Monday, June 9, 2008

Passage to Zarahemla

Passage to Zarahemla
Rated ~ PG-13
107 Minutes
Nicole’s Rating: B-

Before watching this movie, I had the accustomed feeling that this was going to be typical Mormon movie, with all the same cheesy lines, typical 6 kid family and the usual moral conflicts. Even though this movie had these basics, it worked. It had more of a storyline and was more entertaining that any other LDS cinema I’ve seen since the start of the Mormon genre.

Kira and her brother Brock have lost their mother to a battle with drugs, leaving them with the fate of being split up in the foster system. Not wanting this, they steal a car and head off to Utah where they have a family that is vaguely a memory. During their stay there, they find a portal that leads into a time lap bringing two different eras together, but it also brings the two territorial conflicts into play with one another.

The concept of the film was great, I love movies about time warps, but there were a bit too many side stories. I could have gone without the side story of L.A. gangsters. They seemed a bit too stereotypical, over played and their tattoos seemed to change (I notice small things like this during movies). Instead of overplaying the gangsters, I would have loved to see the movie extend on the love story between Kira and Kiddoni. You can get the concept of where they were coming from, but I just wanted a bit more. The side story of the father and his short-term memory loss just seemed out of place. I thought it was going to some key to the end of the movie, but it never truly went anywhere; just one more side story. The warriors were the best part of film, even though one of them looked too “white” and I just felt as if he didn’t mix in with the rest of the tribe. The costumes were great (minus a couple of bad wig placements).

Overall this movie kept my interest. It’s great for a small history lesson about the war between the Nephiphites and Lamanities and also does well in telling of the LDS culture and beliefs. I just think if there were about 15 more minutes of movie it could have been excellent and answered a few questions. A great flick for family with younger viewers.


Chris Heimerdinger said...

This is a very honest and sincere review. My favorite yet! I even agree with some of your comments! (Except for the one about LA gangsters. Those guys drove much of the movie's suspense and the fact that final consequences that face the gang leader at the end earn some of the funnest comments from other viewers.)

Nevertheless, I find it interesting that almost EVERY reveiw of my film begins with "I expected less" or "I've been so burned by LDS movies..." or "I hate almost all LDS movies, so I was surprised by this one."

Wow! What this tells me is that Latter-day Saint filmmakers have MAJOR work ahead for them if they ever want to reclaim a tainted audience that had to sit through such LDS cimena masterpeices as "The Hometeachers" and "Beauty and the Beast." (I really hate to mention titles because inevitably someone will be offended: "Hey, I really LIKED that one!!!") Many actually feel this is a dead genre, a laughable genre, and have no desire to offer LDS movies any support for the forseeable future.

A sad state of affair for LDS cinema, but I sincerely believe LDS filmmakers brought it upon themselves.

In any case, I can only hope that most viewers see that "Passage to Zarahemla" stands out from the others. Yes, we had as low a budget as many LDS films, and yes this may have caused a few "bad wig placements." But I doubt that any other LDS film has ever been such a labor of love. And just a plain LABOR! When your budget is low, and there's no talent to back make up for a lack of money, then the inevitable result will always be a bad film. Hopefully, if there are any LDS film investors left, they will take this statement to heart.

Thanks again.

Chris Heimerdinger

Chris Heimerdinger said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
BeatlesDiva said...

Chris, I loved the concepts and the direction you took with the film. A great job for your first time directing and producing! I wish you all the luck in the future.

Anonymous said...

Dear blogger,
Thank you for your positive review of Passage to Zarahemla. You have been wonderful! I just wanted to let you know that there is a Passage to Zarahemla widget, and we would love for you to host it on your blog if you are interested. The widget contains the trailer, the making of the movie (great behind the scenes info), a link to the blog, a little about the movie, music that is downloadable, and a buy now option. A widget is a portable web application that you can very easily install on your blog. Do you think you would be interested in having this widget on your blog? Let me know and I will send you the link so that you can easily embed it. Thanks again for your review and hope to hear from you soon.

Alayna Ferrin
Public Relations
Cobalt Communications Group