Once More Into the Breach

Finding Nonsense and Beating it Sensible

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I used to watch TV news and yell at the box. Now I jump up from the couch, sit at the computer and begin to type laughing maniacally saying "Wait until they read this." It's more fun than squashing tadpoles

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Sunday, December 03, 2006

The Nativity Story Film

When I was young my impression of biblical characters was one of people who by their great virtue had earned the favor of God. As I grew older and read the scriptures for myself several times I began to realize that those people in the stories were just plain people who God used because they were willing to believe Him despite their flaws. So is the case in The Nativity Story.

Mary and Joseph are just two people in a poor village with plans of their own only to find that God calls on them to usher into this world his incarnation. Being a student of ancient history as well as biblical history I found the scenes and costumes to be well done. The characters were real in their insecurity over the reality of their situation and the story itself was in no way incompatible with the gospel accounts even though there was much more character development than one gets from just the new testament.

I was very pleased with the whole film. I am quite harsh in my judging of artistic license or as is the case in many films, convenient fantasy. Where previous films dealing with the birth of Jesus have been poorly produced or held so tight to the gospel accounts that the characters never seemed real, this film fleshed out the familiar story with artistry as well as accuracy. One of the devices used to symbolically depict the Holy Spirit was a flying hawk. It worked well in expressing the presence without intrusive lighting effects that have been used in the past.

Herod the great was a complex character in history. He built some amazing things and ruled under Rome's thumb skillfully. Palestine was a contentious place then as it has remained to this day. Herod's family life was as dysfunctional as his ruling of his kingdom was efficient. In this film his paranoia over the possible loss of his throne was the main focus of his character. When he tells his heir that he will stop at nothing to preserve it he reminds the young man he has already killed two sons and a wife for treason. All that is found in the history written for Rome by Josephus.

My wife predicted that it would be a film we would enjoy when she saw that is scored only a C+ from the critics.

I will definitely add this to my collection when it comes out in DVD.



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