|Don't worry James. I know how you feel. That's how I looked this whole movie|
I'm a pretty big fan of church history. I especially like learning more about stories and events that happened in church history that I didn't know about. It gives me a greater respect knowing everything people went through as well as good insight knowing how people thought and believed back then. That there was the biggest draw from this movie. I had never heard of an event in church history where there was a group of people that went out and searched for the 16 stones. I wanted to know more. Uhhh... turns out there is a reason why I never heard this story. It didn't ever happen! Yes, this movie is purely fictional. Once I realized this I was really disappointed. No history to be learned here. This event didn't happen. What it is is National Treasure, Mormon style. It's set in the early days of the church. Joseph and Emma Smith are even in the movie. We have this kid named James who decides that he wants to go search for the stones because he is convinced that finding it will stop all the persecution going on. His two friends, Elaine and Thomas, join him and the three of them are off on this big treasure hunt that lasts the whole movie.
In theory, this premise could work out. I personally enjoyed both National Treasure movies and even though the things they were searching for could never be found in real life, it was still a lot of fun anyways. Same here. No way in heck is someone going to actually find the 16 stones unless God wanted it to happen. It's kinda like a golden plates type of thing. But yet, if done right, a movie searching for these objects could be a lot of fun. The problem is, everything about this movie is just off. It's definitely a low-budget movie, but that's no excuse. I've seen plenty of amazing low-budget movies. But this is a low-budget movie where you wonder how much effort was actually put into making this. The script is horrendous. The dialogue is clunky and forced. And worse of all, the acting by our three main characters is so bad that it's hard to watch. I'm not really sure if it's their fault or if it's a case where they have nothing to work with and no talented directors to help them. Possibly a bit of both. But whatever the issue is, it makes this hard to watch.
I suppose I can appreciate the intentions behind this film. No big name directors or big name actors. A very low-budget movie where they were just trying to make this inspiring film. And it does have its moments where you feel good after a speech from Joseph Smith about faith. But overall, you need more than just good intentions to make a good movie. Take The Book of Mormon Movie for example. The director there had this amazing vision of bringing the Book of Mormon to the world by making a movie. Love that idea. There's a lot of great, inspiring movies that could be made from the Book of Mormon. But the execution of that was so bad that you wish the director would've just kept that vision to himself and not acted upon it. Same thing here. A Mormon-style National Treasure movie where they are searching for the 16 stones could be a lot of fun. But it isn't. Bad script. Bad acting. Bad story. No interesting drama. Nothing good about this film. I mean, I was literally the only one in the theater Wednesday night during the showing and I took advantage of that and played around on my phone for the last half of the movie. I even took a little quiz that told me how I died in a former life and posted in on my facebook. That was more interesting than the movie I was watching. I'm giving 16 Stones a failing grade, a 4/10.