The Pilgrim’s Progress Movie Review 2019: A Warning

I’m really sad to have to write this. I truly wanted to like this movie. Though I had nearly given up on being able to watch any movies anymore thanks to the defiling filth spewed out by Hellywood or the shallow, compromising pop-culture Christianity that mimics it, I actually had a glimmer of hope for this one. But now it looks like I need to throw in the towel for good.

I’m not going to criticize the movie from a cinematography perspective. What’s far more important is the actual content. Our society is far too concerned with something that has special effects and looks lifelike rather than something that is wholesome. They will watch filth and wickedness on screen all because it is “well done” with fancy, convincing animation.

The Pilgrim’s Progress Movie Review (2019 Version)

My opinion? Bunyan would weep if he could see it!

His warning clearly was not heeded by the creators of this movie:

Take heed also, that thou be not extreme,
In playing with the outside of my dream:…
Put by the curtains, look within my veil,
Turn up my metaphors, and do not fail;
There, if thou seekest them, such things find,
As will be helpful to an honest mind.
What of my dross thou findest there, be bold
To throw away, but yet preserve the gold

(- From the end of Bunyan’s Pilgrim’s Progress part I)

These two cautions were blatantly disregarded by the producers, as I will show you in this post.

He even warned us of counterfeits:

“Tis true, some have of late, to counterfeit
My Pilgrim, to their own my title set;
Yea others, half my name and title too
Have stitched to their book, to make them do;
But yet they, by their features, do declare
Themselves not mine to be, whose e’er they are.

(- From the beginning of Bunyan’s Pilgrim’s Progress part II)

A LOTR Ripoff

The original Pilgrim’s Progress is as different from the Lord of the Rings series as day is from night. But the movie makers have bent the story in an effort to merge it with LOTR, which I will prove by the following points.

A featured reviewer quoted on their trailer says of The Pilgrim’s Progress: The Journey of Every Believer, it’s:

“Like watching an animated version of the Lord of the Rings with a Christian storyline…”

Now, this quote was featured by the movie makers… meaning they agree with it or they wouldn’t have featured it. So right off the bat, we have RevelationMedia heartily acquiescing to this statement.

In what sense is the movie like Lord of the Rings? Is it just a harmless comparison between the medieval-looking outfits, time period or “journey aspect” of the movie? That’s what I naively assumed, when I first started to watch the movie. But consider carefully and you’ll see that statement has a much deeper meaning.

I can say with absolute certainty that this movie is actually an unholy hybrid between Bunyan’s God-glorifying work and Tolkien’s pagan, witchcraft trilogy – dressed up as a wholesome film to milk the Christian crowds.  The end result is something that completes their announced goal: please the average movie-goer of today. And in doing so, and in yolking with the world (that they so say they refuse to do), they have succeeded in draining dry the power of the Holy Spirit from this work – the power that made this work so great, it took the world by storm for centuries.

A quote from the beginning of the full-length film:

“Let your imagination explore this story in a new way…”

What new way? Why, the “new way” of crooked producers blending this beautiful book with the blasphemous pagan trilogy, of course.

There are many examples of this mixing, far more than I can even fit all in one post, so I’ll touch on the 5 main ones I found, ending with the most offensive one.

1. The Book

Quote from the movie:

“It has been said that no one just finds the book, but rather, the book finds them.”

Now this quote isn’t in Bunyan’s book. It’s not in the Bible either. So where did they get this? What are they really saying here?

Is there anything being drawn from… the Lord of the Rings, perhaps? (Since this is admittedly like an “animated version.”) Well, look at the role this book plays. The role is: the book is what drives Christian to his journey. It’s the driving force. What sets off the hobbit’s journey? The One Ring played that role for Bilbo and Frodo in Tolkien’s evil novels. And that’s not the only similarity.

Consider the ability of the One Ring to seek out its master.

“… the ring was, as Gandalf put it, “trying to get back to its master” and used all of its power and influence to find its way back to the Dark Lord. It was also capable of changing sizes and could easily slip off of a finger where once it had been tight, with no obvious explanation as to why.” – https://lotr.fandom.com/wiki/One_Ring

“‘One ring to rule them all, One ring to find them, One ring to bring them all and in the darkness bind them.’The ring’s inscription, translated”

The One Ring has a will of its own to find.

The book finds you – like the ring.

Now interestingly enough, nothing is said about how Christian found the book in Bunyan’s work. That was all added by the scriptwriter(s), who seem to be drawing on LOTR beginning in the very first scene. But sure, one thing seems funny, surely that’s not enough to prove anything. Well there are many more examples, just keep reading.

2. Evangelist

Gandalf is, in the book, the “wise,” stern yet encouraging mentor and guide to the fearful, uncertain hobbit Frodo. He gives him instructions with authority and force, warning him to flee his village. He shows up unexpectedly, often in a situation of difficulty.

“Gandalf is often described in The Lord of the Rings as quick to anger, and equally quick to laugh. His deep wisdom clearly derived from the patience he learned in Valinor, just as his care for all creatures of good will must have come from his strong sense of pity for the weak. Both his patience and sense of pity were revealed again and again…” https://lotr.fandom.com/wiki/Gandalf

He describes himself as follows:

I am a servant of the Secret Fire, wielder of the flame of Anor.

The Secret Fire?

“The Secret Fire seems to refer to that aspect of Eru Ilúvatar which is his Power of Creation.” – https://lotr.fandom.com/wiki/Secret_Fire

Eru Ilúvatar?

Eru was the supreme deity of Arda. He was the single creator, above the Valar, but delegated almost all direct action within Eä to the Ainur, including the shaping of the world. … Eru was transcendent, completely outside of and beyond the world… He is known also as “the All-Powerful“, and he alone could create independent life, or reality, using the “Flame Imperishable”” https://lotr.fandom.com/wiki/Eru_Il%C3%BAvatar

This “Eru” is the blasphemous imposter of God in the wicked, evil, awful, utterly satanic LOTR.

But as Gandalf is the servant of Eru, so Evangelist is the servant of the king in The Pilgrim’s Progress movie.

3. Christian

Fearful, timid and with a great and burdensome newfound responsibility to secret knowledge – though with a hidden strength that shows in difficulty – Christian is a parallel to Frodo.

He accepts his fate as a bearer of a great burden and undertakes an unknown journey to relieve it.

I will take the Ring, though I do not know the way.
Frodo, at the Council of Elrond, in The Fellowship of the Ring

He encounters nearly deadly combat with moral enemy (Apollyon in the PP movie; Sauron in the LOTR).

There seems to be a self-reliant strength undercurrent between the two protagonists that has laced both movies.

4. Apollyon

Note the uncanny similarity between Apollyon’s role in the movie, who lives in a dark castle on a mountain and the dark lord Sauron in the Lord of the Rings.

“Sauron began revealing himself once more, and by SA 1000 he gathered his power and established himself in the land of Mordor in eastern Middle-earth and began building the dreaded Dark Tower of Barad-dûr near Mount Doom. Sauron, like Morgoth, soon began raising massive armies of Orcs, Trolls, and possibly other creatures, as well as corrupting the hearts of Men with delusions of power and wealth…” https://lotr.fandom.com/wiki/Sauron

They even have matching castles:

(Above, Apollyon’s)

(That last one is Sauron’s castle, which is practically a mirror image of Apollyon’s).

Both have an army of creepy mean devilish minions at their beck and call (which they are often abusive to).  Some higher-ranking ones are set over the lower inferiors (i.e. Superior 6; the Ringwraiths). Both set out their servants to destroy the protagonist trying to complete the journey.

5. The Interpreter

Now, for the most blatant, grievous departure from the book.

The Interpreter of the real Pilgrim’s Progress is a He. The reason? He is a depiction of the Holy Spirit. This is plain when the Interpreter says at the end of showing Christian his house:

The Comforter be always with thee, good Christian, to guide thee in the way that leads to the City.”

Page 27:

“Then Christian began to gird up his loins, and to address himself to his journey. So the other told him, That by that he was gone some distance from the gate, he would come at the house of the Interpreter; at whose door he should knock, and he would show him excellent things.”

But in the book… the interpreter is turned into a “she!”

I have heard it argued that perhaps the makers of the movie didn’t understand the Interpreter was supposed to be an allegory to the Holy Spirit. Well then, what are they doing making a movie of something they don’t understand, something so clear and so plain to anyone who reads the book with open eyes? It would be a serious, serious oversight to miss the link, especially when they are the ones who are supposed to understand the book enough to make it a movie…. who are supposed to be Christians to boot and understand basic Bible teaching, to the point where Bunyan even spelled it out for them. They just needed to have read John 14:26 for all to be revealed and clear. And it wasn’t just one person who would have overlooked this – it was a whole team of people AND the directors and producers and actors, etc… you’re telling me not one person put it together? not one person was familiar with John 14:26?

Now why is this so blasphemously and grossly perverted in the movie? If it isn’t from some gross mistake, is it because another female character was needed to keep the girls’ interest? Well of all characters to replace, why replace one of the most significant and one that must be a MALE to be faithful to the allegory? And if it was all just a simple misunderstanding of the significance of the Interpreter, why is a gender change really implemented here, and at such a crucial spot? There’s a sinister agenda at foot. I believe it is to mimic the Lord of the Rings! And I will show this by the following:

No joke, she looks nearly identical to Galadriel from the Lord of the Rings (voice by none other than Kristyn Getty)!

The “interpreter:”

Galadriel:

Same exact dress, same exact belt, same exact hairdo, same glowing light “aura” deal going on, complete with a crown. (You can’t see if she’s got pointed ears.) She also very beautiful and seductive.

Don’t miss this now, this is significant. Your mind is going to be blown. According to the following information from The One Wiki to Rule them All (https://lotr.fandom.com/wiki/Galadriel), Galadriel was:

“… one of the greatest of the Eldar in Middle-earth, and surpassed nearly all others in beauty, knowledge, and power. She was also the bearer of Nenya, one of the three Elven rings of power. J.R.R. Tolkien thought of her, along with Gil-galad the Elven-king, as one of the mightiest and fairest of all the Elves left in Middle-earth. “

She is also a forteller of future events (the interpreter knew Christian was coming – “I’ve been expecting you” – and reveals future things to him):

“… Galadriel allowed Frodo and Sam to peer into the Mirror of Galadriel, enabling them to glimpse possible events of the future. ” – Ibid.

The interpreter in the PP movie warns Christian of the feigned persuasions of Apollyon to come.

Galadriel equips Frodo (who came to her for help – eerily familiar?!) with what he needed for his mission, as the interpreter does for Christian:

“To Frodo, she gave a magical phial which captured the light of Eärendil’s star, without which Frodo and Sam would have been unable to pass through Shelob’s lair to complete their quest. ” – Ibid.

She has radiant golden hair and a light about her:

“Galadriel was highly praised for her beauty, particularly that of her hair, which was a deep and radiant gold, shot with silver…” – Ibid.

It is interesting to note that Galadriel is a high-level witch honoured by Satan-worshippers:

“The Led Zeppelin songs Stairway to Heaven and The Battle of Evermore contain many references to Galadriel…”  – Ibid.

Tolkien modeled Galadriel after the Mary of the Catholics.  Now there is an interesting tie here, because there are indications of Catholic sympathies in the PP movie.  The scene of Pope growling at Christian that “more of you must be burned” is totally omitted.  Kristyn Getty is featured at the beginning (the Gettys have Catholic connections – more on them later).

The Catholics place Mary before Christ or the Holy Spirit and see her as their spiritual guide (hmm…).

The Most Serious and Concerning Alterations in The Pilgrim’s Progress 2019 Movie

Now before we get into this I want you to read this quote:

“A major studio would bring bigger budgets for things like special effects. But they’d also try to water down God’s message — something Steve absolutely refuses to do. ‘The movie is the messaging. We would never trade the movie for the message.‘” Source: https://www.godupdates.com/the-pilgrims-progress-animated-movie-inspiration/

Ok, keep that in mind now and see if that holds true.

I will now show you dozens of examples of how this statement is clearly untrue.

1. All direct references to the Lord Jesus are removed

This is a grievous thing.  Many times in Pilgrim’s Progress Bunyan specifically mentions by name the Lord Jesus and Christ Jesus.  But the movie never mentions that name even once – it only says “He” or “the King.”

Interestingly enough, this censoring of the name of Christ is characteristic of both CCM and modern bible translations. But the name of Christ is essential for our salvation (Acts 4:12, 1 Corinthians 6:11). Censoring the name of Jesus is characteristic of them that are against him (Acts 4:18, 5:40, 26:9.)

2. The Scriptures and verse references are all removed

I’ve heard it said that something like 80% of Bunyan’s Pilgrim’s Progress is Scriptural quotes or Scripture references. Why is it that 0% of the movie is?

The ONE SPOT they had a plain-as-day opportunity to quote this part of a verse written on the door of the gate:

“… knock, and it shall be opened unto you:” – Matthew 7:7

They misquoted it:

“Knock and the door will be opened.”

But Bunyan got it right:

“So, in process of time, Christian got up to the gate. Now, over the gate there was written, ‘Knock, and it shall be opened unto you’ (Matt 7:8)”

Out of the HUNDREDS of Bible references in Pilgrim’s Progress to specific passages or verses, NOT ONE is provided in the movie. This is deliberate. You can’t miss them when you read the book; they’re everywhere – 80% Scripture or references to Bible verses! It was all left out on purpose.

3. The gospel is gutted

We have a very clear and lengthy presentation of the gospel in the conversation between Christian and Hopeful as the two are journeying through the Enchanted Ground.  This is one of the most profound scenes in all of the book and is full of Scripture references.  This entire scene, which takes up several pages in the book, is so clear, so important and so key, is totally REMOVED.

The scene where Christian goes up the hill to the cross is included. It is a short scene in both the book and the movie. But the name of the way is left out, which is Salvation and (Isa. 26:1). Also left out is “Thy sins be forgiven thee” (Mark 2:15). I observed how the cross was portrayed as a beam of light in a cross shape rather than a wooden cross. Bunyan never described it as a cross of light, just a cross, so I think a wooden cross would have been a more faithful depiction. The burden on his back was a burden of sin (in the book, Christian says “Thus far I did come laden with my sin; Nor could aught ease the grief that I was in Til I came hither… blest rather be The man that there was put to shame for me!“, but none of this is mentioned.  Leaving this out makes the allegory of the figure of the burden up to personal speculation. Maybe it’s low self-esteem? Maybe it’s sadness? This is certainly a muddying of the waters. A cross of light relieved it, but nothing is said of the person who bore the cross.

What bothers me even more is that people watch this and think it has the true gospel in it, when the real, unadulterated gospel, Scripture or references to Christ have been ripped out.

One reviewer says:

“It can be so difficult to watch a movie the whole family will enjoy and this hit the mark. We have kids ages 5-15 and we all liked this. And to be biblically sound and teach the gospel?! You definitely do not want to miss out on watching this movie.

How can you possibly teach the gospel with no mention of Christ or without one verse of Scripture? when there are no references to sin or hell?  Yes, Pilgrim’s Progress is an analogy. But Bunyan did not let that stop him from shamelessly preaching the gospel through it, and that clearly.

Oh sure, some might say “But there is a scene where the king says that his blood was given for Christian when Apollyon wounded him! That’s the gospel right there!”

No, it isn’t.

The gospel is not just that Christ died for us, though that is an important part of the gospel. Unless you show people they are lost and on their way to hell on the authority of the Word of God, and that they need to repent and believe on the Lord Jesus Christ – in His name alone through faith – that blood will not cleanse them and they will die in their sins. You can’t get saved from this watered down version of the gospel. It is powerless.

So much for “We would never trade the movie for the message.”  You already did! You may as well sell out to Hellywood. You already ripped them off throughout the entire movie and erased the Word of God and Jesus from the thing in the process. Why not sell out? This isn’t something God’s people need. It’s a scam designed to suck young kids into LOTR garbage. There’s no point in keeping it in the Church. Stop pretending like it’s Christian to market it to the church-goers. Stop trying to act like you are doing a righteous work in giving it to missionaries while exploiting the story. You’ve distorted an anointed work of a profound man of God to make a buck and will have to answer to the Lord for it.

Intro Trouble

We have trouble in the first 3 minutes.

The movie starts out with a fluffy, pretty much meaningless quote from the infamous C.S. Lewis. My heart just sank right off the bat. But seeing as he has been such an acceptable and praised figure in the “Christian” world, from a director’s perspective, it seems it would please the crowd.

“Since it is so likely that children will meet with cruel enemies, let them at least have heard of brave knights and heroic courage. Otherwise you’re making their destiny not brighter, but darker.”

How insightful. How edifying. How Biblical. Wait, how about, “Since it is so likely children will be drawn into the cruel, dark web of the witchcraft of the pagan works of C.S. Lewis, let them at least have heard a warning not to turn aside after false apostles and learn the truth from true godly men who don’t compromise on the Faith once delivered to the saints. Otherwise you’re making their destiny not heavenly, but hotter than the hottest oven in the pit of hell and darker than the blackest night.” What a nauseating way to introduce the most profound spiritual book in history second only to the Bible.

Then who should step in but Kristyn Getty – wife of Keith Getty – making a shameless plug for their apostate music. It doesn’t take long before the heresy commences. I was actually shocked at how much heresy could be crammed by one lady in under 4 minutes. She infers that Lewis is a “great man of the faith.” According to Getty, Bunyan’s “imagination was stirred” to write The Pilgrim’s Progress. I believe it was the hand of God upon a man so anointed by the Holy Spirit that he shook the world. It was not Bunyan’s own mental powers, no, not by any means. That man was more mightily used by God to bring truth to the world since his time than any I know of. “Imagination is what gives us the ability to visualize the things we cannot see.” Uh, no, as Christians, that would be FAITH. “As Christians, we need vivid imaginations.” I’m feeling more nauseous by the minute.  We need vivid imaginations like we need a hole in the head. (I wrote an entire post on that here.) But she goes on to say how the Bible makes us rely on our imagination so we can “understand what our king wants us to know about him.” Really? “God gave us our imagination and teaches us with it and connects with us through it… we must encourage the use of imagination in understanding our faith and in connecting with our creator.” Help! Am I hearing this? I wish I could think something so erroneous was blurted out when caught off-guard, but these lines were the initial Segway into the movie, and that unfortunately couldn’t be the case. And it went on. And on.

“Logic and reason alone are not enough. To know about Christ is not the same as to know him. Our faith is not about what we know, it’s about who we know. Facts set a foundation. And our imagination makes those facts personal to us and leads our hearts to sing…”  Stop, stop stop. Lady, chapter and verse please?

Yes, it is true that knowing about Christ is not enough. We need to know Him in the biblical sense of the word. BUT – while I can’t prove this for sure – it seems the kind of knowing she is talking about is different, it undermines what we learn from the Bible. Remember, this lady is in the forefront of the ecumenical movement. This movement bolsters the charismatic movement, that emphasizes the kind of knowing that bypasses the Word of God and makes one rely on mysticism and charismatic experiences filled with emotionalism.

But imagination does not make those facts “personal to us” (kind of an odd phrase). The Spirit of the Living God is what quickens us and “beareth witness with our spirit.” Feelings are not enough. Simply visualizing something is not enough. It is the Holy Ghost inside of us as Christians that enlightens our eyes to the truths of God.

In my opinion, it was a great mistake to bring both of these two things in right off the bat (or at all). Ironically, the Gettys are ecumenical, one-world-church “bridge builders” and Catholic sympathizers. (I recommend reading this article for an expose.) But one has only to read the works of Bunyan to know his firm stance against the Papacy, so often rebuked and exposed in his works, and how unwavering his position on being faithful to the Bible was. Why be so unfaithful to him? And if I could think of a person more opposite to Bunyan, Lewis would have to be one of the top picks. Well, Lewis and Tolkien were both Catholic sympathizers. The movie makers chose to align themselves with them rather than the book they were claiming to represent on the big screen.

But all this kind of set the tone for the rest of the movie.

Here’s the full text of Getty’s meandering intro:

“Another great man of faith, John Bunyan, penned these words [quote from intro of PP book]… I’m Kristyn Getty, and my husband Keith and I have the privilege of making music. We write and perform hymns that remind of us what it is we believe and who we truly worship. Songs such as In Christ Alone, and facing a task unfinished connect us with the generations that have gone before us and stir our affections for the right things, while giving us the strength to walk the straight path. John Bunyan over 300 years ago was in prison for 12 years because of his faith. While he was locked away from his family in a cool dark place, his imagination was stirred to write the allegory of the Pilgrim’s Progress. Imagination is what gives us the ability to visualize the things that we cannot see. It is how we see, hear, taste and smell things that make up our world – even when they are no where near us. To see the creativity of our God, one only has to look around at the world in which we live. The changing colors in leaves, the way the sun paints the sky when a day begins and ends. God is creative and created us to be as well. Reason, knowledge and logic are important. We need to be inquisitive, ask questions and see to understand. But logic and reason alone are not enough. To know about Christ is not the same as to know him. Our faith is not about what we know – it’s about who we know. Facts set a foundation. And our imagination makes those facts personal to us and leads our hearts to sing. As Christians we need vivid imaginations. From Genesis to the final Revelation the Bible paints pictures, makes analogies and uses parables. It engages our imaginations to help us understand what our King wants us to know about him, about us and about our journey from this life to the next. God gave us an imagination and teaches us with it and connects with us through it. My children have the ability to tap into this gift in a way that we often lose as adults. We must encourage the use of imagination in understanding our faith and in connecting with our creator. You, child of the king, you are a brave knight walking this path through a world that is full of troubles. And you have a king that always sends help when needed. Use your imagination. Allow yourself to be lost in the story of the Pilgrim’s Progress because this is actually your story. It is the journey you began when you chose to leave behind the city of destruction and make your way on the king’s road. Let your imagination explore this story in a new way. Because it’s lessons will give you the strength to fight the very real troubles that your journey through this world will bring. Things are not always what they seem. And sometimes life’s tumbles can lead you to the most interesting of places.”

Scene by Scene Comparison to the Book – first 45 min

I have labeled “ADDED SCENE” to those clips which were made up by the movie scriptwriters and found nowhere in the book. The word (omitted) refers to critical deletions from the book in the screenplay, many of which are direct Scripture quotes or references to the Scriptures. I find it astounding how the Scriptures were essentially ripped out of the movie.

  • First 4 minutes – intro.
  • ADDED SCENE 5-11 is made up stuff not part of the book. (Christian says his name is Christian Pilgrim. When he lived in the City of Destruction the book says his name was Graceless. For what it’s worth, in part 2 of the real Pilgrim’s Progress wife Christiana refers to him as “Christian the Pilgrim” – not with Pilgrim as a sort of last name. Whatever, I digress.) Going through Faithful Pathfinder’s drawings and finds book. Reads book a lot. The narrator says that the book told of wrong things that needed to be right and of the “coming war.” Very vague. Whereas in the original Pilgrim’s Progress, Christian says “Sir, I perceive, by the book in my hand, that I am condemned to die, and after that to come to judgment, (Heb. 9:27)…”
  • 11-14 Trying unsuccessfully to convince wife to leave because of a coming war, wife says choose between her family or not. In the book, Pilgrim warns family of fire from Heaven after which his family treats him harshly and derides him.
  • 14-17 ADDED SCENE Overhears conversation between 2 demons that Faithful escaped the swamp of Despondency (none in book) and sets out.
  • 17-18 ADDED SCENE Demon reports to Apollyon (not in book).
  • 18-21 In the book he is walking, cries out “What shall I do to be saved?” In the movie he only says “What should I do?” Evangelist comes and asks why he cries (omitted). Pilgrim explains the book condemns him to death and judgment and doesn’t want to die (omitted). Evangelist says “Fly from the wrath to come” but in the movie he just says “Flee. Don’t hesitate. Don’t waste time. Do what you know you must. You’ll soon see with your eyes what you believe in your heart.” In the movie Christian has trouble seeing the gate and light because of his tears which is an ADDED SCENE. Evangelist in the book tells him to knock at the gate (omitted).
  • 21-24 In the book, his family tries to call him but Christian plugs his ears and cries out “Life! life! Eternal life!” and won’t look behind (omitted). In the movie, he is tackled by Obstinate then gives in and says “I said I’d listen, I didn’t say I’d stop.” Compromising much? What a drastic difference! In the book Christian says “You dwell, said he, in the City of Destruction, the place also where I was born; I see it to be so; and dying there, sooner or later, you will sink lower than the grave, into a place that burns with fire and brimstone.” (omitted) But in the movie, Pliable & Obstinate ask why they should leave and Christian says “Because it pales by comparison to all that the king of the Celestial City promises to his subjects. Fullness of joy in the presence of the king. No more sorrow. Streets paved with gold. The city I leave behind is filled with evil and misery.” Notice the deliberate tactic of leaving out hell and judgment and trying to bait with the pleasures of heaven only – and making this present world seem like the worst there is! In the movie, Pliable acknowledges that his city is bad – “He’s got a point there.” But in the book, Obstinate and Pliable don’t see anything wrong with where they live: “… and leave our friends and our comforts behind us?” Only after warning of hell in the book does Christian speak of the greatness of the city he seeks to enjoy. “inheritance incorruptible, undefiled, and that fadeth not away” (1 Peter 1:4) that is “laid up in Heaven” (Heb 11:16) but both scriptures are removed from the movie and instead Christian only says “The city I seek is all goodness and joy and lasts forever.” In the book when Obstinate asks if Christian will go back, Christian replies “No, not I, because I have laid my hand to the plough. (Luke 9:6)” (omitted). In the book, obstinate says Christian is part of them who “are wiser in their own eyes than seven men that can render a reason (Proverbs 26:16).” (omitted) In the book Christian pleads a second time for Obstinate to read (omitted) and says “behold, all is confirmed by the blood of him that made it (Heb 13:20, 21, 9:17-21) (omitted). As Pliable and Christian continue on, in the movie Christian does not read to Pliable from his book or affirm the certainty of it as he does in the book on the authority of Titus 1:2. When telling Pliable of the things that await, the book contains the following scripture references and faithful summaries: (Isa 45:17; John 10:27-29) (2 Tim. 4:8; Rev. 3:4; Matt. 13:43) (Isa 25:8; Rev 7:17, 17; 21:4) (Isa. 6:2; 1 Thess. 4:16, 17; Rev. 7:17; 4:4; 14:1-5; John 12:25; 2 Cor. 5:2-5) (Isa. 55:1, 2, 12; John 7:37; 6:37; Psa. 21:6; 22:17) Movie omits all these references and just says: “Life unending. Peace of heart. Joy forever in the presence of the king. Shining garments.”
  • 25-29 When Pliable tries to run with Christian, in the book Christian says “I cannot go so fast as I would, by reason of this burden that is on my back.” (omitted). This is significant because it shows the worldling is gung-ho at first without care but the truly spiritually-awakened has toil to get to Christ. They both fall into the slough. Christian is drowning and asks Pliable for help (added). Help pulls him out, but in the movie it is because he called him (added) and “didn’t know what else to do.” (added). Now this part is kind of scary and sets a theme for the rest of the movie of Christian crying out “help” whenever he’s in trouble and he always gets it. But he doesn’t cry “help” to God. It’s a name-it-claim-it approach.  Book: “I was bid go this way by a man called Evangelist, who directed me also to yonder gate, that I might escape the wrath to come.” (omitted). Book: “This miry slough is such a place as cannot be mended. It is the descent wither the scum and filth that attends conviction for sin, doth continually run, and therefore it is called the Slough of Despond: for still, as the sinner is awakened about his lost condition, there ariseth in his soul many fears, and doubts, and discouraging apprehensions, which all of them get together, and settle in this place.” Movie: “The king placed them [the steps] there to help people like you, but no sooner is the swamp drained that it fills to overflowing again with the fears, doubts and discouragements of those that make it this far… Looks like mud, sticks like mud and it will keep a person down like mud. But it isn’t. It’s a mess of fears. The Swamp of Despondency.”
  • 29-30 Pliable’s return home and acceptance is omitted. Instead we have a scene of the two demons scheming on how to harm Christian after their master finds out Christian has gone.
  • 30- 33 Enter Worldly Wiseman. In the movie the reference to 1 Cor. 7:29 is entirely omitted; Worldly Wiseman says Evangelist is “loony as a bird” and Christian acts like he believes him. The dangers Wordly Wiseman tells Christian of in the book are “wearisomeness, painfulness, hunger, perils, nakedness, sword, lions, dragons, darkness, and, in a word, death and what not!” (omitted). Christian says all of those things are not as bad as his burden. (omitted). When Worldly Wiseman asks where Christian got his burden, Christian replies “By reading this book in my hand.” (omitted). Worldly Wiseman degrades reading the Bible, which is omitted from the movie. In the book, he promises “safety, friendship, and content” instead of danger (omitted) while Morality village will offer “houses now stand empty, one of which thou mayest have at reasonable rates; provision is there also cheap and good; and that which will make thy life the more happy is, to be sure, there thou shalt live by honest neighbours, in credit and good fashion.” (omitted).
  • 33- 35 ADDED SCENE Scriptural references are omitted, (Exo. 19:16, 18), (Heb. 12:21). Legality never interacts with Christian in the book as Evangelist comes right away so this whole scene is added. Most of the commandments on the stone tables are meaningless and contradicting (Don’t Take Another Step, Keep This Way, Speak Up, Quiet, Don’t Move, Walk Faster, Stand Up, Stare, Don’t Be Confused, You Will Not Waste One Second, Follow The Instructions, Hold On, Let Go, Stand Your Ground, Move Forward). This is implying that the commandments of God are contradictory to each other, illogical and unreasonable.
  • 36- 39 Evangelist asks how Christian turned out of the way so quickly. In the movie Christian says “I don’t know.” In the book he says Worldly Wiseman persuaded him. Movie: “Legality can never rid you of your burden.” The book has Evangelist immediately quote Heb. 12:25 and Heb. 10:38. And says “Thou art the man that art running into this misery; thou hast begun to reject the counsel of the Most High, and to draw back thy foot from the way of peace, even almost to the hazarding of thy perdition!” In the movie, Christian says “It wasn’t really my fault” and tries to argue with Evangelist. But in the book he immediately says “Woe is me, for I am undone!” The movie changes it to: “You’re right, it was my fault. I had no business listening to Mr. Worldly Wiseman. You’re right and I’m sorry.”  Evangelist’s reply in the book is quoting Matthew 12:31, Mark 3:28 and John 20:27. But in the movie he says “Forgiven. If tears are any indication of regret yours are. The King has said every misstep shall be forgiven.” Christian is portrayed as kneeling before Evangelist like he is begging for forgiveness from him! Notice the removal of SIN and BLASPHEMIES and replacing it with the more easygoing “misstep.” Scripture references of 1 John 4:5 and Gal. 6:12 are omitted. Movie: “Learn, Christian, that there are two things this deceiver caused you to do. The first is that he caused you to so easily go out of the way. The second, that he made the difficulty of your journey something you want to avoid.” Book: “Now there are three things in this man’s counsel, that thou must utterly abhor. 1. His turning thee out of the way. 2. His labouring to render the cross odious to thee. And, 3. His setting thy feet in that way that leadeth unto the administration of death.” Follows with Luke 13:24, Matt. 7:14, Heb. 11:25, 26, Mark 8:35, John 12:25, Matt 10:39, Luke 14:26, Gal 4:21-27, Gal. 3:10 and some excellent expounding followed by the warning of Psa. 2:12. – all omitted from the movie.
  • 39- 41 ADDED SCENE The main demon is ordered by his master to get the Legion of demons to stop Christian from getting to the gate. They surround him in a forest and are extremely creepy looking (many scary close-up shots are done) and scare him off the path. He sees the gate and starts running to it crying “Help, help!”
  • 42- 45 The door says “Knock and the door will be opened.” “Knock, and it shall be opened unto you (Matt. 7.8)” is in the book. Book (Christian): “May I not enter here? Will He within Open to sorry me, though I have been An undeserving rebel? Then shall I Not fail to sing His lasting praise on high.” Movie (Christian): “Open the door! My name is Christian and I… LET ME IN!” Good-will (we are never told his name in the movie): “Ah, the very words.” The book describes him as a “grave person” and he says “I am willing with all my heart.” The movie makes him look more jolly and happy. Movie (Christian): “I made it. I made it! For a moment I thought I wouldn’t but I did. Ha I did.”  Movie (Good-will): “No one gets turned away here. What are you doing?” Movie (Christian): “I was told this would come off once I got here.” (This is not the impression the Christian of Pilgrim’s Progress ever discloses.) Good-will says “I’d say you’d better run.” Christian says “But I thought my journey was over.” The whole ensuing scene of being chased by demons while Good-will fights them all off single-handedly is not part of the book, in the book the gatekeeper pulls him because he says Beelzebub and his army “shoot arrows at those that come up to this gate, if haply they may die before they can enter in.” The dialogue between Good-will and Christian where Christian relates his journey thus far – is omitted. Omitted Scripture references include (“Good-will: An open door is set before thee, and no man can shut it.”) to Good-will in the book and the following verse is quoted in part (John 6:37). The narrow way is described by Good-will as “the way thou must go; it was cast up by the patriarchs, prophets, Christ, and his Apostles; and it is as straight as a rule can make it.” It is distinguished by “being straight and narrow (Matt. 7:14). Good-will assures him his burden will fall off when he comes to the place of deliverance.
  • 45- This has got to be one of the weirdest and most unfaithful scenes in the whole movie. It is also possibly the greatest corruption that someone could do to this. It starts with Christian wandering through the forest tripping and falling. He then says “I could sure use some help about now.” (The little magic word that keeps cropping up and giving him results.) Sure enough a swarm of fireflies show up. None of that is in the book. He starts looking at them and laughing like he’s on drugs. He then follows them to the door of the interpreter’s house. (putting that in small case on purpose). A LADY opens the door.  Instead of a male character (which should be representative of the Holy Spirit), it’s Galadriel with the voice of Kristyn Getty calling herself the Interpreter.  But it gets worse… she leads him into her house where she opens a door and they float out in a bubble into the universe.  The key scenes of the book in the Interpreter’s HOUSE are omitted and the only two that are kept are warped (a third is added; the people made of stars holding a book saying “we are the servants of the king.”).  Why the universe out of the blue?  Is there possibly some new age connection (the universe will give you the answers??) More concerning is how many important spiritual lessons are totally left out, including the painting of the soul-winner, the dusty room an allegory of the sinful heart of room cleansed by the gospel and its scriptural references (Rom. 7:6; 1 Cor. 15:556; Rom. 5:20, John 15:3; Eph. 5:26; Acts 15:9; Rom. 16:25, 26; John 15:13; Luke 16:25; 2 Cor. 4:18; 2 Cor 12:9). The scene between Passion and Patience is warped, and the most important treasure aspect left out – but even more critically, the interpretation of the allegory being the men of this world vs. the men of that which is to come.  Also left out is the scene of the fire burning against a wall with someone throwing water on it while it burns higher and hotter, a figure of the work of grace in the heart.  Also omitted is the man charging to the palace.  The man in the iron cage is included, but the reason for his despair (including how he turned against the Word of God and grieved the spirit and has been denied repentance) is omitted, along with the Scriptural references (Heb. 4:6; Luke 19:14, Heb. 10:28, 29).  How shallow the scene was made!  Lastly the scene of the man left behind at the day of judgment is omitted and the many Scripture references.  I understand not putting every scene in due to time constraints, but why waste space with making up pointless scenes to go in its places?

I actually was unable to finish the scene by scene comparison of the book to the very end of the movie because I couldn’t finish before the viewing days were ended, but you can probably see the gist.

So much more could be said. I’ll add that the scene at Vanity fair was made incredibly shallow.

As you can see, Vanity Fair is severely watered down (arguably to make it more child-friendly), but the resistance of Pilgrim to its wares is curiously vague. Whereas the original Pilgrim of the book wields the sword of the Spirit, the Word of God to combat the temptations of Vanity Fair, the animated character cries out a mere “Nooooo!”

Contrast that with the response of Pilgrim in page 152 of Bunyan’s work (also notice the omitted objections of the fairgoers).

“Well, so they did; but, behold, even as they entered into the fair, all the people in the fair were moved, and the town itself as it were in a hubbub about them; and that for several reasons; for—

First, The pilgrims were clothed with such kind of raiment as was diverse from the raiment of any that traded in that fair. The people, therefore, of the fair, made a great gazing upon them: some said they were fools, some they were bedlams, and some they are outlandish men.

Secondly, And as they wondered at their apparel, so they did likewise at their speech; for few could understand what they said; they naturally spoke the language of Canaan, but they that kept the fair were the men of this world; so that, from one end of the fair to the other, they seemed barbarians each to the other.

Thirdly, But that which did not a little amuse the merchandisers was, that these pilgrims set very light by all their wares; they cared not so much as to look upon them; and if they called upon them to buy, they would put their fingers in their ears, and cry, “Turn away mine eyes from beholding vanity,” and look upwards, signifying that their trade and traffic was in heaven. One chanced mockingly, beholding the carriage of the men, to say unto them, What will ye buy? But they, looking gravely upon him, answered, “We buy the truth”. At that there was an occasion taken to despise the men the more: some mocking, some taunting, some speaking reproachfully, and some calling upon others to smite them.”

Leaving out this essential lesson – of countering temptation with Scripture truth – is a serious oversight, if not a deliberate and blatant omission.

The scene where Christian lost his scroll is omitted, as was the Valley of the Shadow of Death.

The scene before getting to the Celestial City was changed to look like a wall of water instead of a river.

This is a total copycat of the Chronicles of Narnia’s Voyage of the Dawn Treader end of the earth scene…

There was no wall of water at the end of the Pilgrim’s Progress book. It was a RIVER.

Hopeful and Christian cross the river together in the book, but in the movie Christian is left to face Apollyon again all by himself.  Ignorance is totally left out, along with his denial at the entrance of the city.

I understand not being able to fit all the scenes in. There’s only so much time for the movie if you don’t want to split it up into two movies. But where I have a problem is when the movie creators are booting out any of these wonderful scenes from the book to make room for made-up, sideline silliness that totally distracts from the meaningful meat of the original work. There is plenty of good content to work with so there is no reason to leave it out to inject such superficial stuff. Unless, you are trying to appeal to the world, who feeds on pagan garbage and foolishness for entertainment.

Other Concerns

The movie is never as good as the book as they say. So obviously some disappointment is to be expected. Of course no move could possibly do justice to the masterpiece of Pilgrim’s Progress. BUT… this film doesn’t just fall short.

Revelation Media essentially does to Pilgrim’s Progress what Veggie Tales does to the Bible. It waters it down, perverts and exploits for the purpose of entertainment (and profit) with a Christian spin.

Red flags should be going up for believers who are at all familiar with LOTR.  Interestingly enough, John Rhys-Davies is featured as Evangelist (former LOTR actor!) Rhys-Davies also played in such worldly films as Indiana Jones, Spongebob Squarepants, Startrek and Disney’s Aladdin and the King of Thieves. He provided spoken words for Voices of Fire, an album by a cappella power metal band van Canto. (source). Think of that what you will. He currently lives with a lady who is not his wife.

1. Action Distraction

The totally satanic Lord of the Rings movies were all about playing up the action scenes, and this one is no different.  It’s almost like “Christian” rock music. Throw in a little flavor of Christianity and a dash of the things of the Word of God, and the rest is all about the lust of the eyes. And there are some very moving aspects of the film that resonate with the hearts believers (such as tears over the lost soul of a loved one in one’s family), I will give it that. But at several moments I also found myself wondering if any of the scriptwriters ever even read the book from cover to cover, with so many dissimilarities. There was definitely a lot of “creative license” or whatever you would like to call it used in the film, much of which was added perhaps with the intention of engaging the attention of the younger audience, which this film is geared towards.

2. Long-haired Jesus

They portrayed the King (Jesus) as the typical Catholic-looking long-haired fair-skinned persona – but oversize. Not only is this reinforcing the silly concept of the false hippie-looking Christ, portraying an image of Jesus is against the Word of God (Acts 17:29).

3. Excessive Creepyness

The “demons” and Apollyon were excessively creepy looking. The satanic appearance of Supervisor 6 alone was disturbing. If I had young children I wouldn’t want them looking at such hellish looking things. It would give them nightmares. They frightened me, and I’m an adult who used to watch Lord of the Rings! There was a lot of creepy artwork and pictures of people being tortured if you look carefully (at the scene where they are removing images from Faithful’s room). All of that artwork stuff was foreign to the real book. All of this was probably done to mimic LOTR, which hit the ball out of the park for creepyness.

4. Rock Music Ending

At the end we have a butchered, rock-n’-roll version of Blessed Assurance with sensual vocal techniques, a heavy backbeat, and synthesizers, pagan drumming and repeating “This is my story” hypnotically.  But it gets worse. After that we are bombarded with some CCM with obscure lyrics, even more sensual vocals and slamming electric guitars. It fits the pagan spirit of the movie I guess.

5. Director Dangers

The film was directed by Steve Cleary of Voice of the Martyrs and owner of Revelation Media, a 501c3 organization. (Cleary assisted in the production of Jesus Freaks.) Scriptwriter Robert Fernandez also has worked for VOM and helped produce several Catholic children’s movies starring a monk named “Brother Francis” who teaches the children! This same scriptwriter went away for 4 weeks to “pray” before working on the movie. There is clearly a lack of spiritual discernment for someone being able to make a movie about a Catholic monk protagonist geared for small children on one hand while making a Protestant movie on the other. (Notice how we keep finding Catholic ties?) The following link poses some serious considerations regarding the integrity of the VOC ministry.

Voice of the Martyrs Attempts Damage Control

The movie took more than a $1 million budget to produce.

Ray Comfort encouraged backers to finance the production: https://www.prweb.com/releases/2017/02/prweb14028602.htm which rocketed the project into the spotlight, getting tens of thousands of dollars of donations.

Conclusion

The Pilgrim’s Progress 2019 movie version is not only incredibly unfaithful to the original book, but obviously takes great pains to erase every reference to the Word of God and the true salvation message, both of which are so inextricably interlaced with Bunyan’s work that it is practically a mirror to the Bible itself. You are much better off spending your time actually reading this unparalleled, moving book instead of watching the watered-down, virtually meaningless entertainment version which simply repackages the Lord of the Rings garbage under the label of a well-known and revered Christian title.

2 comments

  1. Katharine Sherback says:

    Agree so much with you…. I have watched the 1978 cartoon version directed by Charles Baptista. You may enjoy this, had my children watch this one many times …. find the spiritual message in this version still very strong!

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