On the day of Jesus’ death, two thieves were crucified with Him–one on His left and one on his right. They were paying for their earthly crimes while Christ was atoning for the sins of all humanity. However, each of them had one last chance to accept redemption from the very Savior Who wanted to save them from their sin.
Production Quality (1.5 points)
It’s clear that the budget of The Two Thieves was quite limited, which is evidenced by some shaky camera work and some limited sets, props, and locations. However, the props therein are very culturally authentic and demonstrate good attention to historical detail. Elsewhere, video quality, audio quality, lighting, and the soundtrack are all good and are enough to keep this section average. Though editing is a bit limited as well, this production shows a good start to even greater things in the future.
Plot and Storyline Quality (2.5 points)
As The Two Thieves is basically the conceptual predecessor to The Chosen, it showcases the God-given talents of Dallas Jenkins, Tyler Thompson, and the rest of their creative team. This is evidenced by this storyline’s good adherence to Jewish cultural traditions and historical accuracy, which is seamlessly interwoven with deep characters who are developed through motive-revealing flashbacks and well-constructed conversations. The continuity between scenes is also great, and this is all done with a limited time frame. Elsewhere, the story feels very authentic and gritty as the writers are not afraid to be realistic about the hard times of first century Judea. Further, the non-linear plot style is a nice touch. In the end, this storyline is good enough to be nearly perfect, and the only thing holding it back is the time constraint.
Acting Quality (2 points)
Due to restricted funding, The Two Thieves was unable to assemble a fully authentic cast, but thankfully, the accents of the characters are realistic and well-done. Moreover, the lack of complete cultural realism is really the only main concern with this cast as they consistently portray believable emotions and mostly deliver their lines in professional manners. There are a few tiny concerns with line delivery, but in the end, this section demonstrates another reason why God called this creative team to make The Chosen.
As a whole, The Two Thieves proves that, when things are in order, a movie maker and their team can craft a deep story using a small budget. This offering is a perfect example of how short films can be used as a springboard to future greatness. Although this one didn’t quite make it all the way, it still provides a template for future creative teams to replicate.
After Jesus chose a majority of His followers, He began to slowly but surely reveal His nature to the world through public miracles and teachings. Though He mostly ministered in obscurity, His work drew the attention of multiple different spheres of influence: common people, powerful politicians, and power-hungry religious leaders. However, Christ never discriminated in who He chose to follow Him as He broke down social and cultural barriers in order to proclaim His love for all humanity.
Production Quality (2.5 points) Much like the first half of Season 1, this season’s second half boasts a very high-quality production that both lives within its means and makes the most of what it has. Though camera work can be a bit shaky at times, much like the former half, there are virtually no other production flaws to note here. Video quality and audio quality are both flawless as the camera captures poignant scenes that feel like real life. Sets, locations, and props are incredibly authentic and demonstrate extreme care for historical accuracy and attention to detail. Perhaps the most impactful element of the production is the exquisite soundtrack that is creatively and artistically placed to enhance key moments and to draw the audience into the story’s emotional experiences. Further, editing is seamless and presents a well-crafted plot in a professional manner. In the end, Dallas Jenkins and his very talented creative team have once again showcased their God-given talents in a very responsible manner that has revolutionized Christian entertainment at a time when it was desperately needed.
Plot and Storyline Quality (3 points) However, there’s still more to say. It’s undeniable that the extreme humanity of The Chosen’s characters are what make the series more than a run-of-the-mill Bible drama. Tyler Thompson and the other writers clearly went great lengths, as prompted by the Holy Spirit, to not only ensure the accurate cultural profiles of the characters but to also make them very flawed and relatable to all audiences, which is something other Biblical productions have been allergic to. The Chosen doesn’t just show the viewers a collection of well-known miracles and stories: the lead-up and fallout of each important event is carefully crafted and woven together with other intriguing subplots. All of this is good enough without even mentioning the way some scenes are presented in artistic manners that are nearly flawless in their presentation. Dialogue and conversations between characters are very deep, meaningful, and even philosophical at times, which is something we rarely see in Christian entertainment. Basically, there are more positive qualities in this section than can be named, which has warranted a separate discussion on how the subplots interlock and interact. In the end, The Chosen creative team has transformed the development of series and characters in Christian entertainment, and there’s no going back from here.
Acting Quality (3 points) With virtually the same cast from episodes one through four plus others who add more life than there already was, the acting of episodes five through eight does not waver from its previously perfect score. In fact, many of the cast members build off of their roles and become even more comfortable in their characters. Emotions are right on target such that they can be felt by the viewers, and line delivery is basically perfect. This cast is so heavily talented that it’s posing a good problem for Box Office Revolution’s upcoming Actor and Actress of the Year Awards, which is a type of dilemma we have unfortunately never been faced with in our reviewing experience.
Continuity Quality (3 points) Continuity is where many Christian series completely drop the proverbial ball because the episode are often disconnected and self-contained. However, every episode of The Chosen that has been released so far are somehow able to be both self-consistent as well as connected to the bigger picture, which is an important component of a great series. One way the continuity is best demonstrated in through the use of flashbacks to cover both previously overlooked New Testament stories along with relevant Old Testament accounts, and this latter inclusion is one of the added bonuses of episodes five through eight. Finally, the ending of each episode is epic and demonstrates how much this creative knows what they’re doing and how much they have relied on God to get this project right.
The second half of The Chosen’s first season also receives two x-factor points for presenting the greatest stories of history in the ways they should have been portrayed all along as well as for being re-watchable and binge-able. There’s hardly anything we would want changed about The Chosen at this point except for an even bigger budget to do better things with since Jenkins and the rest have demonstrated an ability to responsibly steward the resources God’s given them. As a side note, we receive no compensation or reward for our reviews and advertising of this series, but we wholeheartedly support its full release and strongly encourage you to both watch Season 1 during this year’s holidays and to share it with as many people as you can. This is first time a season of a Christian series has been critically acclaimed and placed on the Box Office Revolution Hall of Fame. We believe The Chosen has a rare, God-given opportunity to change not only the Christian entertainment world but also Christian culture as a whole because it’s a fresh, high-quality look at well-known stories that are timelessly relevant for all people.
Sam, Jamal, and Frankie are usually up to no good as they wander around the country, hopping from one money-making scheme to another. However, they end up stuck in a small town in the Midwest when they get on the wrong side of the local law enforcement. When they are about to be sentenced by the local judge, the local powerful businessman steps in to save them—in exchange for their services as his puppet pastors of the local church. All they have to do is please the congregation and collect enough money for a month, and then they can be on their way. However, things never really work out that simply in forced comedy films.
Production Quality (2.5 points)
Surprisingly, 3 Blind Saints has a considerably good production, especially for a film with a digit in the title. It checks all the right boxes, including video quality, camera work, lighting, and audio quality. The soundtrack is as goofy as can be expected, and sets, locations, and props are mostly standard. The editing is minorly choppy, but on the whole, this is a high quality production on paper, which garners a substantial amount of points.
Plot and Storyline Quality (-1 points)
Talk abut checking all the boxes—3 Blind Saints fulfills basically every criterion of a cheesy and predictable comedy premise that involves a collection of troubled non-Christian characters who are forced to lead a church, even though they have no idea what they are doing. There is nothing new or creative about this idea, and this story rushes by so quickly that it seems like the writers are trolling. The comedy therein is very forced and zany, including off-the-wall jokes, dialogue, and displays of idiocy. As previously mentioned, the plot progression is so steep that it sometimes makes fun of itself as it hits all of the typical plot points, including a cheesy romantic subplot, an inclusion of goofy locals, and a quick turnaround of the troubled protagonists. This goes without mentioning the generally childish feel to the film, as well as the shallow Christianity and the bizarre portrayal of God. Some sequences come off like Mel Gibson’s acid trips, thus warranting some negative points for this section.
Acting Quality (1.5 points)
This cast seems to be in on the trolling as they act over the top and try way too hard to be funny. There is, however, untapped potential with some of the cast members, and there are also a handful of good moments that keep this section from being useless. However, for the most part, emotions and behaviors are overplayed and mostly annoying.
3 Blind Saints feels like a cheap attempt to get some attention from the Christian audience. It can almost be passed off as a big joke, but it bears too close of a resemblance to some Christian movies that are supposed to be serious. Whatever the creators of this film were going for, they mostly failed—perhaps on purpose. Either way, it’s really quite pointless.
Jimmy Mitchell is a special boy. Though he is afraid of water, he is able to see angelic beings known he calls ‘Watchers’ all over his small mountain town. His father is a defense attorney and his mother is a clerk at the local courthouse, so Jimmy is not unfamiliar with the legal process. But he is still unsure of what to do when he overhears one of his father’s clients planning to commit a crime, even though he has been recently acquitted. Jimmy must determine whether or not he is going to overcome his fear to do the right thing no matter what.
Production Quality (2 points)
As is the custom for Whitlow Films, the production quality of Jimmy is above average. The camera work is solid and the camera work is mostly good. The video quality and sound quality are good, but not great. The sets, locations, and props are authentic. Overall, there is not much else to be said here—the production of Jimmy is neither extremely negative nor game-changing. However, it is a step above most Christian films and is likely the best they could have done with the resources available.
Plot and Storyline Quality (1.5 points)
Adapted from another Robert Whitlow book, the plot of Jimmy is solid for a down to earth small town story. The characters are true to life and their emotional struggles are real. Unfortunately, the book’s plot is more dynamic than that of the movie’s. The adaptation is not fully complete and the movie seems subdued and muted. There is nothing glaringly wrong with the plot of Jimmy, but it just doesn’t make it past the average mark. In addition to this, to no one’s surprise, Whitlow elected to use the alternate ending of the novel for the movie. We felt that the alternate ending is what makes the book as creative as it is. Without it, the storyline seems incomplete. Therefore, as is reflected by the score, Jimmy is reduced to an average plot.
Acting Quality (2.5 points)
The acting is the strongest point of this film. The film is well-cast and the actors and actresses are well coached. The only thing that keeps this portion from being perfect is its lack of excellent quality. The acting is great, but not excellent.
Jimmy is a heartwarming film that portrays special needs people in a very good way. Though Robert Whitlow sometimes tends to be too sensational, Jimmy avoids this pitfall. It contains creative conceptions of what special needs people may experience. The bottom line is that the important message of this film should not be missed: all people deserved to be treated as humans created by God. Thankfully, this message is not marred by awful production like many Christian films. It is only too bad that Jimmy was not dynamic enough to make the Hall of Fame.
In a moment of decision that altered his life’s course forever, Ben Walker left his chance to go into full-time ministry and marry his longtime girlfriend behind and instead entered the cutthroat business world to pursue a six-figure salary. He achieved the salary and snagged a fiancée that looked good next to him, but he never found something to satisfy the emptiness within. Hence, his car is hijacked by a mysterious tow truck driver who claims to be an angel and Ben is transported to an alternate timeline where he gets to live as if he had married his old girlfriend and gone into full-time ministry. Unable to escape his alternate life, Ben is forced to play along and discover what the true meaning of life is.
Production Quality (3 points)
There are really no production errors to speak of in What If… The camera work is professional and the editing is straightforward. It is difficult to pull this type of plot without including cheesy production elements, but What If… avoids these pitfalls. The sets are diverse and there are no video or sound quality errors. The soundtrack is effective. This film takes the route of not committing errors and while it does not do anything dynamic, it also does not turn off the viewer. This is a well-done production.
Plot and Storyline Quality (2 points)
While there is nothing original with this sort of parallel universe plot, this rendition is a good one. The plot twists are minor but the dialogue is good. The characters are believable, as are most of the events of the plot. There are some predictable elements and while the overall plot is quite simple, there are once again few errors committed. There is truly funny humor throughout that is not overdone. The only caveat here is the confusing end that seems to force a certain conclusion to occur. Otherwise, this is a very good plot.
Acting Quality (2.5 points)
In keeping with the theme of this movie, the acting is good without detracting from the overall movie. This is perhaps Kevin Sorbo’s best lead role. John Ratzenberger is cast very well. The only issue Box Office Revolution has with the acting in What If… is the fact that there is no excellent acting, just great acting. But when considering many Christian films, this is truly an accomplishment.
What If… is a Christian film that is recommendable and may even appeal to some non-Christian audiences. In a field of poorly production Christian films, What If… stands out. It is created well enough to join the ranks of the best Christian movies. Christian film makers should delve deeper into these types of psychological genres without falling into typical plot patterns. What If… can be an example to follow.