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ChildCare Action Project:
Christian Analysis of American Culture (CAP Ministry)
Entertainment Media Analysis Report
A service to His little ones (which includes at-home teens) through you, their parents and grandparents, in His name by His Word

(2003), PG-13

Analysis Date
CAP Final Score
CAP Influence Density
September 29, 2003
82 out of 100

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UPDATED September 28, 2003
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ALERT: To fully understand this report you should first visit the topics suggested by the CAP Site Map (Table of Contents). Further, 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 completely objective to His Word 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.

(2003), PG-13 -- ...this 175-minute undertaking is true to the Gospel in all ways I could detect.

Cast/Crew Details Courtesy Internet Movie Database
Production (Canada): Toronto Film Studios, Visual Bible International Inc.
Director(s): Philip Saville
Producer(s): Chris Chrisafis, Garth H. Drabinsky, Martin Katz, Joel B. Michaels, Sandy Pearl
Written by/Screenplay: John Goldsmith
Cinematography/Camera: Miroslaw Baszak
Music: Jeff Danna
Film Editing: Michel Arcand, Ron Wisman Jr.
Production Design: Don Taylor

The Gospel of John is the greatest story ever told. The story of Jesus and His ministry using the Good News Bible as the source. The advertisements and promotions claim it is a word-for-word retelling of the story of Jesus from the Book of John in the Good News Bible. Never having used the Good News Bible, I can neither confirm nor deny this. Whatever the source, it is still the story of Jesus and His ministry.

I sometimes have trouble with some of these "newer" Bibles and probably would have some trouble with the Good News Bible since it appears to use paraphrasings such as "the Gospel of John" when to rightfully honor "Gospel" would require the title to be the Gospel of Jesus according to the Book of John. The Gospel is not John's. It is the good news, the Word that Jesus brought to us of Salvation through His Blood. But that may be nitpicking when the bigger picture is what is important.

The film is narrated by Canadian, Christopher Plummer and stars Henry Ian Cusick as Jesus. Cusick brings a new style to the big screen. In this version, Jesus seems a little more arrogant, confident and even more swaggering that we are used to seeing. Maybe Jesus was that way but it seems difficult to accept since Jesus was big on humility and meekness. While we do know what Jesus did by His Word and while I believe was can say the "buddy Jesus" of Dogma is wrong, nobody knows the actual facial expressions, the walking gait or the hand gestures Jesus used on a day-to-day basis. So, I guess this more "modern" depiction of Jesus is as good a recreation of our Lord as any (except "buddy Jesus"). The bottom line is that Jesus provided a path to Salvation through His sacrifice for our sakes: that no man (or woman) shall enter the gates of Heaven except by Him. And The Gospel of John says so.

Though I am by no means a Gospel scholar, this 175-minute undertaking is true to the Gospel in all ways I could detect. For example, having recently restudied the accountings of Lazarus' resurrection, I noted accurate details regarding Jesus and His relationship with Mary, Martha and Lazarus. Having also recently studied the topic of anger, particularly His anger when He kicked the money changers out of His Father's house (out of the Temple), I saw cause to fortify that there is nothing wrong with justified anger; that what can be wrong with anger is not being justified in it and what we do with it, about it and what we let it do to us.

Because the film is 175 minutes long, it provides ample opportunity to learn of the man Jesus through the eyes of one of His key disciples, John (Stuart Bunce) as related in the Good News Bible. It provides ample opportunity to discover His humanity as well as His Godhood and intimately witness portrayal of what He did for us that we may have everlasting life through faith in Him and by His sacrifice.

Be advised, mom/dad, that this film is not reluctant to portray the physical evil and torture Jesus suffered for our sakes. We indeed see Jesus covered in His own blood from the whippings and the crown of thorns causing His face to be covered in blood. While we do not see the spikes being driven through His wrists and ankles, we do see graphically the spear being shoved into His ribcage and the legs of the two thieves crucified with Him being broken. While we only see the shadows of the whipmaster as he whips our Lord, we do see His stripes. Though Jesus' back was ripped into ribbons of meat by the whippings, the extent of the whip injuries shown in the movie was less than actual. Thankfully. It was painful enough to see even an actor portraying what our Lord went through. While this is just a movie, it does provide a solid impression upon which to build a safe understanding of Him and what He willingly suffered for you and I: of what He willingly suffered though He could have stopped it all with a simple thought; of what He did even if it would have saved only you.

The scoring distribution shown by the CAP thermometers clearly reveals this movie to possess a heavy presence of violence while atypically lite presence of abrasive matters in the other five Investigation Areas. This movie was given a PG-13 rating but by the CAP analysis model it earned a score equivalent to PG movies in the comparative baseline database because of the high scoring in five out of six Investigation Areas atypical of PG-13 movies. The listing in the Findings/Scoring section reveals all that was noted which you may wish to know before deciding whether to take the little ones to see it. But it is not my call to tell you whether it is acceptable for your kids to see such horror in violence. That is your job. No one knows your kids as well as you. I do, however, hope to give you enough detailed information so you can make an informed decision whether to let your kids watch this film or not. We tell you what is there, you decide.

Please take the time to read the listing in the Findings/Scoring section before you decide whether to take your family to see this film. As you read the listing in the Findings/Scoring section (which builds the scoring), please remember that the Findings/Scoring section is entirely objective, giving no scoring allowances for aberrant behavior or images in films. For example, Jesus kicking the money changers out of the Temple was a violent act so the Findings/Scoring section (the heart of the CAP Analysis Model) incorporates it as an act of violence. Whether your kids are to be told such an act of violence is justified is your business. While I feel Jesus was certainly justified in doing so, only you know whether your kids have enough experiential maturity to be able to wisely incorporate the surface message of an actor displaying violence and equate it to righteousness. If aberrant behaviors/images are present, we tell you about them. But if there is teaching value or entertainment value for your kids in a movie, it is your decision to make.

SPECIAL NOTE: We will be reducing the volume of coverage in the Summary/Commentary section of our reports and the number of reports generated in an effort to reduce costs until full funding can be achieved. The Findings/Scoring section of each report, the heart of the analysis model, will NOT be reduced in any way.

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The Gospel of John (2003) CAP Thermometers

Wanton Violence/Crime (W)
  • display of physical force to oust people doing offensive things
  • brutality to a prostitute and others, some graphic
  • planning to kill, repeatedly
  • assault, repeatedly
  • shadows of whippings
  • bloody injuries, repeatedly
  • torture
  • lust for killing
  • horror of crucifixion, one sever, two lesser
  • impalement gore
  • two deaths by crucifixion

    Impudence/Hate (I)
  • murderous hatred

    Sexual Immorality (S)
  • suggestion of nudity under water
  • adults in underwear
  • below navel skin - male

    Drugs/Alcohol (D):
  • drinking
  • wine
    NOTE: Though it is not sinful to drink, it is sinful to get drunk and the presence of alcohol in and as entertainment has been shown to cause abuse of alcohol

    Offense to God (O)
  • "We know that God does not listen to sinners"

    Murder/Suicide (M)
  • murder by crucifixion

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    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.

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