Simply put, Beyond the Mask is inspiring and well made. It was created, produced, directed, (and you name it!) by The Burns Family Studios. Though they practically have only one other production under their belt, so to speak, you would never guess it seeing the quality of this film.
The role of evil villain Charles Kemp, is played by talented and seasoned actor John Rhys-Davies, one of my personal favorites since his role as Gimli in The Lord of the Rings Trilogy, while troubled adversary, Will Reynolds is played by actor Andrew Cheney. Charlotte Holloway is played by actress Kara Killmer and a plethora of other talents make up the supporting characters, all of which do exemplary jobs.
When I first heard about the movie I was definitely interested. It had a combination of qualities that caught my attention, the first being a period action/adventure. But the story of redemption proved to intrigue me as well. I wanted desperately for this to be a smash!
I heard later from other sources that the movie was not as good as it looked and I can't tell you how disappointed I was. I was afraid another Christian movie had bombed out. But I would not let myself create an opinion until I saw it. I was guarded but still very hopeful.
So I was thoroughly delighted when I finished the movie and loved it!! The Burns Family Studios had pulled the film off beautifully in many ways, such as:
- Excellent costuming and overall appearance! Naturally I would point this one out first since I am a fellow costume enthusiast. I felt the costumes were true to the period and very well made. The team of designers and assistants deserve a hand for their hard work. But that is all I will say on this subject for now. I intend to commit a post entirely to the costumes and hair styles of the movie in the future.
- Effortlessly skilled action sequences! The fight scenes were well choreographed and intense, something most movies made by budding movie makers fail at miserably. I can't help being harsh --if you can't make it believable and true to life, then don't try it. Not so with Beyond the Mask!
- Superb sets and CGI! I must definitely say the physical sets felt authentic. Being part of a family greatly involved in computer graphics and animation, I can't help but notice, and judge, the quality of it in other movies. I did not once feel the word "cheesy" while watching this movie. To the trained eye, some CG is noticeable, but her there are times you couldn't have guessed it.
- Beautiful romance! Not too much, not too little. I especially appreciated the wisdom Charlotte portrayed when she told Will she could not trust herself to make a decision of such importance on her own.
- Most of all, Will's progression of redemption was believable! I am a hard critic of this in modern Christian fiction. All too often the redemption of a lost person comes about all too simply and that is hardly ever the case in real life. I was very much satisfied with the progression of Will's spiritual understanding, and even more pleased that the truth of salvation was given so well.
So yes, I would definitely recommend this movie to anyone interested. Despite the negative comments by some of the media (and I am sorry to say, a few fellow Christian's) the film seems to have pleased the public as a movie should. And I would say more so. Besides, when was the last time a movie was made around this period? This was fresh and new.
I have given you my opinion (and plenty of it, I'm sure), now it is your turn to let me know what you think. I'm all ears!