‘Saving Christmas’ Review: Save Yourself from this Movie!

Posted in The Screening Room by - December 22, 2015

Boy is Saving Christmas awful. Let the italics make it clear I’m talking about the film made by Kirk Cameron and Darren Doane, not the cause to save Christmas from someone like The Grinch or from someone like Kirk Cameron and Darren Doane for that matter.

Saving Christmas is about Kirk Cameron trying to convince his brother-in-law Christian White that Christmas is worth it, and not a cynical, commercial enterprise that’s not even purely connected to Jesus Christ. And that’s it, really. No, really. This movie is mostly a Kirk Cameron lecturing to his brother-in-law about Christmas and just a few of the topics revolving around it such as Santa Claus, the Christmas Tree, why it’s celebrated on December 25th, and so on.

Saving Christmas ends about forty times in its scant running time of eighty minutes. It begins with Kirk Cameron outright giving away the message of the movie, followed by each monologue he gives to his brother-in-law, in which he claims he has been convinced, only to later reveal that he hasn’t really and on we go to another monologue. Then the monologues end, but because the movie is not long enough, it fills the gap with a long, extended sequence pointlessly slowed down with slow motion, and because the movie is still not long enough, it’s followed by a long breakdancing sequence, and because the movie is STILL not long enough, the movie’s end credits are interrupted by bloopers.

The movie is a personal affront to human intelligence by all accounts. Through voice-over Cameron attempts to explain every single thing in the film, every character motivation, every storytelling decision in a way that almost comes off as metafictional. There’s no hint that this was the intent, but instead it seems to be the result of Cameron thinking the audience is too dumb to be convinced by any of his arguments. The movie wants to be a documentary of sorts with a fictional framing device, or at least, that’s what it seems to be going for but as said before, the movie announces its intent five minutes in and you have an exact idea of how it’s going to end, so it all feels pointless and the movie doesn’t even try to find a way around that.

Regardless if you’re a Christian or not, Cameron’s arguments are indefensible. Too many of his answers to Christian’s questions boil down to: “I say so and that’s why I’m right”, not even explicitly consulting the Bible, he even mocks other Christians for not sharing what HE believes in. One wishes they could’ve gotten someone like Richard Dawkins or someone with a History or Religious Study degree into the movie, just to watch them argue with Cameron. It would’ve been more entertaining than this dreck for sure. If it sounds like I’m getting too personal with this review, let me remind you that this is a movie that starts with Cameron personally addressing the viewer and telling you his point of view and why he’s right, in the least convincing way possible. Make no mistake, this is a propaganda film.

As far as propaganda films go, even movies with God awful messages such as The Birth of a Nation and Triumph of the Will can still be seen as great movies purely because of their sense of craft. After all, with Birth of a Nation, D.W. Griffith revolutionized film language and to this day, critics and academics continue to be impressed by Leni Riefenstahl’s sense of filmmaking. Director and lead actor Darren Doane is no Riefenstahl or Griffith in the sense that he hasn’t made a propaganda film for a racist, murderous cause, so he has that going for him which is nice, but he certainly has no sense of craft on display in this movie. The movie is plainly shot, filled with awkward editing. And ultimately, it is a movie made with a terrible cause: To not question anything. Don’t Cameron and Doane realize that every year believers and non-believers gather for Christmas because they love being with their families? That even if you take away all the easily dispelled mythical aspects of the day, people still enjoy getting together? That’s the beautiful aspect of the holiday. But hey, according to Cameron, if you don’t believe or agree with every single thing he says, you’re not doing Christmas right, so why bother? But hey, take it from me, it’s for your own good: Don’t bother with this movie at all.

Final Verdict: SKIP IT

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