Tag Archives: Christian Film

Cinema-Maniac: God’s Not Dead


(This review of God’s Not Dead was first posted on May 19, 2014. I posted this review on a movie site called Rotten Tomatoes under the username Cinema-Maniac. This posting has some spelling and grammar correction, but it’s virtually the same review as before.)

A straightforward title like God’s Not Dead leaves little to the imagination for debate. In the same way the same person wrote the Ten Commandments said “Thou Shalt Not Kill” nearly wiped out every single specie with a flood. Now, my proof that God did spread this message it with my supporting evidence in Exodus 34:1, “The Lord said to Moses, “Chisel out two stone tablets like the first ones, and I will write on them the words that were on the first tablets, which you broke”. Further supporting my evidence with Exodus 34:28, Moses writes “the words of the covenant, the ten commandments” onto the second set of tablets. These words were not the same: both God and Moses wrote on the tablets, but only Moses wrote the Ten Commandments. It is sometimes appropriate to describe an agent as doing something even when he delegates the work to someone else. God wrote the Ten Commandments onto the tablets, even if he used Moses to do so.

I know for a fact my argument can be defeated by those who actually read the Bible unlike myself which is intentional. This film does not inspire to this kind of level of thinking. While I am not a Christian nor a follower of any particular religion. I do, however, favor Buddhism teachings personally because of Buddha himself, and you better believe I would try convince non believers that not every person in a specific faith wants to force their beliefs down your throats like this film claims. Not only are it arguments favoring God existence and depiction of atheists one sided, but also how it represents the Christian community so poorly it has the power to devert Christians. Ladies and gentlemen of the court. I present to the jury or readers my arguments for why God’s Not Dead IS THE WORST CHRISTIAN FILM EVER MADE.

Hate Thy Neighbor 

In this film if you’re an atheist you will suffer. For example, there’s a reporter who gets cancer because she’s an atheist and took offense when a “Duck Dynasty” actor prays on his show. Instead of choosing to dive into the complicated subject of how a man sticks by a faith even when it’s against his personal way of living. Preferring instead to proudly claim atheist hate Christians. Not only that, but according to this film shooting an animal will not cause it any suffering.It’s refer to as “Mercy Killing”, but this is one scene in the many subplots that go nowhere. Seems like the writers fail to acknowledge its audience is not brain dead as they are. So the reporter attempts to get support in her hour of need from her boyfriend who’s also an atheist. Once she tells him she has cancer her boyfriend responds with “How could you do this to me?”. Going by this movie logic it’s because she’s an atheist. I’m curious to witness what the resolution to this dilemma will be? Oh it never gets resolved. The atheist couple end up separated never working to fix the relationship and the reporter conforms to Christianity which according to this film makes everything better…except she still has cancer and is not shown accepting it as part of her life.

Another subplot is an over controlling Muslim father whose daughter he physically beats when he discovers his daughter is listening to the bible on tape. Yeah, because college students will be jamming to the “Book of Genesis” around campuses. I’m not even Muslim and even I got offended by this film portrayal of the Muslim community. It’s almost like this film is ignorant of the same message it’s trying to send. So what happens to the over controlling Muslim father and the daughter who chose a different faith? One screening later. Man, even the Devil would call that needlessly cruel. Okay, so this Muslim family never resolves the differences between religious beliefs, and the daughter has been tossed out to the street without us ever being shown a place where she can safely sleep. Call me insane, an atheist, (going by this film logic) the Devil, but I don’t think her going to a Christian concert is something that will fix the hardship that comes with breaking family traditions. I’m just saying…oh I just learned from the film I’m going to Hell for challenging it’s broken message. Oh, how nice of it.

Finally, the antagonist, who is also atheist is professor Kevin Sorbo. Well to be fair to Sorbo I would also lose faith if Kellen Lutz played the same character as me. Professor Sorbo is a terrible teacher who knows nothing about Philosophy. “God Is Dead” is a phrase popularized by Friedrich Nietzsche doesn’t mean that the Christian God was alive, but has died, nor does it mean that he never existed (as Kevin Sorbo’s philosophy professor character states otherwise). Nietzsche was simply saying that god wasn’t a consideration for how most people live their lives. You wouldd think a philosophy professor would know that, but apparently the straw-man professor in this movie hasn’t even read “Philosophy for Dummies” or lazy research on Wikipedia.

Atheist Professor Sorbo doesn’t have philosophical justification for what he believes, which you’d think would stack the deck in favor of Christians in this movie. Instead, it does the opposite. By misrepresenting the atheist position, the filmmakers are telegraphing their insecurity about the arguments. The entire atheist position is reduced to a quote from Stephen Hawking, a distortion of one Richard Dawkins argument, and the problem of evil, and even these arguments are only discussed as a cartoonishly over-the-top grotesque parody. What you don’t get is an intellectual debate; being replace with misunderstanding of how science works, but also fails in raising philosophical questions which Sorbo teaches though ignores.

“YOU JUST SAID HOW CAN I HATE SOMEONE WHO DOESN’T EXIST YOU CHRISTIAN! SOMEONE YOU WERE TRYING TO PROVE DOES EXIST FOR YOUR ARGUMENT! I WIN! HYPOCRITE!” – Professor Sorbo/Hercules original dialogue

In the film Professor Sorbo loses faith in God because God let his mother died. Yet, was okay with world hunger, wars, political corruption, terrorism, and so much more before his mother died while believing in God. I would call Kevin Sorbo character a overly dramatic mama’s boy, but Hercules name has been tainted enough. Not only that, but he also dates a Christian who leaves him because he’s an atheist. Sorbo girlfriend was okay with him being an atheist until the plot said so. So twice it provides to example of atheists beings unable to maintain a healthy relationship with another person.

What happens to Professor Sorbo? He gets run over by a car and the driver, who I must emphasize is an atheist, never bothers checking if Profess Sorbo is okay. You know, just the nerve of a hardworking atheist who gives college students an education is irritating. Even in Sorbo moment of death two Christian preachers happen to be close by and one asks if he wants to believe in God before he dies. Well the intention was nice, but heavy handed none the less. This gesture doesn’t matters when the same preachers get a text saying “God’s Not Dead” and one happily says “This is a time worth celebrating”. Despite the fact that an atheist died before their very eyes. Then again, this is a film bloated with pointless subplots (one of then being a preacher attempting to start a car) than a fair depiction on difference religious views.

Conformity Equals Freewill 

The protagonist of the film is named Josh Wheaton….nope can’t insult someone whose name is similar to someone (repetitive, but) hardworking like Joss Whedon. I think I’ll pick out a nickname based on a historical figures that best represent the film protagonists ideal and I’ll pick Little Hitler. Now before anyone says I’m going too far comparing a freshman college student to one of the most hated human being here’s the basic idea. As written in Mein Kamp by Adolf Hitler, “We tolerate no one in our ranks who attacks the ideas of Christianity…in fact our movement is Christian” is the philosophy followed by the film protagonist Little Hitler. So Little Hitler has the opportunity to switch classes if he’s so offended by an atheist who tells his class to write “God Is Dead” on a sheet of paper in the first day of class. Disregard the film depiction that all college professor want to manipulate easily impressionable young minds, but instead focus on Little Hitler who is so outraged by the oppression of the school system which allows him to change classes, report teachers acting out of conduct, and a atheist teacher who nicely tells him to change classes if he offended takes it upon himself to be the voice of the oppress and manipulated college students who could care less about skipping some lessons ahead in the material. Accepting the challenge of the atheist that god is not dead. HEIL GOD!

Also like Adolf Hitler, Little Hitler is a hypocrite. So he spends the entire film trying convince others that god is not dead. Little Hitler asks Professor Sorbo why he hates God and Sorbo responds that his mother died while praying to God. From this comes the final words to win everyone over is “How could you hate someone who doesn’t exist”. Umm…Little Hitler you do know that could also serve as a counter argument? Why bother following the teaching of a man whose existence which you even claimed is not proven in your supporting arguments favoring God’s Not Dead is not conclusive to assure a victory. For that matter, what was the point of Little Hitler arguing in the first place? He sets out in a blaze of fury organizing everything he learned from books to prove the existence of God, yet the argument that declares him the winner goes entirely against his purpose because of bad writing.

Little Hitler also has the nerves to say he’s spreading freewill. Yeah right “free will”. Little Hitler forces his views down on his peers to the point it clouds the meaning behind Christ teachings. He neither presents other religions when presenting his argument because he’s want everyone to be a Christian. He’s not allowing the students to choose for themselves since he only wants them to follow in his lead. Not once does he bring up Buddhism, the Quran, or another religion for that matter. Nor does he ever accept anyone truly wants to be an atheist and no matter how well argue they will never convert their ideals. After seeing this film I wouldn’t blame anyone instantly turn into an atheist over night. Man it’s terrifying how much this film protagonist bares similar motive to Adolf Hitler of all people.

Thy Commit Secular Promotionalism 

(You can skip this section all the way to the closing paragraph if I convince you of my position already)

A film that claims to take the moral high ground of religious debates it selection of music is one sided too. Rather than have music for “God’s Not Dead” that touch on various issues it’s too is shallow like the film depiction of Christians. Let’s take the theme song for the film which both share the same title that neither understand the meaning behind the saying. I’ll admit and say Christian music is not my thing, but I have heard some terrific piece of deep music from “Jesus Christ Superstar” which is my standards for what I consider good Christian music (and is a fantastic musical as well I highly recommend regardless of beliefs). The lyrics for the theme song are as follows.

The Newsboys – God’s Not Dead 

Letlove explode and bring the dead to life

A love so bold to bring a revolution somehow

Now I’m lost in Your freedom

In this world I’ll overcome

My God’s not dead

He’s surely alive

He’s living on the inside

Roaring like a lion

Roaring, He’s roaring, roaring like a lion

Rinse and repeat that same verse through the whole song four times. By these lyrics alone it’s getting those who already believe in their faith pumped up. Like I said earlier it’s music is as shallow as it depiction of Christians. Every song basically says just keep the faith and spread good will. That’s nice and all, however the opening song in “Jesus Christ Superstar” is well complex.

Jesus Christ Superstar – Heaven’s On Their Minds 

My mind is clearer now – at last all too well

I can see where we all soon will be

If you strip away the myth from the man

You will see where we all soon will be

Jesus! You’ve started to believe the things they say of you

You really do believe this talk of God is true

And all the good you’ve done will soon get swept away

You’ve begun to matter more than the things you say

Best part about this particular track from “Jesus Christ Superstar” is that does not repeat any verses and goes to tell Christ story while expressing the point of views from one of his followers. Out of sheer laziness I rest my case on “God’s Not Dead” music is shallow. The only thing left I haven’t raged upon are the cast which sadly play their roles straightforwardly. For a film this cartoonish and horribly executed the cast is clutter with not enough screen time to define their characters. This results in no one in the film having any resemblance of chemistry. Nearly every line is delivered with the same wooden and emotionless way. Even when Kevin Sorbo is dying (even Hercules is not immortal to this power) it’s wooden acting.

Thy Faith Shalt Be Wronged By This Film 

God’s Not Dead is a poor existence of a product. It’s ignorant to the point that it paints those it is defending in a negative manner that make them just as evil and shallow as the people it’s attacking. This film is a sin not just to filmmaking, but also to the teachings of its religion. According to this film I would burn for all in eternity in the deepest regions of Hell with the worst torture imaginable. Being expose to this film non-stop with my head constantly exploding and regenerating in a endless cycle. God’s Not Dead lives in a far off distant land where Christianity is only way to salvation. That might sound nice to some followers who live in the real world. The same real world where there are intellectual, and respectful debates base on these same drastic beliefs. The same real world where the followers of these teachings are challenge everyday to maintain their faith in the world around them. The same real world with religion tolerance where both atheists and those who follow a specific religion can be friends.

It’s not just bad filmmaking. It’s not just a horrible movie. It’s not just an ignorant and insulting piece of a film. IT’S BAD CHRISTIANITY.

0/10

Cinema-Maniac: The Passion of the Christ (2004) Review

Discussing religion is in the same vein as discussing politics for me. It could start off as a friendly discussion, but can quickly turn ugly due to where you stand on the subject. This film success relies on its viewer position on Jesus Christ in order for it to succeed. Never will it attempt to convert non believers to accept it views, but neither will the film reach them the same way as those who follow the word of Christ.

The Passion of the Christ is about the final hours of Jesus Christ life. If you’re seeking to learn about Jesus Christ, evaluate his teachings, analyze deep characters, and find meaning in the symbolic man that is Jesus Christ this is the wrong film for you. Characterization, pretext, metaphors, and his teachings are thrown out in favor to get across Christ suffered (quite allot) for our sins. It’s biggest drawback is assuming everyone will know about Jesus Christ before viewing the film. Since it tells you nothing about Christ or his teachings interpretation of a man’s passion towards love his fellow men comes across differently. Christ is not written as a character or as a man, but rather represented as an object of extreme physical suffering and one with a messiah complex. Without providing context the film exploits the prolonged torture inflicted on Christ with no emotional attachment made for the uninformed or non believers. Limiting more than just its audience it also limits the meaning of the message meant to get across. If you are aware Jesus Christ or a firm believer the film will pull your heart strings. Providing brief flashbacks on some of the famous passages in his life story. Focusing in detail the suffering Christ had to endured before the inevitable death. This setup will make it difficult for followers to endured because unlike most film centered around Jesus Christ showing his suffering is it focus. As a film it fails to reach a larger audience than it could have obtain; however, it’s intention wasn’t so much in informing viewers about Jesus Christ or his teachings, but rather to get across the love he had for his fellow man. For this reviewer he was left unmoved, distant, and cold due to an absence of characterization, but also acknowledges it completed it set goal. A trait he greatly admires even if the film failed to impact him in the manner it intended to.

Mel Gibson direction is admittedly intelligent and a true work of a master. Not a single a piece of dialogue is said in English or in any modern language. A decision that makes it depiction very authentic to what it’s portraying. Gibson takes directorial embellishments not found in his source material: Satan’s repeated visits; the snake in the Garden of Gethsemane; the raven and the crucified convict; Judas’ delusions of children as demons, and such, but they work in favor of the story. As for the violence Gibson does not shy away from it because of his goal to painstakingly show the extent of Jesus Christ suffering. Resulting in prolonged torture scenes and a second half that mostly consist of a broken, bloodied, and wounded Jesus Christ struggling to carry his cross to his death destination. Casting is also another bright spot by not having actual stars there’s no possible distraction in what’s occurring on screen. Of course the one actor that gets the most attention and vital role is Jim Caviezel. Jim Caviezel is a more Semitic-looking Jesus and gives a simple-stated, vulnerable performance. It’s physically demanding Caviezel to constantly come across as a wounded man changing his mannerism to fit with the condition his character is currently. At the same time his delivery of dialogue has to come across as passionate and well meaning as well as batter and difficult to speak from the punishment he receives. The fantastic score sweeps up and down in majestic ways and it is more impacting that anything else, but as a side effect it is cheap and manipulative depending on the viewer position.

The Passion of Christ does what it was intended to do which was display Jesus Christ suffering in his final hours in great detail. Whether or not that makes it a good film will varied because of beliefs and knowledge of Jesus Christ, but it does make it shallow piece of a film that fails to provide character worth getting emotionally attach towards and getting across the significance behind it’s subject life. If you’re not a follower of Christ (like myself) you will condemned the film for it weaknesses, but in my position I choose to reward the film with a positive review for what it intended to accomplished rather than criticize it for what I simply wanted it to be.

7/10

Cinema-Maniac: The Machinist (2004) Review

Insomnia is an all too common writing device that lends itself in creating a story where the lead character reality conflicts with the actuality of the world. Much like Aspergers, Insomnia is highly favored in its usage to add flair to a story that in a direct narrative wouldn’t have worked. “The Machinist” is such a case by removing a linear narrative and eliminating conventional characteristic is an psychological thriller that delivers one stimulating and thought provoking experience.

The Machinist is about an industrial worker who hasn’t slept in a year doubting his own sanity. Its protagonist, Trevor Reznik, starts off as a sympathetic blank page. Merely creating an image of man who from the setup is seen doing something bad, but upon viewing him live appears to be an innocent man suffering without a crime committed. Reinforcing a positive image on Reznik personality and questionable one about his lifestyle. Once Reznik is setup as a character the next step is to fill in the blank to how he got to where he ended up. Steadily through the course of the movie more about Reznik is revealed entirely through his dialogue. While visuals do play a factor in understanding Reznik psyche, it’s not on the same level as the spoken words. Revealing Reznik entire life story indirectly to the audience with Reznik interactions. Reznik is by definition and description is average, but his action in delicate situations suggest otherwise. Until the revelation near the end Reznik maps other suffering onto himself. Turning exterior conflicts into internal ones when Reznik is uncovering himself through the worst possible action. Aside from Reznik, another plot device is a hangman game on a post-it note. The word only has six letters and the last two letters are filled out. If this plot device was to be removed it would have taken away from the writing. It understands that the journey it more pivotal than it’s predictable destination. Because of it, the word can be guessed correctly or make a guess that comes close to it, but doesn’t detract from its story. Instead it adds a dimension that’s worth examining. Alongside his trouble psyche, poor physical conditions, and now his inability to defeat guilt are all traits that follow him. Weaving an intelligent, psychological thriller that is both hard to read in development and engaging in its complicated protagonist.

Director Brad Anderson creates an uneasy atmosphere at a steady pace. A bleak, nearly colorless look, sadness and dread combined to portray the world through Reznik eyes. The atmosphere is aided by Roque Banos’ moody score, but it is especially conveyed by the tasty cinematography, which is extremely desaturated–almost approaching black and white at times. It suggests an appropriate desolation. This is also reflected in the locations and set designs. Everything relating to Trevor current matter in his apartment, the machine shop, or in his car is in muted, blue-gray tones. As if fabricated by some unknown nature that has a score to settle with Reznik. Playing with his head that those around are after him. In contrast to the brightly lit scenes that highlight a real world quality to them. Not removing itself from tragedy, Reznik in brightly lit scenes feels naturalistic. Never does he feel anything in particular is dead set against him in the bad turn of events finding some truth to them.

Christian Bale is skeletal as Trevor and visually captivating in embodying all his flaws. Christian Bale more than visually matches his part, but acts it with the same level of dedication. His physical appearance becomes a part of the character not so much the sole characteristic of the character or Bale performance. Physically we see Bale for the broken and hollow man he is, but also adds a trait of humor when joking about his skinny body. Bale portrays he can fit into society, and shows various traits of an unstable mind with his obsession that turns into rage. Becoming another broken person and not just a walking skeleton. The rest of the cast is overshadowed by Christian Bale terrific performance. They do a solid job even if they don’t leave a big impression. John Sharian plays pretty much a “Devil” type character with his sinister smile and deep voice. To say there’s nothing subtle about his performance is understatement, but rather fits the role just fine. He’s energetic always hinting at something sinister with his line delivery. Jennifer Jason Leigh much like her other co-stars is given a single personality just like Aitana Sanchez Gijon. Aitana Sanchez is more cheering and Jason Leigh is broody. Their characters receive minimal amount of development, but can’t do anything beyond the exterior of the characters.

The Machinist is a steadily paced psychological thriller driven by one character and actor. Christian Bale becomes Trevor Reznik disappearing into the role matching it perfectly both physically and in his portrayal. Bale performance alone would warrant “The Machinist” is worth viewing, but add an intelligent story and with a physiologically broken lead you have a film that demands your attention.

9/10

Cinema-Maniac: Fireproof (2008) Movie Review

I’ve never been much of a believer in finding faith…in Christians films that is. For every great Christian film like “Jesus Christ Superstar” and “The Ten Commandments” that transcends personal beliefs to provide viewers something to enjoy there are dozens that give the wrong impressions. Films such as “C Me Dance”, “To Save A Life”, “Sunday School Musical”, “Last Ounce of Courage”, and “The Lion Judah” (three of which have earned zeroes) make up a majority of Christian films offerings that believe good morals excuses poor filmmaking. Here’s a film that yes doesn’t always successfully hides it’s Christians views and metaphors, but present its beliefs through good protagonist and a story whose message delivery is known without it being forced upon nonbelievers.

Fireproof is about a firefighter using a 40-day experiment known as “The Love Dare” in an attempt to save his marriage. Being a film based around a specific religion it’s impossible to ignore the signatures it’ll have; positive messages, bible verses, characters with strong religious beliefs, and (often) an unrealistic view of how the real world functions. For starter the positive message and bible verses are as clear as day, but not shoehorned in. Characters with Christian views don’t come across as preachy often conversing like regular people. For the most part the characters act realistically even supporting our protagonist who’s a nonbeliever. It’s for this acceptance that makes it Christian elements with corny dialogue forgivable. The protagonist is not condemned for being a nonbeliever rather is simply a man attempting to fix his marriage. By the will of the protagonist and not outside interference his transformation comes across effectively. This conflict helps supports the film as it contains several solid scenes. Including the few instances when we see the protagonist doing some actual firefighting are surprisingly exciting. Humor is also a plus while it doesn’t always click the jokes that do get a laugh prevent the messy potential divorce from becoming tedious to view.

The major pitfall of “Fireproof” is without a doubt it presentation of the world. Words such as realism don’t apply to its depiction of women. Just about all the characters who are women tend to be shallow being less like people and more as a tool to for the plot. Even the protagonist wife gets little to no development nor are we given much on her past and what made her fall in love. Every black women in the film is given stereotypical dialogue with the occasional “mmmhhhmmm” for added effect. One major conflict in the film that’s not addressed well enough is protagonist Caleb Holt porn addiction (also a metaphor for temptation). According to the film the only form Caleb can get his porn is from his computer. If more developed or presented in a form that made his porn addiction evidently problematic the presented weak resolution would have work to a degree. Since it does little in showing Caleb Holt handling his addiction the resolution doesn’t gain leeway since we often don’t see him fall victim to his addiction only scarcely viewing his attempted resistance to it. It should also be mention that the final twenty minutes are in fact very preaching, but by that point the film is merely accomplishing the needs for it genre fans with it already offering nonbelievers a satisfying story.

Production values are decent. It clearly looks like it was made on a small budget with it commercial like lighting and few actual professional actors. Kirk Cameron is easily the best of the bunch, though that’s not saying much. His performance is decent for a leading actor. There is not a noteworthy that showcases his true acting ability, but neither border beyond what he can’t do. Because of this it is easy to accept Cameron as a film character as everything he does fits with his characters. Ken Bevel performance leaves something to be desired. She is not to say bad, but in the most pivotal scenes she clearly comes across as someone reading her lines for the first time. Other actor performances are adequate and sincere. There performances don’t hurt the film significantly detract from a given scene. Direction from Alex Kendrick is decent. In the few instances (like the firefighter scenes) when Kendrick has complete understanding of his film language events can be tense, funny, and even touching. While his cinematography won’t impress it does it job. As for music it’s something that can’t be held against the film. It selection of music is fitting for the film becoming a part of it not a negative distraction.

Fireproof is a solid film that gets across its core moral values with a subtle delivery through its somewhat believable characters and a solid story that is not overly preaching. No doubt it’ll please genre fans as production values and writing is superior to what is occasionally offered to them. On the other hand it’s competent filmmaking that does not force its message down nonbelievers.

7/10

Cinema-Maniac: The Lion of Judah (2011) Movie Review

I lay here speechless on how to open this review in third person upon realizing this is the first animated movie I’ve given a zero in two years. The last animated film to have garner that was the ever so infamous “Titanic: The Animated Movie” which had talking rats, a rapping dog, a two minute romance, and ended with “Happily Ever After”. My criteria for any animated film to earn a zero I thought was originally unobtainable as a animated movie had to equal or be worse than “Titanic: The Animated Movie”. “The Lion of Judah” without question has set a new low standard for all future bad animated movie to scope down to.

The Lion of Judah follows the overly long, uninspired, stereotypical, and drawn out adventures of a bold lamb (Judah) and his friends (The Stable-Mates) as they try to avoid the sacrificial altar the week preceding the crucifixion Jesus Christ. Oh man where to even begin. Just about everything you could think off a film could do wrong this film does. All the characters are annoying stereotypes consisting of the dumb character, an emo, an energetic child, wise old man, unfunny comedic relief, and every shallow character type in existence. Plot points are drawn out to unbearable length consisting of moments that kill brain cells. Pointless conversations involve crows (one with an eye patch) talking about how his dream of sheets, animals debating on kicking a box, a discussion on whether or not to save a friend who’s to be killed, and stretching every joke at it disposal. Making all this more painful is moving at the pace of a glacial. Glacially pace you’ll slowly begin to discover the film reuses the same formula for three acts. All the acts require one of the main character to be saved only to be captured again two more times. So with no character to latch on to, a glacial pace that where a single joke can be stretched to several minutes, and three acts that reuse the same formula it further deteriorate itself by involving a false understanding of Christianity.

Now the title of the film is “The Lion of Judah” which is very misleading. There is not a single lion or an animal that remotely resemble a lion in the film. The character Judah is a lamb and according to his mother will set animals…no human free. Although I am not a Christian the film false understanding of Christianity and the nerve to deliver a message from its false understanding is a slap to the face having the subtlety of nuclear bomb. It’s about as force as you can get in message delivery. The worst part being Jesus Christ teachings takes a back seat to slapstick. There is not a minute that goes without slapstick yet Jesus Christ crucifixion is a throwaway plot point. Telling us nothing about Christ or his teachings serving no significance in the story. Downright insulting it audiences by daring not to go into the grey area of religion. Combining all these flaws into a single script it’s incredible how a film that’s under ninety minutes could feel like five dull hours of pure nothingness yet be very insulting on the way it handles religion.

Animation has never been so cheap, ugly, stiff, and most importantly lazy. Anything that requires basic movement goes very slowly even during the motion of running and flying there’s no distinction in speed movement. Characters models aside from being undetailed scream pure laziness. Certain animals will have fur that remain in place while other animals (some of the same kind) will have no fur at all. Another issue being the basic anatomy is inconsistent. There are several occasion where animals body parts are larger than they normally are. Further criticizing the sheer lack of effort are body parts goes through characters bodies. As for the visuals they are far behind Toy Story which was released in 1995. Textures are ugly becoming fuzzy whenever shown up close. Worse of all there are several scenes where textures on a wall, animal, or fur haven’t render correctly and is left as it is. Looking and moving like an early alpha for a video game. Voice acting is not worth discussing. Ironically given the characters stereotypical personalities the voice actor sound exactly how they would. This not a good thing since some of the voices come across racial stereotype (the horse midway in the film gains an cliche Indian accent). Music on the other hand is forgettable. Only being used in montages comes and goes away quickly.

The Lion of Judah is an endurance test in tolerance with the viewer reaping no benefits from what they what see. There is no effort presented in any frame of the film. Animation and visuals are inferior to the first 3D animated film ever made, a plot with nothing redeeming, racial stereotype voice acting, and finally feeling longer than it actually is. Nothing about “The Lion of Judah” is interesting, passionate, or watchable. It’s existence is a sin to all things cinema.

0/10

The Aftermath of “The Lion of Judah”:

So not only was it that I just viewed a film that had completely wasted my time, my breathe, and my eyesight, but on the same day after finishing viewing it my internet service experiences an outage. This being the first time this ever happened I can only conclude that this film was cursed in more ways than one. Ironically my internet was out for two days and it just so happen to have come back on the third day. Talk about irony.

Cinema-Maniac: Sunday School Musical (2008) Movie Reviews

Sunday School Musical is about a soulful African American singer-dancer who brings life to straightlaced, slightly off-key white choir. Containing an abundant amount of cliches you’ll know everything that will happen without devoting all your attention to it. Something the film does poorly is understanding the idea of conflict. Every conflict introduced is dealt nonchalantly fixed easily within minutes or within the same scene. Even the major conflict of Zach (the film’s protagonist) not being able to sing at his Church is unintentionally resolved eliminating the film reason to have a plot. At the start of the film we learn that Zach’s mother lost her job and the entire family has to move with their aunt on the other side of town. Now according to dialogue within the same scene that would be forty five minutes away. Forty five minutes that Zach would spent to get back to the same side of town just to pout on a roof and makes frequent return to this one roof where apparently all the hip Church choir singers go to hang out. Creating a film that has nothing going for it. All that’s left is a serie of tire cliches (two opposing team working together in the finals, shoehorned in testaments, and the results of who wins). With no real conflict the characters have nothing to learn from, nothing to conquer, and nothing that to make them rounded characters. Blinded by constructing a series of bad narrative choices the film’s has an unintended undertone message that the blacker you are the better you are at singing. It comes across that way as in the beginning of the film a white choir doesn’t improve until Zach joins the team making them better and the reigning champions is an all black choir. Intentional or not the film seems to be unable to do anything correctly even doing the most basic of story elements correctly is too difficult for it.

Now like all musicals the songs themselves are just as important as how they are incorporated into the film. Music is prominent in the beginning of the film only to mess up its own pacing going long duration without a musical number. Songs in “Sunday School Musical” have less depth than the most generic pop songs. Lazily written the songs meaning are easy to grasps, but never come across with the intended purpose. One song titled “You’re Not the Boss” is literally about two characters singing about who’s more annoying. Singing the following hurtful insults “If I play the piano louder than they’ll never hear a thing.”, “You’re the not boss. A high school superstar.”, “We need more talent if want to compete”, and my favorite one “Zach can crack a egg and make swell pie.”. These lyrics alone out of context are goofy, but together in a single song it becomes painful to listen. All the songs in the film suffer from the same rhythms of problems. The lyricist of these songs I’m convinced and you will too after listening to a single track know nothing about music. Easily the worst song titled “In My Shoes” best embodies everything that is musically wrong about the musical aspect. Being a self proclaim “Maniac” I was crazy enough to listen to it multiple times to include a partial outline of the song in my review. So after Zach explains to his friend Savannah situation that led him to moving to the other side of town the followings lines of text are sang. Now tell me if these sound like good people.

Zach: ♫Hold up one minute! Do you think I want it this way? Gotta leave my friends. Dis my plan. Pack and move away. I thought that you would hold me down. I see now it’s all about you. OHOHOHO!♫

Savannah: ♫Wait, wait, wait a second boy. You’re not going to turn this around on me. When you’re the one skipping town. Right before we finally get the chance to go to state. Guess that ain’t important to you? Oh boy.♫

Zach: ♫If you really cared than you wouldn’t talk that way.♫

Savannah: ♫And if you didn’t want to leave than you would to stay.♫

Unable to overcome its low budget restraints everything ends up looking cheap. The school Zach attends are empty that one could have easily mistaken the film to have taken place post apocalypse. Choreography is limited to the location as actors will mostly move around in circles in the same location. Performing dance moves that have been done a million times. Acting leaves plenty to be desire since the actors have no personality they come across as unlikable. Delivery every lines in monotone voice. The line delivery in this film is more lifeless than a cemetery. As for the Christian elements of the film they are all shoehorned in. Christianity is hardly discuss in the film nor are its belief ever touch upon. As an audience we never understand the reason for behind the characters choosing this religion. The most Christian this film gets is with the forced Bible quotes.

Sunday School Musical has nothing for the audience its trying to appeal for. The songs are lazily written quickly forgotten from your thoughts once they end, the actors lack personality with mediocre performances, and there’s hardly any kind of Christian content in the film. It’s a cheap cash grab that while laughably bad at times only encourages viewer to stop watching. Ending up bad song that loops for ninety mintues.

1/10