Thursday, November 19, Tina and I went to a screening of “Collision” the documentary with “anti theist” Chris Hitchens and “christian” Doug Wilson. They were filmed while on their tour promoting their book “Is Christianity Good for the World.” The movie came out in October. The screening was followed by a panel discussion with friendly atheist Hemant Mehta and Chad Meister.
I’m only critiquing the movie here. I’ll write a separate post for the panel discussion that followed.
Firstly, the production of the movie was awful. It screened like a first-time, student effort. Everything doesn’t have to be shot in shaky “24” style or like a Michael Bay picture. When amateurs try this method, it comes of as, well, amateurish.
From minute zero through about minute 28, the camera shaking and hand-held rack focuses were so jarring and nauseating that I almost walked out.
The audio was piss poor. I want to make this point, it was piss poor only when the production crew making the documentary was shooting. The sound was excellent when a scene from a professionally-shot show on CBN (Christian Broadcast Network) was shown. The all-around production value was better when they cut to the CBN broadcast. Cutting to it was the fresh air I needed while watching this turd of a film.
Sound wise, the “Collision” director and/or editor used sound from the camera the picture was captured from, instead of a professional sound setup from one central location or from lavaliere microphones. When edited quickly together, the sound was so unintelligibly awful, it made for some very disturbing aural edits. There were cuts when the vocal variation from camera placement went from Chris Hitchens sounding friendly to an angle that made Hitchens sound like he was possessed by a demon.
The filmmakers were so NOT cool, that they made Hitchens and Douglas NOT cool.
I’ve seen Chris Hitchens’ debates so many times, that none of his on-camera debate topics were new.
Doug Wilson was neither here nor there. If you were a Christian before the movie, you would be after. He didn’t provide any new and interesting points either.
Although, Mehta made a good point in the panel discussion. There’s a scene of Wilson at the dinner table and then post-dinner with his family. He appears friendly and family oriented. There wasn’t a similar seen for Hitchens despite that he has a family too.
Probably my favorite scene in the movie was when Wilson and Hitchens were riffing quotes from an author that they both are fans of. It was quite endearing to watch them crack each other up.
If you can stomach it, watch the movie. If not, youtube search Hitchens and watch him debate. You’ll be much less sick at the end.
Apparently you can find enough of the movie on YouTube to get a feel for the entire hour and a half movie.
In sum, the movie was less of a collision and more of a purposeless tree falling in the forest. I can’t consider it a movie-length commercial for the book, because it didn’t do anything to make the book, Hitchens or Douglas worth a second look.
Sorry, kids, nothing is pointing up in regards to “Collision.” Nothing.
***UPDATE*** My admittedly long review of the panel has been published here.
2 thoughts on ““Collision”? More like a Tree Falling in the Forest”
I saw the first 10 minutes of this movie 6 months ago, after Doug’s protege came to our university’s Atheist meeting to ask us to screen the movie (I’m at WSU, which is about 10 miles from Wilson’s church). I totally agree with the amateurish quality but I also noticed some rhetorical moves when shooting Hitchens, like that he was always alone, while Wilson was surrounded by family, and that he was often shown in a dark room or with shadows falling over his face. I actually laughed at just how blatant the attempt to demonize him was.
IDK, maybe the movie gets better? Looks like my group is going to screen it in Feb, so I should know then. But I’m not terribly thrilled (I actually voted against our group showing it at all, and eventually got Doug’s church to pay for everything).
Thanks for your comment. The movie improved a little as if a producer came in late and said, “We’ve got to polish this turd.” So the shaky cameras ease up toward the later half of the film. The content was still hard to admire, though.
But maybe you’re screening will be better. Good luck.