Reviewed by: Sheri McMurray
|Featuring:||Ben Johnson, Jeni Varnadeau, Donald Pierce, etc.|
|Director:||George A. Johnson|
“An Experimental Movie. An Extraordinary Story.”
DREAMER: The Movie is a story about pursuing a dream, even when it seems like all odds are against you. --From the DREAMER: The Movie web site.
If I were a mainstream movie reviewer, I would be looking for a great screenplay (writing spanned over four years, casting, locations, etc., started in 2000, the editing itself took over two years). I would be commenting on snappy special effects (over 200 visual effects plus color corrections intended to go unnoticed, while others will definitely draw attention to themselves). I comment on the actors and what their true motivations were (there are 210 actors listed in the credits, most of which were friends and family). Making a remark about the polish of the Director would be a must (Christian filmmaker George A. Johnson is no stranger to film after pursuing it in one way or another since the ripe old age of 5). The budget would most certainly dictate it’s value (George Johnson financed this little low budget special himself. Hollywood would be appalled!). I would also have to make clever comments or innuendos about every little mistake the producers, director, editors let slip by (while watching this film you will think it is just normal film making by a bunch of amateurs, but is it…?).
Who am I? How does what I believe in define who I am? As far as my beliefs go, how does my life become a testimony to others? Are my dreams my own or do they in fact belong to God? If my dreams are a gift from God, am I rude in not accepting them and pursuing them for His Glory?
According to George Johnson, one of the top priorities for “DREAMER” was to let viewers utilize their minds! He intentionally created several scenes which, at first glance, seem to make absolutely no sense at all. But, if you’re mind is up to the challenge, you’ll discover that every scene in this movie has a meaning, whether it be bold or obscure. Everything you see and hear has a meaning. Most of which, I am so pleased to say, have a very spiritual meaning and causes us to step back and take a look at how we deal with our lives and our relationship with God—what is going on in our hearts, our families, in our very existence.
As Christians, it is important that we stay informed about what is happening in the world around us, but it is also critical that we use discernment when watching the evening news, reading the morning paper or watching the unending parade of films vying for our attention. While there is an infinite amount of information and resources available to us through the Internet and alternative news media outlets, we must remember that not everything presented as fact is indeed the truth.
Some “visionaries” from Hollywood may like you to think they can present a true rendition of what we are supposed to think, feel and believe. Unfortunately, many are grossly out of touch with Christian ideals. Most of them don’t drive pickup trucks, scrimp by from paycheck to paycheck, or worry if the food in the cupboards will last until payday. The family life of the regular church-going, white collar type seems to bypass reality for most filmmakers who hit degradingly off the mark.
Most movies out there today are made for the revenue produced, not to provide a strong moral story—no matter the cost or lack of profit. Most scripts do not deal with Christian spirituality, and when they do, the story is compromised to fit corporate requirements. After all, movies are a business and those that deal with things as “boring” as morality, purity, truth and honesty (Philippians 4:8) just don’t bring home the bacon.
I propose most great Christian-themed scripts are shelved because the decision has been made that the public will not go for it. Movie producers and screenwriters know no limit to “creative potential” and seem to be pushing the envelope on gory special effects, drugs, sex, and violence a little further with each new big budget film. It is clear mainstream media has lost touch with Godly values.
And then along comes “DREAMER: The Movie.” Thank you, George Johnson.
Chuck Missler has said,
“The word hypocrisy comes from the Greek theatre and means to “answer from under a mask.” So often as we go to school, to the office or to our homes, we hide our true thoughts and feelings because they aren’t pretty. It is not that we intend to wear masks or facades, it’s just that we don’t know how to be real and still reflect Christ.”
The characters in “Dreamer” step around their dreams and become what the world wants them to be instead of what God has intended them to become. This raises the question of submitting to what God has in store for us as opposed to what the world may push us into becoming. When do we say “I am in this particular situation because God has placed me here” or “Can I change a few things that I consider obstacles to become what God has always wanted me to be?” How can we keep our integrity and still make a difference?
Scripture provides the answers God has given us through His Word so that we can be genuine in our Christian lives. George Johnson exposes human wants, needs and desires through “Dreamer” and forces the audience to think about their true callings in this life.
This film is a wonderful tool for families, church groups and even non-believers to question their purpose here on Earth, to follow our hearts on to the dreams He has provided. For Christians it is an eye-opening, thought-provoking experience presented in a non-threatening, fun way. For any viewer, it will sneak up on you and get you considering those desires and dreams you’ve been longing to pursue long after you go home from the theater. Perhaps God Himself has placed those very desires in you for His Glory.
“American Idol” star Clay Aiken is a example of how far God can take you if you let Him be the Captain of your ship. He says in his inspirational memoir “Learning to Sing,” that “It took years, but I determined, finally, that it would be easier to be the person I was meant to be than to rework my personality in order to make an impact on someone else. I believe that Jesus is the Son of God. I believe that people get to Heaven through accepting Jesus as their personal Savior, that He is the way to Heaven and He is the way to God… I want to show people God’s love through what I do and who I am.” This statement has impact on a lot of people because Clay followed his dream.
In the final scenes of “Dreamer” the glowing figure of Christ instructs Ben Johnson’s character “Now go and use your accomplishments to help others!”
Johnson’s characters finally see it this way, as this talented director puts it:
“Everything means something. That’s the way that I view life, and that’s the way that this movie was created from the very first keystroke in the script. From my experiences, I have found life to be an unusually complex and involved thing—something to be experienced and enjoyed, and I wanted this movie to be the same way.”
`“There is no question about it, when the credits roll, you will have at least one or two unusual scenes dancing around in your memory banks, and your mind will be working overtime to formulate some sort of explanation for them. This is all part of the “DREAMER” experience. Not only will it get you thinking about quirky scenes—but it will also cause you to think about yourself, the people around you, your purpose, and where exactly you fit in this big, spinning world—possibly more deeply than you’ve ever thought about it before. And who knows? It just might generate enough energy in you to move you into that first step toward accomplishing that dream that’s been collecting dust in the dark, silent corners of your heart!”—Director George A. Johnson
“Dreamer: The Movie” stars Ben Johnson who has been in dozens of commercials as well as the music video “Cannonball.” Jeni Varnadeau, who is a Christian recording artist convincingly playing a Christian recording artist in this film (smile), has composed the inspiring title song “The Perfect Sky” expressly for “Dreamer.” Donald Pierce is an actor with the most experience, being in the “biz” for 22 years.
In his free time, George Johnson writes and produces music videos, and he is currently writing Allegory Pictures’ second feature film. I can hardly wait to see it!
“Dreamer: The Movie” is not rated, but may be considered PG. There may be a couple of scenes that might be a bit much for younger kids that show two brothers punching each other in the arm and some people running with guns, but who never actually use them. I found nothing objectionable about this film and would recommend it to everyone.
The official Web site, dreamerthemovie.com, is a easy to navigate and informal while being informational. There you will find interesting facts about the director (and, if you take a look at the credits you’ll see Mr. J. has taken on just about every other position except acting) of this terrific film including his very talented family. The trivia page is fun for those who have seen the movie and would like more info. The musical score is wonderful.
“My statement is simply this—don’t let your age, your status, your environment, or your view of yourself stop you from pursuing your dream. If you examine those things closely, you’ll notice that, outside of your age, they are all things that can be changed.—And if you’re not getting any younger, then there’s no time like the present to start changing them!”—George A. Johnson, Writer/Director, “DREAMER: The Movie”
“DREAMER” is not a conventional movie and that’s what I loved about it. This is one of those movies you may watch over and over again because, like the Bible, what you see on the surface is not what you’re ultimately gonna get. The more you search, the more you get out of it, and that is the blessing of “DREAMER.” Don’t miss it!
Violence: Minor / Profanity: None / Sex/Nudity: None