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Movie Review


MPAA Rating: PG-13 for a sequence of violent images, and brief language and sensuality.

Reviewed by: Douglas Downs

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Moviemaking Quality:

Primary Audience:
Adults Teens
Sci-Fi Comedy Drama
2 hr.
Year of Release:
USA Release:
October 26, 2001 (wide)
K-Pax poster
Relevant Issues
Kevin Spacey in “K-Pax”


What does the Bible say about intelligent life on other planets? Answer

Are we alone in the universe? Answer

Does Scripture refer to life in space? Answer

Questions and Answers about The Origin of Life Answer

Featuring: Kevin Spacey, Jeff Bridges, Alfre Woodard, Aaron Paul, Mary McCormack
Director: Iain Softley
Producer: Lawrence Gordon, Lloyd Levin
Distributor: Universal Pictures

Is there life on other planets? A good question to debate (see some of the answers provided below). Personally, I like to think that a creative God can place life on planets elsewhere in the universe. But who knows? Only God.

I truly enjoy captivating stories of the Science Fiction genre. I grew up reading Tom Swift, Jr. and watching “Star Trek”. Trekkies are always looking for an M-class planet (or what K-PAXIANS’ refer to as a Class BA-5) somewhere. here’s some stuff to consider as we think outside the box. A planet cannot support life unless it is orbiting a bachelor star. Mary McCormack and Jeff Bridges in “K-Pax” Our sun is the only one in the universe that has been observed. The orbit of a bachelor star is unique in that it is not affected by the orbit of other surrounding stars. it’s planets then are never pulled out of orbit either. This scientific fact (that you will not hear from most evolutionist) is absolutely necessary as the first ingredient for life. There are other miracles—like the Earth’s tilt, it’s distance from the sun, it’s speed, etc. that help define our Divine distinctive. The serious thought of life elsewhere has helped to ground me firmly in the Biblical truth of God’s creation. I have witnessed to those that hold other humanistic views. Many have opened their eyes to the truth just by contemplating the logical consideration of a bachelor star.

Our visitor in this story claims to come from K-PAX. His planet has two suns (impossible) and nine purple moons (how interesting). “K-PAX” is the story about this visitor that appears out of nowhere (in a cloud of lint) at Grand Central Station. He unpacks his story at a Manhattan psychiatric hospital. Prot (pronounced Proat, played by Kevin Spacey) finds himself there after giving unusual explanations to one of NY’s Finest (you have to be there). His quietly insistent manner quickly catches the attention of Dr. Mark Powel (Jeff Bridges… this time the shoe is on the other foot as Jeff played an alien in the 1984 movie “Starman”). Writer Charles Leavitt tells a convincing story of a man that can see ultraviolet light and astound astrophysicist with his knowledge. Prot tells about a world without family, marriage, and politically Hilary-Clinton-correct society (AKA “It Takes a Village to Raise a Child”). While Prot reveals his world—Dr. Powell begins to discover his own. His professional world has evolved into brief moments with his own family and a son in college, whom he rarely sees. Dr. Powell faces his own humanity and neglected values. Prot loves his fruit (skin and all). He keeps an unusual journal and looks forward to his trip back home. Bridges does an outstanding job as our guide through this mystery. Our visitor also seems to be a version of Patch Adams and gives helpful advice to many of the other patients. Spacey turns in a plausible performance as someone from another world. I don’t want to be a scene spoiler, so I will stop. To even make comparisons might give too much of the plot away.

The film is mild for a “PG-13” rating. There is very little profanity and it mostly comes from characters that seem crazy. There is very little sex, but there is a scene that depicts rape in veiled-style flashbacks. These scenes are enough to use caution when considering children under age 13. I would suggest that parents just simply observe the rating. There are places in the film where scripture is read in a respectful manner and Prot tells Dr. Powell that our society should have listened to Jesus Christ (and Buddha).

With the above reservations, the film is well written and the ending will give you plenty to think about. Is Prot a stranger or just a strange man? I also like the uplifting journey that Dr. Powell leads us on. It is never too early to reach out to your family and give them much needed love and support.

Viewer Comments
Comments below:
Positive—To say that K-PAX was demonically inspired on account of Prot’s character being possessed by an alien would be completely ruling out the other possibility of the film’s ending. The movie was left open-ended for the viewer to decide: It is as much about psychology and the power of the human mind to survive trauma as it was about the existence of aliens. Read the book and you’ll have a better idea of who Prot really was-and whether or not he’s an alien.

This was a movie with a spectacular performance by Kevin Spacey and good support from Jeff Bridges. I would go see it again in a heartbeat. As for me, I choose to believe Prot was a bit of both.
My Ratings: [Better than Average / 4]
—Donna M., age 18
Positive—…K-Paxs’ overall story was about finding out who “Prot” was. The true story, or wisdom the writers of K-Pax were trying to tell were of human criticism. Profound quotes included the dialogue of even christians don’t listen to Jesus, and even Buddhists don’t listen to Buddha. Now that later may not pertain to us, but the fact that a movie had to tell us and the whole secular world that we aren’t really smart, and we don’t really follow Christ.

Secondly, Prot says that humans are stupid and whatever patterns of life we may make, whatever mistakes we commit—we will never learn from. We will continue to repeat our mistakes… And to think people thought it was a bad movie cause there was aliens in it!

Well, that’s all I have to say about that. I recommend this movie to everyone, and I suggest you take a moment to search your heart for the real meaning of Christian…
My Ratings: [Good / 4½]
—Andrew, age 18
Positive—…I like the way “K-PAX” tossles itself back and forth between convincing us that Prot is really from another planet, then drawing us back. Consider the scene in which Prot is in front of a distinguished group of astronomers. His “demonstration” of riding a light beam leads us to believe he is a crafty faker. But then, in a sequence parallelling Jesus teaching the elders, he intricately diagrams a far off solar system that has yet to be released to the public, and perfectly. So, is he really an alien? Or is he just delusional? Or is he psychotic?

Countless questions are posed by the plot. In fact, the entire film is a series of speculations, including the ending. That is why it is good. It answers all of its questions, but vaguely, and only partially, so that we have to decide for ourselves. …There are a few profanities sprinkled throughout the movie, including one “F” word by Spacey…

There is also sort of a parallel between Prot and Jesus, but it doesn’t embody the plot in any way shape or form… Regardless of the parallel, this is a good movie.
My Ratings: [Better than Average / 4]
—Jason Eaken, age 18
Positive—Thinking we were about to see a sci-fi film, my son and I were actually somewhat impressed with what turned out to be a murder mystery with an interplantetary twist. The screenplay writer may have been wanting to create an allegorical movie of Jesus’ return to the Earth taking a human form in order to “save a lost” person—a man who had an unfortunate trauma in his life.

It uses humor well as the main characters focus on each others trials and tribulations. Also, the producers were able to keep the cursing to a minimum—we only remember one f-word. This is quite unusual in today’s movie market, Christian or otherwise.
My Ratings: [Better than Average / 4]
—Clint Good, age 46
Positive—K-PAX was awesome. It is nice to see a movie that you can’t predict the end to. All the performances in this film were excellent. Kevin Spacey and Jeff Bridges had a great onscreen chemistry. The end of the film really leaves you with the option of deciding what happened.

I would recommend this movie to adults and teens everywhere. This movie may be too intense at times for smaller children so listen to the PG-13 rating on this one. Most of all, enjoy this movie just as a movie and nothing more.
My Ratings: [Better than Average / 5]
—Scarlett, age 22
Positive—Little, if any, profanity. No sex or extreme violence, although there are some disturbing flashbacks. …a beautiful story (not about aliens) with a little bit of a baffling ending, but well worth seeing! it’s a story which does not contradict biblical issues although from the title and previews, you might think it will.

Not appropriate for young teens because of the flashbacks mentioned previously but I would hardily recommend it for older teens and adults. it’s a good story about helping one another and how certain events can change your life forever!
My Ratings: [Better than Average / 4½]
—Patricia Bersbach, age 54
Positive—A decent movie. Kevin Spacey and Jeff Bridges do a good job in this movie. My only complaint is that it dragged at points.
My Ratings: [Average / 3]
—John Traylor, age 36
Positive—Whether or not it was intended, the film portrayed a person coming to Christ, and then his resulting life and its effects on others.—He came at the request of a child and returned a few more times (Porter was lost but was becoming aware).—Prot arrived and left as light.—When he tried to help people, the authorities took him away.—He remained humble (like a sheep going to slaughter).—He had no worldly identity.—He came as a witness of his home.—He took on human form in our world so that we could understand him.—He knew things that no man could know.—He healed to show who he was.—When he left, he took only a child who saw her guilt.

He told one who believed him that he was to stay and accept what he encountered.—We find at the end that when Porter was desperate, Prot came and took over his life.—Prot and Porter were joined with a baptism —Porter drowned.—Without Prot, Porter was dead and Prot let the dead (lost) take care of their own.—Prot came from K-Pax. Pax means peace in Latin. He was the K(ing) of Peace.—Prot is an abbreviation for protestant.—And a porter is a person who carries something of value.
My Ratings: Moral rating: Excellent! / Moviemaking quality: 5
—Dolsen, age 66 (USA)
Neutral—Filtering K-PAX through a Christian lens, I saw a subtle deception creeping through. The film was good, incredibly well acted (as you would expect from Spacey), and a welcome respite from the garbage out there this movie season. Nevertheless, it left me empty and unfulfilled. I think this is mainly due to the fact that K-PAX espouses an “eastern” world-view that, like all good lies, has just enough truth coating it to help the pill go down. Yes, we should not worry about the things we are powerless to change. Our Lord tells us so. And the nucleus of the family is vitally important in our life (though, interestingly, this was not a message from K-PAX the planet but K-PAX the film). All good points, so where does it go wrong?

The deception is subtle. Example: the “recurring universe” theory of creation espoused by K-PAX, directly contradicting the Bible and scientifically accepted fact. The K-PAXian message that true knowledge is found within us, and once we realize this, we are “free”. The true truth is, to paraphrase C.S. Lewis, that a man fallen into a river must be saved by someone on solid ground outside that river.

We do not save ourselves. We are saved by God. It is amazing to me how ready people are to believe in anything, as evident by the reactions of most everyone in the film to Prot (the “Prot”agonist). People are hungry for answers, and K-PAX’s “zen-lite” philosophy is being eaten up.

We, as Christians, must point to the true source of Light in this world, our Lord Jesus. It is His light that will fulfill us and get us back home. As a side point, I found the flashback scene gruesome and horrific, as well it should be given the nature of the crime. Mostly this was due to the benign nature of the film to that point. it’s one thing to see that type of violence in “Hannibal,” when you are prepared for it, and quite another thing to see it when your guard is down. Forewarn the young (and not young) adults that view this.
My Ratings: [Better than Average / 3½]
—Luis Rivera, age 31
Neutral—it’s uncanny! Another film about “help” from another world. Like “The Sixth Sense”, “The Others” and 2 or 3 other films seen in the last year or so—this movie has a deeply ingrained (hidden?) message. Unfortunately, that message, like in the films mentioned above, is that there is some “help” out there (usually while mocking mainstream Christianity) but heaven forbid, let’s not mention Jesus.

The movie itself champions relationships in families and a refocusing of ones priorities, as taught by some guy from a planet 1,000 light years away! Sorry for the negative tone, but I see this film as “of the world” in a pretty sneaky way.
My Ratings: 4½]
—George Venarchik, age 46
Neutral—Besides the somewhat new-age view on life after death, references to reincarnation, relativistic view on morality, and the somewhat questionable comment on Christ and Buddha, I enjoyed the film overall. Spacey was excellent and played a very interesting role. The acting was good and the story was intriguing.

I was disappointed about the ending, and it left me a little confused, but it was an okay movie. I would rather have rented it though.
My Ratings: [Better than Average / 4]
—Jeremy LaMar, age 25
Negative—After reading some of the comments in your Web site regarding KPAX, I was looking forward to seeing a “Better than Average” movie Thanksgiving week. We have for the most part agreed with all of the ratings you have given. Not this time, because we both felt duped by your contributors assessments of this movie. My husband and I left the movie theater very disappointed with what this movie was trying to portray.

There was a lot of stuff you could talk about regarding this movie… the good acting, the interesting plot, Prot’s Godless and delusional reaction to life’s tragedy and the sadness in which our world may comes to accept this as our only answer. As Christians, we were saddened by this movie. I would not recommend this movie to a non-Christian and if a Christian was looking for entertainment with a feel good ending, this was not it…
—Lil Grabowski
Negative—One viewer comment said there was little profanity and no sex. This is not true. If you watch and listen to the movie with this in mind you will find what I have found. This movie is filled with profanity including the worst kind “taking the Lord’s Name in vain”. Here our the facts, Profanity: At least 1 “f” word, 11 “s” words, 5 hells, 4 damns, 2 craps, 1 “A” word, 1 S.O.B., 6 uses of “Oh my God” and 1 use each of “For God’s sakes,” “God,” “Oh God” and what sounded like “G-damn.”

Sex: Prot tells Mark that unlike for humans, the reproductive process on K-PAX is quite unpleasant. He then goes on to describe its feelings and climax. Also we briefly see the tops of Rachel’s bare breasts as she sits up in bed with the sheet mostly covering them. The worst yet is the flashbacks that could imply rape and murder. There is no nudity but sex is there.

May God teach us to see and hear the truth when lies are played in surround sound on the BIG screen.
My Ratings: [Average / 3]
—Sam, age 32
Negative—This was truly one of the most demonically inspired films I have ever seen. I think its clear that the occult is often involved in UFO sightings and the like. The depiction of the benevolent, kind, generous, peaceful figure attending to the needs of inferior humans was a distorted picture of Christ.

The climax of the film revealed its theme, which was that this space alien was actually a spirit that was invited into the body of a human to help him cope with a traumatic event in his life. Inviting a spirit into your life to help guide you through tough times is called demonic oppression. Christians should spend more time speaking out about films that threaten us spiritually, rather than worrying about whether or not the latest Jacki Chan movie shows women in their underwear.
My Ratings: [Extremely Offensive / 4]
—K.V. Allmen, age 34