27 March 2013

Movie Review: "Gods and Generals"

Rated: PG-13 for sustained battle sequences
Starring: Jeff Daniels, Stephen Lang, and Robert Duvall
Released: February 21, 2003 (theatrical)
Synopsis: A sweeping epic charting the early years of the Civil War and how campaigns unfolded from Manassas to the Battle of Fredericksburg, this prequel to the film Gettysburg explores the motivations of the combatants and examines the lives of those who waited at home.
(From the DVD's Amazon.com page)

WARNING! The below sections may contain spoilers!
Story: 3.5/5
I'm not a history buff at all; in fact, I always considered social studies my worst subject.  Nonetheless, I found Gods and Generals to be not only an involving piece on history, but a portrait of the Christian faith.  (More on that later.)  Unfortunately, a sad, though likely historically accurate, ending, and a cliffhanger ending, along with a boring moment here and there, made this a bit imperfect.

Production Values: 5/5
Gods and Generals was obviously a big-budget production, and it shows.  The realism is everywhere, and at no point did I get the feeling that they were just actors on a set; it really takes you back in time.  I don't know what to say other than that.

Christian Content: 6/5
A new category? Yes, but Gods and Generals deserves a review in that department.  From the start until nearly the end, God, the Bible, and Christian faith are all portrayed in a positive light, which some might find surprising from a movie produced by Ted Turner.  Sometimes, I felt like I was watching a celluloid version of a Brock and Bodie Thoene novel.

Moral Content: 3/5
Gods and Generals was rated "PG-13" by the MPAA for "sustained battle sequences," and they are the main concern.  Though most of the war violence is neither bloody nor graphic, some of it is the former, and a little of it falls into the latter category.  There are also some dashes of profanity and alcohol consumption, though there is no nudity and sexual content is limited to kissing.  Also of note: A child dies of a sickness.

Conclusion: Anyone who thinks Hollywood in recent years is devoid of faith in God need look no further than Gods and Generals, which respectfully portrays Christians in an allegedly historically accurate setting.  Some of you may be thinking of Ted Turner's notorious declaration, "Christianity is for losers"; he may have said that, but his film says otherwise.  I doubt I will be watching this ever again--it was a bit of a grueling journey--but I have to say that it is one of the best history-themed flicks I have ever seen.

Score: 3.5/5

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