Archive for the ‘ R ’ Category

Kingdom Of Heaven

Kingdom of Heaven Movie Poster

Baliam, a blacksmith, is approached by crusaders (one being his father) to join them in their quest. After first refusing to do so, certain immediate events after that refusal force him to change his mind.

He joins his father, who eventually knights him to take his place, in the few crusaders who were loyal to the king. These men’s focus is peace and honor. Something other knights, led by an evil lord, do not have or wish at all.

Baliam finds himself in the middle of feuding knights, confusing loyalties, and Jerusalem on the brink of a war with the muslims. He must choose and decide for himself, what God’s will truly is and then, stand against the men who are against God.

Things I liked

Baliam, played by Orlando Bloom, has all the qualities one would expect from a good lord and knight. He despises injustice, desires peace, is honest to the point of admitting murder, is humble and asks for forgiveness, and speaks his thoughts in a simple way. He has flaws, like all well developed characters. When a decision came that was extremely utilitarian in its purpose, he choose the one that was biblical, not otherwise. Baliam is a hero in this movie I felt good rooting for. Ultimately he is selfless in his actions and patient in his example. A true model of a good knight and lord.

The king of Jerusalem has an extreme illness that is killing him, and early on in the movie, has has a conversation with Baliam. The quotes regarding faith versus religion, convictions, and God’s will are incredibly artistic and spot on. One time the King says “You see, none of us choose are end really. A king, may move a man. A father, claim a son. But remember even when those who move you be kings or men of power, your soul is in your keeping alone. When you stand before God you cannot say but I was told by others to do thus. Or that virtue was not convenient at the time. This will not suffice.” Baliam holds true to this quote throughout the movie.

Another instance Baliam is talking to a priest, as jerusalem is about to be invaded:

Priest: “we must flee the city on horse”

Baliam: “And what about the people?”

Priest: “It is unfortunate but it is God’s will.”

Baliam: “You’ve taught me a lot about religion priest.”

All throughout the movie we see the evil crusaders using “God’s will” as an excuse to serve their selfish desires, and ultimately, like proverbs says, they are themselves destroyed by their evil passions. We also see a clear distinction between faith in God and practicing religion, and how religion is something to be avoided and despised.

Things I didn’t like

The king has a sister, Sybilla, who likes Baliam and Baliam likes her. She is promised to marry the lead antagonist, a rude, arrogant, and generally unlikeable lord who is set to become king. She is against this, and in one scene, we see her come to baliam’s house. They kiss, and she spends the night at his house. Much is implied through that scene. While there is some remorse afterwards, it is more because of they fact they cannot marry, as opposed to the actual sin.

For those of you who don’t know, Ridley Scott directed this movie, and he is known for a violence in films that is not at all appealing. It is bloody, dirty, and at times, horrific. He does this to show the glory in war is not all that it is cracked up to be. How much we are reminded of that in this movie. I cannot begin to tell you how many people die in this movie. There is an epic battle scene near the end of the movie, much like you would see in Lord of the Rings. Blood flows, splashes, and squirts freely.

Perhaps even more disturbing however are the individual killings seen in 2-3 minute clips early on in the movie. In just anger, Baliam slaughters a preist, running a sword through the man and pushing him into the smithy where he burns to death. In a forest ambush, we see a group of a dozen men shot in the chest, neck, and heads with arrows. Some keep fighting however, while looking like bloody pincushions. We see blood flow freely here as well. In the aftermath, we see the corpses, awaiting to be buried.

Other violence includes men being hanged, heads mounted on pikes after a battle, and in one battle, a slow motion sword hack that gets a man in the neck. A peaceful Arab emissary is knifed in the head as a response to war. The evil knights kill innocent civilians…. and more. Never is this violence glorified or approved of. Much like in Lord of the Rings, it is present because evil men wish it to be and are using people to serve their purposes. It is there though, and not at all enjoyable.

Words such as B—–d, H–l (out of context) are used, and God’s name in vain are used a few times.

Closing Thoughts

“What man is a man that does not leave the world a better place?”

This is a question the Baliam asks early on in the movie. Indeed, it seems all his actions revolve around this quote, and wanting to leave the world a better place. Not because he has something to gain, but because it appears, he values his conscience being right with God.

This movie shows, in my opinion, a man who rises above the worldly and petty bickering, stands against (for the most part unless it involves girls) temptation for selfish desires, and uses his title to work in a way that will make peace. Even when everyone else turns against him. Evil, is shown for what it is, and then justly punished… And a pretty solid worldview on what God is, what people make him out to be, and a positive view on faith in God rather than religion is shown. It is a war movie with a commendable hero and a just ending.

So if you can handle the bloody and gruesome violence of war brought by the antagonist, and want a full and satisfying story… Check this one out.

Braveheart

BraveheartFreedom.

That’s something the Scotts don’t have. They are ruled by corrupt Nobles, who act in the interests of self and pay homage to the king of England, Edward Longshanks. In reward, Longshanks gives them land, with the condition they pay taxes on the piece of property. The Nobles profit, and commoners starve, and so the cycle repeats over and over…

Until one day, when a solider tries to take advantage of his wife, William Wallace stands for it no longer. With bloody vengeance and passion he kills every solider in his town, and takes the life of the noble who treated his wife unjustly.

And so William starts down a path to free Scotland from the King’s tyrannical rule. The King reacts by sending an army of immense proportions to quell this rebellion. William and his men are ready to fight for the freedom of Scotland. No matter what the cost.

And it costs them dearly.

Things I Liked

One opening line in the movie, and is referenced over and over, is this:

“I know you can fight, but it is our wits that make us men.”

I appreciated the view shown, that being able to shoot, out-lift, or fight better than others does not make one a man. It is the wits and heart which show true manhood, and in many instances we see scottish men do so. They outsmart the enemy, are fiercely loyal to their cause, die for one another, and comfort each other.

William Wallace embodies several fine traits, he is full of conviction and passion for his cause. Sadly, it is for the wrong reasons, but we can learn and observe it. I was reminded and asked myself “Am I that passionate for Christ?” He is uncompromising in his values, and doesn’t succumb to bribery like the nobles. He makes many sacrifices for what he believes, and leads others in a manner of compassion and consideration. He is a servant leader, putting others before himself.

Things I didn’t Like

I want to warn you, the content below, while I attempt to put it as tastefully as possible, is still revolting. Read with caution, if at all. I summarize everything in the closing thoughts, so if you don’t want nitty gritty… Skip this. I also reveal quite a bit of plot, but nothing which gives away the ending.

This movie was full of sin, filth, and gruesome things. I was actually quite shocked that so many people recommended this with all the junk in here… I am going to give them the benefit of the doubt they forgot the bad stuff due to it being so bad…

First, the sexual content. William loves a girl in his home village, and without her father’s permission, begins to court her. Over the course of time, they get married in secret. The reason for this is the nobles have been given “Right to the bride’s bed”, and any newlywed would be taken by the noble that same night. In addition, the father does not agree to the marriage.

The wedding night, the camera shows full nudity, waist up, of both William and his new wife kissing. The shot lasts for a few seconds… but it was long enough to see what you could wish to unsee. William also has an adulterous affair with a woman for one night. Only kissing is shown there, but much is implied. William does not make honorable choices when it comes to women, which diminishes his character quite a bit.

Before a battle, all the scottish soldiers reveal themselves to the opposing army. We see nothing there, but soon after they decide to moon the English army too. Many shots of the Scottish’s derrières are shown. I lost count of how many comments with innuendo or crude humor were made. There were dozens.

Next, The body count in this movie rivals any movie I have ever seen. An alternate title of this movie could have been “How many different ways can we kill scottish and english soliders?” There is no way I can list them all… Men are battered, stabbed, slit, crushed, pummeled, disemboweled, amputated, beheaded, shot with arrows, thrown out of building, impaled, trampled… To name a few. Blood flows freely from the wounds inflicted from the swords and maces. The camera never looks away until the damage has been shown to the fullest.

One particularly disturbing scene, a woman’s neck is slit by a lord, and the camera watches her die as the blood again, flows freely. Another man is drawn and quartered in torture, then it is implied he is castrated as means of inflicting more pain. Dead corpses get as much screen time as live ones. One shot shows a barn full of men, women, and children who have been hanged. Another shot shows dead men with deep and bloody wounds. The aftermaths of battle show the ground red with blood, dying men cry out, and we see a few “mercy killings”. Another scene is a solider tries to rape a woman. She fights back and gets away before the damage is done, but we see her slapped and kicked. The man doesn’t fare much better though, as he is bitten, clawed, and slapped.

Profanities are many, pretty much all of em really. God’s name is not taken in vain from where I can remember though. There are many crude jokes and humour regarding bodily functions, or lack thereof.

Closing Thoughts

This movie is rated “R” for intense and graphic violence and sexual content. Indeed, this movie had both.

Why would I watch it then? To be honest many friends and adults, whose opinions I hold in high regard, recommended this movie. They said it was full of courage, the willingness to stand up against what was wrong, and full of other heroic virtues. I expected an honorable movie with a hero worthy of merit. To say I was disappointed, would be a horrid understatement.

Braveheart is a movie of conviction. The conviction of William Wallace to never back down, to never compromise on values, and to live a life not afraid of death…. All in the name of freedom. On the worldly surface this looks great, while taking notes during the movie though, I saw the conviction throughout the entire film being misplaced. William’s conviction is not rooted in honoring Christ, but avenging those he loves and to be free from England. He prays to God not because he loves Him, but because he needs something from Him in order to fulfill his quest. That misplaced conviction led me never to fully root for Wallace.

We can take this idea though, and apply it to our Christian faith. We are to live free in Christ, no longer enslaved by sin and the desire to do and partake of evil things. We are to live uncompromising lives, never flinching of backing down from our loyalty to God and Christ. We are know what we believe and why we believe it, then act on those convictions.

The contrast is clear, when man puts his whole into a country and others first, the results are lacking and empty.

We see that in this movie. We know from history the Scotts achieved freedom, but for what purpose? Not to be able to worship God as they saw fit, but to live better lives. When you get down to it, this movie shows a man full of worldly passion for country and self, and willing do anything he believes necessary to achieve it, deceptively shrouded in the guise and word of “Freedom” by the filmakers. Couple these worldly and self serving motives with the unneeded few seconds of waist up nudity, an adulterous affair, the intensely revolting violence, lack of biblical justification, and more…

I have come to the conclusion Braveheart does show a few commendable qualities, but hardly makes an impact in comparison to the filth and depravity shown.

The Patriot

“Some things are worth fighting for.”

It’s the year 1776 and war is on the horizon. Benjamin Martin, a widower, is a French and Indian War hero who is haunted by memories of his past. His only desire now is to live in peace with his children on his plantation in colonial South Carolina. War is inescapable, however, and Benjamin has to decide how far he is willing to go, and how hard he is prepared to fight, in the defense of his precious family.

The Commendable

The Patriot is a film with just the right amounts of action, drama, and even a little bit of humor. Despite its appropriate R rating (due to scenes of extreme and grotesque violence) this movie shows an amazing display of family devotion, loyalty, sacrificial love, and faith. Benjamin Martin is, without a doubt, the leader and the protector of his family. He adores his children and is willing to do whatever it takes to save them from terror and from any form of danger. It was a refreshing picture of a man being the head of his household.

Instead of showing the Revolutionary war in a typical way, this film focuses more on the story of one man and his family and that man’s personal war, rather than individual and grandiose battles. This film does touch, however, on the duty preformed by men to fight against a government which they felt to be tyrannical and the patriot sprit which is often associated with the Revolutionary War.

There is a sweet romance portrayed between Benjamin’s adult son and a daughter of one of Benjamin’s old acquaintances. Benjamin’s son is honorable towards the young lady and asks her father’s permission before making any advances. She is submissive, feminine, and an obedient and respectful daughter.

The Corrupt

The MPAA rated this film R for “strong war violence.”

Being a film of the Revolutionary War, The Patriot includes many battle scene which often contain graphic and bloody wounds. While most of the fighting is done with canons and guns, there are several moments of hand-to-hand combat as well. These scenes are intense and they include war related death while not trying to hide any of the realities of the horrors of battle. Men are brutally killed and gore is constantly shown. In one instance, a group of people are locked inside a church while it is being burned. Suicide is shown. Be wary, the violence in this movie is extreme.

Some characters have bad attitudes and display an un-Christlike attitude towards their fellow men; especially the main antagonist. This character is truly wicked in his heart and he is brutal and vindictive without hesitation. One militia soldier is very racist and speaks in a derogatory way to a slave who is fighting to win his freedom. Additionally, Benjamin’s children do not always obey him with the utmost respect.

Romance is mild; there are a couple kisses and one woman wears dresses that are low-cut.

Profanity consists of uses of d- and h- and some instances of taking the Lord’s name in vain.

Another thing to be wary of is Benjamin’s yearning for revenge. Even though the Bible clearly rejects a Christian seeking vengeance, in this film, it is difficult to analyze.

Beloved, never avenge yourselves, but leave it to the wrath of God, for it is written, “Vengeance is mine, I will repay, says the Lord.” (Romans 12:19 ESV)

But I say to you, Love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you.(Matthew 5:44 ESV)

Benjamin was wrong for being fueled by revenge, but men have the duty to protect their families. Even though his motives were incorrect, Benjamin, for the most part, did what was right by engaging in combat to protect his home and children, and to defend the innocent.

The Art

Mel Gibson’s ability to play a reluctant war hero was satisfactory. Some scenes felt forced, but, for the most part, he was able to act with the energy and emotion that his character required. Heath Ledger was brilliant. His character, as Benjamin Martin’s oldest son, was tender, passionate, compassionate, thoughtful, emotional, and brave. Not only is the character admirable, but Ledger’s portrayal of him was incredible.

Among the film’s other highlights, its battle scenes are wonderfully executed and, with its well-developed characters and plot, The Patriot is an enthralling, exciting, and emotional ride. The cinematography was fantastic along with the directing, although I would have preferred a more discrete approach to showing the deaths in battle.

John William’s score is absolutely beautiful and, in my opinion, it’s one of Williams’ best. The music is powerful, moving, and patriotic all at the same time. Albeit, the score, in places, sounds very familiar to what Williams did for Jurassic Park, but the more colonial style differs it enough. With its beautiful melodies and majestic tracks, this well-balanced soundtrack has plenty quiet and action music mixed in as well.

In Conclusion

While The Patriot is an amazing film depicting the war and showing some beautiful pictures of family love, devotion, and honor, the violence and gore make this film so that I cannot recommend it to most families. Personally, I chose to turn away from most of the violence, but each family has their own convictions on the matter. While I do believe that The Patriot is well-worth watching for those at a high school age or older, this is not a film for young children. In my opinion, the good outweighs the bad, but you need to be prepared to experience some emotional trauma if you are planning to watch this movie.