Mister Scrooge to See You! (Movie Review)

Plot Summary

What if a year after his transformation, Ebenezer Scrooge, with the help of Jacob Marley, was randomly transported through time to the modern era, where the descendant Jacob Crachit was being just as miserly was Scrooge once was?  Puzzled by modern things, Scrooge tries to fulfill his mission to save a struggling small town diner from the cold heart of Crachit.  Will he be able to do it in time?

 

Production Quality (1 point)

Much like other productions from Salty Earth, Mister Scrooge has its share of drawbacks.  Video quality is fine, as usual, as is audio quality, except for some weird echoes for dramatic effects.  The soundtrack is generic.  However, there are some very cheap special effects throughout that make for an odd experience.  There are also some cheesy props to contend with, as well as limited sets and locations.  Furthermore, as is to be expected, the editing is relatively choppy.  Thus, this is just another low-quality production with too much ambition.

Plot and Storyline Quality (0 points)

It’s one thing to craft a creative take off of a familiar story, but this film goes a bit too far.  The intertwined past\present plots are too confusing to follow, and creating a cinematic universe for the characters of the famous Charles Dickens novel is problematic.  What’s the point of the unexplained time travel elements?  As we’ve said before, all time travel should be avoided in stories.  Besides this, Mister Scrooge is just a blatant retread of the former story, just with a Christian spin and a worn out save-the-diner plot.  There are also too many strawman characters, including a cheesy and stereotypically evil anti-Christmas businessman villain.  In addition to this is mindless dialogue, forced comedy, and too many head-scratching moments to take this movie seriously.  It’s very hard to understand what was meant by this plot.

Acting Quality (1 point)

Most of the time, this cast is overplaying their roles, as if they do not trust the audience to understand what they are doing.  This comes off as annoying, as do the plastic emotions.  However, there are a few good moments here, such as Torry Martin playing Santa.

Conclusion

We can understand the desire to be creative and to offer a unique take on a familiar story, but this is just all wrong.  You can’t be so different that you isolate your audience.  Besides this, the production is too low quality, and the acting is too off-putting for the film to truly be taken seriously.  Most of the time, it’s difficult to understand what exactly Salty Earth is going for, but maybe one day they will find their niche.

 

Final Rating: 2 out of 10 points

 

The Open Door [2017] (Movie Review)

Plot Summary

When Madison’s mother dies tragically, she is left with the custody of her special needs brother, Sam.  She had tried to escape from him by striking out of her own because she felt jealous of the attention he received, but now they are forced to live together.  However, Madison’s landlord takes an interest in Sam and takes him under his wing.  Together, the three of them learn about God’s love for every person, regardless of their needs.

 

Production Quality (1.5 points)

Much like their freshman project The Return, Salty Earth Productions appears to mean well with most things they do.  This is a mostly average production, and it sports good video quality.  However, there is some odd lighting in parts, especially in the flashbacks.  Sometimes camera work is too stationary, and sets, props, and locations tend to be limited and cheap-looking.  However, there is production improvement throughout, especially with the outside scenes.  Yet the soundtrack is sometimes too loud and there one too many musical montages.  Also, there are unnecessary fades and cumbersome transitions sprinkled throughout.  However, this production is overall good enough to be average.

Plot and Storyline Quality (0 points)

Much like The Return, The Open Door is based on a good, well-meaning idea that doesn’t really follow through or completely deliver.  Most of the time, the storyline is too vague and underwhelming.  The plot is too muted, slow, and drab.  It is also extremely simplistic—concepts are portrayed in slightly juvenile fashions at times.  Since this is a character-based plot, and since there are few characters, they need to be developed through more meaningful dialogue.  However, the flashbacks and psychological elements utilized throughout are interesting, yet they are not enough to really hold the attention.  In the end, this is another nice try, but not good enough.

Acting Quality (1.5 points)

With a similar cast to The Return, these cast members in this film appear to mean well, even though they tend to be awkward.  Too many lines are forced and too many emotions come off as very unnatural.  Yet there are enough good moments here to make this an average contribution.

Conclusion

The Salty Earth team is showing some improvement, and they do continue to show attempts to portray real people.  It’s possible that this cast could be better with more upgraded coaching, yet they need some way better lines to work with.  A character-based plot like this one needs to contain very deep and complex characters, especially since there are so few of them.  But unfortunately, this sort of film is hard to come by in the Christian industry.

 

Final Rating: 2.5 out of 10 points

 

https://vimeo.com/191292401