Monumental, a Movie Review
“Monumental” is a 2012 movie by Kirk Cameron. What are the strengths and weaknesses of this Christian documentary?
Strengths of the Movie Monumental
This Kirk Cameron movie does an excellent job of sharing the repeated travails the Pilgrims faced in their repeated flights to freedom, as well as the political fight they faced. When the Queen and King are the head of the church, and the church reinforces the monarch, seeking to separate from the church is both blasphemy and treason.
“Monumental” discusses how the Pilgrims were different from other European colonists and explorers in that they came seeking freedom and fled with their families. While those in Jamestown and other colonies were willing to enslave Africans and the Spanish enslaved Native Americans for labor, the Pilgrims focused on their own families and endeavors, leaving Native Americans alone. Later, the Pilgrims executed one of their own based on the testimony of two Native Americans, when other groups considered the Indians little more than animals.
Kirk Cameron brings you to some of the noteworthy monuments and historical places that are too often overlooked by history today. The Matrix of Liberty monument is central to this.
Kirk Cameron presents evidence that directly contradicts modern historical teaching. How could there be separation of church and state to say religion must be segregated from government, when the first English language Bible mass produced in America was funded by Congress to be distributed to schools?
Weaknesses of the Movie Monumental
The blackout, blinking effect of the introduction to the movie is horribly distracting. It transitions to this effect at the end, in an effort to thread the narrative into the scene of a father watching and worrying over his children’s future.
After sharing these monumental stories of Pilgrims being separated from their families fleeing to Holland and risking their lives to return to England to get a ship to America, he re-enacts these key scenes with narration. He should have either interviewed the expert and then acted out the events or only discussed the events with the historical expert. But discussing it with an expert and then re-enacting it is repetitive, as turns this hour of content into an hour and a half movie.
Observations about the Movie Monumental
The later third of the movie Monumental focuses on the Matrix of Liberty monument and its meaning, and he uses this monument’s meaning as the blueprint for how to build a free and prosperous society. For example, only if people have faith in a deity can they demand rights that come from God, and refuse to submit as subjects to the rights the King with Divine Right grants them.
Only people with self discipline and self-control, taught as part of most religions, can people be self-governing. Undisciplined children not expected to control themselves are held in check by oppressive punishments and tyrants.
Civil law chosen by the people is generated through the consent of the governed. Only when everyone is equal in the eyes of God can society say all are equal in the eyes of the law, not giving special privileges or extra punishment for people based on race, religion or social status. Grace and mercy per Christianity does away with the horrific punishments, such as hanging ten year-olds for theft or punching holes in breasts for political expression.
The “Matrix of Liberty” monument does explain the social structure that the Pilgrims saw as the basis of a free and prosperous society. And this blueprint for a free society is explained well to the audience. The film itself, though, is too long and contains too many distractions to be considered great. I give it three stars, wishing I could give it four.