Monday, April 1, 2013

The Premise Behind Movie and Book Reviews

"...take captive every thought to make it obedient to Christ."
2 Corinthians 10:5b

     It's officially been over a year! There have been several different ideas we at The Thought Box have been tossing around, not the least of which is my topic today, movie and book reviews. I was the main inhibitor to making these happen, as I was afraid of the many different standards that are present in today's churches, everything from no movies to only PG to use your discretion to everything is permissible. I eventually realized that there was no possible way to please all of the differing standards and decided to let our writing staff have a go at it. We have a few planned, not the least of which being a review of Sherlock Holmes’ adventure The Hound of the Baskervilles which is a review I, for one, am looking forward to immensely. (By the way, this is not an announcement post; this is a premise/goal post that is tied to an announcement, so keep reading).
     The first question that anyone probably has is, what will you be reviewing? The answer is partially up to you, the reader, as we will accept ideas and requests for movies and books. It would also be partly up to the writers, as the reviews will not be on a standard rotation, they are bonus content, if I may be so bold to call it that (and I am).
     The second question would probably be, why? Why review books and movies when there are so many sites, such as PluggedIn and Film Reviews by People, that already break down the content of the movies? The answer isn't that we hope to supplant them or even compete with them; our goal is to supplement them. PluggedIn is a content review site, they look at the what in movies. Our goal at The Thought Box is to "take every thought captive" and look at the why of the movies and books. Why did the author/scriptwriter write this? What was his worldview and what was he trying to communicate?
     Take, for example, A Tale of Two Cities by Charles Dickens. A standard content review site, or synopsis breakdown (like CliffNotes) would tell you what happens in this master piece. My review would be more along the lines of; "....The dramatic flair and brilliant wordplay is a mere hint at the ideas he proposes in this novel. The opening lines, "It was the best of times, it was the worst of times," embody the core ideas of the book, even in the best of circumstances there is always a negativity. A pessimistic idea that is battled by Hope throughout the whole novel....." And I could go on about the power of hope in adversity and the paradox of life in a fallen world, but that’s not the point of this article.
     Frequently when we watch movies and read books we "unplug." We disconnect our thinking centers from our pleasure centers, and become lost in the entertainment. We are amused. Amused is actually am interesting word, it comes from the Latin prefix "a" meaning "not" and the Latin word "muse" meaning "to think." The literal definition of amusing is "to be entertained by a lack of thought." Movies and TV shows like The Three Stooges are very a-musing; they inspire a lack of though, and have no real substance to dwell on. There will probably not be very many reviews of such movies on here, not because we believe they are any worse than other movies. They won't be featured simply because there aren't enough thoughts to analyze.
     Books such as Dickens' works, or Doyle's, and movies like Batman Begins, and even some like Finding Nemo, are more likely to be reviewed because of their deep thoughts on the nature of man and the current and historic philosophies of mankind.
     The point is, we're hoping that our analytic reviews give you more than what the media is made of. Not, "What does the cake look like?" But, "What does the cake taste like, and what is it made of?"


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