18 December 2008 | JimPettis
From a Christian point of view, another failure
As with most Christian movies, I find myself disappointed by the tremendous amount of fiction that is added to the biblical account, and the tremendous degree to which the biblical account is ignored or bypassed.
First, there ARE some good points to this movie. When a pregnant Mary meets Elizabeth (not alone, as you would imagine, but with two men also present), she pronounces something very similar to the Magnificat. There is no room at the inn. Jesus is born in a manger (the birth, by the way, completely bypassed, and newborn Jesus appears suddenly clean and with a full head of hair).
But then there are the things that don't jive with reason or history. Herod the Great is actually Herod the Great Big Whiner (well-played, despite the poor role). Joseph's friend is named Malcolm - I mean, come on, "Malcolm"? Why not "Chuck"? Joseph is - to put it kindly - not exactly a diligent worker, but manages to build an enormous palace of wood and stone on a remote hill in the countryside for his upcoming marriage. The 3 wise men - yes, Caspar, Malchior and Balthasar - are met tooling through the desert on camels with no supplies other than their rides and the clothes on their backs. They actually appear *before* the birth of Jesus. Joseph brings Mary to Bethlehem for the census, crossing the desert - clearly unsure of the way - rather than taking a road. The list goes on and on.
Probably the *most* disappointing thing, however, was the complete and total dearth of angels. At one point, Mary refers to Gabriel as an "agent" of God. This "agent" is neither seen nor heard by us (just light reflecting from the water), nor is Joseph's dream (which turns out to be a daydream in the heat of the day). From the device used, you would think that Mary and Joseph were hallucinating due to the bright sunlight. The angelic messages to them were simply tremendously downplayed. Likewise the angel's announcement to the shepherds - reduced to a mere disembodied "music of the spheres".
Overall, a decently-acted movie that, in my opinion, very poorly portrays the biblical account or anything resembling historical accuracy of the period.