Noah’s Ark [1999] (Series Review)

Plot Summary

If Hallmark is to be believed, Noah lived in Sodom with Lot and constantly tried to stop people around him from fighting wars.  Then a strange version of God decided to scare Noah into building an ark to save him and his white family.  Once on the ark, the storm comes, and Noah and her family are all stuck there.  Thus, they begin acting crazy and absurd until it’s finally all over with.

 

Production Quality (1.5 points)

Who knew Hallmark dabbled into Bible series in the 1990s?  For the most part, the production of Noah’s Ark is fine, especially when it comes to video quality and camera work.  However, there are some random lapses of audio quality throughout, along with a loud soundtrack.  Sets and locations are also somewhat limited considering the intended scope of this film, but props are fine.  There are also some very cheap special effects and obviously fake backgrounds, but the editing is surprisingly fine, and other elements show some improvement throughout.  In the end, this is just an average production, but there are a lot of other issues to point out in this series.

Plot and Storyline Quality (-1.5 points)

When a Bible movie or series begins with a disclaimer telling you that they took creative license with a historical account, they are basically telling you to get ready for a whole lot of crazy.  What is the actual point of altering historical accounts for fun?  What if somebody altered more recent historical accounts for personal enjoyment?  Trying to squeeze Lot, Sodom, and Gomorrah into the story of Noah is just all wrong and cripples this series before it even begins.  Besides these obvious problems, the portrayal of God in this series is downright strange and bizarre, but this is only a part of this series’ overall weirdness.  There are other bizarre characters and insinuations, fueled by strange dialogue and useless asides that waste time.  Along with this comes several off-the-wall attempts at comedy and some totally head-scratching drug-trip moments that come close to making this debacle a parody.  In short, there really isn’t much good to say about this section.

Acting Quality (1.5 points)

Like many attempts at bringing Bible stories to life, Noah’s Ark gives no care to cultural authenticity in casting, mixing American and BRITISH cast members of recognizable names to sell this show.  Besides this, the cast is overall too dramatic, even though they do have plenty of good moments.  The costuming is also fine, but it’s not enough to make this section any more than average.

Continuity Quality (1.5 points)

Though this ‘series’ only has two episodes, the continuity is mostly fine.  There are some interesting character arcs and story arcs, but the many blatant content errors are complete inexcusable.  Thus, this mishandling of historical fact brings this whole series down in flames.

Conclusion

Too often, Bible movies and series become about Hollywood trying to make some quick bucks on a Christian audience.  But don’t get too high and mighty, Christian film makers—you do it too.  Even Christians sometimes take great ‘creative’ license with historical accounts (see The Book of Esther).  The bottom line is that there are so few good Bible movies and series on the market, and this is an absolute travesty.  Biblical films and series should be the best of the best, not a laughingstock.  We’re still waiting for this day to come.

 

Final Rating: 3 out of 14 points

 

The Treasure Map [1999] (Movie Review)

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Plot Summary

Edward White Eyes finds himself in a problematic position when his grandfather has a sudden heart attack while driving through rural Oklahoma, thus forcing him to have to stay in a recently renovated bed and breakfast full of white homeschooled kids.  One of the kids, Nathan, doesn’t like Edward’s Cherokee (?) heritage or the fact that the bed and breakfast is so full with unknown guests that Edward must share his room.  What’s more is that the white kids discovered a treasure map written in a language only Edward can understand, and it could tell the deep secrets of the formerly dilapidated mansion.  In the end, this Bob Jones film attacks the problem of racism against Native Americans (?) head on in a hard-hitting homeschool epic.

Production Quality (-2 points)

We are convinced that The Treasure Map was filmed on a videotape camcorder.  Of course, they likely didn’t have access to much else in 1999, but still.  This production is obviously and ridiculously cheap, with grainy video quality and horrible sound quality.  The sets and locations are passable, but everything just screams backwards homeschoolers.  As a side note, I am not discriminatory against homeschooling—I was a homeschooler through high school.  The problem with movies like this and entities like Bob Jones is that they make all homeschoolers look like white racist fundamentalist patriarchal fools.  But I digress.  Treasure Map’s musical score is perhaps the most annoying we have ever experienced, like it was ripped off of some cheesy white Christian kids music video.  There is really nothing good to say here, and we have only just begun,

Plot and Storyline Quality (-3 points)

The movie begins with every other line being narrated.  From there, the unrealistic time-lapse renovation of a ‘haunted’ mansion is displayed, complete with ridiculous homeschooling stereotypes, like kids not getting any education accomplished and matronly mothers constantly working in the kitchen and cleaning up the house.  Then comes the Native Americans, two characters who do not seem even remotely descended from tribal nations.  Edward is likely the most absurdly mumbling character ever to grace a video screen, with more than half of his lines being indiscernible.  How ridiculously obvious can a name like Edward White Eyes get?  Nathan is an immature racist until he gets ‘fixed’ and becomes a perfect character.  It seems like the entire goal of this plot is to ‘Christianize’ the ‘heathens’ and the treasure antidote is just an excuse to make a movie.  Not a single thing is really accomplished in this so-called plot except for running around looking for ‘treasure’, building teepees, doing tribal dances, dressing up in tribal stuff, going back and forth to the hospital, and attempting to deliver dialogue.  This plot is likely a window into the worldview of Bob Jones University, a very scary place indeed.

Acting Quality (-3 points)

Did we mention that the ‘Native American’ actors are actually Caucasian?  Apparently Bob Jones only employs white actors and actresses.  Besides this, this cast is the worst we have ever seen, with terrible mumbling line delivery and no believable emotions.  Those that can actually say discernable words are over the top and robotic.  Once again, another horrible section for The Treasure Map.

Conclusion

As an added bonus, Treasure Map received the first ever negative x-factor point for being especially horrible in every possible way.  It’s no coincidence that Bob Jones University named their filming arm Unusual Films, because that’s exactly what this movie is.  White backwards patriarchal Christian fundamentalism is on display for the world to see in this film, and we found it overall offensive and repulsive, besides the fact that this is just an epic-ly terrible movie, thus garnering the lowest overall score to date from Box Office Revolution.  With no potential whatsoever, The Treasure Map should have never been made and can now only serve as a textbook example of an awful Christian film.

Final Rating: -9 out of 10 points