“The Pilgrim’s Progress” (2019)

MOVIE REVIEW: “The Pilgrim’s Progress” (2019) is voiced by Ben Price (Audacity, Tony [TV Mini-Series]), John Rhys-Davies (The Lord of the Rings: The Fellowship of the Ring, Raiders of the Lost Ark), and Krystyn Getty. It is directed by Robert Fernandez (M.S.G. [Short], There/Not There [Short]), who also wrote the screenplay. Based on the John Bunyan tale, this film follows a worker named Christian (Price) who embarks on a journey outside his town’s walls, the City of Destruction, to reach the Celestial City, where he is promised eternal peace, freedom, and joy with a being greator than anything.

I don’t get to see pre-screenings of films that often, so when the chance arises, I try to drop everything and jump onboard. The movie this time around? “The Pilgrim’s Progress,” a new animated feature based on the 1678 Christian allegory written by John Bunyan. It follows a man named Christian who lives in a sad town where everyone only works and does nothing else. Only until he realizes that beyond the town walls is a place unlike any other: Celestial City, where he can be free and at peace. However, there are forces that try to stop him, and the path to eternity is ridden with challenges and struggles. Long story short, it’s a film centered around walking the path of Christ; living a Christian life and giving yourself to the Lord. Though it tries to be subtle, “The Pilgrim’s Progress” is perhaps one of the most literal metaphorical films I have seen based on Christianity. I wouldn’t be surprised if secularists turn away from it, as its audience seems to be that of Christians only. Which is fine, but it’s a bummer if you’re trying to bring people into the faith. As for the movie as a whole, it’s… not that good. Granted, the subject matter is good; it’s wholesome, strong, and is worth diving into as we are all called by Him to do something way bigger than ourselves. But the execution of it all? Severely underwhelming. The biggest issue “The Pilgrim’s Progress” faces is story flow/pacing. It is a slow movie. Not only that, but the story feels like it’s going to end about three times, throwing me for a loop and only making the journey seem longer. Was this the filmmaker’s intent? If it was, bravo, you almost put me to sleep. This whole journey is to show what it’s like to give up your life for Christ, and it honestly wraps itself up in the first thirty minutes, only deciding to continue for another hour and a half. It was brutal. This certainly speaks volumes to a specific audience, as the screening I went to met with applause. It’s a complete package for Christians looking to watch something of good value, as well as to show their kids. Granted, there are some pretty crazy things that happen in this (giving it a PG-13 rating), but he fact that it’s animated means that it’s targeted towards families. The animation itself is okay; as good as you’d get from a smaller company. It screams the feel of a Redbox animated film, with lower quality in both animation, sound, and voice acting. However, I did like the voices in this. They had a solid group of people put in work for this, and I think it showed in the overall product. Would I watch it again? No. Do I recommend you watch it? Not really. It’s a very dry, slow paced feature that doesn’t have a strong structure, and parts of the message could come off iffy. If anything, I’d say you save it for rental. FINAL SCORE: 63%= Burnt Popcorn

The Pilgrim’s Progress will be in select theaters April 18th and April 20th.

Here is the trailer:

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