Saturday, October 21, 2006

Thumbs Down for "One Night With the King"

Should Christians support Christian art just because it is Christian? Trinity Broadcasting Network produced and is pushing a movie called, "One Night With the King", based on a book called "Hadesseh" which was based on a book of the Bible, the Book of Esther. The Book of Esther tells a wonderful story. Even if you are not a religious person I can highly reccommend opening a Bible and reading the book of Esther as art, as a tale well told. Unfortunately, I cannot say the same for the movie.

(continued- click SATURDAY below and scroll down for rest of article)

11 Comments:

Blogger Mark Moore (Moderator) said...

As a Christian, I do want to support Christian art, when it is good. But I don't think we should support bad art just because it claims to be Christian.

A claimed Christian theme should not excuse someone from doing a good job, it should obligate them all the more to do a good job. I don't care whether it is christian art, or christian politics, christian janitorial services. You may notice that some of the politicians I am hardest on are the ones who claim the name of Christ, and then pursue unbibical policies.

I was especially upset that the movie was so unfaithful to the Bible account and history. They showed the king in the most favorable possible light. The real life Xeres, after a storm ruined his plans to subjugate Greece, ordered the Aegean sea to be flogged! Men were out in boats beating on the surface of the water.

In real life account there was no tension between Esther and the King, he was just busy and she was not sure where she stood- would he place her above his most trusted advisor or was she just an ornament?

In the movie, Mordecai hid his jewish heritage and Haman's motives for genocide were geopolitical and a personal mission he was born into. In real life, Haman had a long-runing petty personal grudge with Mordecai, and that was his motivation for the destruction of the Jews. It was not to get their money for the war, in fact Haman even offered to pay money for the costs of the progom. The Bible version makes it clear that life was cheap to the pagans. The king did not even inquire what people it was that Haman wanted destroyed. He just gave him permission.

Time and space don't permit a coverage of all the ways the movie was unfaithful to the bibilcal version. The problem was the bible version made just as good, if not better, point than the corrupted version TBN is pushing. Yet TBN wanted a love story, so that is what they made it.

The acting and casting were medicore to awful, the pacing and action were lacking, and the sound track was poor.

All in all, I don't feel that I am shucking my committment to christian art by telling you not to bother seeing this movie, because I don't think its either "christian" or "art". If it were the former, it surely would have stuck with the themes laid out in the true bible version, if it were the latter, it would have done a better job with the artistic elements I mentioned. I suppose the CGI made it visually rich. That part was art, but it was not worth the having to sit through the rest of it.

IT just CLAIMS to be "Christian Art", that does not mean that it is. See pro-abortion politicians who do "Jesus-talk".

Seriously, I have never seen much of Trinity Broadcasting Network, not being a cable subscriber, but this movie has me concerned. If their "Christian art" is that twisted, their theology may be flawed too.

2:15 PM, October 21, 2006  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Totally disagree: I saw the movie last night and thought it was good. They may have taken some liberties, to be sure, but the Biblical and Christian references were incredibly strong, nothing was secularized--and in this day and age, I welcome any story that does a good job of presenting the gospel of Christ in a true, wholesome manner. I remember some people were equally upset, as you are now, about the Passion of the Christ when it came out. They took some liberties as well, but there is no denying the powerful message of that movie. I say go see it.

6:53 AM, October 22, 2006  
Anonymous Mark Moore said...

The Passion took liberties that fit with what we do know from the Bible, this movie took liberties that we know are the opposite of what really happened. Sometimes there is an artistic reason to do that, you need to in order to tell a good story, but not in this case. The bible version of the story is better unless you want a silly harlequin romance novel.

And do you think the casting and sound track were even mediocre?

7:28 AM, October 22, 2006  
Anonymous st.lucia said...

"One Night With the King" doesn't present the Gospel in any way, shape or form. If the book of Esther presented the Gospel, it was in a very allegorical manner.

Strong but distorted Christian and Biblical references in a movie don't make for good Christian art. They don't actually make a good case for the Bible, since inaccurate representations mislead the average nonbeliever. Christians, however, bring their Biblical knowledge with them, and are able to compare the movie's "references" with the truth. So only Christians "get" the movie's message.

If we want Christian art to rise above mediocrity, we have to hold it to a higher standard.

7:46 AM, October 22, 2006  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Actually, I was not impressed with the soundtrack either. Music was a little too loud. But as for the casting, I thought they did a good job with what they had to work with. The woman who played Esther was great, the others not as great but still good. However, I can't imagine that Tom Cruise or Brad Pitt were lining up at the door for a chance to be in the movie. Here's the thing: Christians are constantly complaining that there are no moral, biblically-based movies available to see with their kids, so I say be thankful that SOMEONE is finally making them. And to the person who said: "If we want Christian art to rise above mediocrity, we have to hold it to a higher standard." How about, in this secular world, we let Christian art get a foot in the door before we start complaining about it. The movie was good, and definitely worth seeing. And tons better than the rest of what the theater had to offer.

1:04 PM, October 22, 2006  
Anonymous Ret said...

I haven't seen the movie, and probably won't, as these things are usually so poorly done as to be chessy and/or downright Laodecian in their blahness. Even so, I can't fairly comment on this specific movie. I am more interested in the logic behind the justification provided by 'Anonymous,' who states: "How about, in this secular world, we let Christian art get a foot in the door before we start complaining about it. The movie was good, and definitely worth seeing. And tons better than the rest of what the theater had to offer."

Question: If we are starved, does that justify eating tainted food when the unadulterated grade A thing is available in the Bible?

'st.lucia' is correct that these things should be held to a higher standard. That applies to aesthetics also. God prefers (and deserves) a sweet savor. Within the financial, logistics and talent limitations of a project, don't serve up mush.

7:57 PM, October 23, 2006  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

"christians are constantly complaining that there are no moral, biblically-based movies available to see with their kids, so I say be thankful that SOMEONE is finally making them."

I don't see the movie as bibically based. Cecil B. Demill managed to fill in the gaps of the Exodus account with script that fit in with what we did know in "THe 10 Commandments".

Somehow TBN could not pull that off with this story. The movie was not based on the Bible, but on a book that was based on a book in the Bible.

8:25 PM, October 23, 2006  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

7:57 - Fantastick logic. Wow. So what you are saying is that if it isn't perfect and up to your highest standards, we should all just boycott the movie even though it is filled with references to God and his mercy? That's great. How about we boycott ALL Christian-based movies that are not up to perfect standards? Think about this: if people don't see movies like this, do you really think Hollywood will keep making them? If you say: "I'm not going because I don't think it's perfect!" what will that accomplish? What will happen is that Hollywood will decide that people just don't like Christian movies and eventually all Christian scripts will get dumped in the trash. Is that really where we want to go? Shouldn't we be supportive of someone willing to go out on a limb and make and movie that will at least get an individual to start thinking about God? Come on, people, think about what you are saying. No one's perfect--not you, not the director, and not the movie. But it IS good. You'd find that out if you would go see it.

9:40 AM, October 24, 2006  
Anonymous Mark Moore said...

The problem is NOT that it isn't PERFECT, the problem is that it isn't GOOD. Nor is it accurate.

Any other movie that was that poorly made, and that historically anti-accurate, I would trash.

I am not going to give it a pass just because the makers are pawning it off as "christian" art. Christian art should be well attended because it is the best art and speaks a powerful truth, not because we feel morally obligated to support junk just because thier marketing department slapped "christian" on it.

"Kingdom of Heaven" was an anti-church movie that had all this movie's strong points in spades- it was visually beautiful and so forth, but it was anti-historical and I wrote an article pointing out its flaws. If I were to refrain from that on this film just because it CLAIMS to be Christian, then I would be a hypocrite- and that ain't Christian either.

11:35 AM, October 24, 2006  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

"Christian art should be well attended because it is the best art and speaks a powerful truth..."

Great belief in theory, but it doesn't usually happen. And it IS good, not as good as the Passion of the Christ I admit, but still good. You act as if it's the worst movie ever made, and if that's how you feel then I have my doubts that you actually saw it.

2:18 PM, October 24, 2006  
Blogger Mark Moore (Moderator) said...

I saw it. I did not say it was the worst movie ever made. It gets a C- as art and an F as religious art because religious art has an obligation to be authentic.

8:16 PM, October 25, 2006  

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