ChildCare Action Project (CAP): Christian Analysis of American Culture


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Entertainment Media Analysis Report
A service to our youth through you,
their parents and grandparents, in His name by His Word

Impostor (2002), PG-13
Analysis Date: January 4, 2001
CAP Score: 61
CAP Influence Density: 0.89

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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.


Impostor (2002) CAP Thermometers

Wanton Violence/Crime (W):
  • torture death (unseen)
  • graphic forced injection
  • gunfire killings, repeatedly
  • firearm threats
  • nightmarish imagery
  • military brutality, repeatedly
  • additional brutality
  • graphic invasive medical procedure
  • dark and sinister theme
  • fighting
  • attempted defensive killing
  • beatings
  • rescue perils
  • dead bodies in bags
  • graphic dead body
  • breaking and entering
  • theft
  • stabbing (attempted murder)
  • deaths by irresponsible military fire
  • graphic gunfire killing
  • multiple blast/incineration deaths

    Impudence/Hate (I)(1):
  • 7 uses of the three/four letter word vocabulary
  • one use of the most foul of the foul words

    Sex/Homosexuality (S):
  • intercourse with hidden nudity, with a repetition later
  • male showering
  • woman in bed in underwear
  • inappropriate touch
  • nursing a baby in public (though a beautiful and indeed necessary thing, do you do it for display as entertainment?)
  • sex talk
  • hologram male nudity

    Drugs/Alcohol (D):
  • offer of stolen pharmaceuticals in trade for life

    Offense to God (O)(2):
  • mocking of God
  • three uses of God's name in vain with the four letter expletive and three without

    Murder/Suicide (M)(3):
  • graphic torture murder by drilling

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

    *IMPOSTOR* (PG-13) -- sci-fi thriller about replication of humans to work "suicide" espionage.

    Distributed by: Miramax
    Director(s): Gary Fleder
    Producer(s): Gary Fleder, Marty Katz, Michael Phillips (II), Gary Sinise, Amber Stevens, David Witz
    Written by/Screenplay: Philip K. Dick (1953 *Impostor*), Scott Rosenberg, Caroline Case, Ehren Kruger, David N. Twohy
    Cinematography/Camera: Robert Elswit
    Music: Jeff Beal, Mark Isham
    Editing: Bob Ducsay, Armen Minasian

    From the 1953 story by Philip K. Dick comes this sci-fi thriller about replication of humans to work "suicide" espionage.

    As a boy, Spencer John Olham was fascinated with rockets and propulsion. But the loss of his father in combat with aliens redirected his interests - to making special weapons to combat the invading aliens called Centauri. From Alpha Centauri. But Alpha Centauri is a star, our nearest star (other than our Sun) 4 light years distant, not a planet! Oh, well. It's a movie.

    In the year 2079 Spencer (Gary Sinise) is a lead engineer for the Special Weapons Research project and built a weapon of extreme mass destruction to use against the Centauri ... but it never gets used. Spencer's wife, Dr. Maya Olham (Madeleine Stowe) in the end is as essential a figure in the movie as Spencer. The Centauri had been wreaking havoc among mankind by murdering selected people, replicating them and placing super bombs in the hearts of the replicants. In the middle of Spencer's work, Major D. H. Hathaway (Vincent D'Onofrio) arrested Spencer for being a suspected replicant planted to kill key leaders.

    In the war-torn state of affairs, residents were required to have implants placed in their backs so they could be traced and located at a moment's notice. Democracy and individual identity and liberty were all but lost to Big Brother government. Such protection was deemed necessary since the Centauri were well known for not only implanting bombs in the masquerading marauders, the Centauri were well known for implanting the memories of the victims into the replicants. Without the implants, no one could be sure if everyone is who s/he says s/he is. Shades of the microchip implant or nationalized information database we might be destined to suffer! Mark of the beast anyone? Maybe McCarthy is alive and well. It would not have surprised me if someone made up to look like Senator Joe had not made at least a "cameo appearance" in this movie.

    To combat invasion of the Centauri, all of the major cities were encased in protective bubbles. But they were not enough to house all of remaining mankind. Many were left to fend for themselves outside the protective bubbles. Unfortunately, one of the alien ships penetrated the bubble in which Spencer lived. It was because of the one penetration that Hathaway believed Spencer to be a victim of the Centauri and thus one of the walking, talking bomb replicants.

    Much of the story is spent on Spencer escaping and evading the military under the command of Major Hathaway. Submerging himself deep in the underworld, sometimes literally, Spencer suffers many evils at the hands of the residents outside the protective bubbles. Slowly Spencer gains their trust and becomes an ally for them and gains an ally in Cale (Mekhi Phifer). With the special implant removed by the residents outside the bubbles, Spencer launches a campaign to get back into the bubble, ostensibly for good reasons. But were they good reasons? If so, for whom? A very surprising ending is in store for those who decide to watch this sci-fi thriller. If you do, remember what I said about Maya Olham playing as essential a part as Spencer.

    While this movie is, as are almost all movies, clearly a fantasy, an influence does not have to be real to influence. Though it is PG-13 it is *very* violent. As the American Medical Association, the American Psychological Association, the American Academy of Pediatrics and the American Academy of Child & Adolescent Psychiatry have jointly found through a 30-year study "that viewing entertainment violence can lead to increases in aggressive attitudes, values and behavior, particularly in children", I further find that just about any behavior parameter in movies, bad OR good, can be inserted in the above joint finding in place of violence with the same likelihood of being equally influential and equally incorporated into personal behavior mechanics. More if you want to know. By the way, God agrees with these four professional health agencies [1Cor 15:330]. And I agree with Him.

    In addition to heavy violence [Prov. 3:31] are a few issues of foul language [Col. 3:8], sexual immorality and a few uses of God's name in vain [Deut. 5:11]. Though I expected *Impostor* to be another R-13 , its final score of 61 places it equal to a middle-of-the-road PG-13 in the CAP comparative baseline database of movies (55 to 67 of 100). The listing in the Findings/Scoring section will present all the findings I could make. I had a hard time staying awake in this movie so there may be more issues of concern for the caring Christian parent or grandparent.


    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.

  • Prov. 3:31 Do not envy a violent man or choose any of his ways,
  • Col. 3:8 But now you must rid yourselves of all such things as these: anger, rage, malice, slander, and filthy language from your lips.
  • Deut. 5:11 Thou shalt not take the name of the LORD thy God in vain [vain: shav' {shawv}; false, emptiness, nothingness, lying, worthlessness (of conduct)]: for the LORD will not hold him guiltless that taketh his name in vain.

    *******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]
  • Matt. 25:40 And the King shall answer and say unto them, Verily I say unto you, Inasmuch as ye have done it unto [or for] one of the least of these my brethren, ye have done it unto [or for] me.

    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.

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    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 or example 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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