This week on Movie Review Mondays we’re taking a look at a very unique new film by Little Crew Studios, “The Defense of Newhaven”. Little Crew is by far the most unique film company in the Christian film arena and you’ll discover why as the review progresses. Two disclaimers:
- I can be critical to the point that people sometimes think I didn’t even enjoy the film. I did enjoy this movie, my critique is just honest fault finding.
- I intentionally avoided doing interviews with the cast and crew this time because I didn’t want any bias to interfere with my perspective for the review.
The Defense of Newhaven:
We open to an excerpt of Psalm 1 about the blessed man that walketh not in the council of the ungodly, then are transported via camera shot and score, (unfortunately very reminiscent of the first film), into a Colonial days set. Little crew productions is known for their ability to make highest caliber films out of nowhere and under circumstances which could be considered a filmmaker’s nightmare. Like their first film “Runner from Ravenshead”, “Defense of Newhaven” is entirely cast by children in adult roles. Many of the children being the family of the directors Joel and Lisa Steig.
Anytime you see a well made film staring children, the first instinct is to call it “charming”, I think Little Crew has surpassed that stigma and can run easily with any other Christian films.
Back to the movie:
The script was trite in an attempt to be cute and also to play off the inexperience of the kid actors. However, the score redeemed itself quickly and soon became the driving force of excellence in the film.
The greatest appeal of Little Crew has been its stories and this one surpassed the first. However, where the story was excellent, it was painfully obvious at times that the camera was intentionally avoiding the mouths of the actors because the lines were overdubbed afterwards. This is both a testament to the hard work and dedication of the Steig’s to produce films of this style, and one of the greatest faults to every film they make of this type.
The brightest talent in this film is the main actress from the first film. She has the most difficult role, but the most well played. The farther you watch into the film, the stronger the acting becomes. Perchance because the scriptwriters paid better attention later on, but something clicks for the actors and it flows better.
The film had a brilliant set, costume, and prop team. And, despite the age of the actors and actresses, it never crosses your mind to think of it as a kid film. They had fun with it, in much the same way as the brickfilm “Bound” had fun with their script. At times they came dangerously close to making it too childish. But, it turned out fine.
Though correct and from a biblical and even allegorical perspective, the worldview may have been an overused story. However, until the end, and I’m not sure if it was the script writing or the filmmaking, or even the acting, but I didn’t have it figured out until the end. The worldview was correct, and the allegorical properties were extremely well done. The more you read into the film, the more you’ll get out of it. Sometimes the seemingly pointless aspects of the film were actually filled with a profound meaning. My overall reaction was that this was one of the more appealing films I’d watched this year. It made you want to watch it again. It was not only eye candy, but it had heart and soul to it. I give it a strong recommendation and my stamp of approval. Pick up your copy on their website: here
As always, thanks for reading.
–the anonymous novelist