The Gift of Christmas [2020] (Movie Review)

The Gift of Christmas (TV Movie 2020) - IMDb

Plot Summary

After George and Allen Barnett went across country to fulfill their father’s dying wishes, both brothers came back changed men. For the holidays, George asks him brother for a favor: bringing home the prodigal daughter of George’s friend. As such, Allen and the woman embark on their own cross-country journey of good deeds, learning a lot about each other along the way.

Production Quality (1.5 points)

As a whole, the production in this film is average. This is due to clear video quality yet inconsistent lighting: some shots are either poorly lit or overly lit. Camera work and audio quality are acceptable except for some background echoes, and a generic soundtrack sometimes covers up other sounds. There are also some obvious overdubs and continuity errors that seem avoidable. Further, the editing is passable, but some scenes linger too long. Thus, due to the mixed bag, a middle-of-the-road score is warranted.

Plot and Storyline Quality (0 points)

Much like its predecessor, The Good Journey, The Gift of Christmas fails to adequately engage its audience. This is due to cardboard characters that are built with expository dialogue rather than the deep conversations that are needed to support a character-based plot. Vague and blank sequences don’t offer much interest, and many scenes simply waste time. Some concepts seem under-explained, and the overall messaging teaches that simply going to church fixes everything. Despite some slightly interesting ideas that are very slow to develop and somewhat aimless, the narrative wanders around until everything is magically fixed in the end. It’s hard to believe the resolutions, and it makes matters worse that the vague story doesn’t hold the attention. Hence, with no tangible potential, no points can be awarded here.

Acting Quality (1.5 points)

The acting of this is fairly vanilla. There aren’t any particularly bad performances to point to, but no standouts can be found either. At times, the emotions and lines are robotic and stilted. However, other times, the acting is acceptable. Thus, this run-of-the-mill section rounds out an overall underwhelming effort.

Conclusion

Did anyone really ask for a sequel to The Good Journey? Many audiences never even knew that the first movie existed, much less a Christmas installment. These two screenplays are the perfect example of making entertainment just for the sake of it. Some slightly interesting ideas were included, but nothing was enough to truly engage the viewer. Half-hearted attempts are still hurting the field’s reputation, which means we still need quality over quantity.

Final Rating: 3 out of 10 points

The Good Journey (Movie Review)

The Good Journey (2018) - IMDb

Plot Summary

George and Allen Barnett are extremely different as brothers, but when their father dies, part of getting their inheritances is working together. Though they don’t get along, the brothers are forced to retrace the steps of their parents’ honeymoon trip, which was aided by many different Good Samaritans. George and Allen are tasked with repaying these kind people for their good deeds, and along the way, they discover more about themselves.

Production Quality (1 point)

The production isn’t quite up to the mark despite its clear video quality. Camera work is inconsistent although it gets better as it goes. Audio quality is fine except for loud background noises and a generic soundtrack that hardly stops playing. Sets, props, and locations are okay, but there are cheesy graphics throughout. Elsewhere, the editing is average, and the amount of negatives overall isn’t enough to warrant a score any higher than this.

Plot and Storyline Quality (0 points)

Between the choppy story presentation and the lagging nature of many scenes in this screenplay, The Good Journey is a boring experience. Tons of time is wasted with musical montages that displace substantial conversations, making the film feel like a collection of randomly disconnected sequences. The character have absolutely no substance or depth, seeming strangely unconcerned about family deaths without good reason. They do things simply because the writers want them to. As a whole, the dialogue is bland and generic. Thus, with no real potential in this section, no points can be given.

Acting Quality (1 point)

Robotic acting dominates the first half of this movie, making for an annoying experience. Emotions are stoic and nonexistent as line delivery is uneven. Nonetheless, slight improvement in the latter parts keep this section from being nothing but still isn’t enough to buoy an overall underwhelming effort.

Conclusion

The Good Journey was based on a nice idea, one that seemed slightly different from other run-of-the-mill Christian entertainment. However, poor funding and misfired presentation sunk whatever creativity was possible here. As such, this film joins the long line of offerings in the Christian market that could have been something yet fell short of the mark for a number of reasons.

Final Rating: 2 out of 10 points