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MOVIES: ‘The Islands’ showcases Hawaiian leader’s faith

BONNER SPRINGS, Kan. (BP) — “The Islands,” from filmmaker Timothy Chey (“Freedom,” “The Genius Club”) and RiverRain Productions, is now playing in selected theaters and is expected to have a wider release later this month. This highly anticipated adventure film is based on the true story of Hawaii’s High Chieftess Kapiolani’s heroic mission to justify her Christian convictions. The movie is a salute to Hawaii’s beauty and this island leader’s moral courage.

Hawaiians once offered human sacrifices to volcanoes in order to appease the “gods.” But after a Boston Baptist missionary won Kapiolani to Christ in 1821, she embraced her newfound faith and saw beyond these false practices. To prove her devotion and set an example for her people, the chieftess descended into the active Kilauea volcano after reciting a prayer to the Creator instead of the traditional Hawaiian petition to the god of volcanoes. She emerged unscathed and vowed that religion would be a personal decision, with her choice being Christianity.

“The Islands” features Oscar-award winner Mira Sorvino, as well as John Savage and native Hawaiian actress Teuira Shanti Napa as Kapiolani. A stunning production, it highlights Kapiolani’s remarkable faith and how it affected an entire nation.

“The Islands” is rated PG-13 for mature subject matter and violence, which may not be suitable for younger children.

Returning favorites

“The Star,” which premiered in theaters in 2017, returns to local cinemas for a limited engagement this Dec. 7-8. Sony Pictures’ animated retelling of the birth of Jesus is aimed at children and concerns a brave little donkey and his barnyard buddies as they become accidental heroes on Christmas Day.

I wasn’t thrilled with the idea of animated animals taking the spotlight off the infant who would change the course of man’s destiny. But after seeing the screener, I gave way to another view of this Disney-esque treatment of a holy event. The script makes the advent understandable to its main demographic: little ones.

Gratefully, while utilizing this approach, the filmmakers avoid using Jesus, Mary or Joseph as the brunt of jokes. Well, OK, Joseph, like most sit-com husbands, is a bit of a bumbler. But it is clear that he is a good man. Here, the animals represent mankind and it is they who are bewildered until the true meaning of life is born.

I believe that as children enjoy the comic antics of Bo the Donkey and his eccentric stable of friends, they may open up to the picture’s sincere and biblical conclusion. What’s more, I suspect the 86-minute film will lead to a positive family discussion on the drive home. (PG)

And new on DVD: “Overcomer.”

This past August, Christian writers Alex and Stephen Kendrick, founders of Sherwood Pictures, gave moviegoers “Overcomer,” an inspiring mix of humor and drama with spiritual insights. Now on Digital, the well-received film will be released on DVD and Blu-ray December 17th.

The story involves high school basketball coach John Harrison (Alex Kendrick) losing his job when the town’s largest manufacturing plant closes and several of his team’s families move away. At a crossroads, he is offered the position of girls’ track coach. Reluctantly accepting the post, he’s quickly introduced to a new obstacle: only one girl turns out for tryouts. And she has asthma! After a rocky start, John coaches the aspiring cross-country athlete (Aryn Wright-Thompson) to success on and off the track, while learning some lessons himself.

Heartfelt and believable, this sports drama offers hope that God does intervene and blesses those with contrite hearts.

    About the Author

  • Phil Boatwright