Reviewed by: Sheri McMurray
About the biblical Tree of Life
Where did cancer come from? Answer
How did bad things come about? Answer
Why does God allow innocent people to suffer? Answer
What about the issue of suffering? Doesn’t this prove that there is no God and that we are on our own? Answer
Does God feel our pain? Answer
What kind of world would you create? Answer
What is true love and how do you know when you have found it? Answer
|Featuring:||Hugh Jackman, Rachel Weisz, Ellen Burstyn, Sean Gullette, Sean Patrick Thomas|
“Requiem for a Dream,” “The Wrestler,” “Pi”
|Producer:||Nick Wechsler, Darren Aronofsky, Eric Watson|
|Distributor:||Warner Bros. Pictures Distribution, 20th Century Fox International|
“What if you could life forever?”
All I can say is… huh?
I went to this movie expecting a sci-fi fashion, love story that would whisk me, time-traveling style, from 16th century Spain, through the 21st century and on out into the future with a thrilling story line of two lovers racing time to find the Fountain of Youth so that the dying heroine can survive and live forever with her true love.
Instead, I found myself yawning through a dark and cryptic story, confusing plot and relentlessly dull close-ups. There were spurts of fine acting, but it never seemed to match the emotion the actors were trying to convey. Either they were crying, screaming, or pouting, and most times just emoting without speaking for long periods of time. Most scenes done in extreme close-ups that, to me, took away from really connecting with these characters that I so much wanted to get to know and feel for.
I’m sorry, I just didn’t buy it. And I am warning anyone who knows where they are going after death, that is to be with The Lord Jesus, not to buy a ticket to “The Fountain.” It’s a pretty boring hour and a half, full of un-Christian metaphors and obtuse, eastern-religion worldview themes.
In his 26th century, it seems we have gone past a mere body and soul, but taken life up a notch by living in bubbles in outer space, sitting in a lotus position and dwelling within our enlightened minds to eventually be pulled into a golden nebula and melt into pure …a …well, nothing. How aimless is that?
Although the film, itself, darts back and forth between time eras, and the dialogue is fractured and sparse, I will try and put things in order as best I can understand. What you see in the theater will be wildly out of sequence, but to tell a bit of the story, it must be put into some sort of order for you here.
“The Fountain” is not really a fountain at all, but the actual Tree Of Life. In the 16th century, the Spanish Queen Isabel (Rachel Weisz)is being hounded during the Spanish Inquisition by an evil guy named The Inquisitor. He is a determined, demented man leading a bloody rebellion in hopes of killing the Queen and taking over the throne.
Queen Isabel calls upon her loyal and trusted conquistador Thomas (Hugh Jackman), whom she obviously loves, to find The Tree Of Life, get some sap, and return back to her in time to drink it together and live forever. They know time is running out, and this seems to be the only way to save their love.
Thomas and a trusted Friar take a secret map along with a regiment of Spanish fighters and travel to an ancient Mayan temple pyramid where The Tree of Life is said to be guarded by a hoard of Mayan warriors. Thomas is able to break through their battle lines, climb the pyramid and claw his way to the top. Here he finds the door to The Tree of Life guarded by a holy man with crazed eyes, a spear and a bad set of teeth.
In the 21st century, the characters of Thomas and Queen Isabel take the form of Dr. Tom Creo, who is frantically trying to find a cure for his wife Izzy’s terminal brain tumor. His beautiful wife hasn’t long to live, and, as the clock is ticking, he spends every waking moment dedicated to injecting, dissecting and operating on laboratory monkeys in hopes he’ll find a cure for the ill-fated Izzy.
They don’t know they were once a conquistador and Queen, though Izzy is writing a novel of sorts, which tells the whole story of the Spanish lovers up to the time Thomas the conquistador encounters the Temple shaman. The final chapter is never finished as poor Lizzy succumbs to the tumor.
Dr. Tom somehow mystically knows that if he finishes the final chapter himself, they will be reunited. He thinks The Tree of Life may already have been found, as he has been doing experiments on the bark of a tree that seems to make people get younger, healthier and shrinks tumors (although the fate of the poor monkeys is questionable). He is a man consumed with grief, desperate that this tree will have the power put them back together forever.
Skip 500 years into the future and things get really weird. We don’t know the name of the bald man in the bubble, but are pretty sure it used to be Tom. It seems he is floating in outer space, confined in the bubble with a tree whom he talks to, hugs and nurtures. We assume this is The Tree. They (Tom and the tree) seem to be floating into a glowing star system and are visited every now and then by spirit Izzy, or Isabel, in one form or another, which either irritates, soothes or causes bald Tom to go into a tormented rage.
Even though the 16th century Thomas is shown kneeling in prayer and is assisted by a friar of the Spanish church, there is no connection between him and the 26th century bald man in the bubble, who is shown floating in a lotus position with hands resting, finger to thumb, on his knees, obviously meditating and on a higher plain than any lowly 16th century (or 21st century for that matter), man on his knees in prayer to God, The Father, for guidance. Bald Tom is on his way to The Shibalba, what the Mayans called The Fountain.
It is my opinion that the authors of the script and the Director are trying to put religion on an evolutionary track, stating to it’s audience through “The Fountain” that belief in God is on it’s way out in lieu of a new and improved eastern-themed, higher consciousness.
Important details to heed in “The Fountain”:
The PG-13 rating is misleading. Although there are only two profane words, there was a very suggestive sex scene in a bathtub. There was no real nudity, per se, but there was no doubting what was going on, and lots of open mouth kissing. I was uncomfortable watching it, as it dragged on way too long.
There were sword fights, lashings, stabbings, and violence with blood. Several poor people were shown hanging upside down, covered in blood and eventually killed. One character got his ears cut off, and they were shown lying beside his head as he writhed in agony.
The character of Queen Isabel notes Genesis 3:24 to support her quest for The Tree of Life. She says after Adam and Eve were banished from the garden, that the tree was hidden by God, and that it can be found once again. In so doing, and by wearing her ring, Thomas will become the Adam of the world again, and she will become his Eve. Of course, along with the sap which springs forth from this tree, they will live forever.
“Take this ring,” the Queen commands, “as a promise. Wear it, and when you find Eden, together we shall find ease. You shall be Adam, and I shall be your Eve.”
As Christians, we should note that, in reality, the Tree of Life does not exist here on Earth any longer, let alone give a sap that will allow the drinker to live forever. The believer in Christ’s work on the cross lives forever in spirit with The Lord, after departing this Earth in death, to be resurrected, as Our Savior was, to eternal life with Him.
“The Fountain” goes down lots of strange religious paths, into eastern mysticism, in particular. “The seed is planted over the grave. The seed becomes the man, the man grows the limbs and roots, and becomes the world—this is the road to awe!” The main character travels to a dying star, is consumed by it and becomes reborn. It is noted by one character that the tree of life is the road by which breath is given to you, and, by dying, you float into the realm of the future. Another character shouts, “We shall become immortal (by drinking the sap of the tree), and (when spearing himself with a sword before the tree) our blood shall feed the earth.”
What is said and done in this absurd, twisted film, is not something any wise Christian needs to see, and most definitely not any impressionable Christian teens. It cannot be stressed enough, especially in the times in which we live, that God is with us, leads us and comforts us. There is never any need for any other. He is sufficient to fill our needs, and every desire of our hearts.
What on Earth is happening in our culture? The answer is plain, I’m afraid, in Romans 1 and 2. Men render truth dumb and inoperative because of their wickedness. They refuse to acknowledge God or to thank Him for what He is or does. They become fatuous in their argumentation. In giving up the God of Scripture, maker of Heaven and Earth, they still have the need to fill the emptiness their spirit craves, so they follow new gods. Gods of mystic proportions. Gods who tell them that true enlightenment is found within themselves. Man begins to hold himself up as the controller of his life. He is ruler of himself and someday will become complete by becoming one with the universe.
Behind a facade of wisdom, men become fools. They give up God. They forfeit the truth of God and accept a lie. They overflow with insolent pride; their minds teem with diabolical invention. They recognize no obligations to honor, lose all natural affection, and have no use for mercy. They do not hesitate to give their thorough approval to others who do the same (see Romans 1:18-2:5, PHILLIPS). They have no hope.
“There is no doubt at all that he will ‘render to every man according to his works,’ and that means eternal life to those who, in patiently doing good, aim at the unseen… It also means anger and wrath for those who rebel against God’s plan of life. ‘But there is glory and honor and peace for every worker on the side of good’” (see Rom. 2:6-10, PHILLIPS).
So many people today want direction for their lives. Tell them that God has given us a map, and this map, of course, is the Bible. It tells us how to live. The psalmist said, “Your word is a lamp to my feet and a light to my path” (Psalm 119:105). Everything we need to know about living is in the Bible. That’s where we can find our road. Not only that, we can share our map for the road to heaven.
Only God knows the future, and His road is well-lit. When we are looking for direction, we don’t have to go any further than the Bible, God’s roadmap to life. He alone will show us the way to eternal life.
The “spirit” character of Izzy keeps coming back to Tom, whispering to “finish it.” I kept agreeing with her, hoping that this mixed-up mess would come to an end. “Finish it!” I pleaded in a whisper, “…and let me go home.”
My recommendation: Stay home. It’s a shame, because the core idea for this movie could have been an exciting look at a time-traveling Romeo and Juliet, but alas, “The Fountain” isn’t worth the film it was printed on.
Violence: Moderate / Profanity: Mild / Sex/Nudity: Moderate
See list of Relevant Issues—questions-and-answers.