Reviewed by: John Decker
|Featuring:||Billy Unger … Billy Stone
Sammi Hanratty … Allie
James Hong … Faleaka
Jansen Panettiere … Huko
Mark Dacascos … Cobra
William Corkery … Anui
Hal Rudnick … Tall Thug/Tall Tracker
Sidney S. Liufau … Short Thug/Short Tracker
Tiya Sircar … Mohea
Alex Kendrick … Daniel
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|Producer:||Downes Brothers Entertainment
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|Distributor:||MeThinx Entertainment, Downes Brothers Entertainment|
“Finding it is only the beginning.”
Here’s what the distributor says about their film: “Archaeologist Dr. Michael Stone looked for the lost medallion his entire life, and now his son Billy has taken up the search. Amazingly, the medallion ends up in Billy’s hands and a spontaneous wish in a precarious situation takes Billy and his best friend Allie, back 200 years to what they realize is a very different Aumakua Island. When Billy and his friends are not jumping off waterfalls, avoiding animal traps, crossing the ocean, sneaking through caves or escaping a prison they’re facing their nemesis Cobra, who wants nothing more than for them all to disappear. With no other way to get home, and the well being of the entire island resting on his shoulders, Billy must discover the key to reclaiming the medallion and its tremendous power. One way or another, this adventure will change Billy, and life on the island, forever.”
“The Lost Medallion” may be a first for the Christian film industry. We’ve seen plenty of films and TV shows that are primarily told from the child’s perspective, and certainly some of these shows are very innocent and do not cross certain moral boundaries: profanity, sensuality and graphic violence. Where “The Lost Medallion” differs, however—it does not subvert the parent–child relationship, it does not demonize authority. What we are used to, but are not treated to here, is a subversion of family relationships, particularly that of the father figure, of police, dog catchers, and such. This film pulls off this same genre without entertaining such rebellious non-sense and overt defacing of our most important relationships, and, for its genre, this film is certainly among the best ever made.
The music is fun, some of the night shots are quite nice. The story contains thematic elements meant to reflect the evil of certain antagonists, but the imagery does not instill fear, in my opinion, as it remains thematic and somewhat animated. It’s not gory or graphic.
The predominant message of the story is about the heart—that strength lies not in the power of the medallion, but in “the heart.” We are given a synopsis about loving and serving, about God’s love for everyone. In this film, we are given a mostly conventional children’s story and an overt telling of God’s love for us. This is a far cry from how so many children’s stories end.
The children live in a caring orphanage. The man in the story (Alex Kendrick—“Facing the Giants,” “Fireproof,” “Courageous”), also an orphan from his youth, is a caring gentleman who provides us all with a lesson or two we can learn from. It’s subtle and not from a position of moral superiority. For me, this was very well played.
The story is certainly simple and childlike, which is fitting for this genre, but it does not have a certain twisted perspective that’s also inherent with this type of film. In “The Lost Medallion,” children act like real children. They don’t lord some superiority over the adults in the story, though the bad guys are adults.
“The Lost Medallion” is entertaining. It’s fun. It’s innocent. It is not offensive. It speaks overtly of The Lord. It is what an innocent children’s story should be. I hope Director Bill Muir and the Kendrick brothers venture further down this road of children’s stories. They run the risk of redefining them, if they do, and creating a future of storytelling that the world will want to consume—one that is more realistic, more respecting of relationships, more human, more respectful of life and Godliness and more genuine than what the world produces.
The main character is treated as “just a child” by his father, as he attempts to be a little architect, emulating his father. Some may not like this subtle part of the film. The solution is: children should not be treated as unworthy of real work and real goals. My goodness, our world could go for some of that, couldn’t it? The father’s role is otherwise flat. He is not a major part of the story. This child–parent relationship is less than perfect, but it is not deeply subversive, exaggerated or highly unrealistic. The bad guys are shutting his dad down, so the boy and his father remain “on the same team,” even though there is this relationship difficulty.
There is a sense in which the boy has valor to overcome the troubles presented, and his father plays the more practical role and is seen “giving up” (the character’s own words). This is certainly part of the setup for the story, but it is an unnecessary element, in my opinion, and I am simply aiming to be as critical of this story as I would of any other film in its genre. This is possibly the only aspect of the film I would flag to even the most sensitive of movie goers.
There is an awkward moment in which the prominent female character says, “He is so cute,” talking about one of the boys. The girl remains occasionally somewhat enamored with the boy. The attraction is innocent, and nothing drawn out or inappropriate becomes of it.
This movie has a nice start. You’re familiar with the scenario: a story needs to be told and a sage enters the scene to tell the story. That’s the setup. It’s pretty conventional, but it’s a good build. The performances are excellent, and the premise is heartfelt. Again, I look forward to more films like this and encourage you to see and share this film.
Violence: Mild / Profanity: None / Sex/Nudity: None
See list of Relevant Issues—questions-and-answers.