John Bunyan's Christian allegory The Pilgrim's Progress from 1678 has received a feature-length, animated treatment that will arrive in theaters on Thursday, April 18 at 7:00 p.m. and Saturday, April 20 at 12:55 p.m. via Fathom Events. In the film, like the original story, a man named Christian Pilgrim discovers a book that convicts him of the necessity to leave the City of Destruction in search of something better. He journeys out of the city, encountering friends and foes along the way. Will he ever arrive where he should be or will he find himself doomed by the pitfalls along the way?
Creatively imagined and wonderfully animated, the story audiences will watch includes fantastic elements of adventure and peril, as Pilgrim progresses in starts and stops toward the Celestial City. Pilgrim is not always the brightest of heroes: he regularly gets derailed by his own accord, and also struggles to overcome the various traps he experiences along the way.
Pilgrim meets the Evangelist (John Rhys-Davies) who saves him several times throughout his journey, providing steady advice that Pilgrim sometimes takes and sometimes forgets. But he must first push through to a place where he can get rid of the burden on his back, here visually imagined as a giant bag he must carry. We can see several steps of faith: first he finds the book (or rather, says the Narrator, it finds him); then he must leave his old ways behind, lose his burden of expectations from the past, etc. Ultimately, he will meet Hopeful - and find his way to carrying out a life of faith that can be modeled for others.
Much like The Chronicles of Narnia, the parable here has glorious visuals and ideas brought to life in an imaginative way. But it is more direct in its sentiments, thanks to the names for people and places, which is clearly the intention of producer Steve Cleary - because the film is intended directly for evangelical use as a means of sharing discipleship.
An entertaining exploration of salvation, The Pilgrim's Progress tackles what it means to find faith, and what we must do to overcome the obstacles which would keep us from a life of faith. While the road is mapped out for us, each person's journey is theirs alone, and one that requires us to overcome every obstacle that threatens to trip them up. With a bit of help, and the power of faith, each of us can take the journey and find salvation through Jesus as God has offered it.