Is the Movie Unbroken Broken?

Unbroken-posterA few months ago I was sitting in the theater waiting for the featured film to start. As with any movie these days, there is an onslaught of trailers before the feature actually starts to roll on the screen.  One of the trailers that caught my attention was for a new film called “Unbroken” ( in theaters Christmas Day). The trailer caught my attention, most of all because of the book that chronicles the journey of WWII American Hero Louis Zamperini and how faith in Christ transformed his life.  I will say that after seeing the trailer, “Unbroken” looks like an entertaining and inspirational movie, but is this film worthy of my $12 dollars at the box office?

In order to answer the question, I did a little research and discovered there seems to be some concern about the content in the movie and the absence of key elements to the story of Louis “Louie” Zamperini. According to an article in the Christian Post, Pastor Greg Laurie states that he is disappointed that Director Angelina Jolie chose to leave out the WWII hero’s Christian faith in the upcoming movie. If you have read the book or viewed any of Zamperini’s  interviews, his faith is an important part of the story. Pastor Greg Laurie interviewed Louis Zamperini at the November 10, 2011 Harvest Crusade at Dodger Stadium. In the interview you hear about his amazing life story how he reflects on the importance of faith in Christ in his life.

Click here to view the interview;

I also discovered a few comments from Christian Media critic Ted Baehr.  Here is what Ted stated regarding the film.

“It could be a great movie, but not without the story of his “spiritual release.” Ted Baehr

It sure seems that his conversion is just as important as his physical release from imprisonment.  It’s like saying, which wing of the airplane is more important, the right or the left wing? It’s obvious that both wings are of vital importance. So it seems with this story, the faith elements are vital to the overall story.

So, is the film broken because of the deletion of Zamperini’s faith in Christ and his conversion at a Billy Graham Crusade in San Fransisco?  I also have to ask the question, why did the director leave out this part of the story? Is Hollywood pulling a “Noah” with  “Unbroken” and leaving us to believe that they are staying true to the original storyline? According to the “Unbroken” movie web site, Unbroken is the most inspirational and faith-revitalizing film you’ll see all year.  Is this just Hollywood’s spin to convince the faith audience that they should show up and support this movie regardless of the missing elements that is said to be deleted in the film?  Although Zampareini’s conversion story seems to be left out, there are some references to faith highlighted in the movie trailer, such as a pastor preaching to a young Zamperini: “However dark the light, however dim our hopes, the light will always follow darkness,” the pastor says. But is this enough to cover the bigger faith elements that are said to be missing from the film?

In the end, is Unbroken, broken?  If you are going to see the movie as purely entertainment, then I would say that it is not. If you are going to see the movie that is based upon the book and Zamperini’s complete life story, than I think the movie is broken. You will have to decide if seeing the film is worth your time and money.

At the end of the day, I really want to support this film and I am disappointed that the faith elements seem to have been deleted from the story. Do I feel the movie is worthy of my $12 dollars?   Well, yes I do. Having read the book, I will use it to fill in the complete back story as I watch the movie. Also, understanding that the film is not a conversional story, it will indeed be conversational with multiple lessons to learn about the survival and resilience of a true American hero.


Movie Synopsis;
Academy Award® winner Angelina Jolie directs and produces UNBROKEN, an epic drama that follows the incredible life of olympian and war hero Louis “Louie” Zamperini (Jack O’Connell) who, along with two other crewmen, survived in a raft for 47 days after a near-fatal plane crash in WWII – only to be caught by the Japanese navy and sent to a prisoner-of-war camp.Adapted from Laura Hillenbrand’s (“Seabiscuit: An American Legend”) enormously popular book UNBROKEN brings to the big screen Zamperini’s unbelievable and inspiring true story about the resilient power of the human spirit.Starring alongside O’Connell are Domhnall Gleeson and Finn Wittrock as Phil and Mac – the airmen with whom Zamperini endured perilous weeks adrift in the open Pacific – Garrett Hedlund and John Magaro as fellow POWs who find an unexpected camaraderie during their internment, Alex Russell as Zamperini’s brother, Pete, and in his English-language feature debut, Japanese actor Miyavi as the brutal camp.

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When The Game Stands Tall

 

When The Game Stands Tall

When The Game Stands Tall is in production in New Orleans and is slated to hit theaters in the Fall of 2014 (Sony Affirm Films). I have to say that I am excited to see this movie because of the lead actor (Jim Caviezel) who plays the coach in the movie.  Jim is a good actor and I really have enjoyed his film work over the years. I always remember the movie “Frequency” and loved the story and the father son relationship in Frequency.  Anyway – back to “When The Game Stands Tall.”  As I read the description for the film I am enthusiastic about the film because it is a sports film that in the end is not about sports. Sports is the vehicle that was used by the coach to teach the lessons of life to the high school kids in his care. It’s not about winning – but rather putting forth your best effort. Teaching about values, life and loss. The real stuff that happens in life and the game of footballs help high schooler’s prepare to navigate thru their journey.

So based upon what I see so far . . .

I am marking my calendar to see “When The Game Stands Tall” August 22,  2014!

Here is the Films Description:
When The Game Stands Tall – which tells the true story of legendary De La Salle High School football Coach Bob Ladouceur, (Caviezel), and his assistant coach Terry Eidson, (Chiklis), who took the Concord California Spartans prep team from obscurity to a 151-game winning streak from 1992 to 2003 that shattered all records for consecutive victories in any American sport. Known as “Coach Lad”, Ladouceur had little experience coaching football when he was hired at De La Salle, but through his unyielding focus on character-building, faith, responsibility and commitment, created one of the country’s greatest football dynasties.

Inducted into the National High School Hall of Fame and widely considered the greatest prep football coach of all time, Ladouceur’s spectacular achievements during his 34 years with the De La Salle Spartans include a historic 12-year, 151-game run of consecutive wins, 20 undefeated seasons, seven national titles, five CIF Bowl championships, 17 state championships and 28 CIF North Coast titles. When Ladouceur retired in January 2013, he was the all-time winningest coach in California having amassed one of the highest-winning percentage of any coach (.934 percent) with his 399-25-3 record.

“On the surface, it appears that these players just won a lot of football games, but what makes this story so special is that this is a coach who placed little value on winning, instead focusing his players on giving ‘a perfect effort’ in life,” said producer David Zelon. “Underneath it is a resounding testimonial about how much more kids can achieve when they are challenged with responsibility and commitment.”

Here is a trailer for When The Game Stands Tall: