"The Passion" speaks reverently about the central figure of the Christian faith. "Saved!" appears to mock Him, or at least satirize His followers, portraying them as hypocrites and superficial dunderheads, which is how most of Hollywood sees Christians. "The Passion" was about overcoming sin and evil. The plot for "Saved!" is about submitting to sin and evil.
What is MGM thinking? Does it believe that by simply labeling something or someone "Christian," while denying that label's meaning, it will attract audiences turned off by Hollywood's usual insensitivity to religious themes? What possible motivation would a person who takes his faith seriously have to buy a ticket to a film that mocks his faith and ridicules fellow believers?
MGM says it will release the film in a few major cities to measure audience response. If enough people buy tickets, the studio says it will distribute it more widely.
This film isn't going anywhere, except perhaps directly to DVD. It won't resonate positively with Mel Gibson's audience. Such people follow a different model and will recognize "Saved!" as Hollywood's cynical approach to anything higher than gratuitous sex and violence.
Your money should be spent elsewhere, or, better yet, saved!
Cal Thomas is co-author (with Bob Beckel) of the book, "Common Ground: How to Stop the Partisan War That is Destroying America".
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