- compiled by Jeffrey Overstreet Copyright Christianity Today International
- 2002 1 Jan
Blue Sky Studios has entered the big leagues of animated features. Chris Wedge's
At Hollywood Jesus, David Bruce finds examples of selfless love throughout the story, and he points out an echo of Christ in the transforming power of a child in the lives of his caretakers: "The child comes into a world of enemies and furnishes the common ground on which reconciliation can occur."
Michael Elliott (Movie Parables) writes, "The set designs are imaginative and the main characters are expressive and well defined." He says the film's theme of cooperation "resonates with us because God has called us to operate as one, much like a herd."
The U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops's critic says, "Wedge enlivens the proceedings with bouncy physical humor, punchy one-liners and skillfully drawn animation while tossing in a light lesson on familial love, no matter who makes up the family unit."
Holly McClure (Crosswalk) says, "I enjoyed this movie a lot more than I thought I would. It's a perfect movie to take your kids to, and you'll enjoy sitting through it yourself."
Bob Smithouser (Focus on the Family) applauds it as well: "[It] benefits from clever writing, delightfully wacky voice work by John Leguizamo, and some of the wildest action and slapstick possible without an anvil and a 'That's all folks!'"
Phil Boatwright (The Movie Reporter) calls it "action filled comedy with tons of heart."
Paul Bicking (Preview) cautions parents that "Younger audiences may find some scenes disturbing, such as the child's mother disappearing in a river, an intense battle with Diego's tiger pack, and cave drawings depicting men attacking a mammoth family." He points out a scene of one character risking his life for another, and says, "For Christians, the line stirs memories of Christ giving up his life to save many." Is he worried about the movie's nods to evolutionary theory? "One humorous scene in an ice cave suggests Darwin's theory of evolution but a following scene includes a UFO stuck in ice, which could equate Darwin's ideas with those of extraterrestrial life."
Lisa Rice (
Mainstream critics were divided over the movie. Some found it too formulaic, while others appreciated how much Wedge accomplished in 75 minutes.
MaryAnn Johanson (The Flick Filosopher) dismisses it as formulaic and bland: "The computer animation may be lovely … but that can't make up for a humdrum script that steamrollers the audience with an overly sentimental story we've seen too many times before."
But Roger Ebert (