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Entertainment Media Analysis Report
A service to His little ones through you in His name by His Word
(2007), PG-13 [R-13*] (1hr 42min)
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(While the Scriptural references are certainly not subjective, my commentary may be and sometimes is somewhat subjective.)
Cast/Crew Details Courtesy Internet Movie Database
Production (US): Columbia Pictures Corporation, Vengeance Productions Pty. Ltd., Dimension Films, Marvel Enterprises, Crystal Sky Pictures, Relativity Media
Distribution (US): Sony Pictures Releasing, Columbia Pictures, Dimension Films
Director(s): Mark Steven Johnson
Producer(s): Avi Arad, Michael De Luca, Kevin Feige, Gary Foster , Norman Golightly, David S. Goyer, Stan Lee, Steven Paul, E. Bennett Walsh
Written by: Mark Steven Johnson
Cinematography/Camera: Russell Boyd, John Wheeler
Music: Christopher Young
Film Editing: Richard Francis-Bruce
Casting: Christine King
Production Design: Kirk M. Petruccelli
Viewed At: Driftwood Theater 6
In some of what is quite probably the most dazzling CGI I have ever seen, evil is portrayed as being used to do good [Isa. 5:20]. Not many of the over 1200 films I've seen are as unholy as the PG-13 Ghost Rider (2007). This film portrays selling one's soul to Satan then getting it back. Indeed, the quintessential character sought evil to do battle with evil. [1 Pet. 3:11, Ps. 34:14] The subject matter is this film is not something with which to toy. I've not researched the matter to any great extent but it seems that once one has sold his/her soul to Satan the seller is condemned to Hell without a chance for reprieve.
Daredevil father and son team Barton (Brett Cullen) and Johnny Blaze (Matt Long at 17, Nicolas Cage) perform death-defying "Knievel" stunts for huge crowds. Johnny has a flame for Roxanne Simpson (Raquel Alessi at 17, Eva Mendes). Life is good ... until Johnny finds his father is dying of cancer.
Then appears the thief, killer and destroyer [John 10:10], Mephistopheles (Peter Fonda). Mephistopheles, translated as "he who shuns the Light", "noxious bile" and "liar", was the first to join Lucifer when God kicked the rebels out of Heaven. Mephistopheles is also used as an alternative form of Satan. For the purposes of this report Mephistopheles and Satan are one and the same.
Satan (Mephistopheles) offers Johnny a deal of a lifetime -- eternity in Hell -- in exchange for saving Johnny's father. So Johnny pulls a Faust one and sells his soul to Satan. But as a condition of the deal, Johnny must live alone, forgetting friendship, love and all such ties.
Johnny keeps his part of the deal. Earlier, Johnny and Roxanne had made plans to meet secretly and run away so they could be together unfettered. But when Johnny rides up to the meeting place, he pauses at a distance from Roxanne, gazes at her then rides away. Never to see Roxanne again ... for at least 20 years anyway.
For the next 20 years, Johnny rides into world-class, death-defying glory and fame as the best stunt rider in the world who cheats death over and over. Johnny has an edge over death. Another part of his deal with Satan is that Johnny could not die. Even head injuries that would kill a man did not kill Johnny. [Rev. 13:3]
The central part of Johnny's deal with Satan is that Johnny would lead a normal life during the day but at night he would become a ghost rider. As a ghost rider, Johnny is a flaming invulnerable denuded servant of Satan whose job is to capture the condemned souls of the dead who escape confinement in Hell -- the spirits of the dead who somehow do not make it to Hell because of a previous contract with Satan which is now missing. Now there is another counterfeiting of the Scriptures. Once one is condemned to Hell there is no avoiding it nor any escape from it. Ever. Jesus will not be joking when He condemns the unforgiven sinner to Hell from the Judgment Throne. The sinner will have had his chance ... and chance and chance and chance and ... to confess that Jesus is Lord and to ask His forgiveness, But it's just a movie. Unfortunately movies ("traditions of men") sometimes spoil the understanding of some (esepcially the young) by shaping their development through spoiling their congnitive realm. That is what God calls "philosophy and vain deceit" [Col. 2:8].
Johnny devotes his dark hours to using that which Satan gave him to defeat Satan ... through Satan's son, Blackheart (Wes Bentley, American Beauty). And Blackheart's demons. And all evildoers. For 20 years Satan had no tasks for Johnny ... until Blackheart came to end the world as we know it. Now the leather-clad, mild mannered biker by day, fiery demon by night "hero" flames on, does battle with evil and wins not only the heart of his belle beauty from the past but, in a Webster-esque way, wins his soul. A force is with him, but it ain't God.
To mentor Johnny throurgh it all is the graveyard Caretaker (Sam Elliot) in quite probably the best performance of the entire cast. The Caretaker is Carter Slade who became a ghost rider more than a hundred years ago but on one horse, not a few dozen of them in a Harley. The Caretaker is in possession of the contract that prevents Satan from claiming the souls left to the nether world some 500 miles away. Together, Johnny and the Caretaker ride off to deliver the contract to Blackheart ... and whup his tail in the process.
Wanton Violence/Crime (W)
Note that many of the acts of violence are embedded within unholy acts and are thus incorporated into the Offense to God (O) investigation area. There are yet a number of acts if violence that might tend to desensitize the young viewer and breakdown a previously wholesome threshold of aggression (See Joint Statement on the Impact of Entertainment Violence on Children Congressional Public Health Summit.) The reckless driving for love may embolden young drivers to do likewise. Such behavioral emboldenment was evident as far back as 1964 with Jan & Dean's "Dead Man's Curve" and 1955 with James Dean's Rebel Without a Cause.
A vehicle crushing a body might "lead to emotional desensitization towards violence in real life." The mugging, the threat with a blade to a face, the multiple automatic gunfire to kill might make some "more likely to assume the acts of violence are acceptable behavior." [Prov. 16:29]
The 14 uses of the three/four letter word vocabulary are sure to embolden youth to use such profanity since doing so represented defiance of the Rules [Col. 3:8, Eph. 4:29]. Rules which, by the way, apply to adults as well. Even the actors and actresses on screen. Likewise, the massive tattoos and the facial piercing may cause your children to want them since tattoos (most often seen in cinema on bad guys) typically represent rebellion against authority [Lev. 19:28]. At least, that is how the pagans made tattoos and such sinful. And the planning to defy the father almost inevitably gets kids to thinking in the wrong way. [Exod. 20:12]
Sexual Immorality (S)
The only sexually oriented programming in the film are the excessive breast exposure/cleavage (repeatedly), the anatomical reference, the camera angle/pose to force the viewer on private parts, the exposure to below navel skin which threatened to expose that which follows and the dressing to maximize the female form and/or skin exposure. With so "few" issues of sexually oriented script or imagery the film might seem to be tame, but they each take their toll on the threshold of morality, leading many to think of things not wholesome or to think unwholesome things to be acceptable. [1 John 2:26]
In this film for young teens (PG-13) are smoking and drinking. Not much but they are there nonetheless. And presenting alcoholic beverages and tobacco to the "approved" age stratum for this film is playing with fire. [Eph. 5:18] A study by the American College of Physicians (ACP) has found an undeniable link between the presentation of alcoholic beverages and tobacco in and as entertainment and abuse of them and arrogance/defiance with them by adolescents. And teaching/causing youth to abuse alcohol/tobacco (or drugs) by emboldening youth with them in and as entertainment invokes Luke 17:2. If alcoholic beverages in entertainment were not a problem for our young, why is there and why has there been such a push to get and keep booze commercials off prime time broadcast TV? Even the University of Connecticut corroborates the ACP finding.
Offense to God (O)
This is where the most evil and unholy programming was found. So much so that it would be at best difficult to summarize the content found. Satan. Son of Satan. Flashes/images of evil and unholy beings/behaviors. Soul bartering. Demons and demonic behaviors. Murders by unholy power. All repeatedly. Much more. Please rely on the listing in the Findings/Scoring section for the most complete accounting of the content of this film applicable to the Offense to God investigation area. [Rom. 12:9, Prov. 4:14, 1 Cor. 10:20]
At least three murders were noted. All three were by demonic and unholy forces. Satan and Blackheart touch men and they shrivel up and blacken as they die.
Mom/dad, we are known for not making recommendations about whether to see a film except in extreme cases. This is one of the extreme cases if for no other reason than it is targeted at youth if for no other reason by the PG-13 rating. Films for teens just a few short years ago would not have contained such evil. I recommend you not let your youth see this film.
If needed to focus or fortify, applicable text is underlined or bracketed [ ] or bold. If you wish to have full context available, the Blue Letter Bible is a convenient source. If you use the Blue Letter Bible, a new window will open. Close it to return here or use "Window" in your browser's menu bar to alternate between the CAP page and the Blue Letter Bible page.
***Selected Scriptures of Armour against the influence of the entertainment industry***
As always, it is best to refer to the Findings/Scoring section -- the heart of the CAP analysis model -- for the most complete assessment possible of this movie.
Wanton Violence/Crime (W)
Sexual Immorality (S)
Offense to God (O)
|There are some in the entertainment industry who maintain that 1) violent programming is harmless because no studies exist that prove a connection between violent entertainment and aggressive behavior in children, and 2) young people know that television, movies, and video games are simply fantasy. Unfortunately, they are wrong on both accounts." And "Viewing violence may lead to real life violence." I applaud these associations for fortifying 1 Cor. 15:33. Read the rest of the story. From our more than eight years of study, I contend that other aberrant behaviors, attitudes, and expressions can be inserted in place of "violence" in that statement. Our Director - Child Psychology Support, a licensed psychologist and certified school psychologist concurs. For example, "Viewing arrogance against fair authority may lead to your kids defying you in real life." Or "Viewing sex may lead to sex in real life." Likewise and especially with impudence, hate and foul language. I further contend that any positive behavior can be inserted in place of "violence" with the same chance or likelihood of being a behavior template for the observer; of being incorporated into the behavior mechanics and/or coping skills of the observer. In choosing your entertainment, please consider carefully the "rest of the story" and our findings.|
|In the name of Jesus: |
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