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

The Sum of All Fears (2002), PG-13
Analysis Date: May 31, 2002
CAP Score: 42
CAP Influence Density: 1.11

MinMax: -83

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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 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.

THE SUM OF ALL FEARS (PG-13) -- ...They are not the ones who have to say "No" to your kids.

Distributed by: Paramount Pictures
Director(s): Phil Alden Robinson
Producer(s): Tom Clancy, Stratton Leopol, Mace Neufeld
Written by/Screenplay: Novel - Tom Clancy. Screenplay - Paul Attanasio & Daniel Pyne
Cinematography/Camera: John Lindley
Music: Jerry Goldsmith
Film Editing: Nicolas De Toth, Neil Travis
Casting: Rosina Bucci, Mindy Marin
Production Design: Jeannine Claudia Oppewall
Art Direction: Isabelle Guay, Andrew Neskoromny, Claude Paré

Boxart ©Paramount Pictures

Doesn't seem like a R-13, but it is. The violence was brutal as is typical of R-rated movies. Violence such as killing by cutting a throat, with cold-blooded pumping of many .45 rounds into a victim and by choking. Dogs eating murder victims didn't help the Wanton Violence/Crime score any. But then, we all know about the MPAA. They think it is okay for your kids to see such programming. Doesn't matter what you think or with what you have to battle when your youngster doesn't understand why the MPAA thinks it is okay to see it but you don't. Doesn't matter to them. The MPAA are not the ones who have to say "No" to your kids. If you do. They are just the ones who lay out the "candy." Besides, you, mom/dad, are too old to know everything.

The Sum of All Fears was a very well made movie. High powered cast such as Ben Affleck and Morgan Freeman with clever and pointed dialogue with a "statement" which can lead many to believe the hidden activities of our government and of Russia are just like that which is presented. Maybe. Maybe not. But the cat-n-mouse underhanded toying with global destruction was with less concern for human life than who has the biggest stick. And who has the last strike. Who makes the biggest move. Who makes the biggest threat.

More terrorist entertainment. But this time with a nuclear bomb. A terrorist is bent on destroying the US and Russia "from within" and detonates a nuclear bomb at the Super Bowl in Baltimore after planting a trail that, to the logical, would put the fault on Russia. Ah, but the bomb did not come from Russia. It, the plutonium (the nuclear fissile material) anyway, came from US ... to the middle east years ago who were going to use it as a last resort mission if their ground forces were overrun. A plane carrying the bomb in the offensive crashed due to neglect of the pilot and was found years later by scavengers. The terrorist bought the A-bomb for $400 dollars from the scavengers.

Jack Ryan (Ben Affleck) is a newly acquired, ex-Marine doctorate of the CIA. Ryan was author of the research and paper about the new Russian president, Alexander Nemerov (Ciarán Hinds). Ryan keeps telling everyone Nemerov is not behind the terrorist bombing but no one believes him. They all think the young upstart doesn't have enough history with the Agency to know anything about the deceit of espionage. Not even Ryan's boss, William Cabot (Morgan Freeman).

Russia was connected, though. Seventeen Russian scientists were working on their bomb disarmament program when Jack Ryan (Ben Affleck) noted there were only 14 scientists. When asked, a Russian official indicated one was on vacation, anther was dead and the third was something-or-other: that all who were not present were accounted for. That did not set well with Cabot. He knew otherwise through "sources." As it turns out, the three missing scientists were reconditioning the aged nuclear bomb bought from the scavengers, readying it for the terrorist.

Something of reality noteworthiness is that the film depicted a Russian scientist could pick up the nuclear fissile material, the ball of plutonium, with no more than a RubberMaid(tm) gloved hand. That happens to be true - if the scientist is strong enough. Plutonium weighs more than lead. Plutonium is primarily an emitter of alpha (particulate) radiation which cannot penetrate even the hornified layer of dead cells on the outside of human skin. A sheet of paper and even a film of water, a coat of paint or a couple inches of air can stop alpha radiation. As long as it is not introduced inside the body, plutonium is not an ionizing radiation exposure risk. But since there is no layer of dead cells covering internal organs or tissues once the plutonium is inside the body, the alpha particles coming from it can damage the internal tissues about twenty times more so than gamma radiation (energy radiation) and ten times more so than beta radiation (wave/particle duality radiation) which are emitted from daughter products of the plutonium after it undergoes fission (after it explodes). The writers even accurately depicted the ball of plutonium as warm which is true when configured the way it was depicted. The writers even portrayed the nuclear bomb as not being a nuclear explosive hazard when dropped or banged around in a plane wreck which is also true. Hundreds of high explosive charges in a spherical configuration (the "soccer ball" segments seen in the movie) around the nuclear trigger (the plutonium ball) must each be detonated at the same instant for the plutonium to be compressed with an injected neutron-emitter into super-criticality fission to explode as a nuclear device. One thing about plutonium they did not mention was that it is highly poisonous chemically.

There is a great deal of high suspense and action in this intricate 118-minute movie and it will likely keep your attention throughout. But...

As I mentioned above it is R-13, nuclear grade R-13. Language was definitely of "R" caliber as was the amount of and, in some cases, the severity of violence definitely equal to that typical of R-rated features. Murder, death and assault were rampant [Prov. 3:31-32, 1Pet. 3:11, Rom. 16:17-18]. Language was typical of PG-13 [Col. 3:8] which is a slice off the top of the R classification according to Jack Valenti, president of the MPAA. Strange that he should say that if the most foul of foul words were used that the movie would be R. But I guess it is okay for your 13 year olds to use that word (plus a plethora of the rest of the three/four letter word vocabulary) since the MPAA says its okay for your kids to hear such in and as entertainment. They are the experts, right? They know that is what your kids want to hear, right? The MPAA knows better than you what is the proper caliber of entertainment for your kids, right? [2Tim. 2:5] I mean, really! Your kids hear such language everyday at school [Isa. 1:4]! Well, to that I say why is the language heard every day at school like that if not fueled BY such entertainment [1 Cor. 15:33]? Even if it is heard every day, is that supposed to make it okay [Luke 17:2]?

Sexually this movie was soap opera caliber - only flash nudity with a man and a woman in bed after spending the night together. Unmarried of course. Consenting adults and all that. They may believe consent excuses it but God doesn't. And as found by the American College of Physicians, movies with drinking and smoking increase the use of tobacco by youth (5th to 8th grade) by more than 11 times, alcohol more than 17 times. This movie has both [again 1 Cor. 15:33].

I gotta admit, though. The enemy leader Nemerov was the hero in this movie.

The listing in the Findings/Scoring section provides itemization of all issues of ignominy found.


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. 3:31-32 Do not envy a violent man or choose any of his ways, for the LORD detests a perverse man but takes the upright into his confidence.
  • 1Pet. 3:11 He must turn from evil and do good; he must seek peace and pursue it.
  • Rom. 16:17-18 Now I beseech you, brethren, mark them which cause divisions and offences contrary to the doctrine which ye have learned; and avoid them. For they that are such serve not our Lord Jesus Christ, but their own belly; and by good words and fair speeches deceive the hearts of the simple.
  • 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.
  • Isa. 1:4 Ah, sinful nation, a people loaded with guilt, a brood of evildoers, children given to corruption! They have forsaken the LORD; they have spurned the Holy One of Israel and turned their backs on him.
  • 2Tim. 2:5 Similarly, if anyone competes as an athlete, he does not receive the victor's crown unless he competes according to the rules. [God's rules, which give YOU, the parent all accountability for your kids.]

    *******Food for Daily 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.
  • Luke 17:2 It would be better for him to be thrown into the sea with a millstone tied around his neck than for him to cause one of these little ones to sin. [cause by teaching or example]
  • Ps. 119:133 Direct my footsteps according to your word; let no sin rule over me.
  • John 14:15 If ye love me, keep my commandments.
  • 1 Thess. 5:22 Abstain from all appearance of evil.


    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.

    The Sum of All Fears (2002) CAP Thermometers

    Wanton Violence/Crime (W):
  • death by explosion
  • planning murder to cover up
  • firearms for offensive, to threaten and to control, repeatedly
  • dogs eating murder victims
  • graphic death victim
  • global nuclear destruction threat throughout
  • deaths from terrorism
  • vehicular theft
  • disaster mayhem
  • multiple graphic disaster injuries
  • hanging murder victim
  • attempted murder
  • fighting
  • assault with chains

    Impudence/Hate (I)(1):
  • 18 uses of the three/four letter word vocabulary
  • one use of the most foul of the foul words
  • lies
  • orders to lie
  • willingness to lie

    Sex/Homosexuality (S):
  • sex talk
  • man and woman in bed after night together
  • open mouth kissing
  • necking in bed, clothed in night wear
  • flash nudity, male, rear

    Drugs/Alcohol (D):
  • smoking
  • cigarettes
  • booze

    Offense to God (O)(2):
  • nine uses of God's name in vain with the four letter expletive and 7 without

    Murder/Suicide (M)(3):
  • murder by choking
  • four murder victims, apparently by gunfire
  • murder by cutting throat
  • murder by multiple gunshots
  • murder by car bombing

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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 nearly seven 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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    (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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