A lot or a little?
The parents' guide to what's in this movie.
What parents need to know
Parents need to know that WWJD II: The Woodcarver is a 2012 faith-based movie about a troubled teen who begins to change his ways after befriending a woodworker who constantly tells the teen to ask himself in every situation, "What would Jesus do?" Those who are not devout Christians will find the messages to be extremely heavy-handed. A teenager smashes the windows and woodwork of a church, then spray-paints the word "LIAR" on the side of the church building. This movie also attempts to "realistically" convey the constant arguing and anger that happens between a separated husband and wife, as well as its effect on their child, who feels caught in the crossfire and therefore acts out. Prayer is shown to be the solution to just about every problem. Overall, the enjoyment of this movie is dependent upon the degree to which the viewer already subscribes to the religious viewpoints contained therein.
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What's the story?
A troubled teen boy named Matthew is caught vandalizing a church, and his sentence is to help repair the damages. His parents are separated and constantly arguing, and all he wants to do is leave home, join the military, and never look back. This all changes when he meets Ernest Otto (John Ratzenberger), a skilled woodcarver and widower who still mourns the loss of his wife to cancer. When Otto agrees to take on the task of recarving the woodwork for the vandalized church, Matthew steps forward to help. Otto encourages Matthew to ask himself with every decision in life, "What would Jesus do?" He temporarily moves in with Otto while his parents continue to fight with each other, and his life begins to turn around as he tries to live his life according to what he thinks Jesus would do in each situation. But Matthew must prove that his newfound faith is real and unwavering, even as he and Otto face a tight deadline with the woodwork, his school is reluctant to take him back in light of his vandalism, and his parents make a concerted effort to save their marriage and live the way God intended them to live.
Is it any good?
WWJD II: THE WOODCARVER is an overwrought and dogmatic faith-based movie. While it attempts to address universal issues of marital problems, the loss of loved ones, and coming of age, the constant corny background music, the heavy-handed and constant preaching, as well as prayer suggested as the cure-all for everything might turn off even the intended audience who simply want a little bit of entertainment, to say nothing of more secular audiences who want a good story, realistic characters, and a less amateurish production.
For those who merely seek validation for their already deeply held religious beliefs, this movie's constant discussion of prayer and of living according to principles delineated in the Bible will be a welcome alternative to mainstream movies in which characters who pray, read the Bible, and go to church on Sunday are often portrayed as sanctimonious cranks. But for everyone else, the story itself and its poor execution are reason enough to skip this one.
Talk to your kids about ...
Families can talk about faith-based movies. Do you think someone would already have to be a devout Christian to enjoy this movie? Why, or why not?
Do you think this movie can be enjoyed for its own sake, for nothing more than entertainment purposes? Why, or why not?
Do you think this movie accurately portrays the arguments, bickering, and anger that separated married couples might experience and how that affects their children?
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