Different Drummers [2013] (Movie Review)

Plot Summary

When an unlikely friendship develops between David, a boy with muscular dystrophy, and Lyle, a boy diagnosed with ADHD, David sets out to show Lyle that God really does exist.  As they collaborate on a science project contest that Lyle is determined to win, they form a close bond, and David finds a new purpose in life.  Though they get into various escapades and scrapes that are not easy to get out of, their coming of age journey is one that they will never forget.

 

Production Quality (2.5 points)

For the most part, Different Drummers is a fine production that has a lot of high marks.  These include great video quality, camera work, and audio quality.  Though the soundtrack is a bit generic, it is not a detractor.  Sets, locations, and props are all what they should be and are utilized effectively.  Overall, this is a professional production that is only hurt by some awkward cuts and transitions.  However, this is not enough to keep this section from having a respectably high score.

Plot and Storyline Quality (1 point)

Different Drummers, in many ways, is too much of a ‘silly’ kids story, as it is a coming of age plotline.  As such, there are a lot of seemingly unnecessary goofy sequences that tend to just fill time.  However, this storyline also presents a realistic and believable portrayal of special needs people, as well as an honest look at the dangers that come about when children are over-medicated.  However, the Christian message is a bit too vague, even though dialogue is fairly well-constructed.  Even so, there isn’t much substantial content to work with here as the story tends to hop from one thing to the next without much focus, but this could be an extrapolation of the main character’s ADHD, so it may be excusable in some ways.  In the end, this story has a realistic ending, and it will be mostly enjoyable for many audiences, so it may be worth a watch.

Acting Quality (2 points)

The casting and acting of this film is mostly fine, considering the number of younger cast members.  Though there are some awkward performances (perhaps purposely) and some over the top emotions in some scenes, for the most part, this cast is professional.  Each cast member tends to be cast well, and line delivery is solid throughout.  This rounds out an above average film all around.

Conclusion

Films like Different Drummers should be more commonplace in Christian film than they are.  Funding is used well, the story is at least halfway interesting, and the acting is adequate.  Though there some clear steps that could have been taken to make this film a higher rating, as it is, many audiences will enjoy it.  Still, we can’t help but wonder the potential these sorts of films could have had.

 

Final Rating: 5.5 out of 10 points

 

Divination [2011] (Movie Review)

Plot Summary

Jason and Jessica are a young married couple excited to be having their first child.  But soon after they discover the good news, they begin being tormented by strange people and beings.  Jason cannot stop seeing evil spirits in his mind.  A spiritual battle based on ‘intel’ ensues as angels and demons battle over the minds of this young couple.

 

Production Quality (0 points)

Though the cheesy opening credits sequence suggests that Divination was meant to be the first in a series, that was thankfully not the case.  On the whole, this production is a mess, starting with strange video quality and shaky camera work that looks like it’s from a camcorder.  The audio quality is inconsistent and full of echoes, including weird sound effects.  Lighting is poor in many of the limited sets.  To top things off, there are tons of terrible special effects and CGI used throughout the film.  Basically, this is a horrid effort.

Plot and Storyline Quality (-1 points)

Besides the fact that there are too many things going on in this so-called storyline, it’s filled with purposely creepy spiritual elements.  There are many bizarre elements and twists and turns that defy logic and sense.  The plot is very in-your-face and obvious when it comes to the demonic and spends far too much time focusing on demons.  In other areas, the dialogue is very forced, thus creating wooden characters, and the ending makes no sense.  Overall, this alleged plot is so annoying that it warrants negative points.

Acting Quality (0 points)

It seems like some effort was taken to coach this cast, but it was done all wrong.  The actors and actresses are far too theatrical and come off as over-practiced.  Emotions aren’t very believable and line delivery is wooden.  In short, this rounds out a very weird and disappointing creation.

Conclusion

Someone needs to address spiritual warfare in the context of Christian film, but at this point, we have yet to find anyone who has done so properly.  Films like this are always far too focused on the demonic and the Satanic and generally expose the fact that their creators have no idea what they’re doing.  Attempts to be sensational and to get attention are evident in movies like Divination, and this is clearly not the message that needs to be communicated.  It’s disappointing when interesting concepts like spiritual warfare are wasted, but hopefully someone can learn something from this mess.

 

Final Rating: -1 out of 10 points