Wednesday, December 9, 2009

The 13th Day Movie Review

I don't get excited about movies that get a big push from our Catholic (or general Christian) community in the US anymore.  There have been too many times movies haven't lived up to the expectation that preceded them. For example, I know that others might disagree, but I didn't like Therese much (it moved much too slowly) and while I thought Bella was a decent film (the acting and cinematography were well done) the script was too predictable and the dialogue a bit too sappy for me.  On the evangelical Protestant side, I could barely finish Fireproof.  When Kirk Cameron is head and shoulders better than any other actor (yes, I know the others were not professionals), then we have a problem.  It was almost unwatchable, even with a great message.

All of these movies have meaning.  But, quality is just as important.  If I am going to read a work of fiction, I want to have good writing and a good story.  It is the same with movies.  We need to have quality scripts, directing, production value, acting, etc.  Otherwise, Christian and Catholic movie projects will only be able to reach a minuscule number of the non-church going crowd.  Those not going to church are the ones who need good movies with good messages most.  It is a great way to evangelize through a cultural medium and to evangelize culture itself.

With low expectations, I watched the new movie, The 13th Day, last night.  I was impressed by the trailer but didn't want to get my hopes up.  The most striking feature of the movie is the use of color, or lack thereof, within the film.  It is quite an artsy way of shooting a film and reminds me of the movie adaptations of the graphic novels 300 and Watchmen (I don't recommend either movie).  I thought the production value for the movie was the best part, considering the small budget the filmmakers had.

The story is based on the Marian apparitions at Fatima, though many details about the story are left out.  The movie dig drag in parts because of this, and this is a shame, because there is plenty of material which could have been used to keep it moving.  Yet, if the goal of the movie is to introduce viewers to the Fatima story, then the movie works, for the most part.

The acting isn't award-winning, but is good enough.  Th young lead actors do a good job, but are much too old to pull off being 10, 9, and 7.

The music is wonderful and helps accent the cinematography nicely.  There are parts of the film that are not suitable for small children, but can be viewed by older children.  There are a few intense scenes where the visionaries who see Mary suffer imprisonment and visions of hell, which could be too much for some youth.

All-in-all I would give the movie a B+.  With a small budget the producers did what few could do before - they held my attention and drew me in.  I couldn't ask for more, considering my past experiences.

If you are looking for other movies with a good message to watch that I would give an A or A+ to, here is a short list:
*The Passion of the Christ
*Schindler's List
*It’s a Wonderful Life
*Life is Beautiful
*Groundhog Day
*The Mission
*The Human Experience
*Lord of the Rings trilogy
*The Princess Bride
*The Incredibles
*Toy Story
*Cinderalla Man


Keith said...

Incontheevable. What exactly was the good message in The Princess Bride? I enjoyed it and all, but it drew heavily upon negative stereotypes of Sicilians, Spaniards, Guilderians, giants, and those with misnumbered digits.

That concludes the Crotchety Bald Man movie review of the day. Please enjoy your movie.

Marcel said...

Selfless and twue wuv.