WHY WE CARE


Plugged In exists to shine a light on the world of popular entertainment while giving you and your family the essential tools you need to understand, navigate and impact the culture in which we live. Through reviews, articles and discussions, we want to spark intellectual thought, spiritual growth and a desire to follow the command of Colossians 2:8: "See to it that no one takes you captive through hollow and deceptive philosophy, which depends on human tradition and the basic principles of this world rather than on Christ."

YOUR STORIES


Family uses Plugged In as a ‘significant compass’

"I am at a loss for words to adequately express how much it means to my husband and me to know that there is an organization like Focus that is rooting for us. Just today I was reading Psalm 37 and thinking about how your ministry provides ways to 'dwell in the land and enjoy safe pasture.' We have two teenagers and an 8-year-old in our household...Plugged In has become a significant compass for our family. All three of our kids are dedicated to their walk with Christ but they still encounter challenges. Thanks for all of your research and persistence in helping us navigate through stormy waters."

Plugged In helps college student stand-up for his belief

"Thanks for the great job you do in posting movie and television reviews online. I’m a college freshman and I recently had a confrontational disagreement with my English professor regarding an R-rated film. It is her favorite movie and she wanted to show it in class. I went to your Web site to research the film’s content. Although I had not seen the movie myself, I was able to make an educated argument against it based on the concerns you outlined. The prof said that she was impressed by my stand and decided to poll the whole class and give us a choice. We overwhelmingly voted to watch a G-rated movie instead! I’ve learned that I can trust your site and I will be using it a lot in the future.”

Plugged In brings ‘Sanity and Order’ to Non-believer

“Even though I don’t consider myself a Christian, I find your Plugged In Web site useful and thought-provoking. No one reviews movies like you do. Instead of being judgmental, you put entertainment ‘on trial.’ After presenting the evidence, you allow the jury of your readers to decide for themselves what they should do. In my opinion, you bring sanity and order to the wild world of modern day entertainment. Keep up the good work!”

Mom thinks Plugged In is the ‘BEST Christian media review site’

"Our family doesn't go to the movies until we go online and check out your assessment of a given film. I think this is the BEST Christian media review website that I've found, and I recommend it to my family and friends. Keep up the good work!"

SUPPORT THE WORK OF PLUGGED IN

Our hope is that whether you're a parent, youth leader or teen, the information and tools at Plugged In will help you and your family make appropriate media decisions. We are privileged to do the work we do, and are continually thankful for the generosity and support from you, our loyal readers, listeners and friends.

PLUGGED IN RATING

    No Rating Available

Watch This Review

We hope this review was both interesting and useful. Please share it with family and friends who would benefit from it as well.

Movie Review

As a kid, David Gordon was a misfit who escaped into an imagination that took him "far, far away." And those trips of fantasy eventually helped him grow up to become a very successful sci-fi writer. So when David meets an abandoned, emotionally abused boy named Dennis—who claims to be a Martian and spends his days hiding from the sun in a cardboard box—he sees him as a sort of kindred spirit.

David's sister Liz repeatedly reminds her brother that a grieving single guy (his wife recently died) adopting an emotionally damaged child would be nothing short of insane. David's agent, Jeff, agrees, especially since the writer is falling behind on the deadline for a new book. Even the adoption committee isn't sold on the idea.

But the deep-space author can't get Dennis off his mind. So with a bit of coaxing (and some SPF-45 sunscreen) David gets the 10-year-old to trade his old battered box for a brand new family.

That doesn't mean things get easy. Dennis has a number of difficult quirks: He'll only eat Lucky Charms cereal, insists on wearing a weight belt (it's to keep him from floating away), incessantly takes Polaroid pictures and steals things from the kids at school to further his "studies of human life."

Thankfully for Dennis, David isn't easily cowed. He's a great listener and a patient, loving dad who's determined to break through his new boy's emotional force field.

Advertisement

Positive Elements

Martian Child takes on the struggles and joys of parenting, and does right by them, especially when it comes to displaying the loving rewards of adoption. David is a consistent, good dad. He works hard to help his son see that our world can be a place filled with mystery, wonder and, above all, loving security.

Figuring out positive ways to cope with loss is also a big theme here. Dennis has in the past lost everything he knows and loves, and he is constantly worried about losing David. David, in turn, is worried about losing Dennis. And the death of David's old dog, who dies in Dennis' room, only serves to put premature punctuation on the dangling sentences everyone's trying to finish. At one point David tells Dennis, "I want to prove to you that not all parents disappear forever." And it's that sentiment that wins out in the end as it joins hands with the idea that unconditional love is one of mankind's highest callings.

David also discusses questions about conformity with his young charge. When is it smart to "play by Earth rules?" Is it OK to be who you are, even if that seems different than others?

David receives lots of support and encouragement from his life-long friend, Harlee. In fact, she becomes a kind of surrogate mom for Dennis. And although Liz starts out critical of her brother's choice ("Parenting is really hard and you need at least two people. ... Kids are like mosquitoes, they suck the life out of you!"), she offers support when she sees how much Dennis means to him.

Spiritual Content

After one of David's exclamations of "Jesus!" a young girl retorts, "Jesus is important, but other religions are just as relevant." David and Harlee make a brief comment about Dennis' actions being "Zen." Later they reference yogis. Dennis takes a picture of a Buddhist icon in David's garden.

Sexual Content

Harlee wears a cleavage-baring top and a form-fitting T-shirt. There is mild sexual tension evident in some of the conversations she has with David, especially when David mentions that she can stay the night. (She doesn't.) Once, they share a brief, almost accidental, kiss. Another time, she kisses him on the cheek. Harlee states that David's wife had mentioned he was "good in bed."

Violent Content

A young boy is hit in the head with a playground ball. After Dennis accidentally breaks something, David assuages the boy's fears by joining him in breaking plates in the kitchen. Sword fighting is seen on the set for a film based on one of David's books. Not violent but pretty tense is a scene in which Dennis teeters on a high ledge while David climbs up to rescue him.

Crude or Profane Language

David exclaims Jesus' name a half-dozen times. God's name serves as interjection a few more. There is one abuse of the word "h---."

ONLINE EDITOR'S NOTE: Some dialogue edited for DVD release. See details at the end of this review.

Drug and Alcohol Content

Liz's husband drinks a beer during a picnic lunch, as does Harlee later on at David's house.

Other Negative Elements

While talking with his sister, David mentions arguments against bringing another child into the world, but can't resist the logic of loving one who's already born. And because of her insistence that parenting is insanely hard, he tells her, "You should work for Planned Parenthood."

The stuff Dennis steals from David and the kids at school he puts in baggies in his closet. David makes a comment about his dog licking his own genitals.

Conclusion

Martian Child is loosely based on a semi-autobiographical book by David Gerrold that tells the story of a gay man who adopts a troubled boy. The movie adaptation doesn't tread the book's sexual-orientation path, though, making the central character a widower instead. And in the process it focuses more on David and his son helping one another through their own personal tragedies. The result is a well-acted, funny, endearing, tender, uplifting (and sometimes a bit sappy) movie that applauds adoption and the healing power of love.

I was disappointed that for all of David's flippant invocations of Jesus' name, the film never explored His love—particularly since it's only through the Savior's actions that the concept of unconditional, sacrificial love can be fully understood. Instead we're offered a fairly nebulous (squishy) one-size-fits-all spirituality.

Still, Martian Child manages to make powerful statements about a person's ability to love even in the midst of personal suffering. And it speaks of the need to embrace the innocents who have been beaten down and injured by our oftentimes painful world.

The film may be a bit introspective for some to enjoy. (The young fella next to me during the movie screening was having a hard time connecting.) But this Martian's persistent choice of love and its encouragement to "never, ever, ever, ever, ever, ever give up" on the people we hold dear are heartwarming and inspiring. As is David's modeling of patience, selflessness and sensitivity. What isn't is David's insistence on abusing Jesus' name.

ONLINE EDITOR'S NOTE: New Line Cinema released Martian Child on DVD after editing portions of the theatrical version. Specifically, all abuses of Jesus' name were deleted.

Pro-social Content

Objectionable Content

Summary Advisory

Plot Summary

Christian Beliefs

Other Belief Systems

Authority Roles

Profanity/Violence

Kissing/Sex/Homosexuality

Discussion Topics

Additional Comments/Notes

Episode Reviews

We hope this review was both interesting and useful. Please share it with family and friends who would benefit from it as well.

Get weekly e-news, Culture Clips & more!