Archive for the ‘adventure’ Category

True Grit

April 25, 2011

This is a review of the movie True Grit
It answers the questions
What Is It?
How Was It?
Is It Good For Kids?
What About Spiritual Issues?
and
What Is Your Recommendation?

The music is “My Darling Whippoorwill” by Mortal from their album “Wake”
Here is the link for that –http://goo.gl/EDx7F

God’s Gonna Cut You Down by Johnny Cash from America 5
http://goo.gl/PL7Al

True Grit DVD
http://goo.gl/925kz

True Grit Soundtrack
http://goo.gl/6JF1W

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Hanna Q&E Review Show

April 20, 2011


Check out the review for

The theme music is “My Darling Whippoorwill” by Mortal from their album “Wake”

M Night Shyamalan’s The Last Airbender

July 20, 2010

What is it?

Based on a very inventive and fun cartoon from Nickelodeon, The Last Air Bender is an adventure in another world. This world is made up of four nations, Water, Fire, Earth, and Air. Some members of each nation can “Bend” or move their element through space. Though there may be plenty of other applications, It’s mostly used as a marshal art to fight others with.

Balance is thrown off when the Fire Nation attacks the other three, in an attempt to rule the word. In the midst of this conflict, To Teens, Katara (Nicola Peltz) and Sokka (Twilight’s Jackson Rathbone) Discover the last living Air Bender, 12 year old Aang (Noah Ringer). Aang is not only the last of his people, he is “The Avatar.” A special warrior who has the ability to master all four elements, Bridge the Physical and Spiritual world, Bring balance and understanding, as well as kick major butt with his awesome power.

How was it?
The scope and magnitude of the film raises the level of the film in such a way that the failure of the movie to do anything worth while is simply magnified to a level that begs comparisons to Ed Wood. Right away the acting is on par with a well done Christmas play over at your local jr. high. Unfortunate the dialog complements the acting perfectly. Then there is the story line, it played like a ten year old explains season one of the tv show ( and then this happened, and then that happened..) as a studio exec’s secretary took dictation. The special effects were good but the actual “fighting” was boring and confusing. Where most the fighting was done with element bending, what you see is elongated ti-Che looking dancing with stuff swirling around them. As impressive as the dancing and effects were, I often thought “oh just punch him!”
This is the problem if you only watch the movie, but if you are a fan of the show (or like me, and watched it because you were excited about the movie) you will be even more disappointed. The show is for kids and has goofy humor, but is a lot o fun. Not only is the story very well thought out, the characters are dimensional and interesting. The result is that you care about the characters (even the “bad guys”) and are very interested in the story. All the humor is gone as well as the heart. Aang himself no longer fears being the avatar because he will have to sacrifice his own child hood for the good of the world. (A pain that makes him a real character who you can feel for as well as allowing him to be a fun character.) In the film Aang does not want this duty because the avatar can never have a family. Not only is he a twelve year old boy hoping to grow up to be a family man, its even more ridiculous when you realize he was raised by monks in an all male temple! The result on the movie is it suffers more by comparison. (thus you suffer more as well.)
Just to top everything off, the last image on the screen are the words “written, directed, and produced by M. Night Shamalon. This is killer. This man is the genus behind “Signs.” intact, of his 9 films, one I have not seen, one was silly, six were nothing short of amazing films that rival the films of Alfred Hitchcock, then, the ninth is this atrocity afflicted on film and unleaded on sad audiences with overpriced tickets trying to comfort themselves with thoughts like “maybe he will fix it in the sequel” or “at least I wasn’t watching the new Twilight.” but then you remember that Mr Shamalon had the nerve to include a twilight vampire in the cast, the hurt and sorrow return like flowing water that bends into tears as you just move on to the next question.

Was it worth the extra $3 for 3D?
I think the $3 for 3D was much better spent than the rest of the ticket. The effects were the best part of the film and they looked cool in 3D. I did think the effect was not as flat as Alice in wonderland but not as good as the preview for Voyage o the Dawn treader. There was something weird going on when they has fur hoods on and it got blurry when they panned (which they did a  lot). Maybe if the movie was better, the slight defects in the 3D would detract from the story telling, but with no real storytelling in sight – the 3D helps you focus on the effects.

Is it good for children?
There are some things that may scare small children. Armies are hunting down a 12 year old. But mostly kids will be confused, and fans of the show will be disappointed that “Saka’s not funny and Aang is boring.”

Was it racist?
The tv show has all the characters oriental, though each people group is a different sub set where the group all look like each other but do not look like the other nations or tribes. So, though they are all oriental, you can tell what people group they belong to by there racial features. This seems to me to be a nightmare for casting. So what M. Night has done in this film was to make each nation a fully different race. This is not racist but racial. (If you are unsure of the difference, ask Rhett and link.) Still some point out that the water tribe are heroes and are white while the fire nation are villeins and they are dark. First, the fire nation is is a little more complex that. (That comes through despite the shallow nature of the film.) Further more, the fire nation is Indian! The same nationality as the director / writer / producer. So why would he cast his own race as the fire nation? I do think all the races he picked fit well with the look of the show but the choice was probably just so he could give himself a cameo as a fire nation soldier.

What about spiritual issues?
The show for season one uses Hindu symbolism but in season two starts to get into Hindu/buddhist philosophy as well. Though in the season finally of one, princess Yue is given Christ symbolism when the moon god is killed and she gives her life for his resurrection and the physical salvation Of her people. In the movie the scene is so rushed that the beauty and pain of sacrifice is just laborious. All the buildup that points out the symbolism is reduced to the princess putting her arms out while in close up. Aang himself is a savior of a fictional world with many links to Jesus. In the finally of the second season Aang himself is killed and redirected and along the way strikes a Michelangelo influenced Jesus pose.

 Like Yue, Aang’s symbolism is boiled down to a modification of his back tattoo.
So, even spiritually the show is complex and interesting, and the movie is confusing chunky and unsatisfactory.

What is your recommendation?
This could have been M. Night Shamalon’s “Lord of the Rings,” but ended up his “Plan 9 from Outer Space.” this is a dull trip through cartoon cliff notes is not worth it on any level. Still if you are going to bring your kids to this film or the show you will want to talk about the fantasy world’s philosophy and it’s links to the our worlds philosophies, the truth and the lies.
My real recommendation… Start at M. Night’s “Wide Awake” and keep going until you get to “Lady in the Water.” Just stop before you get to “The Happening” and you will never have to bother with “The Last Airbender.”
(I’ll get back to you after I finish season three and yes I will go to the other two sequels.)

The A Team

June 25, 2010

What Is It?

Based on the 80’s hit show, four Desert Storm Vets with a flair wild missions and imaginative strategy, are is framed…. oh just listen to the intro….

 from the 80’s

and the update

The TV show that made Mr. T. a superstar in the 80’s (and prompted me to wear a navy blue t-shirt with a picture of the Mo-hawked mussel man holding kittens) gets dusted off and finally makes it to the big screen after about 20 years of roomers.

How Was It?

This was fun like I remember the show as a 7 year old. (and much much better than what I saw when I watched it this year). The movie is built to be a ride with 4 guys you feel very cool hanging out with and it delivers. This is not going to be anyone’s favorite movie. (Well, except for the Jr. High kid who’s “Favorite Movie” is what ever he saw last where things blow up.) But it will not disappoint people especially if you are going for nostalgia. The characters were the big scene embodiment of the TV show cast. The plans “Come Together” with style, originality and nice dowses of big budget wackiness. (Example: “Are they still trying to shoot down the drones?” “No,” with a deflating sigh “they are trying to fly the tank.” Oh Ya!) The only down side for the fan boy… the theme song. A-Team had a super cool theme song that still holds up today (Though the ending needs work). They use it once during the movie in a very fun escape scene. Then at (SPOILER sort of) the end of the movie, we are brought to the point just before the show begins. So they give us a stylized version of the shows opening, complete with the title spelled out with accompanying machine gun sound effects. The theme comes up!… oh, for one verse, then they go back to the forgettable guitar rock that they have been using (instead of the theme) through the entire movie. It just made what was a fun romp through 80’s camp inflated by big budget effects, a bit of a let down at the end.

What about Political Issues?

They are in Iraq but there is little commented on the situation other than Hannibal shown praising a force of native Iraqi solders. In a hand to hand fight, the villain starts referring to B.A. Baracus as “Barac” though out the fight. I have no idea what they were thing to say by with either situation, but they were there. Finally, and most annoyingly, the plot revolves around an illegal American Money printing press that has been stolen from Saddam loyalists. There are now American Agencies trying to get the press so they can print their own money. In the dialog they say that the problem with this is that the influx of unbacked money will cripple our economy. Of course this is absolutely true the amusingly sad thing is, that’s all the Bank Bailouts were doing, adding more unbacked money into our already struggling economy. Maybe the A-Team will fix that in the sequel.

Was it good for kids?

There is a lot of violence, though very little in the way of gore. They do cuss, though at first, when ever the A-team dropped rough language, it was “bleeped” out by something exploding. The more concerning aspect is “Face.” Instead of just being a con-man with a way with the ladies, He’s a pick pocket con man who beds down all the ladies. At first I though this would be tempered as “His Achilles Heal.” But soon we find out that the opening was just a fluke and through out the film he uses sex to get what he wants. They try to soften this by telling you that he did have an affair where “[she] heard [he] was a player and [she] wanted to play, but then [I] started getting serious but [she] got scared.” This made it even more male fantasy style shallow. The idea is still cool guys should be able to have lots of sex with hot girls with no consequences and what ever benefit he wants. In the movies defense there is very little of the female form exploited.

What About Spiritual Issues?

This movie is very shallow. Still they get into spiritual discussions. Most of it is kept very much on the philosophical end of things. First of all, Hannibal, twice tells us that things happen for a reason. Though there is no mention of why, how, or who is making things happen. When Face and Hannibal first get out of Jail, Face want’s to know if Hannibal “Got Religion” because that would mean that he could not fight. (They were apparently unfamiliar with David in the Bible.) The snag for them comes when BA is broken out. He is seen reading some inspirational book (I did not catch the title) but because of it he can no longer kill. (Spoiler) Later he tells Gives Hannibal a quote from Gandhi about not harming people and Hannibal retorts with a quote about the warrior doing their job, which is also from Gandhi. This results in BA being able to kill an evil guy about to do in Face. Later Hannibal checks in with BA with “How’s the conscience big guy?” All of this is so silly that it’s hard to take serous.

Still Fighting for a cause is shown as noble and morally acceptable. Philosophical though and Religion are put on equal ground, and Gandhi is used as the moral authority. (ie: If it’s ok with Gandhi it’s ok with me.) Also the conscience may be looked at here as the ultimate judge of an action being moral or immoral.

The other thing that bothered me on two levels about the BA spiritual crisis plot line was that it felt a bit like they were making fun of Mr. T. The original BA is himself a known Christian and the show he did never had him kill anyone. (My father in law is fond of saying the A Team expended more ammunition that any other show and never hit anyone.) With all that, it does seem possible they they are making fun of Mr. T. and his Christian faith.

What About Mr. T.?

There is much buzz on the ol’ internet about Mr. T. being the only living member of the original A-Team not to make a cameo in the film. It has been reported that he was boycotting the film because of the excessive violence and sex that was just not part of what the show was supposed to be. It was supposed to be a family show. It turns out Mr. T. has not made any value judgments on the film because he has not seen it. According to his Lawyers, he did not make any of those statements.

(Thus they are probably lies put out by a “well meaning” Christian… we are not supposed to do evil to bring about good.)

It turns out that the A Team was about 4 guys. Three of the guy’s were characters that they developed for the show and cast with actors. So how did they come up with the 4th? As one of the shows creators put it (I believe it was Stephen J. Cannell) “And Mr. T. drives the van!” So, as Mr. T. himself put it, going on the set of the an A-Team film and not being the one to play B.A. For Mr. T. would be equivalent to “your ex-girl friend saying hay come have dinner with me and my new boy friend.” B.A. Is much more that a part played by Mr. T. it was Mr. T.

This brings us to the second thing that really bugs me about the possibility that this movie is making fun of Mr. T. The show is ¼ based on Mr. T. It just seems to be in bad taste to try to do a respectable take on the A-Team and at the same time, make fun of Mr. T. Point being, if you don’t like Mr. T…. It would be like starting a U2 cover band and making fun of Bono.

What is your Recommendation?

Had they shown Face’s “Flings” as a problem and dropped the “Found Religion?” stuff, I would recommend this as a fun summer film and a great trip down silly TV of the past lane. As it stands, if you are going to “higher the A-Team” you should be ready to take to your kids about the characters moral searches and failings.

Charlie & The Chocolate Factory

April 14, 2010

What Is It?

The book by the odd and talented Roald Dahl brought to the big screen by odd and talented Tim Burten with odd and talented Johnny Deep in the lead. You can see where this is going….

It’s a surreal version of our world going on a journey into the hyper odd world of Willy Wonka’s Chocolate Factory.

This movie seems to go out of it’s way to avoid any line that was used in the first adaptation starting Gean Wilder. Out side of the name and occupation, theses do not seem to be the same characters and are not in the same movie. In fact this film has much more in common with the first Burten/Deep film, Edward Scissorhands, than Wilder’s Willy Wonka and the Chocolate Factory.

Here Willy is an insecure recluse who is bulled by the children he has invited into his world. He is mocked for the very eccentricity that makes him the spectacle they came to see. The tour reveilles the wonder of the factory, the headstrong nature of the children, and the inner struggle of Willy who is plagued by childhood flashbacks.

How Was It?

My expectations were so wrong for this movie, it took some time to adjust. Despite the resumes of the big name’s involved, this is not a dark movie. It is a fun weird film that looks at the idea of parent – child interaction.

An example of the deft social criticism is the introduction to Mike Teavee. He spurts off a bunch of info about video games and there technical workings, which are then balanced by a nerves father saying that sometimes they don’t understand what he is saying. Mike, now playing his game, cries out “Die! Die! Die!” As his parents desperately try to hang on to the delusion that they don’t understand.

From the over indulgent, to the overly competitive, there is a lot for people to see in this mirror held up to modern parenting.

We find out that “candy isn’t supposed to have a point” but that is not life, there are things that are important in reality and in this film..

Is It Good For Kids?

The kids here are often nasty and bad examples. Still you see there negative traits leading directly to there demise (figuratively).

Parents are either shown as sportive and protective producing good kids, or destructive by letting there kids get “what they want.”

Once, when Grandpa goes on a cussing rant, we are protected with Charlie as the audio is that of his mother’s hands muffling his ears.

Check www.ScreenIt.com for a complete break down of elements shown on the screen.

How about Spiritual Issues?

In almost every Tim Burten film I have seen, there is usually some slam against Christians. Thankfully this film seem void of such open hostility.

Halloween is shown in a flashback, but it is just used as a device to introduce Willy’s dad , an uptight candy phobic dentist. All the candy is raped in paper with skulls and spiders, echoing Dr. Wonka’s sentiment on the subject.

The major theme of this film (and this may be a spoiler, it took me totally by surprise) was the need for properly working, loving, healthy families. This is a fantastic idea, it’s just to bad that the thing most able to bring this about is the faith Burton rejects in his other films.

What Is Your Recommendation?

First: Tell your self that this is NOT the book or the Gean Wilder Movie. (and does not have the unfounded character change at the end.)

Second: Go and enjoy a colorful film with a enlightening back story that may remind you of things in your past but…

Third: Have a great conversation with the people you see it with about the need for family and the examples of parenting put forth as well as there dramatic results.

….Annasophia Robb playes Violet Beauregarde. She was also Opal in Becasue of Winn Dixie. She’s 2 for 2 so far!

Charlie and the Chocolate Factory

Charlie & The Chocolate Factory

Danny Elfman

Willy Wonka & the Chocolate Factory …

Gene Wilder,

Because of Winn-Dixie

The Island

April 12, 2010

What Is It?

Ewan McGregor and Scarlett Johansson play characters who live in a technological wonder world of the future. They wake up to have computers picking out their clothing and analyzing their urine to determine what they can have for breakfast. They live, eat, exercise, work and recreate, while waiting for the day they will win the lottery and go to “The Island”

One day, Lincoln Six Echo (McGregor) finds that people who they thought went to the Island were really killed. Now that his friend Jordan Two Delta (Johansson) has won the lottery, Lincoln is trying to get her out of their world and someplace safe.

How Was It?

This was an interesting blend of “The Matrix”, “I Robot”, and “The Truman Show”. Still, the movie is more than a good rip off. It really brings something new to the emerging genres . The movie is a bit formulaic, but does it very well. The action is exciting, the soundtrack is wonderful, and there seems to be more than just senseless navel-gazing in the script.

Was It Good For Kids?

This film has a bunch of points where the action becomes graphic and the imagery is disturbing. It may not be the best choice for younger viewers .

You can get a complete breakdown of what is on the screen at Screenit.com.

What About Spiritual Issues?

There seems to be an amassing of offhanded comments to let you know that are the two main characters are either blessed by God or empowered by Him. There may even be some messiah symbolism with Lincoln .

Moreover , this film is about the sanctity of life. Themes and characters lend themselves so well to an anti-abortion stance that it may have been the planned intent of the film. These themes are presented in a very real and non-confrontational way, though often brutal in their presentation. This is the beauty and peril of sci-fi and fantasy.

There is a sex scene in the film. This is an odd thing. We are not shown anything we shouldn’t see. It’s more a plot point. We are told that one man is dying from a disease that God let him have because he had too much sex. Later we see the two main characters “discover” sex in an Adam and Eve / “ Blue Lagoon” manner . This may be a sticky point for some viewers . The morality of sex is not very clearly defined, though promiscuity is shown as punishable.

What Is Your Recommendation?

If you like action/sci-fi films , this is a good use of your afternoon. It’s also a great movie to help think through some very important issues.

ps

The soundtrack is very cool. Except for one unfortunate song in the credits.

The Island DVD

The Island CD

Christopher’s Top Picks of the Decade (1/1/2000-1/1/2010)

January 28, 2010

It took all month but here are

Christopher’s Top 20 Picks (with 3 “Ties and an Honorable Mention) of the Decade

(1/1/2000-1/1/2010)

  1. Lord Of The Rings (1 movie in 3 parts)
  2. The Passion of the Christ
  3. Unbreakable
  4. tie – DISTRICT 9 Pride and Prejudice 
  5. The Exorcism of Emily Rose  
  6.  Signs
  7. To End All Wars
  8. The Village
  9. The Chronicles of Narnia: The Lion The Witch and the Wardrobe 
  10. Lars and the Real Girl 
  11. Luther 
  12. B000JLTR8QM. Night Shyamalan’s Lady in the Water
  13. Napoleon Dynamite
  14. In The Bedroom
    Note: “The Bedroom” in the title refers to a compartment of a Lobster Trap
  15. Man On Fire
  16. I Am Legend
  17. The Lost Skeleton of Cadavra
  18. Phone Booth
  19. tie Nanny McPhee Up
  20. tie Danielson a Family Movie (or, Make A Joyful Noise HERE) Food Inc

Honorable Mention

Bella theatrical one sheet

Bella

Fireproof

This film was not the best done, or the most moving. Several films not on this list were better films. (The Spider Man films, Inglorious B——-s, Juno, Iron Man and even  Twilight, were all better films.) Still, a church got together and made a good film with a great message, and I think that should be applauded.

Pixar and the Hidden Bad Guy

January 27, 2010

Did you notice,

in the

Movie

    we think is good, until the end where he turns out to be the main antagonist?
    we think is good, until the end where he turns out to be the main antagonist?
    we think is good, until the end where he turns out to be the main antagonist?
    we think is good, until the end where he turns out to be the main antagonist?
    we think is good, until the end where he turns out to be the main antagonist?
    we think is good, until the end where he turns out to be the main antagonist?
    But in the movie there is Who is sort of the opposite.

Pirates of the Caribbean: At World’s End

January 21, 2010

What Is It?

The final chapter of the sea bound series has all the characters reunited and ready to have there loose story ends woven into a still frayed Jolly Roger. The title speaks more of the end of an era than the map, though both are represented. Just as promised in the last film, Norrington (Jack Davenport) has teamed up with Davy Jones (Bill Nighy) to destroy all the pirates and Barbossa (Geoffrey Rush), is leading the crew of the Black Pearl to retrieve Jack Sparrow (please excuse me, Captain Jack Sparrow) (Johnny Depp) from Davy Jones Locker. As promised in the ads, they save Jack right off and then get to the fighting.

How Was It?

The last installment had a decent story but seemed a bit flat with action and performance. This time around the action and performances are really wonderful, which is almost enough to carry the dismal attempt at a story. The line that summed up this film was “Do you think he plans it all out before hand or do you think he’s just making it up as he goes along?” This could have been directed at the film makers as much as Captain Jack Sparrow.

You begin to wonder if the development of this film was simply eaves dropping on a group of teens saying things such as “dude, it would be, like, so cool if she just grew, like, super huge… oh yah yah yah and then she could, like, turn into, like, a million billion crabs! Dude that’s cool!” but the joke is, they are right, it is very cool. Ideas like two pirate ships, gunning it out from there apposing corners in a whirl pool is just pure big budget brilliance.

Still, the lack of a solid story insures that the journey to next action sequence is now just a dull tour through a thematic wasteland. And where the supernatural in the other films was used as posts to hang slightly veiled commentaries on human greed and lust, they are now little more than make shift mooring rings to keep the convoluted plot from going to far a drift. The only time the super natural elements even matter to the story (spoiler) is when the film makers kill off major characters for the shock value and then bring them back to life for the sole purpose of keeping the wide eyed spectator happy.

(Then there was just some nonsense about Jack talking to imaginary versions of himself. I think one Johnny Deep performance is more than enough to fill the screen.)

Is It Good For Kids?

I think there was another meeting where some one said “This is the last one, so we no longer have to make it so that families feel comfortable enough to come back to another one.” This then gives way to things like a crusty Jack removing and licking his own brain and (spoiler) a marriage consummation where we see the lady in a long shirt and one boot and the gentleman kissing her knee. (Ok, that would not be that bad, they are married, except the sensuality of the kiss coupled with the lady’s “pleased” reaction make it something that many parents will be uncomfortable sharing with their children.)

I don’t think there is anything “sinful” about the violence or the sexuality in this film, but even if the other two installments were perfectly fine for your children, you will still want to examine this one and judge it on it’s own merits.

You can get a complete break down of what is on the screen at screenit.com.

What about Spiritual issues.

This is the biggest down fall of this installment. Where the others gave quite Biblical explanations of the make believe supernatural, this one just plays with the elements with no thought to their meanings. Then death is played with to the point where it becomes a non-issue. Death is the point where you meet your final judgement, to be welcomed in or sent away. The last two movies held onto that, even when judgement was preceded by a 100 year stint before the mast of the flying Dutchman. The new “he’s dead, no he isn’t” story line, not only creates spiritual confusion, it takes away all the punch and importance of a human life ending.

Then there are the pirates themselves. The other movies seemed to suggest that maybe some one learned something about honor and right and wrong. Here debauchery is celebrated at the end instead of Honor causing even pirates to rise above it all.

(Spoiler) The other sad message in the film is the romanticizing of a marriage that at the end literally amounts to the husband and wife only seeing each other once every 10 years. Though it is moving to see a woman who is willing to accept so little of her husband to be able to get any of him, it seems just cruel of him to take advantage of such emotion. Marriage here is reduced to a one day in 10 year rendezvous. Though the movie seems to imply this will go on forever, only one character is immortal, thus he will get, at most, a weeks worth of time with this woman, while he is demanding the sacrifice of her entire life for his pleasure.

What is your recommendation?

There are the building blocks of a fun summer movie here, though they are teetering on one another. This is not “Return of the King” where we have had two films to build a plot and are now able to have the final battle for the whole film. This story is autonomous of the other two and simply the further adventures of the same characters. If you have a big screen and a decent sound system, there is nothing here that can’t wait for DVD, but still it’s not the brilliantly acted movie fun, with a touch of real meaning, that the first film was. As much as I longed to see these characters again, I wish they had stopped while they were ahead.

Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Man’s Chest

January 16, 2010

What Is It?

The sequel to the very popular supernatural swashbuckler featuring the power house heart throb duo of Johnny Depp and Orlando Bloom. The first film was fairly entertaining pushed over the edge to very entertaining by the over the top avant-garde performance of Depp.

Here Will (Bloom) and Elizabeth (Keira Knightly) have there wedding postponed when both are arrested for there helping Captain Jack Sparrow (Depp) escape in end of the last film. Through a bunch of odd events, the three are re-united running from Davy Jones and the Flying Dutchman. Thus, inviting you to strap yourself in for another amusement park ride of a summer movie.

How Was It?

It’s fun. Not as good as the original, but why? The story is not as well developed as the original. The character development is not there, you know the characters and there is nothing different from the first. But there biggest cinematic sin; not just putting the camera on Johnny Depp and letting him go. Here he’s more of a garnish than the main flavoring, as he was in the first one. (Did no one read the 8 billion reviews saying “Depp made the movie”?) Here the special effects are more prominent. Anytime Johnny begins to get going, they move on to monsters.

Is it good for Kids?

There are a couple of things to watch out for. First there are a couple of dresses that are a bit to low cut. However, the big problem is the gross monster factor. The beasties here are not as cool as the skeletons from the first film, but they are much more monsters. I would be careful showing this to your child even if they were ok with the first film.

You can check Screenit.com for a complete breakdown of what’s on the screen.

You may want to also look for some images of the monsters as well.

What About Spiritual Issues?

This is the nice part of it all. In the first film there were references to God being sovereign over the weirdo spirituality of the story. The pirates had been cursed by the heathen gods and it’s commented that they will fight until the final judgment. The pirates curse itself even went well with the Bible. They had gold and power, but the pleasures of there ill-gotten gain were unattainable. There are also lines from Captain Jack Sparrow that go perfectly along with the words of Jesus in Matthew 6:21 and Luke 12:34.

Here the story itself does not lend as well to any meaning. Still there are even more explicit references to God. One of the pirates from the last film is now looking into the Bible because now that they are not immortal they need to think about there mortal souls. Then there is service on the Flying Dutchman. Davie Jones offers people to serve on his ship for 100 years to postpone God’s judgment and punishment of your deeds. (As Bono says, art about “running from God” puts God at the center.) While making this offer one sailor who is praying and clutching a crucifix thinks it’s better to take his chances with God.

There is also some plot points with Jack’s compass that move back to the earlier mentioned Bible passages.

What is your recommendation?

If you are going, realize it’s not going to be as good as the first one. Plan to stay through the credits. Talk to your kids about the afore mentioned “Treasure” and the good and bad actions of the characters, as well as, the idea of trying to escape from God, at best, only postpones the inevitable.

Have fun, and some good conversation.

ps

Stay for the end of the credits.