Still out there… even in China

Hollywood is beginning to notice there are still quite a few people left who are interested in uplifting and edifying entertainment:

Given the crop of projects being shopped at the Cannes film market that features Christian-themed narratives — notably An Interview With God, Samson and God Bless the Broken Road — and with Wim Wenders’ doc Pope Francis: A Man of His Word playing as an official selection at the festival, there are signs that fare once ignored by international buyers and Cannes programmers is receiving a warm welcome…

“When I was first approached to take on [An Interview With God], I felt reluctant because I thought, ‘Oh my God, there really isn’t an evangelical community outside of the United States,’” says Wander. “But we’ve been getting interest from places like China — I never would have thought that — Japan, the U.K., spots that typically don’t respond to these kinds of films.”

One has to be careful here, because what Hollywood calls “faith-based” is often over-the-top heretical and completely un-Biblical (see: Noah).  That said, recent films like Paul – Apostle of Christ are showing it doesn’t take a large bankroll to produce a film worth seeing, particularly when one stays respectful of the source material.  When such films triple their production budget in ticket receipts, even secular (but profit-minded) Hollywood begins to take note.

This is one reason it’s critical Christians are careful with our entertainment vote, which consists of how we choose to spend our money.  Noah only made money because of the overseas market – it would have been a flop on domestic tickets alone.  While Hollywood knows the overseas market is lucrative, the experience with Noah will give them pause.  Similarly, A Wrinkle In Time, which largely abandoned what Christian influence was in the original book, has also underwhelmed at the box office (and is rumored to have lost $100 million for Disney).

There is great potential here.  Moviemakers who desire to honor God with their work have raised their game, rising above some of the cheesy stereotypes of their past efforts.  If Hollywood decides this is a financially winning formula, it’s possible they’ll support these projects, even if they personally disdain the worldview involved.  I don’t expect Hollywood to become a source of evangelical proselytizing.  But moving the window closer to God’s perspective would be a great development for our culture.  He can speak even through the unlikeliest of messengers.

Consider that seriously when you choose your entertainment.  Are you helping to strengthen our mass media culture, or going along with its slide?

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Too many Wrinkles

Even though I really enjoyed the Wrinkle in Time series by Madeleine L’Engle (and still have a copy of it), I won’t be buying tickets for the new movie about to open.  Two words: Disney and Oprah.

That’s a combination enough to ruin anything, even a children’s classic.

What’s funny is that until very recently I wasn’t aware of just how controversial the book had been among Christians when it was first released.  That said, when I first read it as a teenager I did pick up on some strange vibes, such as listing Jesus, Ghandi, Einstein and great artists like Leonardo da Vinci and Beethoven as examples of historical figures standing against evil.  Nowhere in that passage does it hint at any greater role for Jesus — he is simply one of the great figures.

L’Engle was an Episcopalian, a denomination that has skewed ever more liberal and heretical since the mid-1900s.  If, as the linked article above infers, the author was trying sincerely to reconcile the Christian faith with science, it may have been at the expense of watering down the Christian elements into a general spirituality that hesitates to draw clear theological lines:

“To be truly Christian means to see Christ everywhere, to know him as all in all,” L’Engle wrote in her book Walking on Water. “I don’t mean to water down my Christianity into a vague kind of universalism, with Buddha and Mohammed all being more or less equal to Jesus-not at all!  But neither do I want to tell God (or my friends) where he can and cannot be seen!”

And that’s where Oprah comes in.  The longtime TV host may have recently claimed she wouldn’t run for president unless “God tells me to,” but it’s fair to wonder what sort of god she’s expecting instructions from.  She is anything but an orthodox Christian — for a short glimpse of the evidence of this statement, click this link.  That’s just the tip of the iceberg.  Disney, of course, regularly provides content full of themes incompatible with the historic Christian faith — all under the cute guise of “kids entertainment.”

So with a recipe involving a book of nominally Christian fiction, a New Age television guru, and the House of Mouse, what could go wrong?

Madeleine L’Engle’s classic young adult novel “A Wrinkle in Time” is the latest victim of diversity-deranged stunt casting in which no respect is paid to the race or sex of existing literary characters. But that’s only one reason why this frustrating fiasco is such an embarrassing failure. Director Ava DuVernay (“Selma”), who has no feel at all for the material, seems more interested in promoting colorblind multi-culturalism than producing an entertaining adaptation that is worthy of its much-beloved source…

Also, it’s unfortunate that the film eliminates the novel’s references to Christianity that resulted in it being banned from some libraries. Inclusion apparently has its limits.

I didn’t need the confirmation of yesterday’s movie review.  As soon as the very first trailer debuted last year, I knew this was a “must-pass” event.  The original book is still a fun read, but has more of a dualist worldview than a properly Christian one in which salvation through Christ alone is the central tenet.  Adding Hollywood to the mix just exacerbates the issue.  Christians are understandably hungry for good entertainment these days.  But that doesn’t mean we should spend our dollars in a way that encourages Hollywood’s tendency to take anything reasonably good, gut it, stuff it with their agenda, and pass it off as something worth seeing.

Find something better to do this weekend.

Goofy: putting agenda ahead of revenue

About a week ago, I noted how Disney was using its new live-action version of “Beauty and the Beast” to add a “gay moment,” in the words of the director.  At the time, I pointed out that Disney has become so committed to this agenda that they will accept a ratings plunge just to add it to children’s shows.

And now it appears Disney would rather lose part of the lucrative overseas box office than remove the objectionable scene:

Walt Disney has shelved the release of its new movie “Beauty and the Beast” in mainly Muslim Malaysia, even though film censors said Tuesday it had been approved with a minor cut involving a “gay moment.”

The country’s two main cinema chains said the movie, due to begin screening Thursday, has been postponed indefinitely. No reason was given…

“We have approved it but there is a minor cut involving a gay moment. It is only one short scene but it is inappropriate because many children will be watching this movie,” Abdul Halim told The Associated Press.

He said there was no appeal from Disney about the decision to cut the gay scene.

There can be no doubt that the gay agenda has become more important to Disney than its own revenue.  All I can ask is, “where are the stockholders?”  It would seem time to shake up the leadership of the company, if one is going to invest there to try to make a profit.

One other note: many Hollywood productions travel the globe, where they essentially represent America to foreign audiences.  Shortly after 9/11, one pundit pointed out how Americans might be able to discern reality vs. fantasy in films like “Natural Born Killers,” but foreign audiences could conclude this represents actual American society. Given decisions like Disney’s latest, is there any question as to whether that is helping or harming our image around the world, in a war of ideas where image is critical?

Meanwhile, I hope anyone reading this will make the commitment my family has to avoid Disney or any of its properties.  No trips to Disneyworld (which is vastly overpriced anyway).   No movies in the theater, including Star Wars and Pixar, both of which are sure to be subverted to this agenda at some point.  If we think they’ve produced something worth watching, we’ll catch it on Netflix so they don’t get ticket receipts.  Our days of buying any Disney merchandise are over, too.

Companies like Disney and the tech industry can afford to be “social justice warriors” because they have good cash reserves to make up for temporary hits to the bottom line.

That can’t last forever.   (H/T: Vox Day)

 

Disney and the Beast

The House the Mouse built has long been known for being supportive of the gay agenda.  It appears, however, the propaganda machine has been cranked to 11:

It’s the smooch reverberating far beyond the Magic Kingdom: Disney’s first gay kiss was featured in an episode of the animated children’s cartoon (!!) Star vs. the Forces of Evil.

“Just Friends,” a recent episode of the Disney series, finds characters Star, Marco, and Jackie attending the concert of their favorite band, Love Sentence. The music inspires most of the audience to lock lips with their significant others, and a few same-sex couples are included.

Meanwhile, having advertised the live-action movie version of “Beauty and the Beast” and built expectations among parents and children, now Disney announces a slight change in the classic plot:

Josh Gad is setting a milestone for Disney: His portrayal of LeFou in the live-action rendition of “Beauty and the Beast” will be Disney’s first openly gay character.

In the film, which stars Emma Watson as Belle and Dan Stevens as the Beast, Gad plays LeFou, the eccentric sidekick to antagonist Gaston (Luke Evans). In a slight modification, LeFou will engage in a subplot of his own that deals with his sexuality.

“LeFou is somebody who on one day wants to be Gaston and on another day wants to kiss Gaston,” director Bill Condon told Attitude magazine.

Disney is so committed to this hellish agenda that it is even willing to take a major hit in ratings to continue to push it (ABC is owned by Disney.  For an ideology that preaches ‘diversity,’ there isn’t as much in the entertainment industry as you might think):

ABC can’t be accused of underplaying When We Rise, its eight-hour drama miniseries chronicling the struggles and setbacks of LGBT activists in the 20th century.

Some thought the show, created by award-winning gay activist Dustin Lance Black and aired on four nights this week, goes out of its way to portray middle America as intolerant homophobes. When We Rise received saturation ad coverage during the Oscars ahead of its premiere this week, to the extent that one Twitter commentator joked that if he drunk alcohol every time he saw an advert for the show, he’d be dead by the end of the Academy Awards broadcast.

But part one of When We Rise flopped on Monday. As a result, ABC rescheduled Modern Family to run just before the second installment to boost ratings. However, viewership of the second part fell almost 1 million viewers from its premiere, netting an audience of only 2.05 million on Wednesday, which is pathetic for prime-time slot on a commercial TV network.

While the ABC ideological bludgeoning is more adult fare, the other two cases clearly show Disney is now aiming to confuse the next generation about sexuality.  The company has become a toxic mix of the Vanity Fair of “Pilgrim’s Progress” and a living out of the darker aspects that have long been an integral part of Disney’s storytelling.

For these and many other reasons, I would not be surprised to see the next Star Wars installment feature a gay character.  Indeed, the way Finn and Poe clicked in “The Force Awakens” gave me a sense of pointing in that direction.  Now that Disney owns that lucrative property, I can’t imagine it not using the franchise in its brainwashing efforts.

Christ once said it would be better that someone have a millstone tied around his neck and be cast into the sea than to cause one of His little ones to stumble.  The highly talented but twisted leadership of Disney will have much to answer for one day.  They now serve a Beast even darker and more dangerous than the one in their upcoming movie.