Tv Series

A Series Review of A Series of Unfortunate Events

WARNING: Reading this article may give away things in the story ranging from unimportant to plot turners.

A Series of Unfortunate Events (Season One)

Type: Children’s, Drama

Basic Plot: The Baudelaire children’s parents have died, they are chased from home to home by Count Olaf, a man determined to get their fortune no matter what.

Quality

Plot: 5/5 Excellent: The plot of the books was amazing, but on TV, the plot was even better because they could add things to the story that were not in the books. I believe the author of the series thought to create V.F.D. later in the series because he realized almost halfway through that he couldn’t have the exact same plot forever and expect it to go very far or be interesting, even if he did add new characters and change the location. I believe he added V.F.D. to make the series more interesting. Because he thought of this later, there are no clues in books one through four, clues starting in book six or seven. On TV though, there were so many clues, references, and scenes that could be done in what would have been the earlier books that make the story better.

Acting: 4/5 Well Done: The actors and actresses all did a good job as the characters they played. They were able to make the scenes feel creepy or sad when needed and showed emotions realistically. The only complaint I have concerning acting is that in the first two episodes, Sunny’s voice is not being done by Sunny and it is obvious. The sounds don’t line up with her mouth or sound like a sound a baby would make. After the first two episodes though, it lines up more and sounds a lot more realistic.

Costumes and Scenery: 4½/5 Amazing: The costumes were better than the movies. The time period that the clothing was set in was much more realistic, being a forty’s or fifty’s style rather than Victorian.

The scenery was detailed and accurate without being overdone. Some of it was animated. It was thankfully not cheap or poor quality animation, but it was noticeable.

Music: 4/5 Well Done: The opening song is good, not being too long or annoying, as well as changing slightly with each episode. The music throughout the show is not constantly playing or the same in almost every situation. The music is at appropriate times and fits the mood.

Moral: 1/5 No Clear Moral: The moral in the first books of the series is not clear. A number of lessons could be taken from the series, such as intelligence will defeat ignorance or to stick together as a family, but there is no obvious moral at least in this season.

Overall: 4½/5 Amazing: Every movie and TV series I have ever seen that was made from a book was always inferior to the book. This is the first time where I have seen a TV series that was equal to the books in quality. I definitely recommend it, though I believe people who have read the books will appreciate and enjoy it a lot more.

Moral Content

Official Rating: PG

Sexual and Inappropriate Content: 2/5 Suggestive: A man wears modest swimwear that is a little above the knee and shows the shoulders. One or two women wear clothing that either is or could be considered low and tight, and one dress shows a lady’s shoulders. Sometimes clothing falls above the knee. After a boy tells a man that he’ll “never touch our fortune” the man gropes a girl’s shoulder while saying, “I’ll touch whatever I want.” A grown man attempts to marry a fourteen year old girl for her money, though he fails. A photograph shows a shirtless man boxing. A woman says that she is going to get a “cardigan… more flattering to my figure” because she is going out with a man. The actual outfit isn’t immodest in any way. Some women suggest that two people kiss. People flirt with each other, though none of it is sexual or immodest. When mentioning the occupations he could have, a man mentions “a millionaire playboy.” “Nudism” is a word read aloud while a man is reading the dictionary. When a woman calls out “land ho” her female companion believes that she is being referred to. A man says a boy shouldn’t use the word “titular” (which means referring to a title).

Violence: 2/5 Light and Mentioned Violence: People use “violent” to describe people and use things that contain violence describe things or as examples. A bird catches another bird, probably killing it. A man says that you have to hit the stove like you would have to hit a servant and actually hits the stove for example. Later the children bang it. A man mentions that a “rat bites,” though it never shows it happening. A man slaps a boy on the face. A woman slaps her husband to get him to stop hyperventilating. A man drops a lamp and hits another man on the head. A man stabs a suitcase that is hinted to have a baby in it. It doesn’t. A man feigns that he hurt himself for a few seconds. A car runs into a shrub, though the car window is smashed no one is hurt. There are photographs of a person wrestling other people and animals. A man kicks a boy in the back, knocking him over. People talk about memories that include un-detailed violence. A woman attacks a man, and there is a scene that suggests a man and woman fought a group of people, though it doesn’t show the fighting. A man gets his leg stamped onto a wooden board. A boy knocks people over using a machine, though doesn’t hurt anyone that way.

Swearing and Using the Lord’s Name in Vain: 2/5 Light Swearing: God’s name is taken in vain eleven times. “Hell” is misused twice.

Emotional, Intense, and Disturbing Content: 2/5 Some Lightly Intense and Disturbing Scenes and Dialogue: It mentions that a woman named Beatrice is dead and shows her tombstone. People threaten children throughout the series, sometimes with death. The children never actually die or get hurt. Things that include death and injuries are used for examples and to describe things. Poison is mentioned throughout the series, though is only once shown to actually be used on someone. Two homes burn down, both of them shows the house burning from the inside. It is assumed that parents in both homes are dead, though it does not show them dying. A man acts as if he will drop a baby, but doesn’t. A girl says they should make “small bombs out of wine bottles,” but is unable to. A lady somewhere else actually does, though it does not show her using them. People threaten each other with weapons. A boy has a bruise on his face from being slapped. A man chases and threatens children with a knife as well as makes threatening comments. Some people watch a movie about zombies that shows a zombies arm and includes a song about being eaten. Though not shown happening, a man is murdered, and his face is shown to have two puncture wounds and is discolored. A man talks about several ways can kill you, and another man talks about different ways you could sink in a hurricane. An iguana roars in a scary manner and jumps on a man. There is a clown sign that some people may find scary, but it is not made to intentionally be scary. Some signs show cars falling off ledges or people getting attacked by leeches using stick figures. A man lies that his leg was eaten by leeches. A woman’s husband is mentioned to actually have been eaten by leeches. A woman is terrified of everything and mentions several ways a person could get injured or die by doing everyday things. A woman fakes committing suicide. There is mention of people burning ants. A man pushes a lady overboard, and she is eaten by leeches. The leeches may be scary in appearance, being large (for a leech) and having big teeth. People believe other people are dead, though some of them aren’t. A woman tells a man that he “left” her “to drown.” Some people say that a family “drinks blood from… skulls.” Some children are told that their parents burned down a town, though it is not true. A man mentions how “Hansel and Gretel” has a cannibal. A woman throws darts at a man’s picture. A woman has skeletons hidden in her closet. A woman is surprised and accidentally steps backward into a furnace, though it does not actually show her burning. A man is almost pushed into some blades. His shoe is slightly cut from them, and he says his foot has a small cut on it. A school has buildings shaped like graves.

Religious Issues: 1/5 Slightly Suggestive: A man mentions “Zeus and Hera” (false Grecian gods) while he is exclaiming. A map shows a deviled egg in a devil costume. A newspaper mentions a “ghost train.” Atheism and mythology are both briefly spoken of. A boy mentions how in The Great Gatsby there is mention of a pair of eyeglasses “representing God… judging” the world. Death is always mentioned from the perspective of not being able to come back to life, and a woman says that “no one knows what happens when you die. “Haunted” is used by people as a description. Karma and yoga are each mentioned once.

Magic: “Zombies” is used to describe people. A movie is watched called “Zombies in the Snow.” Hypnotism is mentioned and performed. The fairytale, “Hansel and Gretel” is mentioned.

Others: A man tries on a wedding dress over his regular clothes. A man wears a woman’s nurse disguise. Another man disguises himself as a woman and goes all out with jewelry, makeup, and a feminine body shape. Neither man is trying to actually become a woman, merely disguising as one. While in this disguise people refer to them using feminine words. Wine bottles are seen throughout a man’s house. People drink alcohol and wine throughout the series, and mention wine and drinking. A man smokes a cigar and another man smokes a pipe. A boy mentions reading a book about gambling. A baby plays poker with a man, though there is no gambling over money. References are made to movies, music, and books such as The Great Gatsby.

Two men are hinted to be gay. The narrator says they are partners, and he describes the different meanings partners could have, including “more progressive” ones. He says that “The definitions are not mutually exclusive.” One of the men asks the other if they can take the children in, though it is not phrased in an explicitly gay manner. The scene that would appear the most gay is when a man says to his “partner” all he has are the lumber mill, “And you. Of course I have you,” while the other man looks slightly like he was expecting a kiss, though he does not receive any.

Overall: 2½/5 Almost Child Appropriate: The three main things that are an issue in this show is the taking of God’s name in vain, the homosexual suggestions, and men tending to dress as women for a disguise. There are also some that believe bad jokes are hidden in some of the speech, though whether that is true or not is debatable. If a person wishes to know what they are, they will have to search elsewhere. Unfortunately, the director’s choice to make the men gayer in the series than the books causes me to not recommend the series.

I still do recommend the movie, which has no references, and the books which have much less, if any, hints to homosexuality.

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Movies

A Movie Review of Rogue One: A Star Wars Story

WARNING: Reading this article may give away things in the story ranging from unimportant to plot turners.

Rogue One: A Star Wars Story by Kathleen Kennedy (Producer) Chris Weitz (Director)

Type: Action, Science Fiction, War

Basic Plot: Jyn is a young woman that is brought in by the Rebel Alliance to help plan the destruction of the Death Star.

Quality

Plot: 3½/5 Above Average: This movie was better than the average movie made nowadays because it was not all action, but had a clear plot. To some Star Wars fans, they may not enjoy it as much, as it may feel like unnecessary plot material added to the story line of Star Wars, but other Star Wars fans and those who don’t know Star Wars as well may like it more because the story by itself is interesting. A person who knew very little to nothing about Star Wars may not enjoy it as much, as there are many characters that show up in this movie as well as A New Hope. It was predictable in almost all areas, and even the surprises could have easily been foreseen, but the movie was still good for other reasons.

Acting: 4/5 Well Done: The acting was realistic. People died realistically whether it was a meaningful dramatic death or one of the dozens of stormtroopers toppling over. The characters tones and voices were good as well.

Costumes and Scenery: 5/5 Excellent Quality: Costumes and character designs were all out. New characters looked realistic and had believable costumes. Even characters that show up in the old movies, such as Princess Leia, had the faces of the original actors put on to other actors faces by computer to make sure the characters looked exactly the same.

The scenes were mostly realistic, and it was less animated looking than a lot of other movies that are made these days. Some scenes were complete cities built by hand, which were definitely well done.

Music: 4/5 Well Done: The music was good. Some of it was traditional Star Wars music, but there were new songs with a variety of instruments and styles. The only music that may seem badly placed by some was the victory music as people on the enemy teams died, but other than that it was appropriately placed.

Moral: 2/5 An Unclear Moral: The movie was more of an action and event movie than a movie meant to install any main moral. Some of the people who made it said they wanted to express unity in the movie, as every major race is present. Unity can be good if the people are in agreement over a good thing, but if the unity is of a group of people that are vastly different not in race but in culture and doctrine, there is the potential of major problems. Races and genders are united in Jesus Christ, but certain things can never be united. Other than this, the movie did not really have a main moral. It was also said that a minor moral intended was the belief that God can be seen in all people, but this is not pushed very much. I do believe this is very inaccurate, as God is only in the saved, and even then those people are not God. The only thing that may be close to this is that, one, the saved have the Holy Spirit of God inside of them, and two, godly character traits can reflect the greatness of God. Nothing in the Bible says that a little bit of God is in all people, though.

Overall: I recommend this movie mainly to men and boys ten and older concerning quality.

Moral Content

Sexual and Inappropriate Content: ½/5 Slightly Suggestive: A hologram briefly shows a dancing girl in a slightly revealing outfit. It briefly shows a man and woman hold hands and hug. Through a lot of steam a person may be able to tell that a man is shirtless. When a woman kicks a man, it looks as if the man was kicked in the groin.

Violence: 4/5 Very Violent: Though this movie is not gory, it is violent. There are plenty of explosions, shooting with guns and bows and arrows, kick each other, and hitting people with objects. A man smacks another man in the face. A man forces chokes another man, though not to the point of death. People mention having once had occupations that had to do with death and violence such as “assassins.”

Swearing and Using the Lord’s Name in Vain: 0/5 None

Emotional, Intense, and Disturbing Content: 3½/5 Frightening, Emotional, and Very Intense Content: There is a lot of fighting and violence. Guns are aimed at people, though not always shot. A woman says she hopes her father has died, though it is not said out of malice. One of the scenes may remind some people of Middle Eastern warfare, as many of the people fighting are wearing clothing that is similar to eastern clothing. The place they are fighting also looks like a city under attack in the Middle East, with tanks, explosions, and parts of buildings collapsing. An entire city is destroyed, and it is partially shown. Another scene is also a war scene, though it does not have a Middle Eastern feel. A man is put in a cage with a tentacle alien that wraps around his body. A child cries in a war scene. A door is smashed off. Ships are crashed into each other. Several people and a robot die. Death can be by explosion, lightsaber, the force, shooting people, or attacking them with airships. One person holds another person as the latter dies. Despite the amount of violence and death, the only gore shown is in the form of blood, almost always on the head and usually not covering more than two inches. The biggest amount of blood covered the top part of a man’s head and went to his eye. Other than blood, the only injury on people is scuffs on stormtrooper uniforms.

Religious Issues: 2/5 Suggestive: The force is present, but not overpowering or strongly pushed in this movie, as in comparison to other ones. A girl is told to trust the force when she is a child. A man is a monk to the force and says once or twice that the force tells him things. He also says a prayer over and over again that consists of, “The force is with me. I am one with the force.” Another man later says this.

Magic: ½/5 Slight Mention: “Phantom” is used to describe a man’s face once.

Others: None

Overall: 3/5 Teenage Appropriate: Other than the religious issues (which for a Star Wars movie were toned down) the movie is completely recommendable. The violence and intense content causes me to recommend that a person be at least thirteen.

Books

A Book Review of A Gown of Spanish Lace

WARNING: Reading this article may give away things in the story ranging from unimportant to plot turners.

A Gown of Spanish Lace by Janette Oke

Type: Christian Fiction, Historical Fiction, Western

Basic Plot: Ariana is young schoolteacher that has been kidnapped by some outlaws. She is worried, but learns that she has to trust God at all times.

Quality

Plot: 4/5 Well Done: This is one of Janette Oke’s better plots. There is a lot of drama and multiple plot twist. The ending was definitely good. Unfortunately, I believe the main character was whiny and a bit weak, and that the characters as a whole tended to be overly emotional in the series.

Writing Style and Setup: 3/5 Average: I liked Janette Oke’s plot, but I did not like her writing style. For some reason it was not interesting. It seemed forced and awkward in a lot of places. The time the writing style was best was probably in the last chapter when Ms. Oke wrote the diary entries and the ending.

Moral: 3/5 A Good Moral: The main moral of the story was to trust God completely no matter what your circumstances. Ariana learns to do this when she is kidnapped and no matter what bad things happen to her. As she experiences being in different situations, danger, and heartbreaking events, she learns to always turn to God and the Bible. The key verse of the book is, “Trust in the Lord with all thine heart; and lean not unto thine own understanding.” In the end things work out for good, though it sometimes takes time before they do.

Overall: 3½/5 Above Average: This was better than some of the Janette Oke books I have read, but it definitely isn’t the best. I believe girls ten to eighteen would find it most interesting.

Moral Content

Sexual and Inappropriate Content: ½/5 Slightly Suggestive: Characters are mentioned to flirt with each other. Ariana wonders if she will suffer “a fate worse than death.” Some slightly suggestive comments are made by men.

Violence: 2/5 Mentioned and Light Violence: It mentions that a boy has shot several men, though never killed any. It mentions that two people’s parents were killed, leaving them both orphans. A man plans how to goad his son into murder. A girl scratches at a man’s face. A girl’s wrist is yanked and hurt. A snake is shot. It mentions a little boy had a tomahawk in his head. It mentions an Indian raid that left nearly everyone dead and scalped. An Indian asks if he should allow his men to attack another group of men. The Indians do not attack the group of men. A man believes he will be hanged if he confesses to the police. Another man wonders if this will happen to him. There are mentions of people shooting each other, sometimes with the result of death. This was done both personally and in a group. A man says he could die by shooting.

Swearing and Using the Lord’s Name in Vain: ½/5 Mention of Swearing: It is mentioned that characters swear, but it does not say what they are saying.

Emotional, Intense, and Disturbing Content: 2/5 Some Emotional and Possibly Disturbing Content: Ariana is kidnapped, but it is not done in a horribly frightening or dramatic way. She and several characters cry throughout the series. A man wonders if he will be attacked and killed, but he isn’t. A man asks another of the latter ever killed anybody. He didn’t. A man says he could die by shooting or weather. It mentions a man died by drowning. A man wonders if a girl broke her wrist. Various people are mentioned to have died from diseases or during child birth. A man wishes all Indians were dead. It mentions that a man was injured and died soon after. Blood is mentioned a few times in the series, the goriest mention being when a snake is shot to death.

Religious Issues: 2½/5 Brief Mention and a Possible Error: The Indians believe false gods live in a certain “sacred” mountain. The word “hypnotic” is used to describe the inside of a cave. It makes it sound as if a person must forsake sinning as much as possible if they are to get saved. In the description it says, “Had to make vow to sin no more and make restitution- as far as possible- for sins of the past.” The Bible does say to repent (have a change of heart) but it never says we must consciously forsake sin or feel extreme sorrow over sin to get saved.

Magic: 0/5 None

Others: There is mention of saloons. Men drink, gamble, chew tobacco, and smoke cigars throughout the book. It mentions some men being “snuff-chewing.” It does not go into descriptive detail of the activities.

Overall: 2/5 Child Appropriate: I would recommend it morally to ages ten to eleven and older. The worst thing would be the thing mentioned about salvation, the kidnapping theme, and some of the mentions of blood. Nothing in the book is really condemning though.

Books

A Book Review of The Merchant’s Daughter

WARNING: Reading this article may give away things in the story ranging from unimportant to plot turners.

The Merchant’s Daughter by Melanie Dickerson

Type: Christian Fiction, Historical Fiction

Basic Plot: The pride and laziness of Annabel’s mother and brothers has landed her in a bad situation. She is now forced to work for the gruff and frightening Lord le Wyse as she is pursued by his bailiff.

Quality

Plot: 3/5 Average: The plot mostly covers Annabel’s and Lord le Wyse’s relationship, but the thing that drives their relationship together is the threats of Bailiff Tom, a man that wishes to marry Annabel. Now, Bailiff Tom isn’t the kind of suitor who is ridiculous like Gaston from Beauty and the Beast (the fairy tale the book is based off of) or partially attractive yet annoying. He is actually a real creep, being an older man who doesn’t seem to understand people have personal space. His behavior is what causes Lord le Wyse and Annabel to form and grow a relationship as well as creates a plot outside of their romance, as some attempts at defense lead to a little accident. The plot is interesting and the romance does not seem too forced, but the events that cause the romance do seem to be a bit obvious of their purpose.

Writing Style and Setup: 4/5 Well Done: Her writing style is in the third person, and is told from the perspective of Annabel and Lord le Wyse. The thoughts were not extremely unique for the romantic genre, but they were realistic. The actions were more realistic when being seen from the other person’s perspective than when in their mind.

The plot moves at a good pace, having little to no boring parts. Some of the relationship growth might seem fast, but some of the events that happened were necessary to do in a short time, and it was better than some books that have choppy time skips or drag out the events.

Probably the best part about her style was that she tried to be historically accurate. She read several books and talked to many people in the effort to have a historically accurate book. I definitely appreciate historical accuracy in a book.

Moral: 4/5 A Good Moral: There were several morals throughout the book, though the main one was to trust God to guide your life. Annabel and Lord le Wyse both have plans for their lives (mainly to stay single), but eventually find out that God intended for them to be together, which includes giving of the bitterness against women and dreams of the nunnery. Though the main moral is cliché, it is still a good one, and it isn’t the entire book or so obvious that seems like the whole book is just one long moral. Other smaller morals can include forgiveness and mercy.

Overall: 3½/5 Above Average: If you are a young lady looking for a historical Christian romance book to read that is accurate and not too serious, I would recommend this book. It is better than most of Janette Oke’s books, but don’t’ expect to be reading Pilgrims Progress. I recommend it in quality to girls twelve to eighteen as being the most interested in it.

Moral Content

Sexual and Inappropriate Content: 2/5 Suggestive: A preacher preaches on how all men and women are lustful and seductive. A man makes several unwanted advances towards a girl that include staring, grabbing, and a forced kiss on the cheek. He threatens to tell everyone that she is “a loose woman.” “Lecherous” is used to describe him. There are a few suggestive comments made in the book, most if not all of them referring to the “privileges of marriage.” It is mentioned that a man who “took advantage of the maidens” in the land he ruled, and Annabel worries there new ruler will be like that. A man wonders if a girl has impure intentions. A man asks a girl in if she has been “hurt” (meaning assaulted). A man and woman hug and kiss several times. The author describes how they feel about touching each other. Girls flirt with and even try to seduce a man. One girl comes to a man’s room at night and offers to “comfort” him. When he refuses her she accuses him of using her. It is mentioned that a woman had been cheating on her husband, though it does not say to what extent she was. A different girl sniffs a man’s shirt while she is doing the laundry. A girl is worried that a man will be partially undressed when she goes to deliver his clothes. He isn’t. Two girls take a bath together in the river. Some women and a man are mentioned that for a medical examination to have removed a man’s clothes while he is in a coma. A woman looks at a girl’s legs for medical purposes, embarrassing the girl.

Violence: 2/5 Light and Threatened Violence: Descriptions with violence are used, and “violent” is used as a description. A man dreams several times that a woman is trying to kill him. A girl wonders if a man will hit her. He doesn’t. A snake is killed. A man harasses a girl and is rough and sometimes hurts her in the process. A girl bites and smacks a man. A boy throws a rock at a man and knocks him out for several days. A man shoots and arrow and hits another man’s leg. There is mention of violent things people would do to each other if they could or if they knew certain things.

Swearing and Using the Lord’s Name in Vain: 0/5 None

Emotional, Intense, and Disturbing Content: 3/5 Some Emotional, Intense, and Disturbing Content and Subjects: People threaten each other throughout the book, sometimes with violence. A girl wonders how a man got injured. A girl is harassed by a man throughout the book, which sometimes results in hurting her. More can be read in “Sexual and Inappropriate Content.” She later breaks down crying when questioned about it. A girl carries knife around with her for protection and takes it our when a man threatens her. People get or already have bite marks, blisters, bruises, bumps, cuts, rashes, and scars; some of the injuries having fresh or dried blood on them A girl feigns having hurt her ankle several times. A fire burns down a building, and a man is injured, though no one dies from the fire. Several people are mentioned to have died, usually by a plague. There are some paintings of scenes that could be considered disturbing, such as of skeletons, crying people, a woman and baby, and a scene of confrontation between a man and wolf. A man is depressed for a while because his wife had been cheating on him, and dreams of her attacking him. He also dreams about his dead child, and the child disintegrating. Some people plot to burn down a man’s home while he is still in it, though it never happens. A man is hit on the head and is in a coma for several days before waking up. It mentions that a man dies after passing out. A girl wonders if a man will be executed. A woman fixes a man’s injuries, and sometimes they are described. It is slightly gory. An animal has a hurt leg with blood. A man jokes about falling and crushing a girl.

Religious Issues: 2/5 Suggestive: Several Catholic ceremonies, objects, and positions are mentioned. This includes Eucharist, last rites, purgatory, gesticulating, abbeys, convents, nuns, monks, altar boys, priest, saint days, etc. A man describes his anger as a “demon temper.” It is mentioned that some people think a man “met the devil in the woods” when he hadn’t. The phrase “devil’s spawn” is used as an insult once. A man calls a girl “possessed” when she tries to defend herself.

Magic: 1/5 Suggestive: Some people say that there land is cursed because the new lord has odd injuries. Some people believe a boy is cursed and can curse others because he is crippled. A man calls a girl a “witch.”

Others: The NIV version of the Bible is used. Ale is drunk throughout the book. A man tries to harass a girl while he is drunk.

Overall: 3/5 Teenager Appropriate: I would recommend this book morally to children twelve to thirteen and older because of the harassment Annabel receives and some of the disturbing and lightly violent content. Though many references to Catholicism are made, salvation is presented as by grace and little to no Catholic doctrines are mentioned. The Catholic references may have been for historical accuracy rather than because the author is or supports Catholicism.