The End Of The Spear -- The Tip Of The Iceberg
With the success of The Passion of the Christ, some studios realize that there is a potential market for true Christian themed films. Of course, Hollywood isn't really that interested. We will be fed a steady stream of "powerful, touching" movies in which the protaganists are gay, adulterer, cowboys sleeping with sheep and eating jello rather than pudding.
Yesterday, a new movie called The End of the Spear opened. It has a cool website and is a rare movie in that the Christian characters are treated with respect. In fact, the movie is being unabashedly promoted as a Christian movie and made by a Christian organization.
The story is about some missionaries in the 1950's that go to make contact with a South American primitive tribe. The tribe is recognized as the most violent in history. The five missionaries make peaceful contact, but they are shortly thereafter killed by the spear. The wife of one and the sister of another of the slain then go to live with the tribe. The conversions cascade, and the murder rate and even the warring with rival tribes is greatly reduced. The work of God was successful, and the deaths were clearly not in vain. The story was told in Life Magazine and in a book, Through the Gates of Splendor, by Elisabeth Elliot, which is also a documentary movie.
Naturally, Yahoo reports that the critics are killing it but that the general audience is loving it. The problem here though is bias on both sides.
Do I believe that a movie that treats Christianity and its believers with respect (especially one promoted as a Christian movie) is going to have a hard time getting good reviews? Yes, I do.
Do I believe that the Christians who watch the movie to see their world view supported are going to give it good reviews? Yes I do.
Both the critics and the audience has a built in bias. I am neither surprised nor informed by the difference between the critical reviews and the audience enthusiasm.
So what to do when you can't really trust either set of reviews?
Well, I am going to go see the movie. Not because I expect it to be good. It might suck as a movie, and I hope I'm honest enough to recognize that. But I want to know more about the story behind the movie, which is amazing. Check out the website to read about the story and the movie.
I also want more movies like The End of the Spear to be made and distributed. So it needs to be supported for the bigger cause. I want to see good movies with Chrisitan values and people at least respected if not promoted.
If the End of the Spear doesn't fall into the good movie category, so be it. I will let you know if it does. In the meantime, I'm willing to support studios in their early efforts to get it right.