The Flight to the Ford in Peter Jackson’s The Fellowship of the Ring Movie

My family loves The Lord of the Rings.

See “Ten Resources for Enjoying Tolkien’s The Hobbit and The Lord of the Rings.” For Peter Jackson’s Lord of the Rings trilogy (resource 7), I write,

This is one of the few cases where Jenni and I think that the films are better than the books. We probably just lost all of our literary credibility (not that I had much of it). We find Tolkien’s writing style often tedious.

artI recently read a book that has helped me more critically view films:

Paul Munson and Joshua Farris Drake. Art and Music: A Student’s Guide. Reclaiming the Christian Intellectual Tradition. Wheaton: Crossway, 2014.

Munson and Drake take a little over four pages to critically analyze the scene from Peter Jackson’s The Fellowship of the Ring in which Arwen and Frodo flee on horseback to the ford.

Here’s what Munson and Drake think (pp. 77–81): [Read more…]

Son of God: The New Movie

Here’s a trailer for Son of God, a movie that opens in theaters starting Friday, February 28:

Son_Of_GodThis movie abridges footage from the History Channel’s The Bible: The Epic Miniseries.

Here are 3 reasons I don’t enthusiastically recommend that.


  1. Tim Challies, “Writing Checks to Mel Gibson
  2. Tim Challies, “Son of God Will Show Crucifixion, Not the Cross

Update on 3/4/2014: My friend Matthew Hoskinson reviews the movie. (He pastors in Manhattan and saw an advance screening of the film that the producers hosted.)

3 Reasons I Don’t Enthusiastically Recommend the History Channel’s “The Bible: The Epic Miniseries”

epicAdapting a book to film is tricky. Sometimes books-to-film turn out surprisingly well (e.g., The Gospel of John—my favorite “Bible” film). Often they don’t (e.g., the recent Narnia films).

The History Channel aired The Bible: The Epic Miniseries throughout March 2013. About 100 million people watched all or part of the series. (I bought the series on DVD after reading two reviews.)

On the one hand, this series will doubtless serve as a means to a good end for some viewers:

  1. Some people think that the Bible is a boring old book filled with irrelevant or misguided rules. This series may spark an interest in the Bible that will compel them to actually read it. That’s good.
  2. Some people think that the Bible is a collection of unconnected or loosely connected short stories. This series may help people view the Bible as one big story with turning points: from creation to the fall to Noah to Abraham to the exodus to Israel and then climaxing with Jesus. That’s good.
  3. Some people are relatively unaware of what the world of the Bible was like culturally. This series may help people better understand what the political scenes were like or how people typically dressed or what various places may have looked like. That’s good.

On the other hand, the series could be far better. While watching it with my wife, we became increasingly disappointed with it. I was planning to watch it with my children but not anymore. I don’t enthusiastically recommend it for at least three reasons: [Read more…]

Wayne Grudem on the Jason Bourne Films

Bourne_0Wayne Grudem evaluates the Jason Bourne films (his critique applies to The Bourne Legacy as well) when he discusses the CIA in Politics—According to the Bible: A Comprehensive Resource for Understanding Modern Political Issues in Light of Scripture (Grand Rapids: Zondervan, 2010), 424–25:


The Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) is the primary organization that gathers and analyzes information about other countries, especially about potential enemies of the United States. In other words, the CIA coordinates America’s spy network abroad. [Read more…]

Useful Questions When Approaching Literature, Films, Etc.

Grant Horner, “Glorifying God in Literary and Artistic Culture,” in Think Biblically! Recovering a Christian Worldview (ed. John MacArthur; Wheaton: Crossway, 2003):

If Christians attempt to approach culture—literature, film, the arts and philosophies of humanity—from a human, cultural standpoint, they will be acting in disobedience to God. (p. 315)


Some Useful Questions

There are several core areas that must be considered when attempting to approach cultural artifacts from a biblical perspective:

  • What is the apparent moral stance of the work in question? Is good represented as good, and evil as evil? Are these categories blurred or even reversed? Is there a sense of justice involved at any level? Is man represented as good, evil, or neither? [Read more…]

October Baby

Last week my wife and I watched October Baby, a new film that releases in theaters on March 23.

Here’s the official trailer:

More clips and interviews here.

Some Strengths

  1. It celebrates life in our culture of death. It’s about Hannah, a college freshman who learns that she’s adopted and that her biological mother unsuccessfully tried to abort her and then abandoned her.
  2. It winsomely depicts abortion as what it is—murdering helpless, voiceless little people—with tears and heartache. It connects with people on an emotional level that mere intellectual arguments cannot.
  3. It celebrates family, love, and forgiveness.
  4. It’s relatively clean compared to typical Hollywood movies.

Some Weaknesses

  1. It is religiously generic compared to films like Courageous and Fireproof (Provident Films distributes all three). My expectations, [Read more…]