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Ironman and Prince Caspian – Clean Cut or Not?

17 May 2008 No Comment
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Ironman

Honestly this movie didn’t peak my interest when I first saw the trailer. In fact the trailer wasn’t that great and looked like it would turn out to be a mindless action film with a poor plot. However after seeing stellar reviews across the board including a 93% rating in rotten tomatoes and A- rating in Yahoo, I went to watch this film. It ended up being a very well made movie. The plot was good story of redemption, the acting was great, the pace and mood was well controlled and the film work was well done. I also left thinking that it was a relatively clean movie opposed to all the movies that have come out these days. Violence was somewhat tame and sexual scenes very minimal. However that really got me thinking. There was a 5-7 second sexual scene which was intended to show the lifestyle of the main protagonist before his life altering moment. There was no nudity and it is set in a dark room. [disclaimer: her bare back is shown in the next scene], and it wasn’t the typical long unnecessary sequences that is typical of movies in our age. However in hindsight it really goes to show how much our minds have become accustom to such things even in a movie that clearly targets family & children. Yes its really clean relative to other movies, but again its “relative” to our times. It is further confirmed by the fact that I distinctly remember looking around at that moment and seeing a lot of children watching this in the theater. Often we find ourselves watching or engaging in something that we don’t think twice about, but if a child is present or even better if YOUR child is present, suddenly what is proper/not proper, what is right/wrong, what is acceptable/not acceptable becomes all the more clear and the boundaries become even sharper. I found myself upset that children were seeing this on the screen. I understand that this is one “lifestyle” of one person, however you can already sense in the entire theater that this lifestyle was seen as “cool” or “ideal”. There was an aura of approval. Adults were not seeing anything wrong with this, and the children were one step closer to idealizing this rich, get the girl persona. What further confirms this is the fact that the parents seemed oblivious and didn’t seem to care about how this might affect their children.

Prince Caspian – Chronicles of Narnia

I wanted to add a note about Prince Caspian because after walking out of Ironman thinking “that was one of the more cleaner movies I’ve seen in a while”, here comes Prince Caspian. I enjoyed Prince Caspian much more than I expected and even further, I could say with confidence that this was a clean movie. It was refreshing to experience a movie like this in the theater. The Chronicles of Narnia series is becoming similar to the Lord of the Rings in that the movies are safe and very clean. Having said that, make no mistake, this is much more violent than the previous movie. There were too many close up scenes of men getting their throats cut and shots cut short just before men getting stabbed in the face by various creatures. There probably could have been a much better way to handle the fight sequences, but all in all I was delighted with this movie. On a side note I loved the way each “mushy” scene between the prince & susan is followed by a reaction from the other children. It really lightened the moment and helped paint the regular response of children to such things. Also these stories really paint a realistic picture of people in all their faulted glory. King Peter is someone you would expect to be noble, strong and a great leader. However Peter is often consumed by his status and his need to lead and save face. He is a very proud individual. This gets him into all sorts of trouble both in the first movie and here in the second. I really like the fact that the characters’ flaws don’t just simply disappear but again and again they find themselves falling into their own mistakes and needing to apologize for their wrong doing. This is so very true to life and a good underlying message. Also lot of the characters are shown to be weak to various temptations and their current situation. Even the General of the Telmarines seems to have a conscious and perhaps almost come off as a good guy in bad circumstances, but the matter of the fact is that he ends up allowing his fears and desires to dictate his actions. Again and again he is shown a choice to do the right thing but out of pressure and weakness he finds himself carrying out acts he is against (trying to assassinate prince caspian, lying about having no survivors etc). Also one of the Lords who plots against the new tyrant Miraz tries to coax the general by saying how ruthless and wicked the man is, yet at the first opportunity he too turns to betrayal and lies in order to gain power for himself. Overall I think the characters are really shown to be truly human in their weakness.I did discover after speaking with the book readers that this movie deviated from the book quite a bit. The invasion of the castle as well as all the love innuendoes between Susan and Caspian were non-existent. During the movie I wondered if C.S. Lewis would have put this love interest in a children’s story, but now knowing he did not, it becomes very apparent that they forced this love story and kiss just because its the norm in all movies. I think we really underestimate how much these scenes impact the way we view love. The characters are really young. So what you say? What is wrong with adolescent love? My point exactly. The story writers/director felt the need to put this in and that alone speaks volumes about how much power the media has in both their minds and in the minds of their intended audience.

Review Sites

A great site that I use to look into the cleanliness and message of a film is Christian Spotlight. Yes it is obviously taken from a slightly Christian perspective, but I also believe if anyone is going to a good job of really digging into the cleanliness of a movie or any bad underlying messages, it would be Christian Review site. They sometimes go as deep as to count how many curses are made in the movie. That’s pretty deep!

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