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Tears of the Sun (2003), R
Analysis Date: Amrch 7, 2003
CAP Score: 35
CAP Influence Density: 2.44
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Cast/Crew Details Courtesy imdb.com
Production (US): Cheyenne Enterprises, Michael Lobell Productions, Revolution Studios
Distribution (US): Sony Pictures Entertainment
Director(s): Antoine Fuqua
Producer(s): Ian Bryce, Stephen J. Eads, Heidi Fugeman, Mike Lobell, Arnold Rifkin, Joe Roth, Steven P. Saeta
Written by/Screenplay: Written by Alex Lasker & Patrick Cirillo
Cinematography/Camera: Mauro Fiore, Keith Solomon
Music: Steve Jablonsky, Mel Wesson, Hans Zimmer
Film Editing: Conrad Buff
Casting: Mary Vernieu
Production Design: Naomi Shohan
Art Direction: David Lazan
Viewed At: Driftwood Theater 6, Granbury, TX
This is a story of life in that African country from which we all get emails promising millions of dollars because some widow of a high-ranking assassinated military or government official is looking for someone to hold her megabucks for her. I heard that someone actually called one of those Nigerian perpetrators and found their phone billed was charged $23,000 for that one phone call.
The story opens with voice-over and "news footage" of brutal civil unrest and rioting in Nigeria as Muslim rebel forces try to overthrow the government. Some of the images of civil unrest appeared to be of actual file footage of murder much like the oriental being shot in the head we have seen too often as "truth in reporting", showing the brutality of some humans lusting to kill [1John 2:16]. I guess "R" excuses it. --In a pig's eye!--
Muslim malcontents launch a massive "cleansing" of Christians [Luke 21:17] (What was that? The Crusades?) and assassinate the president and his entire family ... except one. It is clear that America must get her people out of Nigeria. Captain Bill Rhodes (Tom Skerritt) commanding the aircraft carrier U.S.S. Harry S. Truman off the coast of Africa is ordered to do what he can to get Dr. Lena Hendricks (Monica Bellucci), an American by marriage, out of Nigeria. Rhodes sends in the best team he has. Led by Navy SEALS Lieutenant A. K. Waters (Bruce Willis), the team known for getting things done is dispatched to evacuate, rather extricate the good doctor.
A couple notables on the extraction team are "Red" Atkins (Cole Hauser) and Zee (Eamonn Walker). Each is the perfect example of the best possible supportive team members, never questioning their commander during combat or offensive maneuvers and following orders to the letter. And Walters was a good template for commanders as well. He even asked each of his men if he wanted to back out of a special maneuver. This is another example of a concept I try live by: a good leader cannot be a good leader unless he knows how and when to be a good follower. Even Jesus promoted being last to be first, being servant of all to be the greatest. Just like Jesus was servant of all. Not servant TO all but servant OF all. There is a difference and not just in spelling. [Mark 9:33 - 35]
Dr. Hendricks is the only physician available to the war-mutilated people of her Christian village. She is very idealistic and will not leave unless the people in her village - about 70 or so - can go too. After a couple mumbles and few grumbles into a phone to Capt. Rhodes, Lt. Walters now has, in addition to the belligerent Dr. Hendricks, a few dozen refugees to escort to the landing zone several miles away. And guerrilla forces are minutes away from the village. Their job? To cleanse the country of Christians.
Don't even think that Christians are the worst cause of death. Though fantasy, Tears of the Sun puts a proper perspective on the totality of the issue. Too many people blame the Christian faith for causing horrendous acts of atrocity such as those encountered during the Crusades when few, if any, really know what Crusades were about. The Crusades were military maneuvers to take back what was taken from the Christians by, and protecting the vulnerable from tyranny [ref: Catholic Encyclopedia]. The Crusades were expeditions to deliver the Holy Places from Mohammedan tyranny. But modern abuse of the word negatively applies "Crusades" to all wars involving Christians and "Crusaders" to all Christians fighting for our faith. If you had been attacked and your home destroyed, your belongings stolen, your family killed by tyranny wouldn't you fight back? Wouldn't you want to help those who were at risk of the same oppression by antiChristian forces?
Throw a Christian and a Muslim in the same cage. Though they would share a common goal (a common "god") to escape, the result would likely be battle. Why? Think of it this way. Two groups of playground kids. One says Batman is greater. The other says Spider-Man is greater. What, in your experience, would you expect the result to be in the absence of adult supervision? And, other than having bigger and more lethal guns, are we that different from children? In this movie we have the "Spider-Man" Muslims and the "Batman" Christians.
Note that I said "a common "god" above. Let me speak to that for a moment then get back to the Summary/Commentary. Many seem to claim the Muslims and Christian have the same God. How can that be true? The Muslim god did not send Jesus to pay the price of our sins. And the Muslim god apparently teaches that salvation can be attained through good works and deeds and a "clean life" while God very clearly states in the Bible that no amount of nice-nice can get Salvation: that no amount of "bad-bad" can keep it away from us; that the only way to the Father is through the Son, Jesus Christ, by His Sacrifice for our sakes. [John 14:6]
At the landing zone, Walters orders his men to hold all the refugees from boarding the helicopters and forcibly carries Dr. Hendricks aboard. It was a tactical lie when Walters told Hendricks that he would evacuate the ambulatory people in Hendricks' village. But something catches Walters' eye while in-flight back to the carrier. Hendricks' Christian village had been bitterly slaughtered by the Muslim guerrillas. It had been "cleansed" of all Christians. Knowing this was the fate for the refugees he left at the landing zone, Walters' heart softened at the sight of such carnage in the name of Allah and he ordered the pilot to return to the landing zone. And there begins the majority of the battle violence ... and the foul language ... including the most foul of the foul words [Col. 3:8] and God's name in vain with the four letter expletive [Deut. 5:11].
The tag line for Tears of the Sun is "He was trained to follow orders. He became a hero by defying them." By disobeying orders and getting many of his men killed by disobeying orders, Walters was a hero for saving the few dozen refugees. It is a bitter picture to paint - disobey orders to save many others and lose a few of your own, or obey orders and lose many others to save a few of your own. Glorifying disobedience is not a good formula by which to develop coping skills. But then, the entertainment industry is saturated with examples of freedom from authority, freedom from accountability and freedom from consequences. Why should Tears of the Sun be any different? Another ramification of such disobedience is how can a commander expect his men to obey him if he won't obey his, applying the same rationale that the superior officers are not always right just as Walters did. Be advised, parody site followers and malcontent forum feeders. I will not bandy this issue about by email with they who seem to thrive on stories of the glorification of disobedience: who say their "Spider-Man" disobedience is better than my "Batman" obedience. Think of it this way. How did Walters know that his disobedience of the Captain's orders would not cost the lives of every crewman on the carrier or start another war? The captain is not expected to share with his officers every little tidbit of detail about the big picture. He should be able to expect his men to follow his orders. That is the problem with discipline and structure in modern military according to my father - too much autonomy among subordinate personnel.
Tears of the Sun is a military offensive movie and, as is expected of a firefight movie, contains much violence and gore. [Phil. 4:8] And, as we all have come to expect of all our soldiers because of the movies, it is filled with the three/four letter word vocabulary. If you decide to expose yourself to massive military/guerrilla violence and foul language, you can't check your brain at the door with Tears of the Sun. Even with a bodacious influence density of 2.41, at times it is a tear-jerker but most of the later three-fourths involves extreme brutality such as African guerrillas amputating Nigerian women's breasts to prevent feeding their sons -- the future enemy. And it doesn't get any better than that.
While Tears of the Sun is not as emotionally charged as its title suggests, maybe if we look and "Sun" in the title and think of it as "Son" (of God) and a whole new perspective, solidly addressed (whether intentional) surfaces as His followers are slaughtered for their faith in Him. So, maybe it is emotionally charged after all.
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***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)
Offense to God (O)
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|NOTE: While the Summary/Commentary section of these reports is precisely that -- a summary in commentary format which can be and sometimes is subjective, the actual CAP Analysis Model (the Findings/Scoring section) makes no scoring allowances for trumped-up "messages" to excuse, for manufacture of justification for, or camouflaging of ignominious content or aberrant behavior or imagery 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 of behavior or thought from the sinful display or of the practitioners demonstrating the sinful behavior. We make no attempt to quantify the "artistic" or "entertainment" value of a movie -- whether a movie has any positive value or "entertainment" value is up to mom/dad. The CAP analysis model is the only known set of tools available to parents and grandparents which give *them* the control they need, bypassing the opinion-based assessment of movies by others and defeating the deceit of those who would say anything to convince their parents otherwise. The model is completely objective to His Word. Our investigation standards are founded in the teachings and expectations of Jesus Christ. If a sinful behavior is portrayed, it is called sinful whether Hollywood tries to make it otherwise. That the sinful behavior is "justified" by some manufactured conditions does not soften nor erase the price of sin. Whether there is application of fantasy "justification" or "redemption" is up to mom/dad.|
|"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.|