One of the most common criticisms leveled at Angelina Jolie’s Unbroken by the normally nonchalant faith-based community was that her adaptation completely left out the tale of Louis Zamperini’s turn toward Christianity later in life. It’s a story that accounts for the entire third act of Laura Hillenbrand’s source material, but on screen, it would have taken too much time away from scenes of Zamperini being brutally tortured at a Japanese prison camp—and if you’re not going to have all the torture, why even build a Japanese prison camp?
But while Christians generally love watching men get tortured, they love watching them get lectured even more, and leaving that out of that film certainly didn’t help its rather mediocre box office. Hence the release of a special edition that’s being targeted specifically at Christian audiences—who will finally get a little something just for them—while it presumably bursts into flames when placed in the Blu-rays of nonbelievers.
The “Legacy Of Faith” edition of Unbroken, as its Christian metal band name suggests, will be marketed directly through Christian stores—stores such as Family Christian, supplier of all your Praying Football Player figurine and Duck Dynasty T-shirt needs. And while the film itself remains the same as the Jolie-directed, Coen brothers-scripted original—as unbroken by the producers’ demand to make it more marketable to Christians as Zamperini was by Japanese soldiers hitting him—it now comes with 90 minutes of additional material detailing his life after the war.
Those extras will cover the troubled Zamperini’s turn toward alcoholism and violence, which was solved after he attended a Billy Graham sermon and became friends with the young preacher. And they’ll do so using footage taken from later in Zamperini’s life of his hanging out with Graham and revisiting his former captors, plus “a description of what happened”—descriptions of past events generally being enough for faithful Christians.
Universal’s after-the-fact olive branch extended toward the movie’s jilted, would-be Christian supporters is actually being made secondhand, as the studio’s outsourced that job to Pure Flix. It’s already responsible for marketing other Christian-themed thrillers like Mission Air (“featuring a star-filled cast—Jamie Kennedy, Tom Arnold, Alexandria Deberry, Paul Rodriguez”) and all your favorite David A.R. White comedies. But just this one time, Pure Flix can slap the afterthought of a Christian angle on something, if it means protecting the moneymaking legacy of faith.