I have two teenage sons, so on opening night we needed to see Pirates of the Carribbean 4: On Stranger Tides. While the film was better than Pirates 3 (not really saying much, as cool as Johnny Depp is, it would be difficult for any film to survive a 15-minute nasal close-up), it wasn’t nearly as good as Pirates 1 or even Pirates 2.
The most interesting aspect of the film however, was the character Philip Swift (played by Sam Calflin) a Christian missionary, who has been captured by the pirates. Without spoiling the film, I can say that Swift’s character is portrayed in a surprisingly positive manner, particularly given the fact that he’s not just a Christian, but a missionary.
Is Hollywood going soft on Christianity?
On this topic, I must mention my favorite Hitchcock film, I Confess (1953), starring Montgomery Cliff as Father Michael Logan, a Catholic priest. Logan hears a confession early in the film, and as the story progresses is torn whether or not to divulge details from the confessional to protect innocent people, including himself. In several respects, the film portrays Father Logan acting like Christ (that’s positively, in case you weren’t sure).
What films can you think of where Hollywood portrays Christian ministers particularly positively or negatively?
The Apostle with Robert Duvall has always been a nightmarish recollection for me. Honestly, I don’t remember whether or not he was portrayed positively by the end of the film – my main memory is that I thought the movie was terrible. But I seem to remember that he killed someone at the beginning of the movie out of anger at a kids’ baseball game, so I’m going to go with it having a negative portrayal of ministers, Christianity, etc.
“Blindside” shows a Christian family taking their faith seriously by taking a needy kid… (who eventually becomes incredibly rich and famous… but they didn’t know that when they took him in that first night.
What do you guys think of the priest, character in MASH? I can’t remember his name off hand…
Some good examples.
The Apostle seems mixed, perhaps more negative, but not exclusively so.
Blindside is positive, definitely. (They are making a movie out of M. Lewis’ other best-seller, Moneyball, to be released in the Fall 2011.)
Father Mulcahy (MASH) is positive, but somewhat innocuous.
I love the Mission, with Deniro and Irons, as well. I have to watch “I Confess” every once in a while to remind me what real integrity looks like. One of those values you instilled in me, Dave!