PG-13 for violence, disaster images and brief
May 31, 2002
Ben Affleck, Morgan Freeman, James Cromwell,
Live Schreiber, Alan Bates, Philip Baker Hall, Ron Rifkin,
and Bruce McGill
Phil Alden Robinson
Tom Clancy and Stratton Leopold
Paul Attanasio and Daniel Pyne
BASED ON THE NOVEL BY:
Older children, teenagers and adults
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The Sum of All Fears
By Movieguide Magazine
- Thanks to the Cold War between the United States and the Soviet Union,
beginning in the mid-'50s and ending in 1989 with the fall of the Berlin Wall,
several generations of Americans lived under the fear of nuclear war. Films
like The Day After, a made-for-television movie that played on the
politics of the nuclear arms race and vividly portrayed a nuclear holocaust,
especially haunted the dreams of children born during the '60s and '70s, who
often cited "nuclear war" as one of their greatest fears.
The facts are not reassuring. According to the CIA, at least 20 countries,
nearly half of them in the Middle East and South Asia, already have or may
be developing weapons of mass destruction. Moreover, public records reveal
that of the tens of thousands of nuclear weapons constructed during the Cold
War, 164 transportable warheads are still unaccounted for by the authorities.
What if they fell into the wrong hands? The Sum Of All Fears asks just
Based on the 1991 New York Times best selling novel by author extraordinaire
Tom Clancy, The Sum Of All Fears portrays a looming nuclear war and
speaks to the fears of many in today's uncertain climate of terrorism. Producer
Mace Neufeld (who also produced The Hunt for Red October, Patriot
Games, and Clear And Present Danger) has provided yet another
film that is bound to thrill. Furthermore, Jack Ryan is back, only younger
and fitter. Played by Ben Affleck, who inherited the role from Harrison Ford,
our hero is once again poised to save the planet, only years before he works
his way up through the CIA to become President of the United States.
CIA Director William Cabot, played superbly by Morgan Freeman, enlists the
help of young Jack Ryan, an analyst at the Russian Desk and an expert on Russian
President Alexander Nemerov, who has just ascended to the presidency after
the sudden death of his predecessor. The Americans dont know whether Nemerov
is a hawk or a dove, but suspect hes trouble. Ryan insists otherwise, much
to Cabots annoyance. However, when Ryans Russian language skills forge a
connection with the Russian President during a peace trip to the Kremlin,
Cabot moves aside to allow Ryan access to the top-secret mission.
After a fact-finding mission to an abandoned army base in the Ukraine goes
awry, Ryan learns that a nuclear device is missing. With some sleuthing, he
also discovers that European neo-Nazi terrorists recently purchased it from
a band of Arab Bedouins and smuggled it into the United States. While the
President and Cabot enjoy a football game in the Baltimore Forum, Ryan learns
that the terrorists plan to detonate the bomb at the Super Bowl, then blame
the attack on Russia in the hopes of rekindling the Cold War. But Cabot wont
answer his phone, and Ryan can't get there fast enough.
With heart-pounding action throughout, The Sum of All Fears will thrill
even the most stoic of hawks. The acting, including performances by James
Cromwell as President Fowler, Alan Bates as the wealthy and ruthless British
industrialist, and Liev Schreiber as CIA Operative John Clark, the agent and
super spy assigned to take Ryan into the field, is outstanding. The pacing
is perfect, with non-stop thrills that continue to mount as Ryan uncovers
the mystery of the missing weapon. Even after the climactic explosion and
its aftermath, director Phil Alden Robinson manages to maintain the suspense.
The violence of the movie is graphic, and the repercussions are traumatic.
Because it portrays events that could realistically occur, especially with
current threats of terrorist attacks, The Sum of All Fears should not
be viewed by young audiences. Obvious sexual situations between Ryan and his
girlfriend add to the dilemma for many parents of whether this film should
be seen by even older teens. All audiences, however, will benefit from a frank
discussion about The Sum of All Fears apocalyptic ending; its biblical
portrayal of the End Times as described in the book of Revelation; and what
it means to put our faith in a living God, so that we need not fear death,
even in the midst of such a terrifying catastrophe.
Fortunately, there is a Savior, and his name is not Jack Ryan, but Jesus
Christ. Omniscient and omnipresent, He knows our every need and has conquered
death, no matter what its origin, on the Cross. If we
place our hope in Him, even though we may perish, we will not be forsaken.
Please address your comments to:
Sherry Lansing, Chairman
Motion Picture Group
A Paramount Communications Company
5555 Melrose Avenue
Los Angeles, CA 90038-3197
Phone: (323) 956-5000
Web site: www.paramount.com
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A FAMILY GUIDE TO MOVIES AND ENTERTAINMENT, a syndicated feature of Good News
Communications, Inc. To subscribe to MOVIEGUIDE, which includes a complete
set of at least 10 reviews of the latest movies as well as many informative
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or write or call:
P.O. Box 190010
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responsible for the opinions and positions of those publications and organizations."
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