Heaven’s War {Beyond the Darkness} (Movie Review)

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The magic of the cosmos…

Plot Summary

Senator Jonah Thomas is a rising political star who wants to be the good guy in Washington, but evil individuals, both human and spiritual, have their own plans for him. Jonah’s political career is pushing his family to the brink, and he doesn’t realize the evil devices that await him in one fateful meeting. As his soul hangs in the balance, he will be given one last chance to battle for his eternal destiny in a very poorly-animated CGI world.

Production Quality (0 points)

Imagine you have this great idea for a complex sci-fi plot that requires a lot expensive CGI and animation tools. Would you go ahead and make it even though you didn’t have the funding to make it on a level we see in theaters today? Essentially, Heaven’s War is a poorly funded attempt at a possibly good idea that will fall totally flat due to how bad the production is. The extremely cheap special effects and the cheesiest possible animation and CGI draw so much attention to themselves that they negate any possible good elements in other parts of the production. They affect everything and make it an unpleasant experience whether via disorienting editing, cheap flashback quality, weird sound effects, or wild and quick cuts between scenes. Even if other elements of the film are fine, the special effects failings are the types of issues that infect everything, which keeps this production rated at zero.

Plot and Storyline Quality (0 points)

Besides this, the plot is fairly confusing and hard to follow. Even though it’s an interesting idea to explore the spiritual realm, everything is too focused on American politics, which begs the question why the major spiritual battles highlighted here center around raising taxes and finding a vaccine for cancer. If this isn’t the intention, it comes off that way through expository dialogue and devices that move the plot forward, such as news reports and phone conversations. As the story wildly jumps from one random idea to the next, the slightly interesting flashback\psychological vision elements had something going for them, but the way they are presented is a disservice. Poor delivery and unclear direction doomed this plot from the start, not to mention the extremely cheesy portrayal of the spiritual realm that is almost a laughingstock. After lots of disorienting battle sequences and explorations of alternate realities, problems are suddenly quickly fixed at the end with no feeling or reality behind it, and by the time it’s all over, you suddenly realize that this film barely had any actual content in it. Hence, no points can be awarded in this section either.

Acting Quality (1 point)

Surprisingly, as bad as it is, the acting is the strongest point of this movie because it’s the only section that gets any points. Even still, the acting often comes off as un-earnest, overly practiced, and robotic. For the most part, emotions are black, forced, and unnatural. There are some good moments for some of the cast members that are basically just average, but as a whole, the acting is cardboard and the casting poor. This rounds out an unacceptably bad film in the new era of Christian entertainment.

Conclusion

Danny Carrales’ intentions to make different types of Christian films are definitely noted, but their application is way off the mark. It would have been better to make Heaven’s War fully animated so that more time could have been spent on making a real plot. Relying only on special effects of any quality level is never a good idea because they can’t write the story for you. Even the best sci-fi idea will fail if the characters can hold it up for you because the audience has no real connection to the concept without feeling like real people are experiencing it. Basically, better luck next time.

Final Rating: 1 out of 10 points

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DiVine Appointment (coming in 2019)

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Coming in 2019 from  JC Films and BMC Productions

Writer(s): Tara Lynn Marcelle

Director(s): Tara Lynn Marcelle

Producer(s):  Jason Campbell, Tara Lynn Marcelle, April Kennedy

Starring: Chris Minor, Jenni Kennedy, Darwin Shaw, William McNamara, Kera O’Bryon, Matthew Lloyd, Micah Lynn, Troy Means, Mai Arwas, Bryan Michael Nunez, Timothy Goodwin, Gabrielle Diaz, Joe Estevez

Plot Synopsis: After a tragic accident, Jordan Travis is forced to quit his band at the start of their success. Empty and broken, he finds a job in the wine vineyards of Northern California. What follows, is a series of people and events that lead him back to his first love, and ultimate destiny, which can only be found in a ‘Divine Appointment’.

A Walk With Grace (in progress)

Currently being filmed

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Writer(s): Nick Kellis

Director(s): Nick Kellis

Producer(s): Nick Kellis, Lance Paul, Chris Carson, Drew Evans, April Kennedy, Brian MacGillivray, Austin St. John

Starring: Stephen Baldwin, Austin St. John, Joe Estevez, David Lee Smith, Nicole Dambro, Ashley Bratcher, Ian Grey, Brenna Sherman, Garrett Pace, Bret Aaron Knower, Lance Paul, Jenni Kennedy, Mishka Calderon, Jenni-Kate Deshon, Chris Minor, Yorke Fryer, Manu Aggarwal, Samir Patel, Jaylee Kennedy

 

Plot Synopsis:

When his mother dies a week before Easter, a widowed hotshot LA exec, Nate Lassiter, is confronted with heart-tugging responsibilities. He must finally return, with his daughter Chloe intow, to his hometown in Ohio. There, he faces the daunting task of signing away his family’s factory. Nate must also confront: a spitfire cousin, unhappy Nate left her to run the factory years ago, a labor-strike lead by his high school wrestling buddy, and a legal battle over the impending sale of the factory– brought on by his high school sweetheart, Grace. Nate’s biggest challenge, however, will be the realization that accepting things you feel you don’t deserve, and giving freely to those you believe aren’t deserving, is giving into God’s grace. Forced to search his soul and embrace his past, he just might reconnect with his God – and fall back in love with his Grace. Once lost in Los Angeles, Nate Lassiter is about to be found in Middle America!