Tuesday, April 10, 2012

Monumental - In Search of America's National Treasure -- Movie Review

I recently watched Monumental - In Search of America's National Treasure with my friend Rob. We were in a packed theater in North Brunswick, New Jersey on opening night participating in a live simulcast event hosted by Kirk Cameron (of the 1980s TV series, Growing Pains), who also narrates/stars in the historical documentary about America's founding. He invited the viewing audience into his home where a viewing party was going on with his friends, family, the makers of the film, and some VIPs like his grandfather who'd fought at Iwo Jima, his pastor, and a relative of Martin Luther King Jr. He also had some very good music lined up.

In the film, Kirk expresses worry about the cultural decay and the political direction that is affecting the United States in the early twenty-first century, and he is worried about the country we will be leaving to our children. The movie is meant to give the viewer some hope that all is not lost yet. Cameron hopes it will spark some action. The movie suggests that there is a path that we can follow, a path, Cameron says, that worked before.

Cameron travels to Europe, Boston, Plymouth, Washington and other places, tracing America's past, and discussing America's founding with several historians who set the record straight concerning the Pilgrims (the forefathers) and the Founding Fathers of the United States.

The movie addresses the liberal talking points about America's history. What we learn in grades K-12 and in college, as well as in the mainstream media, is often colored by the viewpoint that America is inherently a bad nation, full of bad people and bad leaders. Cameron and the producers of Monumental show that along with some bad there was plenty of good in America's past. Every nation and every people have good and bad in their past. It is inescapable because every group of humans has its "bad eggs", including the oft-portrayed-as-angel Native Americans. But the ideas that started America, starting with the Pilgrims and continuing on to the Founding Fathers in 1776 were rooted in good because they were rooted in God. The very reason the Pilgrims came to America was for religious freedom. Not to persecute the Indians. They were not Conquistadors. They weren't looking for gold. The Pilgrims tried to live in peace and harmony with their Native American neighbors.

The film goes on to state that the same is true of the signers of the Declaration of Independence and Constitution. Twenty-seven of the signers were graduates with Christian seminary degrees. Most of them believed in God and all believed that founding a nation based on morals derived from Christianity was a good idea. Not a nation governed by a religion, but founded in partnership with its moral foundations. It was the founding documents and the foundation for justice that they provided which allowed racial and social justice to slowly but surely reign victorious.

I didn't care for some of the rough camera work by the cameraman and director at times (The bouncy, unsteady camera shots to me can be disorienting and motion sickness inducing.) but thankfully this didn't occur throughout the whole movie.

I had recently been to Plymouth Massachsetts and had seen the Mayflower 2, and the Pilgrim Museum, but unfortunately I missed out on the National Monument to the Forefathers which is the semi-focus of this movie. I wish I had seen it. It is impressive, in stature and in its conception. The monument, built in 1889, is hidden in a neighborhood near Plymouth and is an inspiring symbol of how this nation was formed. Monumental says that if we want to reform the nation, then the principles which this monument delineates will be how it must be done.

The historical documentary is a positive look at America's past and a hopeful look towards America's future. See it today, and if you can, see it with your kids so they can see America's past in a different light than is provided by the U.S. public school system.

Get more information about the film at the movie's Facebook page. https://www.facebook.com/monumentalmovie/monumentalmovie.

You can buy it here:  Monumental: In Search of America's National Treasure