Friday, January 6, 2012
Courageous - A Review
Courageous is a movie about fatherhood. It is the latest project from Sherwood Pictures, which is a part of Sherwood Baptist Church in Albany, Georgia. I know that many disagree with me on this, but I found Sherwood's movie Fireproof (the last movie from them I viewed) barely watchable, even though it had a great message. I believe a good movie is a work of art. As a form of art, I hold artistic merits of a movie to a high standard. The message is important, but so is the writing, directing, production value, etc. If other aspects of the movie are lacking, then the message is diluted or virtually lost.
A few months ago I had a disagreement about this issue with some good friends. They got upset at me because I was critical of the feelgood Christian movies that have little artistic merit (bad acting, writing, etc). They thought the message was most important. I understand their argument, especially in light of the trash that Hollywood makes, but disagree that Christians need to settle for a lower form or movie art.
To tell the truth, I had no plans on watching Courageous. But, then I was sent the DVD for free in order to review it. The good news was, it wasn't as bad as I thought it would be. The bad news, it was still below average.
After a tragedy to one of the main characters' family, one man decides to challenge himself to stand up for God and his family by being a good husband and father. His friends follow his lead. While the message about fatherhood is desperately needed in our society, the movie becomes too preachy about it as well as being too sentimental. Yet, I applaud the movie-makers for taking on an issue that is all too forgotten in our culture - the vital role that good fathers play in their children's lives.
The acting, writing, editing, etc. in Courageous was much better than Fireproof, but that isn't saying much. I know that the actors (and many others) are volunteers, but I don't understand why. I can't help but wonder how much better could the movie have been if the whole thing were done in collaboration with movie professionals? What would it hurt to have someone take a look at the script, edit out 45 minutes (it was WAY too long), work on lighting, etc.
If the goal of this film is to help recapture good fathers and husbands in our culture, then we need to speak to the culture. A church-going Christian man may be challenged by this movie, but I don't see this movie appealing to the guy who isn't going to church regularly. In my book, that means the movie doesn't measure up to being a good Christian movie. To be a good Christian movie, it has to reach others where they are. But, this one is too preachy and too heavy-handed with the Jesus talk. A good Christian movie, in my opinion, should have both a good message and more than just a message, but should be for all.
All in all, the movie was better than I expected but still a big disappointment. Do I recommend it? It depends. If you are someone who cares more about the message than the artistic merit, then I recommend it to you. If you are like me, don't watch it.