Disney's 2021 Christmas Again, Fails The Faith Based, Family Friendly Values Test

Faith Based Family Friendly Values Movies Are Important

Disney's Dysfunctional Family Christmas movie, Christmas Again, fails the Faith Based Family Values Test. 

While attending film school, one aspect of my studies was learning to analyze movies for context, pivotal moments, conflict and resolution, social political indoctrination and propaganda.

Unless you attended film school, you probably never heard that one of the most effective utilizations of movies and film in history was in Nazi Germany.  Hitler used film, tv and movie media to manipulate German culture and social politics so effectively, that it led to an attempt to purge Germany of non-anglo citizens, and ultimately to one of the most horrific genocidal slaughters of a people group, specifically Jews.
Disney's Christmas Again, Gay Kiss

This is one of the lessons you learn in film school, the dangers and power of media in the manipulation of culture. Don't believe it?  Hop onto the internet and search for popular actors who have appeared as public media representatives of a particular ideology of political party.  Who in their right mind, with an reasonable degree of rationality, would place the fate of a country into the hands of actors?  More than you would believe.  It worked for Hitler, it works in modern day America's left leaning political machine, from Madonna, to Stephen Colbert, Bono of U2, to Jim Carrey, even the chorus of the View, all have had political input and discourse from standing alongside politicians, acting as advocates of specific causes, to random injections on cooking shows and flyby topics trending in the news.

I went to film school to learn about all the ways media manipulates culture and politics, so you won't have to, and that is the approach I have taken as a film reviewer and critic on IMBD.

It was a natural crossover from film school where I watched hundreds of movies a month analyzing their content and writing papers to be peer reviewed by fellow filmmakers and professors, to writing reviews on IMDB.  It became habit for me during film school, a habit which has continued now twelve years.

That brings me to Christmas 2021 and Disney's, Christmas Again. [My actual summary review of this movie is available on IMDB here]

I wasn't intentionally looking for movies to review this holiday season, it's just so natural when I watch a movie, to at minimum go to IMDB and at least give a movie a star rating from 1 the worse to 10 the best.  

I am in an interesting position, because I have written, directed and produced both very secular productions as well as a few faith based productions.  I am rare in that I enjoy both, where as some of my friends who have worked with me on various film projects despise "faith based" movies, despite their religious or family values.

To be honest, many faith based movies have been produced by inexperienced film production companies and churches on low end budgets.  That's doesn't guarantee a movie, Internet or TV based production is going to suck, but it often makes it less believable and enjoyable.

That being said, the most successful movies targeted at families are generally audience neutral content portraying traditional family values.  Movies like DreamWorks, "Prince of Egypt" animated movie for example was a stunningly brilliant and near accurate retelling of the biblical story of Joseph.  It's still one of my favorite cartoon animated movies right up at the top with the original Aladdin movie from Disney.  Then there are movies that attempt to win the faith based audiences by telling the Joseph story like the 2014 movie Exodus: Gods and Kings.  A completely changed and erroneous version of the Joseph story written by several atheists, which did horribly in the box office.

65% of the US population in 2020 identified as some form of Christian value families. 2% Judaism, 1% Muslim. 

That is a total of 69% of the entire US population that has some form of moral values connected to traditional family values centered around the core stories of the bible. 227 Million people to be exact and that is a whole lot of money in terms of viewers in the box office when it comes to production value.  227 Million is only within the US, not other global considerations.

This is where Disney's movie, Christmas Again, misses the mark. A movie about Christmas doesn't have to present the birth of Jesus Christ that the holiday historically is centered upon, it can be about family, Santa Claus, winter and still be considered at least neutral when it comes to being appropriate as a Faith Based Family Friendly movie for those 227 Million potential viewers.

Disney however, decided to make a movie that in my film school class studies would fall in with those known as indoctrination and propaganda movies, interjecting alternative social political themes that many families still feel are inappropriate for young, easily influenced children to view without parental guidance, and it shows in its 5 star rating.

I give Disney credit however, because from its very opening, it makes it very clear that the LGBT theme will be present within this movie, from the presentation of a married black and Latino male couple being introduced, to their emphasized kiss near its conclusion.  From it's blended family to its black Santa Claus in recognition of the recent (Black Lives Matter) indoctrination.  Disney was intent on braking traditional stereo types presented in the majority of Christmas films and they succeeded. 

The question becomes, did they make a family friendly movie that people of all values would enjoy?  The answer is a resounding, No.  Not because it does not reflect the reality of the social political culture that we live in 2021, where critical race theory and Black Lives Matter is being propagandized in the educational system, or LGBT inclusive materials taught within elementary schools, but because in this movie in particular, it didn't feel natural, it felt pushed, it stood out like a statement saying, "we're going to include this subject matter whether you like it or not". A movie can be very neutral and still inclusive, or it can be very intentional and deliberate in its context and messaging.

In all sincerity, in its essence, its a really cute little movie, I enjoyed the story concept, the lead character portrayed by a cute smiling Latinx girl actress. I enjoyed the overall plot.  It had the potential of ranking right up their under the Home Alone series of Christmas neutral movies.  Where this movie failed is, being "Inclusive" of 227 Million movie goers.  It felt unnatural, pushy.

I've watched every kind of movie made, including those heavily centered around cultural inclusion and blended families, and its only the movies where it feels pushy and intentional like, Christmas Again, that fail.  

Christmas Again as I write this has a very natural and unmanipulated IMDB rating of  5.2%.  I mention its current rating, because I reviewed similar films, that after enough criticism has been made, the activist population visits IMDB and rates all top star ratings to try to help push whatever agenda a particular movie is targeting.

In the past few years, one complaint I've read and heard from many families about modern Disney movies is how intentional and unnatural they felt in their attempts to present a relatively non-faith based set of values.  I've heard similar from those who have no particular value set complaining about the unnatural injections too, many describing them as having content that they felt they would only allow their children to watch with guidance, and I suppose that is why these movies are being rated so poorly.
Families sit their kids in from of a screen of some size to watch a movie so they can take care of the dishes, have some spousal time, sip some coffee, they do not want to place their child in front of a movie that they have to monitor for content that they may feel is inappropriate for their child.

Official Movie Trailer

I simply watch and comment about things that stand out.  It doesn't matter to me if anyone agrees with me as a reviewer or critic. But I do make recommendations, and as much as I personally enjoyed this movie over all, I rate a movie based on its actual inclusiveness.  Did the movie I just watch include the 69% of the US population that is looking for a traditional values movie?  In this case, No. So I have to deduct the appropriate amount of points from a movies rating with that in mind, especially if its targeted at young children.  I do the same for a movie targeting adults that introduces borderline adult themes that may be inappropriate for a 16 year old to view, due to its sexual content, violence, or political narratives.

I gave Disney's 2021 Christmas Again movie an IMDB rating of 3 stars which I believe is more than fair, considering I would have given it 6 stars had it not felt so intentional in its interjection of what film school taught me to call indoctrination and propaganda.  That is half the star rating I would have given Disney's Christmas Again movie if it contained the same content in a neutral context.

Disney's Christmas Again movie introduces the following themes.
  • Divorce
  • Blended Families
  • Bullying
  • Same gender marriage
  • A black Santa Claus
I have encountered all of these themes in real life, and as a film maker. Divorce in America is prevalent, I have been in and have blended families in my own spectrum. I am familiar with Bullying having worked in the educational system in the past at both the elementary school level and university level.  Same gender marriages are common in my industry and I have encountered it at a few churches as well.  A black Santa Claus is no more offensive to me, than God being black in my favorite movie, Bruce Almighty.  The difference is, in all of these situations, there was no intentionality to indoctrinate, emphasis or make them appear more prevalent than anyone else.

If you would like to read my full review on of Disney's Christmas Again on IMDB, which is much shorter then what I have written on the Randy Dreammaker blog, You can go to my review here: [ Not a Faith Based, Family Friendly Values Movie ] 

If you would like to see my list of recommend Faith Based and Family Friendly Movies, you can see that list on IMDB, here [ Faith Based Movies ] list.

I also have a list of lesser known movies you might enjoy if you have run out of other things to watch: 

Want to know my top ten movies of all time (it gets occasionally updated) then check out Randy Dreammaker's [ Top Ten Movies ] list.

Last but not least is my most popular list of movies, [ Best Rated Movies. Recommended by Randy Dreammaker ]

Thank you for reading, I hope you found this article helpful.  I have been a movie reviewer on IMDB from eleven years as of 2021.  Below is my public IMDB information for my movie reviews, I also have a semi-private IMDB page for movies I have worked on, written, directed and produce that I do not publicize.  The first production I ever worked on was in 1986.  The most recent movie I worked on was released in 2021.  I have been the host of several web series since 2009 and as of 2021 have hosted a web series for the past eight years.   I enjoy most kinds of movie genre, but Sci-Fi and Natural Global Disaster movies are my favorite.  
Even though I do watch and review movies for their audience targeting, I generally do not intentionally watch a lot of "faith based, family friendly movies". If I come across one that stands out, I add it to my recommendations list.  If I come across one that is targeted at that genre of audience, like Disney's Christmas Again movie, and it fails to meet the minimum criteria, then it goes on my "Stinky Baby Farts" list.   I couldn't think of anything worse that I smelled before than Stinky Baby Farts, so it just seemed like an appropriate name for movies that are not worth wasting your time watching.