Average Member Rating:
- Christopher L
Joe Camp's original Benji film blazed a trail and provided inspiration for independent filmmakers across the world. In Benji: Off the Leash, Mr. Camp continues to break new ground by examining issues that will inevitably provoke meaningful conversation between parents and their children, a feat rarely accomplished in modern family entertainment. I was not surprised to learn that after all these years, Camp remains faithful to solid principles of fine storytelling. While viewing Off the Leash, I got a sense of Camp's deep love for independent film and his intuitive respect for the audience.
Many modern flicks for kids consist of spiritually empty images of mindless destruction, delivered at a brutally hyperactive pace, but Off the Leash is a notable exception. Parents who view this film with their children will be amazed to discover their kids, who were nursed on modern frenetic film fare, will not grow tired of the lingering camera shots contained throughout Off the Leash, as these scenes are designed to allow kids (and adult children) to use their imaginations and emotionally connect with the characters. Imagine that!
Joe Camp has always held his films to a higher standard, and Benji: Off the Leash is no exception. This film explores a somewhat darker theme than the original Benji films, as the child protagonist faces the enemy within his own family (as opposed to the evil forces operating outside the family in the first films). Off the Leash inspires children to think about values, and it doesn't proselytize or adopt a condescending attitude in order to do so.
Off the Leash has something for everyone. Film aficionados will appreciate the meticulous attention to detail in the lighting of the dogs' eyes, as well as Camp's juxtaposition of shots for maximum emotive effect. Writers and readers will notice fundamental principles of fine storytelling, and the way Camp manages to elicit strong, organic emotion without losing his grasp on realism. Fans of classic physical comedy will enjoy the fumbling dogcatcher sequences. Dog lovers will marvel at animal stunts that seem natural and effortless. Children and their parents will laugh and cry - but most importantly, they will talk.
Camp simply has too much respect for children to gloss over the often harsh realities of being a kid in the modern world. In addition to telling a captivating, amusing and suspenseful story, Off the Leash wrestles with tough issues like child abuse and domestic violence in a realistic but sensitive and insightful manner. The film will undoubtedly elicit feelings of courage, hope and self-worth in the hearts of abused and neglected children. The Benji films nurtured my spirit throughout many years of child abuse, and I would highly recommend Off the Leash to any adult survivor.
A word of caution: Amidst dozens upon dozens of glowing reviews, a few critics have leveled unfair and even malicious criticisms against Off the Leash, belying their misunderstanding of the important issues the film addresses. Parents who wish to subject their children to mind-numbing entertainment masquerading as family fare while pandering to the lowest common denominator should avoid Off the Leash, along with all the other Benji movies. On the other hand, parents who want their children to grow up armed with inner knowledge essential to protect themselves in a world that is often hostile and predatory will be glad they viewed this valuable and wholesome film with their kids.
Finally, a personal message to Mr. Camp... You owe me for a box of Kleenex, you tearjerker!
- Lewanna M
We rented this DVD but I decided not to watch it. I read reviews and watched the parts that I thought would be the worst. I finally decided that I didn't want my children to watch a story about an abusive alcoholic father. It doesn't meet Philippians 4:8.
- David U
I actually rented this somewhere else. Within 10 minutes of the movie there was foul language. Avoid this movie if you don't want any swearing. We have a no swearing policy with our movies which is what brought us to Christian Cinema.
- Susan S
Extraordinary Movie! I thoroughly enjoyed it in every way! Benji is simply the "Best!"
- Susan S
What a Beautful and Wonderful Movie! I loved it throughout! Benji is REMARKABLE and so intelligent! How they could get Benji to act so uniquely!