumstances.… and he’s really good… that’s preposterous! Evil and darkness are of the devil, period!

MAXIMUM BLACK-AND-WHITE-THINKING

Aren’t these the same people who think we’re all essentially evil, and need redemption?

 I am appalled that any Christian could say it is good in any way. It’s like all those people out there that say Harry Potter is ok… well how can it be when it’s teaching children about sorcery.… wizards and witches… all evil—told so in the Bible! I cannot recommend this to anyone… especially children!

Yet, it’s going to be the children that are most likely going to clue this person into the idea that sorcery isn’t real.

We need to give Stargate SG1 Season 1, Episode 15 an NC-17 rating to prevent children from watching it, because we don’t want them to get the idea that opening a Stargate to a planet that’s spiraling into a black hole will cause the Stargate to stay permanently open, sucking the Earth into it. If any children get the wrong idea, they could doom us all!

I am disappointed because I depend on this site to give me good Christian advice from other believers who have seen movies. I just saw this movie because so many people said many positive reviews on this site, however I had great reservations beforehand. I CANNOT believe how much demonic sorcery and in your face witchcraft is in this movie. Sure it’s a “fairy tale” and every one of them does have some kind of magical powers and spells, however this one takes it to a whole new level! And for the original reviewer to say “As for offensive material, there isn’t much.” Are you kidding me? Yes it is highly offensive to a Christian to magnify such demonic powers of witchcraft. 

Yes, I mean, setting aside the fact it’s all fiction…

I know that the movie where the shadows killed everyone is fiction, I CANNOT believe how much they broke the laws of physics and biology on that movie. This is highly offensive.

It certainly concerns me that so many Christians are desensitized to something like this and call this a must see movie! Yeah, if you want to fill your mind with things of the devil, that is reality. And she had this crow she kept turning into a human and his name is practically pronounced like ‘devil’. I am sickened to think that so many Christians have on here have embraced this movie. God help us to want to fill our minds and hearts with things of God, NOT things of the demonic realm.

I think I could get along with the other Christians, than this person. I can’t believe people have become desensitized to planets being blown up. Do you know how many people were on Alderaan? I’m going back to my corner where I’ll pretend that the concept of blowing up planets doesn’t exist.

The movie clearly has Satanic undertones. The character Maleficient seems to be a reflection of a demon or possibly Lucifer, with the horns, bat wings, and all black. This movie seems to say that the executives of Disney are saying that Satanism is okay, and that the Bible is wrong.

They are pure evil. They’re also okay with planet-blowing-upping. It’s clear to me that the producers of The Walking Dead are diligently persuading us that zombie apocalypses are an awesome worthy goal.

The only reason, the movie seems to suggest, that Lucifer is evil is because mankind hurt her. In the movie, Maleficient starts pure, innocent, and good, and man is evil. When man hurts her, she avenges man, seeking to destroy him, taunting him, backed by a seemingly pure and innocent army of fantastic creatures. I read about earlier versions of Maleficient, who was much more evil.

Yes, how dare the characters of a movie have any depth to them?

 

I suppose I shouldn’t be surprised that the younger crowd doesn’t necessarily agree with all of the above.

As with a previous comment, I agree that Aurora acts as the Christ-like figure, teaching Maleficent the error of her evil tendencies. In the end, after Aurora awakens (which could also be a parallel for Christ dying on the cross) the message of redemption and forgiveness, no matter how far someone has fallen, is the strongest aspect of this movie. All magic aside (I mean, really, it’s a fictional world with fictional people and fictional rules), “Maleficent” is a wonderful example of how Christ saves us from the worst depths.

No! Wrong! Evil is evil! Good is good! Never shall the two meet! Are you saying that you have the ability to tell the difference between a fictional movie and real life? What black magic is this?

It was a very good movie with an awesome moral. It showed you that true-love is not romance, but the love we have for one another. It made me think about how Christ wanted us to love one another. I think it is a great movie to take upper elementary children to. It was clean, although it did have some violence. I enjoyed it, and I would watch it again.

No! Love is strictly about romance and getting married. You aren’t allowed to have sophisticated views on topics.

 

All this concern over witchcraft strikes me as bizarre. It’s as though they’re concerned about having kids watch movies that glorify gang violence. I can appreciate that these parents want what’s best for their kids, but their religious beliefs seem to have distracted them with fake concerns, making their jobs more difficult.

Though, if any kids manage to leave the movie, and do some actual sorcery, there’s a million dollar prize waiting for them. But it’s probably tainted.


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