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Christian Analysis of American Culture (CAP Ministry)
Entertainment Media Analysis Report
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(2004), PG-13 -- R-equivalent in violence but G or PG in everything else.
Cast/Crew Details Courtesy Internet Movie Database
Production (US): Touchstone Pictures, Blinding Edge Pictures, Covington Woods Pictures, Scott Rudin Productions
Distribution (US): Buena Vista Pictures
Director(s): M. Night Shyamalan (pronounced sheeah-ma-lon with the "ee" being light)
Producer(s): Sam Mercer, Jose L. Rodriguez, Scott Rudin, M. Night Shyamalan
Written by: M. Night Shyamalan
Cinematography/Camera: Roger Deakins
Music: James Newton Howard
Film Editing: Christopher Tellefsen
Casting: Douglas Aibel
Production Design: Tom Foden
Art Direction: Michael Manson, Chris Shriver
Viewed At: Driftwood Theater 6
The Village (PG-13) earned a most atypical scoring distribution:
* Comparative Baseline Database Scoring Ranges: G - 100 to 87 out of 100 (100 is the higest score). PG - 86 to 68 out of 100. PG-13 - 67 to 55 out of 100. R - 54 to zero out of 100 (zero is lowest score). See CAP Methodology for more detail.
The Village clearly earned scores equivalent to G and PG movies in five of the six CAP investigation areas and a score equivalent to R-rated films in one. The CAP Thermometers for The Village (attached) display this relationship well. A scoring sheer such as this has never before been seen in the nearly 900 film analyses we have conducted.
The Village is a very unusual film, even refreshing in a maybe morbid sense in that it was relatively comfortable and enjoyable in all but one investigation area - violence. In violence it was invasive and graphic. [Phil. 4:8] Not one issue of sexual immorality was found. Not one drop of alcohol nor one gram of tobacco were seen. Not one single use of the three/four letter word vocabulary was noted. And the only use of God's name in vain was without the four letter expletive. The listing in the Findings/Scoring section will reveal the findings in Impudence/Hate which, except for one, were relatively typical and non-graphic.
The Village is the perfect opportunity to show off another great feature of the CAP Analysis Model: that of revealing a concentration or focus of assaults on morality and ethics. Scores equivalent to G-rated and PG-rated films in five of the six CAP investigation areas -- I - 83; S - 100; D - 100; O - 97; M - 100 -- but a ZERO score in Wanton Violence/Crime certainly reveals a concentration/focus of ignominy in The Village -- R-equivalent in violence but G or PG in everything else.
Shyamalan is certainly a college-educated man but his grammar is not indicative of it. "Those we don't speak of", meaning the creatures in the forbidden forest, would be more correctly stated "those of which we don't speak." If Shyamalan intended to give the residents of Covington, Pennsylvania, the "village", a hint of backwoods buffoonery with such grammar, he succeeded. But then, we all know about literary license to butcher the King's English.
"Those we don't speak of" were sinister, monstrous inhabitants of the "Blair Witch" woods surrounding the idyllic and totally self-sustaining "Norman Rockwell" village of Covington, Pennsylvania, a secluded and even isolated community of what appeared to be early 20th century pilgrim-like folks on the surface. How "those we don't speak of" got there was not explained.
No one had ever seen "those we don't speak of" until some defiance by the young stirred aggressive activity by one of "those we don't speak of." A strong fear of "those we don't speak of" was maintained in all villagers, the youth in particular. Indeed, they who claim that the Gospel and God's omnipotence are no more than fear tactics to control mankind will surely pick up on Shyamalan's use of fear to control: his use of deceit, trickery, ignorance, and superstition to generate fear to control youth, taking unfair advantage of the typical lack of experiential maturity of youth; fear of "those we don't speak of" to corral the resident young. [Matt. 18:10] I can't wait until someone writes us to say we must be afraid of God else the Bible would not speak of "the fear of God."
On the other side of the woods were "the towns" from which the Covington villagers had isolated themselves, shielded themselves because of the evil practices and ethics in "the towns." The villagers felt the only way to protect themselves from the evils of "the towns" was total isolation and the elegantly cooperative two-way protection of "those we don't speak of."
Edward Walker (William Hurt) is the teacher for the youth of the community and the leader of the elders. Sigourney Weaver joined the cast as Alice Hunt, one of the elders and mother of key character Lucius (Joaquin Phoenix). Daughter to Edward was Ivy (Bryce Dallas Howard), a blind young lady of quality but possessing a strong tomboy personality.
On a subjective note, Howard (Hollywood director Ron Howard's daughter) probably gave the best performance, seconded only by maybe Hurt's performance or Phoenix's performance. But neither Hurt's performance or Phoenix's performance would have been what they were without the support of Howard's performance. Shyamalan did a decent job of weaving characters together with attention to detail.
When illness struck the tiny village, Lucius felt he must trek through the woods to "the towns" to get medicine. Much resistance was raised against such a defiant idea. To stir up "those who we don't speak of" (Joey Anaya and Kevin Foster), which we get to see relatively soon into the film, by encroaching into their territory would invoke their wrath on the village. Indeed, one of them breaks with tradition and terrorizes the town ... just to teach the villagers a lesson, dontcha know.
Through it all, a romantic relationship developed between Lucius and Ivy. A romantic notion also developed for Ivy by mentally challenged Noah Percy (Adrien Brody) who has the mind of a child but the body of an adult. So much of a romantic notion that when Noah found that Ivy's interests were for Lucius, Noah tried to kill Lucius by stabbing Lucius. Repeatedly. The first stab was indeed an invasively graphic stabbing. Subsequent stabs were not as graphic but the imagery was of murderous intent.
One might think that the 13 year old target of this movie clearly understands that the stabbing was fake and staged: that such display was clearly fantasy. But such is not always true. Professional counselor Dr. Larry Gilliam and Harvard educated child development expert Dr. Nelson agree with me that it would be unusual for even a 16 year old to be able to fully comprehend the consequences of his/her actions or to be able to fully separate fantasy from reality: that such capabilities do not typically plateau until the early 20s. Even the American Medical Association, the American Psychological Association, the American Academy of Pediatrics, and the American Academy of Child & Adolescent Psychiatry and now the American College of Physicians have finally agreed http://www.capalert.com/violenceinentertainment.htm that violence in entertainment can and does beget aggression in youth. And God says so [1 Cor. 15:33]. And after nearly 900 film analysis and after intimately observing 24-7 the influence of entertainment on 31 kids, I say so.
I suspect the knifing is where the MPAA decided to give The Village a PG-13 rating, as if to say it is okay to plant such imagery into 13 year old minds and hearts even though it would be unusual for a 13 year old to be able to fully separate fantasy from reality or fully anticipate the consequences of his/her actions: even though such behavior in and as entertainment; even though "... viewing entertainment violence can lead to increases in aggressive attitudes, values and behavior, particularly in children." Though they often won't agree, 13 years old is "children."
As a sample of what we have made of our youth by such "entertainment", at sight of the first penetration of the knife and its slow withdrawal, stained heavily with Lucius' blood, one of the teen viewers in the audience chuckled and said "Stab him again!" That is where we are, folks. Whether we like it or not. Whether we believe it or not. And if that does not strike fear in you for what is happening to our youth through entertainment, it should.
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.
***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.
(The heart of the CAP Analysis Model)
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 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.|
|In the name of Jesus: |
Lord, Master, Teacher, Savior, God.
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