The Printing [1990] (Movie Review)

Plot Summary

When the Communists and the KGB had a vice grip on Russia, they did everything they could do to stamp out any form of Christianity that did not adhere to their standards.  But no matter how hard they tried to control everything, even the churches, they could not control a secret group of underground Christians who was committed to printing the true words of a Bible on their secret printing press.  The Word of God spread regardless of government control—these historical events are depicted in this film.

 

Production Quality (1 point)

As a film from 1990, it’s clear that compared to others films in the time frame, a lot of money was put into The Printing, even though it still looks extremely archaic.  Video quality is sometimes blurry, but camera work is good.  Sets and locations are pretty good considering the limited budget.  Audio quality is inconsistent throughout, and the soundtrack is too dramatic.  However, some action scenes are actually filmed pretty well.  As usual, editing is fairly poor as the film slogs on for over two hours.  But in the end, for the early 90s, this was probably as good as it was going to get in independent film making.

Plot and Storyline Quality (.5 point)

Though it’s based on interesting historical events and intriguing ideas, The Printing is far too long, boring, and protracted to be even remotely interesting.  There are far too many wasted sequences and long, drawn-out scenes.  Dialogue is too robotic, thus making stiff and wooden characters.  The premise is somewhat realistic, yet it is overly dramatic.  In contrast to the Communist propaganda depicted, The Printing borderlines on some capitalistic propaganda of its own.  Overall, the idea behind the film has potential, but the presentation is awful.  Thus, it would be worth a remake one day.

Acting Quality (.5 point)

As their casting pool was severely limited to those associated with Bob Jones University, they were unsuccessful in casting many culturally correct actors and actresses.  Some the attempts at faking Russian accents are laughable.  Though the costuming is culturally correct, most of the performances are too theatrical and dramatic.  Emotions are not very believable.  Thus, this is a disappointing section.

Conclusion

It is commendable to make this ambitious of an independent film in the early 1990s, and one can rarely go wrong with a good historical film.  Unfortunately, the presentation of The Printing is too drab and boring to reach any audiences.  It might be interesting to history enthusiasts, but it has no wide appeal.  This film, however, is better than other disasters produced by this studio (The Treasure Map, Project Dinosaur, and Appalachian Trial), but it still doesn’t make the mark.  Perhaps someone will make a better version of this film one day.

 

Final Rating: 2 out of 10 points

 

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Appalachian Trial (Movie Review)

Plot Summary

The Hart family wants to help the hurting Crandall family, so they decide to take them to their favorite camping spot in the Appalachian mountains.  However, the Crandall family, a father and his two sons, are not well suited to the outdoors at all.  Thankfully, the Hart patriarch is an expert outdoorsman and is well-versed in his ability to impersonate an Animal Planet narrator when he instructs others in his art.  But the most horrific thing happens when the Hart siblings and the Crandall brothers get lost on ‘the trail’ and take a wrong turn that sends them out into no man’s land.  But never fear, because Mr. Hart is ready to save the day with his Discovery Channel knowledge as Mrs. Hart does her women’s duty by staying at the tent and praying.  In the end, both families will learn heartwarming lessons of friendship, family, and faith.

 

Production Quality (.5 point)

Appalachian Trial is about what you can expect from a C-grade fundamentalist Christian production outfit.  The only positives are the fairly consistent sound quality and the pretty good camera work.  Otherwise, there’s nothing good to say here.  The video quality is grainy and the sets and locations are severely limited.  While the surroundings are basically realistic, no one really wants to watch a movie shot entirely inside of vehicles, at a fire pit, and in the flora and fauna of Appalachia.  The musical score is just about as annoying as it gets, like it was recorded by Bob Jones’ star music students on a flute and an old piano.  Finally, the editing is abhorrent.  This ‘film’ plays out like a bunch of outdoor and camping tutorials spliced together.  In fact, I wouldn’t be surprised if someone at Unusual Films saw the tutorials they play in class and decided to add some ‘drama’ to them, to splice them together in the reel to reel room, and to call that a movie.  Like seriously.

Plot and Storyline Quality (0 points)

There is zero plot content in this eighty-minute camping docu-drama.  The storylines are flat; no one wants to watch a grainy depiction of people driving, trudging through the forest, stacking wood, building fires, and making hot dogs.  The characters are childish, with the exception of Mr. Hart, who is a walking encyclopedia of outdoor knowledge with a radio voice.  Mrs. Hart fulfills all stereotypes of how fundamentalist Christians think motherhood should be.  Mr. Crandall is obnoxious and petty.  The kids remind us too much of kids from homeschool groups gone by.  The dialogue throughout is absurd and wooden.  If it’s any consolation, there is a pretty good gospel presentation, but it’s so deep into this mind numbing reject video that I seriously doubt anyone will ever find it.  Simply put, there is no plot here and therefore no points are awarded.

Acting Quality (0 points)

This tiny cast was never suited to be in a movie.  Not a single cast member needed to be cast.  This is not a personal attach on the actors and actresses, but some people should never be forced into acting.  I know I would never want to act and I would likely never allow myself to be cast.  Bob Jones seems intent on constantly casting awkward white people in all of their ‘films’.  Emotions are not conveyed well by the cast members and line delivery is terrible.  I’m sorry, but this just wasn’t their calling.

Conclusion

Another Bob Jones creation, another disaster.  But hey, at least it’s better than The Treasure Map!  Of course, improving from -10 points is a feat that could have been accomplished by anyone.  Unusual Films existed so early on in Christian entertainment history that they were likely the only ones making these sorts of films of their day, which should explain why entertainment is where it is today.  All Bob Jones ever wanted to do with these ‘films’ was push their white patriarchal fundamentalist Christian propaganda.  With no real ideas and terrible delivery, there was no reason to ever make ‘films’ like this.

 

Final Rating: .5 point out of 10 points