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ORION AND THE DARK

"An Overly Dark Humanist Fable"

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What You Need To Know:

Streaming on Netflix, ORION AND THE DARK is an animated fantasy about a boy who’s afraid of many things. Most of all, Orion is afraid of the dark. He conquered this fear years ago, but now he tells his young daughter, Hypatia, how an elemental being called Dark helped him overcome his phobia. When Orion is unable to end the story, his daughter steps in, and into, the story. Can Hypatia bring Orion’s story to a satisfactory conclusion? Especially since fear of the dark and so many other things plague both young and old alike?

ORION AND THE DARK is an interesting tale with great potential. However, its execution is only partially successful. For example, the movie makes lots of statements on deep subjects but is too disjointed and sometimes rambles. It also has a strong humanist worldview. For instance, the movie’s human title character adopts a nihilistic, atheist worldview about the afterlife. Also, his young daughter promotes evolution in two comments. ORION AND THE DARK also has some scary, disturbing scenes involving a murderous clown and acid, plus brief foul language.

Content:

(HH, EvEv, ABAB, L, V, A, M):

Dominant Worldview and Other Worldview Content/Elements:
Strong humanist worldview overall promotes a pro-evolution view where the human title character adopts an atheist, nihilistic view, saying, “In real life, when you’re dead, you’re dead,” and another character is Darwinian and says, “Fear of the dark is an evolutionary adaptation” and then says, “The only stories that really help are the ones that are true,” which implies that evolution is true;

Foul Language:
One “h” obscenity and six light profanities or epithets misusing the word God;

Violence:
Some of the human title character’s adventures with Dark include mild peril and scary, disturbing images and scenes (acid burns a child to a skeleton, a murderous clown appears, and other nightmares occur);

Sex:
No sex;

Nudity:
No nudity;

Alcohol Use:
Implied alcohol use in one scene;

Smoking and/or Drug Use and Abuse:
No smoking or drugs; and,

Miscellaneous Immorality:
A very young boy is allowed to read deeply disturbing and depressing works of non-fiction.

More Detail:

Streaming on Netflix, ORION AND THE DARK is an animated fantasy about facing one’s fears.

Orion is afraid of many things. The list is long, including, but not limited to, storms, school, bullies, people in general, germs, etc. Perhaps most of all, Orion is scared of the dark.

Having conquered this fear of the dark years ago, Orion now tells his young daughter, Hypatia, a story about how an elemental being called Dark helped him overcome his phobia. Perhaps not remembering exactly his own method, he eventually wanders into the psychological self-image issues of Dark. Everyone loves Light (Dark’s rival), but the list of people who are afraid of the dark is a long one.

As the story unfolds, both Orion and Dark discover never to let their fears and anxieties keep them from being who they are. However, when Orion runs out of ideas of how to continue the story, his daughter steps in, and into, the story. Can Hypatia bring Orion’s story to a satisfactory end as fear of the Dark and so many other things continue to plague both young and old alike?

ORION AND THE DARK is an interesting tale with great potential. However, its execution is only partially successful. The movie makes lots of statements on deep subjects but fails to add anything really meaningful to these philosophical conversations. For example, when a young child embraces nihilism, it’s put out there without comment. Also, the issue of self-image and vicarious existence is raised but left out in the cold of a dark winter evening.

That said, the idea of elemental beings carrying out the necessary preparations for nighttime across the globe is creative and engaging. These sequences are intriguing as each night entity, Dark, Sleep, Dreams, etc., brings a very different ethos and flavor to the work they do. However, these sequences often lose at least some of their appeal when the Dark character turns to morbid introspection, when Sleep fluctuates between being inventive and annoying, and Dreams often brings in nightmarish elements that push the limits of the movie’s Y7 rating. This is doubly disturbing because this animated outing is clearly aimed at young children.

The movie seems to be trying to make several weighty points without offending anyone. Besides this being literally impossible, the movie also often creates a vague, politically correct, bizarre experience. Multiple strange plot elements are introduced with no attempt at explanation and left hanging. Examples are when Hypatia enters her father’s story in order to finish it and meets his younger self, then exits the story via an alien spaceship. Sadly, though, everything adds up to a disjointed whole. It also doesn’t help that the hero of the story, presumably Orion, despite conquering his fear of the dark, fails to deal significantly with any of the other anxieties he expresses in the story’s opening.

Ultimately, ORION AND THE DARK has a strong humanist worldview. For example, Orion decides there’s no afterlife after reading a book on nihilism and existentialism. He says, “In real life, when you’re dead, you’re dead.” Also, his daughters, Hypatia tells him at one point, “Fear of the dark is an evolutionary adaptation.” Later, she says, “The only stories that really help are the ones that are true,” which implies, given her earlier comment, that evolution is true.

The character of Dark is more interesting philosophically and psychologically. For instance, he says, “So much of how you see yourself is through the eyes of others.” There is truth here. Thus, people need each other to more fully understand themselves and others, and they are often shaped in many ways by their early influences.

Sadly, however, these thought-provoking elements eventually crash and burn when the movie concludes, that people need the dark to comprehend light. This conclusion contradicts John 1:4 and 5, which says life is in the Word of God, that this life is the light of all mankind, and that the light sines in the darkness, yet the darkness has not overcome it.

All in all, therefore, ORION AND THE DARK’s humanist worldview promotes too many abhorrent, anti-biblical ideas. It also has some scary, disturbing scenes of peril and violence such as a murderous clown and acid turning a boy into a skeleton, plus brief but light foul language.

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Our small team works tirelessly to provide resources to protect families from harmful media, reviewing 415 movies/shows and writing 3,626 uplifting articles this year. We believe that the gospel can transform entertainment. That’s why we emphasize positive and faith-filled articles and entertainment news, and release hundreds of Christian movie reviews to the public, for free. No paywalls, just trusted, biblically sound content to bless you and your family. Online, Movieguide is the closest thing to a biblical entertainment expert at your fingertips. As a reader-funded operation, we welcome any and all contributions – so if you can, please give something. It won’t take more than 52 seconds (we timed it for you). Thank you.

Movieguide® is a 501c3 and all donations are tax deductible.


4000+ Faith Based Articles and Movie Reviews – Will you Support Us?

Our small team works tirelessly to provide resources to protect families from harmful media, reviewing 415 movies/shows and writing 3,626 uplifting articles this year. We believe that the gospel can transform entertainment. That’s why we emphasize positive and faith-filled articles and entertainment news, and release hundreds of Christian movie reviews to the public, for free. No paywalls, just trusted, biblically sound content to bless you and your family. Online, Movieguide is the closest thing to a biblical entertainment expert at your fingertips. As a reader-funded operation, we welcome any and all contributions – so if you can, please give something. It won’t take more than 52 seconds (we timed it for you). Thank you.

Movieguide® is a 501c3 and all donations are tax deductible.