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



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Entertainment Media Analysis Report

Instinct (1999), R
CAP Score: 67, CAP ID: 0.59

Thomas A. Carder
CAP President
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ALERT: To fully understand this report you should first visit the topics suggested by the CAP Table of Contents.


In "Instinct" an aging anthropology professor, Dr. Ethan Powell (Anthony Hopkins) became hooked on living with gorillas. It was the killing of the gorillas by government officials that led to Powell killing three of the officials. And since Powell felt guilty about leading the government officials to the gorillas, he snapped and started killing the officials. The movie does present graphic killing of gorillas which is indeed inhumane. Note that God gave us the animals of the earth and the earth itself for our use (Gen. 1:26) with the expectation we be good stewards of them. We have the privilege to use them as we see fit, but we do NOT have the right to ABUSE them. And NEVER is the killing of animals, for whatever reason, justification for killing the human who kills the animals. To do so would be to elevate the animal to equal value with the human. Indeed, to do so would lower the human to the value of an animal.

While this movie earned a CAP final score (67) equivalent to PG-13 movies of 1995 and 1996, remember that the "new" PG-13 rating takes a piece off the bottom of the earlier R rating. Some programming previously classified as R material is now permitted in the PG-13 rating. Now, 13 year old kids can watch nudity and masked sexual intercourse as entertainment. "Titanic" (1997) is a perfect example of this lessening of the standards of acceptability: this cheapening of morality in the media; this stealing of childhood from children. I wonder what the year 2000 will bring? [Excuse me for flaring.]

Wanton Violence/Crime (W) was the heaviest point looser in "Instinct." It earned a score equivalent to the more severe R-rated movies of 1995/96. ("The Basketball Diaries" (1995) and "The Faculty" (1998) each earned a CAP Final score of 15). Next in magnitude of point loss was (I) Impudence/Hate with a score equivalent to PG-13 movies of that time. Murder/Suicide (M) was next in point loss and with an equivalency also to PG-13 movies of 95/96. Next was Offense to God (O) with a "PG score" followed by (S) Sex/Homosexuality and (D) Drugs/Alcohol, each earning a "G score." While the vast majority of the movie was equivalent to G, PG, and PG-13 movies of 1995/96, there was clearly programming equivalent to R-rated movies of 95/96. Remember that if any one of the six CAP Investigation Areas (W, I, S, D, O, or M) earns a score equivalent to R-rated programming, the entire movie should be considered R-rated. This breakdown of content is one of the beneficial features of the CAP Entertainment Media Analysis Model.

For the best representation of the CAP Entertainment Media Analysis Model applied to this movie, visit the Findings/Scoring section below.


NOTE: Multiple occurrences of each item described below are likely.

Wanton Violence/Crime (W):
  • dog threat
  • violent beatings to escape lawful custody: animalistic violence
  • minor bleeding injury
  • prison ugliness
  • prison inmate violence against other (weaker) inmates
  • intimidation by threat of violence
  • insanity manifestations
  • swarming of inmates on a therapist
  • dead animal hanging as bait
  • violent attack on caregiver
  • provocation to violence
  • brutality by prison guards
  • brutality against animals

    Impudence/Hate (I)(1):
  • 2 uses of the most foul of the foul words
  • 5 uses of the three/four letter vocabulary
  • many muffled words of foul language

    Sex/Homosexuality (S):
  • nudity of a third-world child
  • adult underwear

    Drugs/Alcohol (D):
  • party drinking
  • want of booze to ease worries/sorrows

    Offense to God (O)(2):
  • one use of God's name in vain without the four letter expletive
  • elevation of the animal to and above the value of humans

    Murder/Suicide (M)(3):
  • bloody death by suicide (banging head against wall)
  • at least three murders by club beating

    (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. As required of the Holy Scriptures, unless God's name is used with reverence to His glory and praise, its use is considered in vain.

    (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.

    Additional reviews of this movie may be located at "Movie Review Query Engine at Telerama."

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    Thomas A. Carder
    ChildCare Action Project: Christian Analysis of American Culture (CAP)

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