Comments about ‘Chris Hicks: '17 Miracles' ranks near top of Mormon cinema’

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Published: Thursday, Sept. 8 2011 4:00 p.m. MDT

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Springville, UT

I can't wait to get my DVD next week. It was a great movie, one that I will enjoy again and again.

I hope Mr. Christensen continues to create great works like this in the future.

Orem, UT

how's the new Joseph Smith movie?

West Valley City, Utah

Excellent article. I was a bit surprised that 'The other side of Heaven' was not mentioned in this. This was an excellent Mormon Flick done by Non-Mormons (Holly wood did this one.) In fact, I would say it is the best Mormon film done by npn-Mormons.

Somewhere in Time, UT

Dear Ventor: "The Other Side of Heaven" WAS made by Mormons. The producer and director are both LDS. The Producer is an Oscar winner for Schindler's List. He played the first mission president in the film. The director is a BYU film school graduate. Most of the actors were not LDS. But, the film is LDS produced and directed. Just thought I'd set the record straight.


I have to disagree with your opinion on this. While I was familiar with most of the pioneer stories in this film, I found the film quite boring. I would rank my top lds films in this order:
1. The Best Two Years
2. The Other Side of Heaven
3. Singles Ward
4. God's Army
5. Charlie...because of the emotion it stirs
6. All the rest are a tie

My problem with 17 Miracles was that it never drew me in. I wanted to "love" it...but was disappointed.

Heber City, UT

I agree with Chris, also -- whether he has a tiny vested interest or not. I went in feeling that we had already heard too much about "tens" and not enough about the "thousands". What I mean is that the experience of the Willie and Martin companies was not the experience of many other companies. BUT the statistics at the end of the film indicated that the mortality rate in those cases was actually typical of the entire trek -- "which thing I had never supposed." I've never learned that much from the credits before :) I also agree with Chris that the other "great" film was God's Army. I miss Richard Dutcher. I did find it curious that Chris did not mention "The Other Side of Heaven." These three, to me, have the most substance of all LDS oriented cinema.


I forgot to add that my ancestors were in the Martin Company....and it still didn't draw me in.

Eugene, OR

The genre has been pretty uneven, from pretty good (Saints And Soldiers, any of Richard Dutcher's work) to just horrible (just about everything from Halestorm.) The problem is that too many filmmakers want to make MORMON movies instead of Mormon MOVIES. To quote Roger Ebert, some people are so concerned that a movie doesn't have anything bad that they don't care if it has anything good.

Don't worry about showing off your standards to the world. If you tell the story well enough, that'll take care of itself.

Lehi, UT

Loved it. It drew me in immediately and I forgot most were amateur actors. Critics said it was hard to follow. Not at all. I was engaged in the movie from beginning to end and I am not easy to please when it comes to the Mormon genre. I knew a lot of the stories also and it did not make me any less interested. The only criticism I had was the snow wasn't deep enough. History told that there was much more than the movie showed. But a very good movie nonetheless and well worth seeing.

Howard Beal
Provo, UT

Brigham City was the best Mormon film made and by a long shot.

Lyman, WY

I had a ancestor's story in this film. She was the sister of my Great-Great-Great Grandpa Samuel Lane Crook, and her stories were the ones where, she was running away from her abusive husband and he went after her, but when he saw her on the train, he could not recognize her, and then the one, where she recieved dried meat to share with the company from a man, but when she returned to thank him there was no one to be found. I had heard these stories when I was younger, but to see them in the movie gave me goose bumps.

American Fork, UT

Chris, how about giving us your top ten (which should include Other Side of Heaven). It would be interesting to know the top ten by revenue too....

Here are my top ten, the top five would shift around some depending on the day.

God's Army
The Best Two Years
Other Side of Heaven
Saints and Soldiers
Errand of Angels
God's Army II
Singles Ward
17 Miracles
Brigham City
Work and the Glory I

LDS Liberal
Farmington, UT

Some broach Mormonism subtly ("Saints and Soldiers"), some are heavy-handed ("Day of Defense") and some are just embarrassing ("The Home Teachers").


and others are just to stupid to mention ("Passage to Zarahelma").

Utah Girl
Vernal, UT

We went to see 17 Miracles a week ago when it finally came to our local theater. I loved it. I really enjoy most of the "Mormon" movies, with the exception of Home Teachers, and Church Ball (or whatever it was called), both really goofy, IMHO. While Brigham City is a little dark, I really like it. Richard Dutcher has made some good movies. I also like Chris Heimerdinger's movie, Passage to Zarahemla. Some of it was a little silly, but I liked it anyway. There are so many, like Mountain of the Lord, The Testaments, and so on, that are good quality, well made films. And I thought the Work and the Glory series was good. Hard to fit everything into 3 movies, but I like them anyway. Keep up the good work. Oh yeah, The Other Side of Heaven was very well made. I read the book, too, which had a different title...can't think of it. The movie was quite true to the book.


Where can someone outside of Utah get a hold of these movies?

Santa Monica, CA

I like the ones made about Mormons better than the ones made by Mormons. The new, Ron Howard directed "Under the Banner of Heaven" looks awesome and will help the rest of the country learn about the great state of Utah in some of our darker times. Also, the Book of Mormon musical, has been such a blockbuster and has helped people learn so much about the church, that I'm certain that wonderful actors and directors will be vying to take part in what is sure to be an Academy Award nominated film, when it comes out in the next couple of years. That's one great thing about film, there are films for everybody. Films that entertain and enlighten Mormons and films that shed a little light on Mormons.

Dutch John, UT

I liked the movie, but am prejudiced because I was an "extra" in it. My qualification to be an extra is my ability to grow a great beard and look like a bum. I found it interesting & astonishing how a coherent movie can be made from a bunch of unrelated, short, staged scenes lasting ~30 seconds. Christensen had trouble finding good, deep snow; the weather was not cooperative. Nevertheless, the movie brought tears to my eyes. The musical score was stunning. The considerable creativity of all involved was aptly demonstrated.

Northern, FL

Re: SCCougar - Amazon, Netflix, DeseretBook (online), etc. There are many options to purchase (and some to rent) the films.

Kearns, UT

I really enjoyed the movie. It ranks up there at the top of the Mormon movies. Saints and Soldiers is my favorite.

Pullman, WA

@ bgl

Nice tongue-in-cheek try there bgl. Fortunately, neither "Banner of Heaven" nor "The Book of Mormon" Musical sheds much light about real members of the LDS Church, but they do bring publicity to the Church that we certainly play off of.

I have been largely disapointed with LDS Cinema, but I have enjoyed occasional film. "Best Two Years" and "Other Side of Heaven" did a respectable job. With "17 Miracles", TC took an oft told event and made it very interesting. Just wait till you see his next one.

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