Jake Casper is just a random teenager who stumbles upon a magical box while cleaning out his late grandfather’s attic. He discovers a magic nail inside that was used to piece the hand of Jesus. Since it’s Christmastime, Jake decides to go around and heal people with the magical power of the nail, even the most evil bully in town, who’s dying in a hospital bed. But will Jake and his friends be able to get past the security guards to save him?
Production Quality (1.5 points)
The Messenger’s Box has plenty of issues, but at least the production is mostly average. Video quality, camera work, and audio quality are all mostly fine. However, the soundtrack is generic, and sets, locations, and props are somewhat cheap, even though there is definitely effort here. Some flashbacks have an odd quality about them, and there are some cheesy special effects. The most obvious error here pertains to the very abrupt scene chances and transitions, like this film was chopped together in post. Basically, though there is effort here, it still only comes out as average.
Plot and Storyline Quality (0 points)
This film has one of the dumbest magical Christmas device plots ever. Everything about it is extremely juvenile and overly dramatic. Even with all of this, there is still not much content to speak of as not much happens outside of the magical elements and the awkward forced comedy sequences. Most of the dialogue is very forced and scripted, and a majority of it focuses on the magical plot device and other insignificant asides. Thus, this creates characters that are all fixated on either the magical ‘thing’ or on the dumbest sidebar topics. Besides this, they come off as uninspiring and flat rather than accessible and realistic. Essentially, whoever dreamed up this stupid idea of a film needs to seriously revamp their movie making process.
Acting Quality (0 points)
To match their characters, this cast is very robotic, stiff, wooden, and empty in most of their performances. Emotions are basically non-existent as everything is either very dramatic or very matter-of-fact. Line delivery is overly practiced. Unfortunately, there is very little positive to say about this extremely cheesy film.
Gary Bosek and his team obviously did not think this one through very well. Using Crystal Creek people as cast members is one thing, but basing your entire plot on a stupid ‘Bible’ magical device in a Christmas context is a completely worn out idea and is so juvenile that it has no place in Christian film. This is just all wrong as a movie and should have been scrapped from the beginning.
Gary is a local toy shop owner, but when a rude rival toy shop owner comes to town and tries to sabotage Gary’s business, Gary suddenly has to close down and look for work elsewhere. He knows that he shouldn’t be angry so he trusts God for the next step in his life. As his wife has their first child, Gary suddenly has an idea for a business venture and decides to pursue it. But little does he know that the rival toy shop owner is still miserable inside…
Production Quality (.5 point)
There’s not much to get excited about with this production. The only positive thing to mention is the clear video quality. The camera work is poor and some scenes have bad lighting. The audio quality is quite inconsistent, including an annoying Christmas soundtrack and sound effects. The sets and locations are limited and seem amateurish. Furthermore, the editing is quite choppy—some scenes are too long while others are too short. In short, there is really nothing much good to say here.
Plot and Storyline Quality (.5 point)
In an attempt to include more plot content, the writers had to also include large time jumps, spanning from one Christmas to the next (since everything has to happen at Christmas time). While there are slight attempts to be spiritually meaningful, there is too much heavy-handed messaging. There are also some slightly interesting flashbacks that attempt to build characters, but a majority of the characters are still cheesy stereotypes. This is mainly because the dialogue is very pedestrian and stock. This is not to mention the fact that the entire premise of the film, which is warring toy shops, is absurd and unrealistic. There are other happenings that are equally unrealistic, created for the sole purpose of the plot. In the end, this plot is quite predictable and needs to be reworked.
Acting Quality (0 points)
The casting work, unfortunately, brings out the amateurism of the creators. The acting is extremely wooden and stiff and line delivery is quite forced. There are really no emotions to speak of. Perhaps the worst part is the makeup, especially the eye makeup, which makes some people look like they have black eyes. Basically, there’s nothing good to say here.
The creators of Christmas Grace seemed like they meant well, but they needed to choose a more realistic premise for their plot. Honestly, in the advent of online ordering, nobody shops at toy stores anymore. Yet the provision of God during hard times could be communicated in a different way that is less cheesy and more realistic. At least there was some slight justification for this being a Christmas movie, and it definitely could have been better. This creative team has some potential in them, and it will be interesting to see what they do next.