In this prequel to John Bunyon’s classic novel, A Pilgrim’s Progress, a skeptic’s journey leads him to a truth that will transform his life.
Synopsis: A regal man named Vangel is thrust on a journey against his will when he is mysteriously arrested and begins to have strange visions of a woman in white. Armed with an ancient book that he receives from a wise sage, his adventure begins.
Starring: Patrick Thompson, Peta Sergeant, Alan Powell, In-Pyo Cha
Rated: NR but probably PG13 for fantasy violence.
Running time: 92 minutes
Review and Analysis
What wasn’t apparent to me when watching this film is that it’s a prequel to Bunyon’s classic novel, A Pilgrim’s Progress. It wasn’t until after I watched the movie and read another review that this cleared up what was, at the time, a confusing story that only seemed to slightly resemble the original story. The plot feels more like a fleshed-out outline rather than a complete story.
Vangel, the main protagonist doesn’t give us a reason to root for him. That isn’t always a bad thing but without knowing much about him, it’s difficult to cheer him on in his journey. Other characters come and go (like in Pilgrim’s) and are only there to propel the protagonist through the plot.
Faith, perseverance, and trust are strong themes in this film. Vangel has many opportunities to give up but continues on despite not fully trusting some of his companions.
The costumes look great (except for one character who looks like he’s wearing a mask from Halloween Outlet) and the exterior shots are the best part of the film. A number of interior shots lose their impact because the green screen is off a bit. Magic effects look fine but nothing like you see in a big-budget film. Some characters have voiceovers and it can be a bit jarring.
Families with kids that can deal with superhero violence will enjoy this film. Its $250K budget is utilized well and the Christian themes are conveyed through allegory rather than brute force. Some parents may take issue with a few of the costumes worn by the female characters.
Heavenquest: A Pilgrim’s Progress extends Bunyon’s world and provides a backstory for a key character in the original tale. It’s nice to see a diverse cast and fresh faces in a film targeted to Christians.