I have to apologize about Soul Surfer.
This is actually an unusual apology. Usually when I’m apologizing about Christian films, I’m apologizing for how lame they are (sorry, just keeping it real). With Soul Surfer, that’s the furthest from the truth. I finally saw the film this past weekend with my family, and we all were completely blow away. It was not only truly inspiring, it was just a well done film. Wow.
I have to apologize, because it took me a few weeks to get this review to you. I was invited to a screening before the release, but couldn’t attend. I sent one of my other guys– a great writer and friend. He thought the film was okay, but a little cheesy. After posting his review, I took some heat.
My mistake was not dropping everything and going to see the film for myself on the day of the release. A film like this can be a really important tool for Christian youth workers and parents and the entire Christian community. I should have jumped in and provided my own opinion on the matter (after all, we’re all entitled to our opinions, and they differ).
On April 13th I posted a more positive opinion of the film from Todd Pearage, my main movie review guy. He loved the film and thought it was a great movie to bring kids to.
Todd wasn’t alone. The film is still in the top 10 at the box office (#7 this past weekend, only beat out by newer releases) and has more than made its money back. Let me tell you, audiences vote with their wallets, and they’re still voting “yes” in regards to Soul Surfer.
So finally, this past weekend, I grabbed my family and said, “Let’s go see this film.”
I’ll be honest. My kids weren’t that excited to go see it. My 17-year-old son even asked, “Do we have to?”
2 hours later, we were amazed. My whole family thoroughly enjoyed it. None of us regretted seeing it. Truly, a pleasant surprise.
Let me address a few myths about this film- opinions you shouldn’t believe:
MYTH 1: “It’s cheesy.” Sorry, don’t believe the hype. Soul Surfer isn’t anything close to cheesy. The producers actually paid for great talent and used an experienced director that did the film justice. More about that in my review of the film that I just posted today.
MYTH 2: “Lame effects.” I had heard that some of the digital effects looked fake. What effects? Honestly. I was looking out for bad effects, some of the ones my friend Matt Furby had mentioned (AnnaSophia Robb’s face digitally added to another surfer’s body), and I didn’t see anything noticeable. You want to see a bad digital effect of that type, go to one of the greatest digital effects films of the last 20 years, Titanic and look at Kate Winslet’s face as she’s running down the hallway of the ship flooded with water. That was a bad superimposed effect (and I still loved the movie). I didn’t see any effects even close to as bad as that in Soul Surfer.
MYTH 3: “Bad acting.” Nope. Not this film. The lead roles were all played by seasoned actors, and the bit parts were quality as well. Some of the guy surfers talked a little bit robotic… but I asked my kids if they thought those guys were bad actors, and they said, “Dad, they’re surfers. They sound like that!”
MYTH 4: “Gratuitous Bikini Shots.” Sorry. I’ve read numerous blogs and opinions talking about how inappropriate it was to show these girls in bikinis. First, consider the source. That being said, listen to my opinion. The film was very tasteful. Yes, there were bikinis. Yes, Bethany wears bikinis in real life. But the shots were tasteful. Hollywood has provided plenty of films with mere “eye-candy” as a selling point. For example, the surfing movie Blue Crush, a film full of “eye-candy” and sexual situations (I actually refer to that movie in this youth ministry programming article, “How to Make Your Movie Night Flop“). Soul Surfer is miles from this. And realize, my opinion is that of a father of two teenage daughters. I don’t let them wear two-piece swimsuits at school, at youth group, around any other teenage crowds. I do let them wear them with their other girl friends at my parents’ pool (when no guys are around to gawk). I’m also the guy who writes articles about the sexualization of young girls and how our society is over-sexualized. Soul Surfer isn’t even close.
So let me go on the record. Soul Surfer was amazing. If you haven’t seen it– do. It’s so worth it. That’s probably why it’s making more than its money back in the box office (which speaks loudly for a Christian film). I’m going to be buying this film when it’s released on BluRay.
Check out my detailed review of the film on our MOVIE REVIEWS & QUICK Q’s page HERE!