As someone who’s barely even heard of the franchise, what’d I think of its final chapter?
Before the review, first a little backstory.
Yesterday, on a whim at 3:28, my brother and decided to go see a 3:30 showing of War for the Planet of the Apes. Luckily, we were standing right outside the movie theater, so we bought our tickets and headed in. The problem? We’d never even seen (and barely even heard of) the previous two films in the trilogy. I’d seen the trailers and heard the buzz, so I was intrigued.
We plopped down in our plastic-y AMC movie theater seats and sat through 20 minutes of uninteresting, unmemorable trailers. Finally, the movie began, and from that opening minute to the final minute of its over two-hour run time, my brother and I were enthralled. A lot of these characters we didn’t even know the names of, yet we reacted viscerally and deeply when they struggled. The beautiful soundtrack played softly in the background throughout the film, enhancing the movie’s scenes. The special effects were fantastic, and language was nonexistent until the film’s last fourty minutes or so. To add on to all that, the acting was phenomenal.
When the credits rolled, I got up from my theater seat in shock. Literally. As I walked out of the theater, I had no idea what to say. As my brother and I met our parents outside to eat dinner at the mall, I had no idea how to describe the experience I’d just been through. I’d fallen in love with a bunch of characters I’d never met before as their story reached a gripping climax.
Do I recommend the film? Highly. Not for younger kids, definitely, due to the high-stakes and intensity, but teens and adults will do fine. Violence never becomes gratuitous, but the film does have quite a few battle scenes.
The Case for Christ excels ahead of its predecessors by actually being good.
I just got back from seeing the brand new Christian movie, The Case for Christ, based on Lee Strobel’s apologetics classic of the same name. What the verdict? It’s an amazing film.
Let me preface my review with this— I am Christian that strongly dislikes 99% of the Christian films being released today. Films like God’s Not Dead, though their motivations are noble, because the filmmakers don’t care about quality or strong writing because they know the Christian audience will eat it up anyway. That’s a discussion for another time, though. The point is— I am a critic of modern Christian filmmaking. So, when I heard Lee Strobel speak at my church, saying there were no cringey moments in this film, I rolled my eyes. The plot twist here? He wasn’t lying.
The Case for Christ, directed by Jon Gunn, succeeds where its aplogetics film predecessors like the God’s Not Dead films failed— it’s legitimately good and well-written. I was floored by how well-made it actually was. While God’s Not Dead is practically a cringe-fest with poor writing and a shameless ad for the Newsboys, The Case for Christ tries a little something unconvential— it tries to be good. Even the cinematography here looks like they put serious thought behind it— it looks, really, really good.
Where else does the film succeed where its Pure Flix predecessor failed? It’s accessible. Whereas God’s Not Dead depicted athiests as one-dimensional hate mongers with no conscience or emotions, The Case for Christ offers a compelling (and true) tale of an investigative journalist searching for evidence to disprove God’s existence to his wife, while also unwraveling a strange mystery about a cop that got shot. Throughout the film, we see Lee’s shortcomings, but we also see something we never saw from G.N.D.’s antagonistic Professor Rattison— humanity and emotion outside of anger. The evidence is also depicted in a compelling and believable way that doesn’t come off as a sermon. It’s very organic and well-written.
The verdict? Watch the film. It’s incredibly well-done, and shows what Christian cinema could be— that is, good.