Thursday, December 31, 2015

Movie Review

The homeschool community was very excited to show Beyond the Mask in the theater here last spring. We had such a busy spring we didn't even attempt to attend the showing. I requested it from the library and finally had my turn last week. It was frustrating that I got it over the holidays. I squeezed in watching it one night after the Lambs went to bed.

After watching it, I think the Lambs would need to be a little older to enjoy this movie. I think the age to watch this would be high school. I didn't try to fit in the Lambs watching it before it was due and because it was in high demand I wasn't allowed to renew it.

The homeschool community had a right to be excited about this movie since two homeschool graduates made this movie. This all began with some cousins getting together and making home movies several years ago. Now they were ready to produce a big film.   It was impressive that one actor was John Rhys-Davies (Lord of the Rings), one writer was Paul McCusker (Adventures in Odyssey), and Stephen Kendrick (Fireproof, War Room) helped with the directing. There were 750 special effects! People around the world worked and also volunteered to make this movie. I appreciated that it was PG rating.

This movie seemed to have it all-action, adventure, love, and historical setting. They did their research so it was historically accurate, but they played with events that really happened so that the characters in the movie were in those historical events. I personally thought some of the events in the movie were a little far fetched to be historically correct, but they could have happened. I am often frustrated with the historical accuracy of films. This one seemed to get it correct or at least show "what might have been".

I am also often frustrated with the theology in "Christian" movies. I was pleased that this movie seemed to get it right. Then I listened to the bonus features and as the producer talked about their motivation to make this movie they got it wrong.

I would recommend this movie to high school students, especially that they watch it thinking about what they know about that point in history and that they think of how the movie was made-looking at the special effects. There wouldn't be anything wrong with showing it to younger and older, but I don't think they would get as much out of it. And I would recommend that the family watches the bonus features together and talk about the theology together.

*Spoiler Alert: Quit reading here if you want to watch the movie!

A female character in the movie says, "Neither redemption or love can be earned. They are gifts granted freely from God."

The producer talks about this part of the movie in the bonus features. He quotes Titus 3:5. Then he says, "If we accept that (Titus 3:5), turn from trusting self and trust Him, God creates a new identify in Christ Jesus."

The producer also says, "We don't have to work hard to be good enough. Jesus has already done that for us. If we accept the redemption He offers we have hope for the future."

I believe the female character got it right, but the producer did not. We say in the meaning to the Apostles' Creed in the Small Catechism-

I believe that I cannot by my own reason or strength believe in Jesus Christ, my Lord, or come to Him; but the Holy Spirit has called me by the Gospel, enlightened me with His gifts, sanctified and kept me in the true faith.

The producers statement goes beyond the female character's line and what the producer adds is not necessary. I know blogging about this is being really nit picky. That is the point. The Gospel is that Jesus did it all for us! We don't have to, nor are we able to, accept it ourselves.

One part of the movie that I appreciated was it gave a broad view of what was happening all over the world during Colonial Times in America. My high school history class seemed to just focus on what was happening in England and America. But we forget that dumping the tea in the Boston Harbor was much more involved than just those two countries. I thought the movie did a great job on this, especially because people were working on this movie all over the world when they made this movie. Because it was a group effort that view came across well.

You could tell that they did their homework and it showed that the historical accuracy was pretty good. Even the parts that didn't really happen, could have happened in the movie.

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