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Entertainment Media Analysis Report
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K-PAX (2001), PG-13
Analysis Date: Ocotber 26, 2001
CAP Score: 64
CAP Influence Density: 0.65

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NOTE: If you do not want the plot, ending, or "secrets" of a movie spoiled for you, skip the Summary/Commentary. In any case, be sure to visit the Findings/Scoring section -- it is purely objective and is the heart of the CAP Entertainment Media Analysis Model applied to this movie.


If Scriptural references appear, the full text appears at the end of the Summary / Commentary likely using a mix of KJV and NIV.

K-PAX (PG-13) -- Is Prot K-Paxian or is he a traumatic delusional?

Distributed by: Universal Pictures
Director(s): Iain Softley
Producer(s): Lawrence Gordon, Lloyd Levin
Screenplay: Charles Leavitt, based on Gene Brewer's book
Cinematography/Camera: John Mathieson
Music: Ed Shearmur

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I didn't expect it to earn a PG-13 score. I expected more of a PG, but a CAP score of 64 says it is really a PG-13. With PG-13s in the CAP comparative baseline database earning a mean of 61.5 with one standard deviation being 65.4, I'd say that places K-Pax almost smack dab on top of the bell portion of the Gaussian scoring distribution for CAP PG-13 scores. Thankfully, K-Pax is not an "R-13." There are some matters in K-Pax I would not want my 2.5, 6, 7 and 9 year old exposed to as entertainment, but my 16 year old? With the cussing eliminator filter and a quick screen shut-off during one scene? Maybe. K-Pax definitely requires more intellect and experiential maturity to make sense of it than most of the PG-13 eye candy of late. If you do go, don't go thinking you can leave your thinking parts in the car. Is Prot (Kevin Spacey) K-Paxian or is he a traumatic delusional?

On a bright sunny afternoon, a disabled veteran was the first to notice Prot. While panhandling the passersby in what looked to be a huge train station in Manhattan, the veteran (or maybe one who wanted to be seen as a veteran) spied Prot as he suddenly appears, standing motionless in a beam of sunlight from the station windows amidst hundreds of people scurrying about. Witnessing a mugging, Prot went to assist and was caught up in the currents of police incident questioning when he told the police he is from K-Pax. With Prot in handcuffs in spite of the eye witness accounts saying he didn't have anything to do with the mugging, the police carted him off to the Psychiatric Institute of Manhattan under the care of Dr. Mark Powell (Jeff Bridges). His first visit with Dr. Powell was at 3:00 PM. I do not know if that time was significant to the plot but Dr. Powell's office clock indicated 3:00.

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Prot, a 337 year old from the planet K-PAX near the constellation of Lyre a thousand light-years from Earth, explains he was visiting BA-3 planets: planets in the early stages of evolution [Gen. 1:1] with an uncertain future. Prot explains he came here on a beam of light*. Prot did demonstrate a fascination with light. He could even see light of 300 to 400 Angstroms in wavelength - ultraviolet light. I share a fascination with light. If I had continued in physics, I would have chosen to research light. God certainly created a wondrous and very powerful energy source in light. Prot even accurately explained the relationship of light speed to space travel: the limitations of Einstein's theory of the relationship of mass to speed; that during his his return trip on July 27 he would age seven years. Prot even used the proper term "c" for the speed of light, the "c" in e = mc^2. The producers researched light well for this show.

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Not believing Prot, Dr. Powell searched for ways to reach into Prot's mind to discover whether a past trauma could have spawned Prot's seeming delusions. In the course of treatment, Powell found Prot to be level headed, extremely intelligent and quite compassionate of others; all the markers of one who either is more sane than the ones who write the sanity assessment instruments or is completely submerged into la-la land.

One of Dr. Powell's friends is an astronomer. Prot had been spouting high-tech babble about the arrangement of stellar bodies in his planetary system with two suns and K-Pax having seven moons. Thinking to use his friend's astronomical expertise, Powell had his friend devise a series of questions designed to reveal to Prot he was manufacturing all the vast knowledge. Much to Dr. Powell's astonishment, Prot answered every question with surgical precision. Prot even told Powell of a tenth planet in our own system. Maybe that is cinematic introduction to the suspected 10th planet of our planetary system that shares an orbit identical to but exactly opposite of Earth's, always obscured from us by our sun (from a movie before our space flight). Science fiction can be fun.
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Wanting to further examine Prot's vast knowledge, Powell set Prot before a panel of top scientists, Using a light pen, Prot proved his knowledge of the planetary configuration of his home system by creating a template of it so detailed and intricate that the scientists had to use a computer to discover Prot's hand-drawn template to be completely accurate. Well, now. Let us think about this! Prot could be one of those delusionals highly skilled in physics with a photographic memory and could have studied the subject system and called it K-Pax. Wrong! Only two or three earth scientists knew of the planetary system configuration Prot called K-Pax since it had been discovered just recently. And it had not yet been published.

Dr. Powell discovered by hypnosis that the mind that calls itself Prot had a severe trauma some years before. Sleuthing with a local sheriff in Gelph, New Mexico, Powell discovered in a remote location a man named Robert suffered the loss of both his wife and daughter at the hands of a rapist murderer whom Robert subsequently killed [Ps. 101:3]. (A narrative would have sufficed there.) A parallel is drawn by the plot between Prot and Robert. But Robert killed himself by drowning himself shortly after the murder of his wife and daughter. There comes the question I posed above. Is Prot K-Paxian or is he a traumatic delusional.

I have not spoiled so much of the plot that you now know enough of the movie to not need to see it (if that is what you decide to do). But I gave you much detail because this kind of a movie cannot be evaluated by you as acceptable or not for your kids (or yourself) without going into a significant level of connective detail. There is much more to the movie and much of it is very clever, pointing out abusive things about us as a people. Things to which many of us hide our heads in the sand or simply refuse to accept.

This movie has brought me to one item of uncertainty about Jesus' teachings. Mind control through hypnosis. I have no doubt about its therapeutic benefits IF handled by the righteous man, but in the wrong, unskilled or unholy hands hypnosis may be dangerous, not only to the victims of evil hypnotic control but to the one hypnotized. Romans 8:6 - 8 speak to how the mind can be controlled by the Holy Spirit. Other chapter/verses speak to how the unsaved mind (and feeling heart) can be influenced by evil planted by the father of lies with his temptations. Thus the mind is a conduit to the soul and is not for man to manipulate. Therefore, I will in this case consider the use of mind control through hypnosis to be an unholy act and liken it to witchcraft and sorcery. Tell me if I am wrong. And how. By Chapter/Verse. If I am convinced through His Word that mind control through hypnosis is not an unholy entity, I will recalculate the scoring and revise this report.

There is also drinking as a remedy or a soothing sedative. There are several presentations of thematic elements such as "All beings have the capacity to heal themselves." There is also a little discussion about Jesus which was, on the surface, not disrespectful but was irreverent which made it vain [Gal. 6:7]. Scriptural teachings are called stupid and are equated to literary works [2 Tim. 3:16]. A bedroom scene of Bridges and his stage wife (Mary McCormack), whom Powell often patronized treated with neglect [Eph. 5:25; Col. 3:19], reveals a brief glimpse of McCormick's anatomy covered by clothing on the humble. And a scene of the fourth floor of the psychiatric institute from outside shows a male exhibitionist spread-eagling himself up to the window (genitals not seen, but almost). Most invasive are likely the severe emotional episodes, the imagery of the rape/murder and Robert killing the assailant, and the suicide sequence. Many uses of the three/four letter word vocabulary freckled the script. God's name in vain appeared with and without the four letter expletive. The most foul of the foul words appeared once. There are a number of other issues you may wish to know about before deciding whether this film is fit for your kids and yourself. They are listed in the Findings/Scoring section of this report.

* I just can't resist. I heard about an Indiana fellow who tried to get a guy from Kentucky to walk to Indiana over the Ohio River on a beam from a flashlight but the Kentucky guy wouldn't do it. The Kentucky guy was afraid the Indiana guy would turn the flashlight off.


If needed to focus or fortify, applicable text is underlined or bracketed [ ]. 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.

  • Gen. 1:1 In the beginning God created the heavens and the earth.
  • Ps. 101:3 I will set before my eyes no vile thing.
  • Rom. 8:6 - 8 The mind of sinful man is death, but the mind controlled by the Spirit is life and peace; the sinful mind is hostile to God. It does not submit to God's law, nor can it do so. Those controlled by the sinful nature cannot please God
  • 2 Tim. 3:16 All scripture is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness:
  • Gal. 6:7 Be not deceived; God is not mocked: for whatsoever a man soweth, that shall he also reap.
  • Eph. 5:25 Husbands, love your wives, even as Christ also loved the church, and gave himself for it;
  • Col. 3:19 Husbands, love your wives, and be not bitter against them.

    *******Food for Thought*******
  • 1 Cor. 15:33 (KJV) Be not deceived: evil communications corrupt good manners. (NIV) Do not be misled: Bad company corrupts good character.
  • Jude 4 For certain men* whose condemnation was written about long ago have secretly slipped in among you. They are godless men, who change the grace of our God into a license for immorality and deny Jesus Christ our only Sovereign and Lord. [*men: anthropos {anth'-ro-pos}, generic, a human being, whether male or female]

    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.

    FINDINGS / SCORING: K-PAX (2001) CAP Thermometers

    NOTE: Multiple occurrences of each item described below may be likely, definitely when plural.

    Wanton Violence/Crime (W):
  • attempted murder (unseen)
  • story of suicide for relief of emotional misery, repeatedly
  • disturbing sequence of emotional pain
  • imagery of rape of a mother and murder of both her and her daughter
  • imagery of the father killing the assailant
  • scenes of emotional upheaval

    Impudence/Hate (I)(1):
  • 28 uses of the three/four letter word vocabulary
  • a single use of the most foul of the foul words
  • a husband neglecting and patronizing a wife
  • "All beings have the capacity to cure themselves
  • creating false hopes of being cured
  • facial piercing

    Sex/Homosexuality (S):
  • anatomical reference
  • sex discussion
  • exhibitionism (in infirmity window)
  • brief nudity of woman in bed with a man
  • sexual immorality leading to unwed pregnancy

    Drugs/Alcohol (D):
  • drinking as a remedy or a soothing sedative

    Offense to God (O)(2):
  • seven uses of God's name in vain, once with the four letter expletive
  • irreverent discussion of Jesus
  • calling the Scriptures stupid
  • mind control through hypnosis

    Murder/Suicide (M)(3):
  • suicide by drowning

    NOTE: The CAP Analysis Model makes no scoring allowances for trumped-up "messages" to excuse or for manufacturing of justification for aberrant behavior or imagery, or for camouflaging such ignominy with "redeeming" programming. Disguising sinful behavior in a theme plot does not excuse the sinful behavior of either the one who is drawing pleasure from the sinful display or the practitioners demonstrating the sinful behavior. This is NOT a movie review service. It is a movie analysis service to parents and grandparents to tell them the truth about movies using the Truth.

    "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 five-year 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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    (1) As noted in CAP Special Report-001, "Investigation Area and Scoring Trend," of the six CAP Investigation Areas, Impudence/Hate was the strongest presence in all four movie classifications. It has a strong revelation about the entertainment media.

    (2) The use of the three/four letter word vocabulary without God's name in vain is incorporated into the Impudence/Hate Investigation Area. The use of God's name with or without the four letter expletive is incorporated into the Offense to God Investigation Area. There is no duplication.

    (3) Only portrayal of successful murder or suicide are incorporated into Murder/Suicide. Portrayal of attempts to commit murder or suicide and deaths by police action or war are incorporated into Wanton Violence/Crime.

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