Bible Blockbusters and Christian Approval

Sometimes it can be hard to tell which movies will be taken up by conservative Christians. Sometimes a positive message is enough, which is why the Christian PR firm Grace Hill Media is now promoting, say, The Monuments Men, in which the characters’ quest apparently “mirrors the life of sacrifice and service we are called to live as Christians.” Heck, a Christian movie doesn’t even need to have a message, it just has to be not objectionable. (See: The Tree of Life.)

Lately though, whether or not a movie could be “Christian-approved” seemed to rest more often not on the “message” but on the declared religious affiliation of the work’s creator. Thus, the Chronicles of Narnia was marketed as “Christian,” because, well, C.S. Lewis; and the Harry Potter movies were not (although they won over some Christian critics). The movie adaptation of The Golden Compass, by confessed atheist author Phillip Pullman, tried to play it both ways—dulling down the anti-Catholic overtones and reaching out to Christian youth—but as I wrote elsewhere at the time, they pleased no one.

Brook Wilensky-Lanford is the author of Paradise Lust: Searching for the Garden of Eden (Grove Press, 2011) and the editor-in-chief of online literary magazine Killing the Buddha.

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