Friday, July 06, 2007

Is The Bible "G" Rated, Too?



Yep, I'm "G" rated and proud of it.

Tonight, Dennis and I went to the "G" rated "Ratatouille" and had a great time. Totally recommend the movie--a lot of these kind of features are boring and insults to the intelligence. But this one is pretty special. Yes, of course I like it because it involves cooking. But it involves real knowledge of cooking. And of french culture. And of those little critters we call rats.

Before the movie, there was fifteen minutes of previews--all of "G" rated type of entertainment. I read sometime back that Hollywood is realizing that the audiences want more family friendly films--that ultimately, there is a higher demand for them than "R" rated movies. Also, thanks to Mel Gibson, films with Christian themes also have a market that Hollywood didn't know existed.

Which brings me to the DVD's Den and I have been renting lately. I have heard of Jeanette Oke's Christian fiction series--she practically started the genre back in the 80's--but never read them. In fact, most of the Christian fiction I have never really been interested in. Well, Oke's books were made into movies in the last four years, starting with "Love Comes Softly". I was impressed with that one, but the episodes afterwards fall flat. I haven't read her books, but I don't think that Oke meant that the spirituality of the pioneers would resemble contemporary Christianity. It just seems more and more forced and fake as the series goes on. I've watched "Ranch House" and "Colonial House" on PBS and read "Gap Creek"--so I know that life was much dirtier, riskier and harder than what tends to be portrayed in these movies. For instance, the fact that Marty and her first husband got her books through the trip west was a lighthearted joke in the beginning of "Love Comes Softly", but I don't think today's audiences would have appreciated the sacrifices that Marty had endure to make sure that her life and her children's lives would not be devoid of literacy.

I don't think there is anything wrong with the books or the plots or the director or the acting, really. There is a slick superficiality instead of gritty historical reality, the kind that Catherine Marshall's "Christy" did not sidestep. The tone is way off. We know that the pioneers had to deal with a lot, including tedious boredom. The following movies in the series make everything in day to day pioneer life to appear too easy instead of the harsh survival that often was the case. What I longed to see was tough faith bourne through tough lives. I resent the treatment of the Oke's stories that waters most of it down, beginning with the cheesy soundtrack that accompanies it.

I hope someone who really values Jeanette Oke and her novels would take another crack at bringing them to film. I hope that Hollywood would realize that Christians would not be satisfied with cheap and unartistic efforts tossed their way. As for me, I hope the books are much better than the movies, so I will actually read them to find out.

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