Saturday, June 23, 2012

Brave - Movie Review

Pixar did it again! Another great movie and this time the protagonist is a human and female. Yes, Merida is the defiant daughter of King Fergus and Queen Elinor. With a mop of wild red hair and a burning free spirit to match, Merida sets herself to run her own fate. Angered by her sudden betrothal and parent's search for a suitor, she embarks in making her own destiny. She defies tradition and female protocol by becoming an agile archer and ignoring proper feminine etiquette. But it is this stubborn spree that turns her kingdom upside down.

Full of laughs and Scottish wit this movie is a laugh-out-loud success. The scenery is just beautiful and the animation is fantastic! There are several times when it is a little difficult to understand the characters due to their Scottish brogue, but I think that might be the point. True to their feisty nature, there are several brawls and fights.  The movie also really takes us into their culture, including some cliches and cuisine.

The only thing that a Christian family might have issue with this movie is that there are two scenes where several rear ends are exposed. Because all the men wear kilts, maybe it was bound to happen. So yes, there are several men walking around at night and their butts are in plain sight. The other scene is of the King's red-headed, trouble-making triplet boys as they run around naked in a field, but again, it is only their rear ends that are shown and briefly. Towards the end of the movie the Queen mentions that she is "naked" under a tapestry and the King tells the on-lookers to look away. There is an older very heavy set woman that also has very low cleavage. It is not sexual in any way, she is just a rotund gal. There is a key that she hides in her bosom that the triplet boys end up getting from her and a brief close up shot of one of them diving in to get the key is shown. Also, for smaller children there is a very ugly black bear that is shown several times and one scene that includes a brutal bear fight that might be a bit frightening. There is no gore or blood though, but the bear does get hit several times with multiple arrows. True to most fairy tales, there is magic, spell casting and a witch, but nothing scary.

Overall the movie was fantastic! My daughter (4) never took her eyes of the screen. The movie has a great moral ending that we can all learn from.

Some subjects you can talk about with your children: Pride, Female and Male roles, Forgiveness, What haggis is made up of, Scottish heritage, Stubbornness, What is marriage

Rating: 8 stars out of 10
Length: 100 minutes
Rated: PG for for some scary action and rude humor

Wednesday, June 20, 2012

Book Review - The Murder of Jesus

I am always amazed at the impact the Cross still has on me. To the Christian, the Gospel should never cease to astonish us. Jesus died for us while we were still sinners and that just shakes me to the core. The torture and shame that He endured for someone as worthless as me momentarily brings me to a sense of unworthiness (and rightly so); but then elates me and makes me forever thankful for His salvation. It brings the quote: "God doesn't love me because I am special. I am special because God loves me" to a heightened understanding.

The Murder of Jesus magnifies the last hours of Jesus' life and provides a lot of information of all the surrounding factors that lead to the death of our Savior. The whole book is an exegesis of arguably the most crucial point in Christian history. John MacArthur uses all four Gospels wonderfully as he unravels the story of, as MacArthur states, "the worst crime ever committed". He also provides information about the world of the Pharisees and other religious leaders. He goes into the Greek of many important words several times throughout the book in order for us to get a better grasp of what the author was trying to emphasize. Several times he does give just his personal opinion on things, but he is always clear to say that it is just that, an educated opinion.

Jesus says in John 10:17-18: "The reason my Father loves me is that I lay down my life —only to take it up again. No one takes it from me, but I lay it down of my own accord. I have authority to lay it down and authority to take it up again. This command I received from my Father.” This statement resounds throughout the book. The evil that was done to Jesus confounds us, but it is still easy to forget that Jesus was in control of what was done to Him. Not for one second, did He lose control of the situation.  He allowed this to happen. Jesus even told Pilate in John 19:11 who truly was in control! 

This book was a great read and I recommend it to anyone that is wanting to learn more about the surrounding factors of the trial and execution of Jesus. Because of it, I love my Savior even more for what He did for me and it opened my eyes even more to the sovereignty of God. 

Warnings: The book is not nearly as violent as it could have been. So this book is appropriate for younger readers.
Pages: 243
Rating: 8 stars out of 10
Click here to order the book through Amazon

John MacArthur included a webpage for this book. Click here to view more commentary and information about the murder of Jesus.