Springing from the imagination of Sydney-born creator Chris
Waters, Angel Wars Guardian Force is quickly becoming
regarded as one of the best and most ambitious animation projects
to ever bear a Christian message.
Although he now resides in California, Waters' ties to Australia
remain strong. The 29-year-old still refers to Melbourne -
where his parents live - with a certain fondness: "The
most beautiful city in the world. It is the most liveable
city. It is gorgeous."
TO SAVE THE UNIVERSE: Creator Chris Waters says 'Angel
Wars Guardian Force' is an allegorical tale of good
you look at the way Jesus spoke, he spoke in parables,"
says Chris Waters. "He didn't do that just to
be clever. He did that so they could understand. He
was speaking to farmers or fishermen."
Wars Guardian Force is heavily influenced by both J.R.R.
Tolkien and C.S. Lewis - as a child Waters realised at a young
age that much could be learned from these fantasy writers.
Drawing a similarity between his work and C. S. Lewis' The
Chronicles of Narnia, he says that both have hidden Christian
meanings in them yet remain “one step removed so that
someone who isn't a Christian can still appreciate the struggle
and not feel like they are being preached to or being smacked
over their head”.
Waters thinks that the allegorical writings of Lewis and Tolkien
have much in common with the way Jesus taught.
"If you look at the way Jesus spoke, he spoke in parables.
He didn't do that just to be clever. He did that so they could
understand. He was speaking to farmers or fishermen."
He says he’s taken the same approach with Angel
Wars Guardian Force episodes.
"Our series is very much an allegorical or symbolical
series. We want it to feel like an epic tale of good versus
Other influences that came to bear on the creation of Angel
Wars Guardian Force included Waters' childhood interest
in comic book superheroes such as X-Men and Spiderman as well
as the discovery of a very old copy of Milton's Paradise
Lost which belonged to his parents.
"In this book - which felt like it was hundreds of years
old (with) the pages fraying - there were these incredible
illustrations of battles between angels and demons,”
“When I read this book and saw the illustrations, it
struck me that something from the Bible could be that epic,
fantastic and heroic (instead of being dry). It inspired me
to believe that this is like the first comic book. It was
the first action hero comic book story of the Fall. I did
a little more research and found out angels were not just
in the story of the Fall but they are mentioned over three
hundred times in the Bible.
“I started writing stories and a friend of mine started
doing some drawings. My dad (Tudor Williams, credited as co-creator
of the series) and I talked about this world for quite a few
years. We talked about this world for quite a few years and
I started thinking about doing a comic book."
As time went on, Waters developed both an interest and a talent
in animation. While working on his masters degree in television
production, the seed finally germinated into Angel Wars.
"I decided to do something that the kids could immerse
themselves in a little bit more than a comic book,”
he says. “From there the idea grew and after many meetings
we got a chance to make it (the video).”
Aimed at pre-teen boys, the first two Angel Wars Guardian
Force DVDs are action-packed adventures that pit Archangel
Michael's group against the evil forces of Morg.
The storyline is rooted in the Biblical story of Lucifer's
fall from grace and powered by Waters' belief that there is
a daily struggle within all of us to choose between good and
evil as we follow our conscience or turn a blind eye. In one
episode, for example, McCarty, a flight instructor tempts
a student with the line: "One little lie isn't going
to hurt anybody and it will make everybody's life easier.
What's the problem?"
"With these episodes I really wanted to explore this
notion of the Fall and what led to it,” says Waters.
“On a symbolic level Morg represents Lucifer and the
danger of pride. It talks about him being driven by his own
needs and nothing else. Morg is a great story in relationship
to Michael. He and Michael used to be really good friends.
They worked together and played together and were confidants.
As is often the case, Michael is promoted and Morg starts
to get jealous. As he became jealous he started to resent
Michael and resented God for promoting Michael. With that
attitude he was recruited by the dragon which is our Lucifer
character. He winds up casting his lot with the fallen angels.
He is a tragic character. He had everything he ever needed.
He just couldn't accept what his life was without comparing
it to Michael's and how he felt second best. The tragedy is
he lost everything and gained nothing only because of his
than being overt with morality and Biblical teachings,
Waters relies on action-packed scenes, a high tempo
musical score delivered by acclaimed veteran music
producer Christopher Stevens and the strength of good
character development to flesh out the message."
than being overt with morality and Biblical teachings, Waters
relies on action-packed scenes, a high tempo musical score
delivered by acclaimed veteran music producer Christopher
Stevens and the strength of good character development to
flesh out the message.
Waters has also created the entire living, breathing world
in which his characters live.
"For something not to be just propaganda there has to
be a true sense of telling a story, being interested in the
characters and their world,” he says.
“You need to create a world that in and of itself is
an interesting thing to explore. Anything I do in life would
be shaped by my world view as a Christian. I would hope that
my goal would be just to tell a good story and not to manipulate
an audience and...jump ahead and prove a point without earning
the right. Whether the audience is Christian or not hopefully
they can enjoy the characters and appreciate the art and animation.
Perhaps I will challenge them to think about things in a different
Waters says it’s his hope that while the excitement
of the DVDs will hold the attention of children (they’ve
been deliberately created using animation that resembles the
computer games they commonly play), parents and pastors will
later have a chance to talk to the children about the underlying
As for what the kids think?
“Oh, that movie is so good,” says 10-year-old
Slater Goodson. ”The last one was really good,
but this one even better. The graphics, music, and video are
“I can’t really describe it, but it’s so
cool...the fights are pretty good and the Australian guy...the
blue guy with all the swords, is awesome. The story is actually
really good, too. It taught me that God's angels are all around
me. I already knew that, but it was cool to see it.”
The litmus test for any author of children’s books or
films, however, is in the reaction of their own children.
After all, if your own children give you a thumbs down or
snub their noses at dad's work, then you might as well pack
it in, right?
"I wrote these for my boys so they could have something
to have fun with,” says Waters who has unofficially
recruited his three sons as consultants on his projects.
THREE: The third Guardian Force DVD 'How to draw Angel
Wars' is all about encouraging children to create
something of their own.
"I say to my kids regularly why don't you sit
down and draw," Waters says. "Sit down and
create something. Tell me a story. Read me a story.
I think it is important for kids and it is important
for parents to develop that in kids. God is the ultimate
creative force in the universe and I think there is
something amazing that happens inside of us when we
love them. They get to see these things develop over time
and get to see how things develop behind the scenes. They
are therefore much more emotionally invested in these things
and perhaps a bit jaded. I made them for my boys who love
Pokemon and Power Rangers. (W)hat instigated this more than
anything else was to be able to say here is something that
I can make for my boys and present to them knowing I could
be proud of it and comfortable with it.
“Once we have finished storyboarding an episode they
are the first people I pitch it to. You can tell a lot from
how they react. Kids are really honest. If they get excited
about certain things then I know I am on the right track.
If they look at me (with the attitude) what are you talking
about then I know I am on the wrong track. Hopefully as we
go forward we will stay on the right track."
How To Draw Angel Wars, the third and latest of DVD
of the series was released in the US on 22nd November. An
instructional video, it teaches children how to draw many
of the characters that appear in the episodes.
It’s brave move for someone in Waters position to make
- after all, isn’t letting people behind the scenes
akin to a magician telling his audience the secrets behind
his sleight of hand?
"There are plenty of studies that indicate that children
who are involved in art and music have higher self esteem,”
“They are much more confident and I think we have to
be careful in the high tech age that we don't forget to encourage
our kids to draw and to create themselves. We have a fast
food culture where we want to be entertained. I say to my
kids regularly why don't you sit down and draw. Sit down and
create something. Tell me a story. Read me a story.
think it is important for kids and it is important for parents
to develop that in kids. God is the ultimate creative force
in the universe and I think there is something amazing that
happens inside of us when we create. We want to do our little
part in (encouraging that). In a couple of weeks we are coming
out with a DVD that has over two hours of content teaching
kids how to draw all of our characters."
Waters says it’s important to give kids “the best
possible chance to succeed” and to that end has ensured
the instructions are comprehensive.
“What I would love 20 years from now is to hear a guy
who is at the top of his game and hear him say hey there was
this company angel wars and they got me into drawing,”
he says. “That would be such a neat thing to hear in
The video is distributed in Christian bookstores through
EMI CMG and can also be purchased at the website www.angelwars.com.
If you want to take Angel Wars for a test drive you can visit
the website where the page loads as a game console and features
music and video samples from the episodes. There is also an
ebook that provides a more abbreviated version of how to draw
some of the characters.