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Entertainment Media Analysis Report
A service to His little ones through you in His name by His Word
(2006), PG-13 ["Hard" PG-13*] (2hr 3min)
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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): Newmarket Productions, Syncopy, Touchstone Pictures, Warner Bros. Pictures
Distribution (US): Buena Vista Pictures, Newmarket Films
Director(s): Christopher Nolan
Producer(s): Christopher Ball, Valerie Dean, Christopher Nolan, Aaron Ryder, Charles J.D. Schlissel, Emma Thomas, William Tyrer
Novel: Christopher Priest
Screenplay by: Jonathan Nolan, Christopher Nolan
Cinematography/Camera: Wally Pfister
Music: David Julyan
Film Editing: Lee Smith
Casting: John Papsidera
Production Design: Nathan Crowley
Art Direction: Kevin Kavanaugh
Viewed At: Driftwood Theater 6
In spite of the high wattage cast and expertly engineered period settings, The Prestige was, subjectively speaking, only so-so. While the film had a pledge and a turn, there was no prestige to speak of.
Note that during this 2h 3m film I had to step out at 1h 20m through 1h 24m into the film. I might have missed something in those four minutes. If I did, the scoring shown is, however slightly, higher than it should be.
Master illusionist Rupert Angier (Hugh Jackman) and his rival Alfred Borden (Christian Bale), vying for that great trick that would catapult the performer to the top, are also audience plants of an underwater escape act. The two would volunteer to assist with tying the knots around the lovely girl assistant's wrists and ankles before she is plunged into the airless tomb. The lovely assistant is, by the way, Rupert's wife Julie (Piper Perabo).
Special knots must be used so Julia could slip them open to escape the briny deep. In what appeared to be almost a dare, Borden, who tied the wrist knots while Angier tied the ankle knots, tied a different knot which Julie was not able to untie. She drowned. From that moment on, Angier and Borden are bitter rivals ... and enemies.
In another subplot, Angier meets with real-life scientist Nikola Tesla played by David Bowie. Tesla was the electrical inventor who invented, among other things, the Tesla coil used in early automotive ignitions systems. Tesla was a rival of Thomas Edison, particularly for electrical distribution to consumers. Edison wanted to use DC current. Tesla wanted to use AC. In this film, Tesla invented a duplicating machine. I'll say no more about the duplicating machine since it is still the opening weekend for the movie. Tesla had built a machine Borden used in his act.
Each of Angier and Borden is completely obsessed with out-doing the other. They vied for top magician so viciously that it is a wonder the both lived. In one act of entering one door to exit another a second later, Borden removed the cushioning under the stage floor of Angier's act, causing permanent injury to Angier. In another act, how this is configured I will not reveal, Borden is seen as murdering Angier and is sent to prison. It is a wonder how they both lived? Borden is seen murdering Angier? You'll figure it out if you decide the content of this film is acceptable.
There is much more intricate detail to the weave of the story and the subplots and there are a number of additional prestigious actors such as Michael Caine, Scarlett Johansson and Rebecca Hall serving vital parts. But since I must keep these Summary/Commentary sections to a minimum to conserve funds, I will not go any deeper into the story.
Wanton Violence/Crime (W)
This investigation area found a number of firearm threats and gunshot injuries plus some irresponsibility with firearms. But most severe in influence are the scenes of a hanging and a suicide hanging. A staged suicide, arson and self-amputation round out the violence/crime envelope, causing a loss of nearly 80% of the starting 100 points.
It is rare nowadays to find a PG-13 that is not saturated with profanity [2 Tim. 2:16]. The Prestige is one of the rarities with only three uses of the three/four letter word vocabulary. However, marital fighting, abusive authority and lies were expensive to the otherwise high score in this investigation area. Note that I do not mention lies (or any other demonstrated affront to God's Word) in passing. By His Word, God is quite adamant about lying. Not only is condemnation of lying one of the Ten Commandments, God also promises condemnation to hell of the unforgiven liar. [Rev. 21:8] One should remember His Word when an opportunity for one of those little white lies comes up again. Or for one of those opportunities for simply not speaking the truth. And those "I just can't remember" when you can.
Sexual Immorality (S)
Likewise it is rare to find a PG-13 without tons of sexual innuendo, sex talk and crude sexual "humor." The Prestige is one of the rare ones with just a few matters of sexually oriented material: a man and a woman in bed but clothed; dressing to maximize the female form and/or skin exposure, an example of excessive cleavage; implication of cohabitation. While these may seem to be of the "big deal" type, in and as entertainment they each serve to desensitize the impressionable viewer and break down bit by bit the natural inhibition against sexually immoral deeds and thoughts. Though these examples of sexually oriented behaviors are seen day in and day out in every form of entertainment known to man, In God's eyes the first does not excuse the second, not the second the third ... nor the thousandth. All God's admonitions against sexual impurity may be summarized as any sexual contact (including visual), conduct or activity outside of a monogamous heterosexual marriage is immoral. [1Ths. 4:7, 1Cor. 12:23, 1 John 2:26]
Now we get to the most invasive properties of The Prestige. There is enough booze, drinking and drunkenness in this film to be fully equivalent to the same in many R-rated films, possibly even more. This film, whether intentional, reaches the early teen years and late preteen years -- the ages of highest impressionability. 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 not a film of "magic." It is a film of prestidigitation, science and technology. There is no evil "magic" in it. There are no "magicians." Just illusionists. But in addition to repeated portrayals of adultery [Prov. 6:32, Hebr. 13:4], twice a character calls another "You fool!" Mr. T(tm) of A-Team fame made calling others "Fool" popular. It is no more than a cpnversational snippet, right? Well, let us see what God has to say about calling another "You fool!" [Matt. 5:22]
In addition to two gunfire murders, this film presents a suicide hanging, a punitive hanging, terrible material for the modern teen who, on a daily basis, is battling corruptive attitudinal and character shaping forces beyond description already. [1 Cor. 15:33] Shame on you, Nolan, et alii.
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)
Christian Educators Association International
|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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