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Entertainment Media Analysis Report
A service to His little ones through you in His name by His Word
(2008), PG-13 [Ultra-lite PG-13*] (1hr 55min)
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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): Kerner Optical, Paramount Pictures, Lucasfilm, Amblin Entertainment, Santo Domingo Film & Music Video
Distribution (US): Paramount Pictures
Director(s): Steven Spielberg
Producer(s): Kathleen Kennedy, George Lucas, Frank Marshall, Denis L. Stewart
Screenplay: David Koepp
Story: George Lucas, Jeff Nathanson
Characters: George Lucas, Philip Kaufman
Cinematography/Camera: Janusz Kaminski
Music: John Williams
Film Editing: Michael Kahn
Casting: Debra Zane
Production Design: Guy Dyas
Art Direction: Luke Freeborn
Viewed at: Driftwood Theater 6Viewed At: Driftwood Theater 6
Analysis of Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull led to an interesting discovery. After viewing it but before crunching the numbers I fully expected its final score to be equivalent to R-rated films (54 and below out f 100) due to all the violence and foul language -- a R-13. But to my surprise ... and maybe disappointment ... this film earned a score of 67 out of 100 which places it equivalent to the top scoring PG-13 films (67 to 55 out of 100) in the comparative baseline database. This analysis is another proof of the objectivity of the CAP analysis model (the Findings/Scoring section, not this Summary/Commentary): that the analysis results sometimes do not match with my personal opinion; that the analysis results are objective and Rock-solid reliable while my opinion is subjective.
While all the violence and profanity in Crystal Skull were indeed morally invasive I was personally offended not only by the three uses of God's name in vain without the four letter expletive but by the single use of God's name in vain with the four letter expletive. And by Ford himself, no less. The use of God's name in vain with the four letter expletive even sounded as though it was inserted just to increase the "bad" of the film. Thus I felt this film should be restricted from anyone seeing it, but my opinion is meaningless to the CAP Analysis Model. However personally offensive some of the content was, the final score of 67 out of 100 goes to show you no matter what my personal opinion might be the results of the analysis are pure and insulated from my opinion.
Granted, the use of God's name in vain is indeed sinful [Deut. 5:11], but so is use of the three/four letter word vocabulary [Col. 3:8], sorcery [Rev. 21:8], theft [Mark 7:20 - 21], deception [2 Tim. 3:12-13, Prov. 24:28], etc. The bottom line? A sin is a sin. Each sin, whether murder or lying, carries the same consequence if unforgiven. It is not God that places weight on different sins, we do. For example, I personally feel murder of babies to be unimaginably more sinful than the arrogance of road rage. We think one sin might be more severe than another. But by His Word God doesn't think that way. To God any of the plethora of behaviors he decrees sin can send the unforgiven sinner to the fiery lake of burning sulphur. That is the way the CAP analysis model is engineered. If that which is a sin by His Word is spoken, displayed or demonstrated it is treated as a sin whether man or plot tries to excuse or justify it or not. So, with the CAP analysis model you can be assured of getting all the facts about the moral assault content and thus be in a better position to make an informed moral decision on your own whether a film is fit.
Dr. Henry "Indiana" Jones, Jr. (Harrison Ford) is back ... and so is Marion Ravenwood .. er .. Williams (Karen Allen). But this time not in a theme of heart-ripping voodoo hoodoo or Ark-borne mystic supernatural powers (though we do get to see a cleverly placed glimpse of the Ark). This time Russians, led by Dr. Col. Irina Spalko (Cate Blanchett), abduct Jones and his new compatriot, George "Mac" McHale (Ray Winstone) to force Indy to help the Russians discover secrets of time gone by. I hear John Rhys-Davies wanted too much to return as the "Indee! Indee! 'I am the monarch of the sea'" Sallah who lowered Indy into the snake-filled tomb in Raiders and appeared also in Last Crusade. But that may be just as well since Rhys-Davies simply would not make as good a sneak double agent (or triple agent?) as Winstone.
In 1957 Nevada, Jones gets pulled into a theme with Roswell/Area 51 underpinnings, into Hangar 51 -- the warehouse of all the dark military and artifact secrets of the past -- to find the remains of an alien in an effort to find the Crystal Skull which legend promises the one who returns it to its rightful place will ... Well, you'll find out if you watch this PG-13. By the way, along the way the one who returns the Crystal Skull stands to find the great Lost City of Gold.
Here is where the story starts losing credibility. Jones uses gunpowder and double-ought shotgun pellets to locate the alien remains since it is a strong magnetic source. Because of that distortion of science we see, many may think the lead pellets of shotgun shells will be attracted to a source of magnetism. The same poetic license is used to fabricate gold and copper coins being attracted to a magnetic source. For the ones hungry for the truth, under standard temperature and pressure ambient conditions gold, copper and lead are not attracted to a magnet, only iron (steel), nickel and cobalt.
Of course, Indy escapes the clutches of the Russians and returns to his classroom where Dean Stanforth (Jim Broadbent), who replaces the late Denholm Elliott as Marcus Brody, informs Indy that he must take a mandatory leave of absence. Indy now knows too much. By the way, while a few of the characters from other Indiana Jones films are brought back, the umbrella-flapping Dr. Henry Jones, Sr. is not. Only a desktop picture of him is seen.
But before Elvis leaves the building newcomer 19-or-so-year-old Mutt Williams (Shia LaBeouf), a "James Dean" teen with an attitude, comes to Jones to find answers to his abducted mother's (Ravenwood's) letter. LaBeouf doesn't save the world this time by fighting valet robots (I, Robot or giant machines (Transformers) nor does he find the treasure by digging Holes. He saves the world by fighting along side Indiana Jones. LaBeouf demonstrated he knew his place along side the great Ford. Yet together Ford and LaBeouf make a fairly good thespian team. Maybe this is so the aging Ford might step aside while the adventure continues -- in another Indiana Jones feature? A "Mutt Williams" feature? I don't know. There is just something not right about trying to make a "Mutt Williams" from "Indiana Jones." Who knows? It might work.
We find that the letter from Mutt's mother, Marion requires Indy to travel to South America to find Professor Harold Oxley (John Hurt) who has been trapped into treasure-hunting involving crystal skulls and a Lost City of Gold. Next we see the animated red line on a map inching its way to South America.
In South America Indy finds Oxley but Indy's path crosses again with the Russians and again with a ghost from the past, Marion. SPOILER: This is where a special connection between Indy, Marion and Mutt is revealed. The Bible tells us that if a man has sex with a woman that he must marry her ... and stay married. [Deut. 22:29, 1 Cor. 7:2] Get married is what Indy and Marion do but decades after-the-fact. Just remember, a noble destination does not excuse an ignoble path. Sex outside of a monogamous heterosexual marriage is just plain wrong. If you don't believe me, ask God. His Word about sexually immoral behaviors can be paraphrased into one sentence: any sexual contact (including visual), conduct or activity outside of a monogamous heterosexual marriage is immoral. And if you don't like that rule or get all huffed up about me saying it, argue with the One who wrote the Rules, the One who will sit on the Judgment Throne just on the other side of our last breath.
A central action sequence is signatory to all Indiana Jones films such as the hijack of a vehicle from the convoy transporting the Ark in Raiders, the mine cart ride in Doom and the hanging from a tank gun barrel in Last Crusade. In Crystal Skull it is a car chase through the South American jungles. Lots of slapstick switching of offensive/defensive advantages. Lots of gunfire to kill. Lots of bumbles that cause the upper hand to switch from good guys to bad guys and back again. And again. And again. Included is a "Tarzan" vine swinging sequence by LaBeouf. A couple Russians are eaten alive by army ants. Indy, Mutt, Marion and Ox drive off a cliff into a river with three waterfalls and survive. There are a number of other action sequences but none carry as much power as the central sequence.
But as an episode of escapism and excitement, Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull just doesn't quite make it. As Jones put it in Raiders of the Lost Ark, "It's not the years, its the mileage." This film is more of a leisurely Sunday drive in a comfortable old jalopy than a race in a T-180. Comfortable? Yes Exciting? Not really. It just doesn't quite have the "grab your attention" and "pull you to the edge of the seat" properties found in places of the first three Jones films.
I am not going to belabor the plot or story any further since the movie just opened. But I will tell you it is more of the same "Indiana Jones" shenagigans but a little more bland. There is lots of action (violence), enough to drain all of the starting 100 points in the Wanton Violence/Crime investigation area, making the content in this area clearly equivalent to many R-rated films (54 and below out of 100). While the Wanton Violence/Crime content is clearly equal to that found in most R-rated films, everything else found by the other five investigation areas is equivalent to most PG films in the comparative baseline database.
I do not have analyses of the other three Jones films but I might do so just to make a comparison between them to reveal how much they have coarsened ... just like almost all other sequels.
Wanton Violence/Crime (W)
Crystal Skull is rife with violence of varying intensities. Kidnapping. Dead bodies. Sword to the throat. Men on fire. Nuclear blast effects. Attacks. Action violence. Firearm to the face. Gunfire to kill. Graphic fighting. And more. Lots more. Please look to the listing in the Findings/Scoring section for a full accounting of the violence content found. [Prov. 16:29]
Twelve times someone utters one of the three/four letter vocabulary words. Even Ford. And more so that his one time in Temple of Doom while trying to get across the rope bridge. The profanity, along with treachery steal almost 30% of the stating 100 points. [Col. 3:8]
Sexual Immorality (S)
While no gender-specific nudity is seen, Ford is seen nude from the near-pubic area up behind a steamed shower glass wall as he is being scrubbed to remove radioactive contamination. This, along with the semi-thong nudity of a few dozen warriors, the innuendo and all the drawing of attention to the crotch make up the sexually-oriented content. [1 Ths. 4:7, 2 Cor. 11:3, Col. 2:8]
The Drugs/Alcohol content is basically limited to a scene with booze in it, drinking once, smoking a few times and one instance of drunkenness. But according the the American College of Physicians any exposure to these substances in and as entertainment can embolden the adolescent to abuse them. Offense to God (O)
I've already told you about the multiple uses of God's name in vain, once with the four letter expletive.
At the entrance to Hangar 51 the Russians gun down two security guards. What is seen is first the guards then a snap breakaway to the Russians blasting away. No bullets are seen hitting the guards and no gore is seen. In another sequence a number of people are murdered, again with the murdered people offscreen. Though the actual death-inducing action is not seen, suggestion and implication can sometimes be more morally invasive than actually seeing oncreen deaths happen.
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 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.|
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In the name of Jesus:
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