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Christian Analysis of American Culture (CAP Ministry)
Entertainment Media Analysis Report
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UPDATED December 31, 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.|
(2003), PG -- a poisoning murder and a fully visible hanging suicide in a PG?
Cast/Crew Details Courtesy Internet Movie Database
Production (US): Walt Disney Pictures, Gunn Films, Doom Buggy Productions
Distribution (US): Buena Vista Pictures
Director(s): Rob Minkoff
Producer(s): Barry Bernardi, Andrew Gunn, Don Hahn
Written by: David Berenbaum
Cinematography/Camera: Remi Adefarasin
Music: Mark Mancina
Film Editing: Priscilla Friendly
Casting: Marcia Ross
Production Design: John Myhre
Art Direction: Beat Frutiger, Tomas Voth
Jim and Sara Evers (Eddie Murphy and Marsha Thomason) are co-owners of a realty company. Jim has been consumed by making money through real estate and has neglected his family. Sara politely took Jim's head off to make him aware of his neglect. Being truly regretful of his neglect, Jim promised to take the family on a weekend outing as atonement for his neglect.
But a call came in from the owner of a mansion to Sara to handle listing the mansion. The owner, Master Gracey (Nathaniel Parker) wanted only Sara to handle the deal. But since the whole family including the two kids, nine or ten year old Michael (Marc John Jefferies) and 13 year old Megan (Aree Davis) were already on their way to their outing, Jim took the lead and promised to take only 20 minutes to get the contract to list the property. Twenty minutes grew to overnight.
Arriving at the mansion, the Evers were met by stuffy and humorless head of the house staff, Ramsley (Terence Stamp) who escorted the family to Master Gracey. In the mansion, the Evers were surrounded by gothic and dreary-looking decor from every surface and corner. In the library, Gracey proceeded to favor Sara with obvious adulterous intentions. While discussing the deal over a meal, a storm washed out the access road and the Evers had to spend the night at the Gracey mansion. And then shenanigans started.
One of the ancient items the kids discovered was a old oil painting of their mother dressed in 18th century garb. But was it their mother? Or was it Elizabeth who was murdered by poison so many years ago; the Elizabeth that Master Gracey loved so dearly. But how could young Master Gracey love someone from generations ago ... unless...
I'll not spoil the plot any further for those who choose to see this movie in spite of the findings we reveal about it so you can make an informed decision for yourselves whether it is fit without the misleading trailers, previews, advertisements, MPAA rating rational and word of mouth reports. And to that purpose ...
Great day in the morning! Starting out with a poisoning murder and a fully visible hanging suicide in a PG? That is in store for your kids if you take them to see Disney's Haunted Mansion. While there were no matters or situations typical of a more severe rating such as full male and/or female nudity, the use of God's name in vain with the four letter expletive plus a couple dozen or more uses of the three/four letter word vocabulary and heavy violence, this PG film earned a final score of 54! Fifty four is the top of the cell boundary earned by R-rated programs in the comparative baseline database (54 and below out of 100) because of such a high density of "lesser" assaults on morality and ethics. Also, the Motion Picture Association of America evidently does not incorporate issues of unholiness into their rating scheme. The CAP model does. Indeed, if all the presentations of raw unholy matters were removed from the script, the movie would have earned a score of 70 which is well inside the cell boundaries of scores earned by PG movies of the comparative baseline database. But if that were done, it would no longer be "Haunted" Mansion. But rather than suffer the "lesser of the two evils", maybe a kids movie with this theme should not have been made at all.
Regarding the high density of "lesser" issues of assaults on ethics and morality, consider the following CAP Rule of 1000. The CAP Rule of 1000 addresses a relatively new cinematographic technique of loading a movie with tons of "lesser" issues of immorality to get the same effect or "feel" of a movie using fewer but much more severe and bold issues of immorality. The CAP Rule of 1000 states that a movie which presents 100 examples of bad behaviors of lesser severity, each worth only 10 "bads" (such as some PG movies and almost all PG-13 movies) is just as bad as a movie that presents only 10 examples of bad behaviors but of extreme severity, each worth 100 "bads" (such as a movie rated R). Both movies are worth 1000 "bads." And by discussion with our Director - Child Psychology Support, this rule is not quite linear, meaning the movie that presents many examples of "lesser bads" is indeed more negatively influential that a same-length movie with only a few but severe "bads." Haunted Mansion is clearly an example of using many issues of "lesser" assault on morality and decency to achieve the "effect" of using fewer more bold issues.
Though clearly fantasy, the film is filled with necromancy and divination -- communicating with the dead and seeking their guidance instead of the Lord's. Saul, son of Kish, paid dearly for that [1 Samuel 28:3-20]. And if you find communicating with the dead as innocuous or as a fine jest, seek for yourself what God has to say about it. Try a search on any good search engine for (+"communicate with the dead" +Bible) using all characters between but not including the parentheses.
Do you believe in ghosts? That is a question Ramsley asks of Jim a number of times and by Ramsley asking that question in the movie it will be asked in the minds of your kids if they watch Haunted Mansion. And the question that is formed in their mind may not be asked of you by them. Did your kids ask you if ghosts were real when they heard the cowardly Lion of The Wizard of Oz repeatedly say "I DO relieve in spooks, I do, I do, I do" while trembling in fear? Well? Do you believe in ghosts? I do. One ghost anyway. The Holy Ghost. Yes, spirits do exist in the ethereal and unholy realms. But if we have been covered by the Blood of the Lamb, we have nothing to worry about. Can unholy ghosts become a physical manifestation? I have no idea and have witnessed no evidence of it.
I feel compelled to remind many of our already aware friends of another potentially serious influence in Haunted Mansion. This PG movie presents alcoholic beverages and drinking. The reason I remind you is because of the influence of booze in and as entertainment revealed in the following study. The American College of Physicians (ACP) revealed that adolescent exposure to drinking and smoking in entertainment leads to an undeniable increase in alcohol and tobacco abuse. The finding, entitled Relation Between Parental Restrictions on Movies and Adolescent Use of Tobacco and Alcohol
God's name was used in vain three times [Deut 5:11], once by a child, but each without the four letter expletive. Calling another a fool was used twice [Matt. 5:22]. The three/four letter word vocabulary was used six times [Prov. 22:11]. No uses of the most foul of the foul words, even as a euphemism, were noted.
Other issues that maybe should raise your eyebrows include mysticism, a talking head speaking of evil things in prophecy [Deut. 18:10 - 11], grotesque mutilation of Jim's face, one ghost shooting an arrow into the forehead of another ghost, the threatening of the lives of children to force their mother into compliance, multiple blade attacks by rotting corpses and portrayal that evil can control the souls of the Saved. Though much of the "redemption" in the end of the movie involved going to Heaven, Haunted Mansion is NOT Christian-101, folks. Please read the rather lengthy listing for a PG movie in the Findings/Scoring section before you decide whether to take you kids with you to see Haunted Mansion.
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.
***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)
Single Christian Network
Kids, Teens and Home Vertical Portal
|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.|