Wednesday, March 8, 2017

Movie Review – The Shack

**WARNING – SPOILERS! Come back and read this after you read the book/see the movie if you don’t want me to ruin anything for you.**

I attempted to go see the movie The Shack on Monday night for a little family-of-one FHE, but I ended up working a little too late and I’m WAY too old to see a 9pm showing on a weeknight. So alas I had to wait… until last night. Haha #thestruggle

Little not-so-secret about me. I love going to movies alone. Going with people can be fun too, but most of the time I enjoy going solo. Usually when I go solo to a movie I pick a time when the theater is unlikely to be busy/crowded. I HATE noisy theaters. I sit there wondering why the people around me never learned how to be normal/considerate humans that didn’t constantly make noise or check their phones in a public theater as I bite back the urge to say something to them. Yes, I am that person. Which is why I do what I can to prevent those annoying feelings by going at a less busy time. I totally botched that goal last night though when I picked not only the day the theater offers $5 movie, but it also seemed to be the time that Sun River (a retirement community in St. George) decided to all come to the theater. Ok, fine, maybe it wasn’t a sanctioned Sun River event, but there were a LOT of older movie goers yesterday. So not off to a great start. I was however excited to learn that the mini popcorn was also discounted that night down from $4.50 to $1.50. #score I was feeling pretty great about that steal of a deal, and then I tried to carry too much in my hands and I dropped my popcorn all over the ground. Wah. Wah. :( Luckily one of the theater workers ran to my rescue and got me new popcorn without me having to get back in the long concessions line. So after apologizing for covering their ground in buttery goodness I made my way into the crowded theater.

Now that I’ve set up the scene ad nauseam, should I actually start reviewing the movie?

But first, another little sidenote. :) When a book is made into a movie I like reading the book first so I know what to expect and then I’m always intrigued by what they decide to change when they turn it into a movie. That was the case with The Shack. I just finished the book last weekend so I was all set to see the movie and compare them.

First, let’s talk about Sam Worthington. I like everything about him being cast for this role except one thing. The book and movie very clearly point out that Mac is a farm kid from the mid-west. Well, Sam Worthington was born in England and raised in Australia (thank you IMDB). Needless to say, Sam has an accent that no boy from the mid-west would have. And it made it hard for me to believe him in this role when that accent crept into almost every line of dialogue spoken by Mac. Honestly that was one of my biggest critiques of the whole film.

Casting for God aka “Papa” (Octavia Spencer and briefly Graham Greene), Jesus (Avraham Aviv Alush), and the Holy Spirit aka “Sarayu” (Sumire Matsubara) I LOVED!! I think they all played their roles really, really well. And while I’m Mormon and am used to seeing images of God looking a certain way, it in no way made me feel like they were portraying Him inappropriately. I think the reasoning for why the book and, following suit, the movie showed God as a loving black woman made a lot of sense to me. And while I think we try so hard to fully understand who God is, I’m sure like Mac, we tend to think of God very differently than His true nature. So I liked the whole idea behind it and how everything worked when it was time for Mac to have a father figure. Also, can I just point out that Jesus reminded me a lot of my baby boyfriend (boyfriend I had as a young kid, not a young kid I am currently pursuing) so maybe I found him to be attractive. Nothing wrong with that right? :) I loved seeing someone from Middle Eastern descent portray Jesus. It felt really authentic. I also really liked the casting for “Wisdom” – the lady in the cave with the waterfall. Really the only casting that I didn’t love were the other kids besides Missy. Not sure why, but I just didn’t love them as those characters. #sorrykids

I loved the first 2/3s to 3/4s of the book, but I felt it got REALLY repetitive at times and so it took me a lot longer to finish reading the last few chapters than it did the first chunk of the book. I think the movie did a lot better job at moving the storyline forward without feeling too repetitive/stagnant. So kudos movie on that one.

Now, time for things the movie did differently than the book and my thoughts on it.

There was a point in the movie where Mac’s in a little row boat that starts taking on murky water and he starts sinking until Jesus comes to his rescue. When I was watching that scene I didn’t love it and wasn’t a huge fan of how that part and the walking on water scene unfolded. However, now that I’m thinking back on it I find myself liking that scene more and more because it feels a lot like real life. We start feeling overcome with a problem or challenge we’re currently facing and at times all hope seems lost. Until, of course, we remember to look to Jesus for help. In hindsight that may be one of my favorite scenes.

One change I didn’t like was how they showed the marking on the outside wall of the Shack right next to the front door during the scene where they found Missy’s dress. I have a really hard time imaging the FBI couldn’t have found out more about a serial killer who leaves such an obvious mark at part of the crime scene that isn’t found at other spots along the trail leading to the hidden bodies of his victims. Along with that, I was sad they didn’t include in the movie more about the trail Papa and Mac walked and all the different spots along the way the marking was shown including the process of Papa turning the rock at the front of the cave around as they were leaving to make sure that spot stayed marked. They showed a couple of the markings, but again I feel like the markings shown were WAY too obvious to have never been discovered during the normal course of the investigation/manhunt. And finally, the last point of this I want to touch on was how I hated that at the end of the movie Mac didn’t take his family to find Missy’s body and truly lay her to rest. That was such a pivotal piece of the book I felt that really brought legitimacy to Mac’s experience in the fact that he now knew how to find Missy’s body. So yeah, I’m kind of bitter about that part.

Another change I didn’t like was how they said the car accident happened on the way up to the cabin versus in the book it happened on the way back from the cabin. Again I just feel like it takes away from the legitimacy of Mac’s experience.

And of course I hated that the movie didn’t touch on the fact that because of Mac’s experience and how he was able to help the authorities find Missy’s body, they were then able to find the bodies of other victims of the lady bug killer AND were eventually able to find and arrest him. I was really sad to see that aspect not included in the movie.

In the end, I’m glad I read the book and then saw the movie because I feel like it gave me a more complete picture to work with. The movie was good. And I quietly cried through most of it. It’s not one I anticipate seeing over and over again, but I’m glad I saw it! 

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