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Christian Analysis of American Culture (CAP Ministry)
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Entertainment Media Analysis Report
A service to His little ones through you in His name by His Word
(2008), PG-13 [Hard R-13*] (1hr 09min)
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(While the Scriptural references are certainly not subjective, my commentary may be and sometimes is somewhat subjective.)
Cast/Crew Details Courtesy Internet Movie Database
Production (US): Dimension Films
Distribution (US): Dimension Films, The Weinstein Company
Director(s): Craig Mazin
Producer(s): Jeff Maynard, Craig Mazin, Robin Mulcahy Fisichella, David Siegel, Matthew Stein, Scott Tomlinson, Bob Weinstein, Harvey Weinstein, Robert K. Weiss, David Zucker
Written by: Craig Mazin
Cinematography/Camera: Thomas E. Ackerman
Music: James L. Venable
Film Editing: Andrew S. Eisen, Dan Schalk
Casting: Venus Kanani
Production Design: Bob Ziembicki
Art Direction: James F. Truesdale
Viewed At: Driftwood Theater 6
Films rated R in the comparative baseline database earned final scores of 54 and below out of 100. Superhero Movie earned a final score of 25 out of 100. If two plus two still equals four, Superhero Movie is without a doubt another R-13. mainly because of saturation with crude, rude, toilet and sexual "humor", foul language and so much violence "humor." Some examples include a man telling a high school aged boy he had sex with his mother, that man giving the boy an alcoholic beverage and an old lady is "accidentally" thrown into a tree log chipper and all the viewer can see is her horizontal lower legs vibrating. Where is the humor in that?
If the final score of 25 does not convince you of the "hard R" rquivalence of Superhero Movie, take a look at the Influence Density score of 2.93. Films rated R in the comparative baseline database earned influence density scores between 0.78 and 2.04. Again, if two plus two still equals four Superhero Movie earned a R-equivalent influence density score. In spades.
Superhero Movie did not earn such a low score necessarily because of the intensity or severity of assaults on morality and ethics but rather because of so many assaults. Superhero Movie is a perfect example of that to which the CAP Rule of 1000 applies. The writers use a plethora of examples of "lesser" assaults on morality and decency to achieve the same "feel" as a film with fewer but more severe examples. It makes little difference whether a film presents 100 lesser examples of assault on morality and ethics each worth only 10 "bads"or 10 more severe examples each worth 100 "bads." The result is the same -- 1000 "bads." In fact, our Director - Child Psychology Support informed me that a movie with a plethora of lesser examples of "bad" (Movie A) might more easily contaminate healthy moral standards than a same-length movie with fewer but more bold assaults on morality (Movie B). Superhero Movie is another Movie A.
Orphan Rick Riker (Sam Cohen, Drake Bell), orphaned by killing his parents Blaine (Robert Hays) and Julia (Nicole Sullivan) as a child and adopted by his Uncle Al Adams (Leslie Nielsen) and Aunt Lucille (Marion Ross), is bent on next door neighbor Jill Johnson (Sara Paxton) becoming his girlfriend. In a Spiderman triangle, standing in the way is Trey (Kevin hart) whom Jill is dating to rebel against her father while the mother (Charlene Tilton), a foul mouthed snipe of a woman, has issues. And Jill, the teen daughter is, as always, innocent.
But things do not go well for Rick. His days are each an example of the new TV commercial which sings "I just can seem to get it right day." Then one day Rick is bitten by one of seven genetically altered dragonflies that escaped containment during a tour of a science facility by Dr. Strom (Brent Spiner - aka Data of Star trek(tm)). Rick slowly becomes a superhero.
During all this, corporate bad guy Lou Landers (Christopher McDonald) becomes energized as Hourglass, a super bad guy, by a scientific contraption gone awry. Landers now has superpowers and uses them for evil. He also now needs the life force of another to keep his life alive. One life each day.
To speak much more about the story and plot would be to give more attention than this little slice of deviltry deserves.
Wanton Violence/Crime (W)
While all of the violence in this film, however intense, is "slapstick" intended as humor, it is still violence. And there is a l-o-t of it. In addition to the example of the old lady being "eaten" by a log chipper, there are implied murders, a nail shot into the hand of a boy, a scene with a gun to the head, a firearm threat, several gunshots hitting people, robbery, impalement injuries and more. So much more that this investigation area found content enough to earn a zero out of 100 investigation area score. [Prov. 16:29]
Forty-seven times an example of the three/four letter word vocabulary is uttered, ten of them by youth. Is it any wonder why so many of our youth speak with such contempt for clean speech and try so hard to defend such speech with the Freedom of Speech (which, by the way, never addressed vulgar and foul language until ten ex-hippies in robes corrupted the Freedom of Speech) when the larger-than-life characters onscreen do so? "It's all fantasy. It ain't real. It's just actors playing a part." True. But a bad influence does not have to be real to influence badly. And "acting" does not excuse sin. And I mention in passing that the most foul of the foul words is also uttered once by an adult. [Col. 3:8, Titus 2:6 - 8, Eph. 4:29] All the lies, flatulence, hate talk from mother to daughter and dating to rebel against parental authority didn't help the score due to content found by this investigation area.
Sexual Immorality (S)
This film might be better described as an adolescent sex flick. Nudity is implied or masked but other sexual content and crude/rude humor is thick. About 41.7 examples per hour. That averages almost once per minute. One example is when Uncle Al tells Rick that he loved Rick just like his [now dead] father, that he raised Rick just like his father, that he had sex with his mother just like his father. Enough such content was found by the Sexual Immorality investigation area to drain all its starting 100 points as well. The males pumping women's breasts did not help the scoring, either. Nor did the men atop women in beds. Nor did the motions and gestures of intercourse. Nor did the oral sex innuendo. Nor did the homosexual inferences/suggestions. Nor ... [Eph. 5:4, Gal. 5:19, 1 John 2:26]
The whole gambit of drugs/alcohol are present: booze; drinking; drunkenness; giving an alcoholic beverage to a minor; offer to sell illegal drugs to minors; drug consumption. All for your 13 year old kids (and younger) to view and be changed. Changed? What's that you say? Changed. At least the American College of Physicians say so.
A 2002 study by the American College of Physicians (ACP) revealed that adolescent exposure to drinking in and as entertainment undeniably leads to abuse of alcohol among underage kids. The finding entitled Relation Between Parental Restrictions on Movies and Adolescent Use of Tobacco and Alcohol reports that of 4544 youths from grades 5 through 8 of fifteen Vermont and New Hampshire middle schools (90% of the youths were under fourteen years old) only 16% were completely restricted from viewing R-rated movies. Within the ACP study population, the prevalence of having tried alcohol without parental knowledge was
The researchers selected R-rated movies because they assumed R-rated movies typically present more drinking than movies of other classifications. This assumption is no longer true. The researchers were not aware of the matter of "R-13" proven by this ministry in 2000 (see R-13) which Harvard University scientists corroborated four years later (see Harvard Agrees With Us). The bottom line? The focus is that the influence of adolescent exposure to drinking (and smoking) in and as entertainment is undeniable regardless of the Motion Picture Association of America (MPAA) classification. [Eph. 5:18]
Rather revealing of the influences of the entertainment industry wouldn't you say? And emboldening children to sin with drink in and as entertainment screams of violating Luke 17:2.
Our studies provide an additional parameter for the ACP study. While booze, drinking and smoking in and as entertainment indeed embolden defiance of rule and law and take their toll on wholesome decision-making skills of youth, our studies indicate the influence is not so much the presentation of booze and cigarettes in and as entertainment as it is the attitude portrayed by and with the drinking and smoking. See ATTITUDE: In Perspective -- Investigation Area Scoring and Trend in CAP Entertainment Industry Investigations, Special Report-001 for more information on the strongest proselytizing element in modern entertainment not being sex, drugs, alcohol, violence, etc. but is the attitude: the attitude of freedom from authority, freedom from accountability and freedom from consequences. Further, note that it is indeed attitude that emboldens youth to defy rule and law. Note also that attitude (impudence, arrogance, a proud look, "haughty eyes") is the first in the list of seven behaviors our Lord hates. [Prov. 6:16 - 19]
Offense to God (O)
With an area score of 42, the Offense to God investigation area is one of the two highest scoring investigation areas. The score of 42 is due to the use of God's name in vain in a variety of ways, including with the four letter expletive and trailing the three-syllable sentence so popular among teens of today. [Duet. 5:11] In addition, the display of the supremely arrogant micro culture of emo (goth), however short the display might be, lost the film a point in this investigation area.
While there are four implied murders in Superhero Movie, implication of murder cannot be incorporated into this investigation area but is incorporated into the Wanton Violence/Crime investigation area. There is, however, one murder by Hourglass by Mummy(tm)-style draining of the life force out of one person.
If needed to focus or fortify, applicable text is underlined or bracketed [ ] or bold. 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)
|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 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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