Category Archives: movie review

Review of the Movie “Noah”

Here’s a review of the movie “Noah” written by a pastor and old college friend of mine. He has some good insights. He writes:

It is to be expected that any “Bible” movie produced by Hollywood, from a classic like the 1956 production of “The Ten Commandments” starring Charlton Heston as Moses, to “The Passion of the Christ” released in 2004, will take artistic license. Yet what “Noah” does to the Biblical text is worse than what the botched 1988 Bill Murray comedy “Scrooged” does to the original Charles Dickens.

Here’s the link: Noah Review, by John Hanna

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“When in Rome” and Irresistable Grace

I recently saw the movie When In Rome.  What’s fascinating about the movie is that the plot bears a lot of similarity to the Calvinistic concept of  irresistible grace.

[Warning, spoilers ahead]

In the movie, the female lead (Beth) picks some coins from out of a wishing fountain in Rome.   What she doesn’t realize is that the fountain is magical.  When she took the coins from the pool it put a spell over the men who threw the coins in, and they are all now passionately in love with her.  The problem is there is a guy that she really does like.  And he is also smitten with her.  He is trying to convince her that he really loves her, but she thinks his love is not genuine because of the magical fountain.  But the thing is, he never threw a coin into the fountain. He really does love her.

What makes the plot interesting is that the men under the spell all really do love Beth in the Calvinistic sense.  In other words, the magic fountain worked in such a way upon the men that it changed their desires, so that they freely chose to love Beth.

So we have 1) Unconditional election – Beth picked the coins out of the pool based on her own motives. and 2) Irresistable grace – the men whom she picked now love her because their desires have been irresistibly changed.

Lucky for us, Beth is smarter than the average Reformed theologian.  She understood that love is not genuine if it is not freely chosen.  She recognized that if her suitor’s desires were irresistibly changed, then he didn’t really love her at all.  And Beth wanted to be truly loved for who she was, not because of a magical spell.  Fortunately this is a sappy chick flick, and all ends well.

Beth recognized the problem with the Calvinistic concept of irresistible grace.  If we love God because he has irresistibly changed our desires, then we don’t really love God at all.

Perhaps God also wants to be truly loved for who he is, and not because of a magical spell.

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Movie Review: Prince Caspian

**Spoilers if you haven’t seen the movie**

I’ve been a C.S. Lewis fan since stumbling upon the Narnia series as a child. The stories were exciting, and it was fun to find the “hidden” Christian symbolism. I still enjoy the books today. I also loved the first Narnia movie: The Lion, The Witch and the Wardrobe. I thought that they did an excellent job with translating that book to the big screen, and was pleased with how faithful they stayed to the original story.

I had the same high expectations for Prince Caspian. After seeing the film I have mixed feelings. It was enjoyable to watch, and over all I give it a good rating, but I don’t think it was done as well as LWW. Much like the Lord of the Rings movies, they took more liberties with the second story as compared to the first one. Not all the changes were bad, some were helpful. But other changes were unnecessary in my opinion.

Likes:
This is a blockbuster movie, and it shows. I appreciate the resources and effort they have put into these movies. The special effects were amazing. The musical score was excellent. They did a great job with the character Reepicheep. The overall attention to detail was good. I appreciated the fact that a number of the lines came almost straight from the book. I also appreciated the extra little nods to fans of the books – like showing the bulgy bear sucking his paws.

They change the flow of the story line in the movie, and that worked well. It made it much easier to follow. In the original book Lewis follows a “flashback” storyline. The movie instead is chronological.

They developed the character Miraz more than he was explained in the book. The same is true of some of his evil cohorts. I thought the extra character development added to the story, and helped to explain why these were bad dudes who needed to be taken out.

There is a scene where they attempt to summon the White Witch. This is implied a bit in the book, but they took it much further in the movie. I liked the scene and thought it flowed well and added to the story.

Dislikes:
The role of Aslan was minimized. He seemed to be almost an afterthought instead of the center of the story. He doesn’t really show up at all until the end. That is a shame.

The goodness of the four Pensive children takes a hit. The way the story line plays out, it would have been better if they had never come back to Narnia, because they’re more of a hindrance than a help. Peter’s character particularly this way. He is more concerned with making himself look good than he is with doing the right thing. He has a lot of unneeded conflicts with Prince Caspian.

Susan is turned into a fighting machine. She reminded me more of Legolas from Lord of the Rings than she did Susan of Narnia. This is not at all consistent with her character. If Lewis were still around, I think this change would bother him. In the books he made a point of keeping the girls out of the heat of battle, but in this movie they are thrown into the middle of it. They added some romance to Susan too, which was a little irritating.

The castle scene was a distraction. There were lots of amazing special effects during that part, but I don’t think it added anything to the story.

Overall review:
On a scale of 1 to 10 I give this movie a 7. Not as good as LWW which I would give maybe a 9. Still, it’s definitely worth seeing. I recommend it, and appreciate the job they did, and the fact that they are putting these on the big screen.

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