The first ten minutes are very hectic and jumpy. Sitting through this part, I got worried that the film would be a jumbled mess. For the next hour after that, though, it came together into an interesting family drama with some faith-based elements. Then it took the expected turn to become a preachy, "uplifting" Christian film. The last half of the film was thoroughly cheesy and predictable, and was of the quality of writing that can be expected of the genre. Yes, there was some good incorporation of humor, but that doesn't compensate for the overly simplistic nature of the story.
The execution was all over the place. The acting as a whole was pretty good, with the exception of a few of Worthington's crying scenes. Throughout the film, every camera trick in the book is used to elicit an emotional reaction to the point where it feels manufactured. There are also a lot of issues with a lot of the "innovative" things that they tried to pull off. For example, the scene in which they walk on the water is shot so poorly that you can see their heels pressing up against the glass and you can see the outline around them caused by the green screen. The CGI is also thoroughly bad.
Overall, I thought that "The Shack" had a few redeeming elements, but not many. Decent performances and an interesting first half (minus the opening) save this film from complete oblivion. The target audience of Christian viewers looking for an uplifting religious story will likely love it, but casual moviegoers and film aficionados will find little of note.
Big Tuna's Rating: C
How Did I Watch It: In theaters.
Had I Seen It Before?: No.
Would I Watch It Again?: I sincerely doubt it.