The Bible narrative has always been one heck of a story. It reads like a mix of action thriller, period drama, romance novel and, in more apocalyptic parts, like pure fantasy. The gripping narrative sections of the text are part of the reason the Bible is the bestselling book of all time.
But in 2014, we’ll discover if the good book is as captivating on the modern-day silver screen as it is in print.
This year, big studios such as Sony and Lionsgate are entering the fray by releasing films of, well, biblical proportions. To wit:
“Son of God,” February
Reality TV pioneer Mark Burnett and his wife, actress Roma Downey, have taken footage from their History Channel series “The Bible” and partnered with 20th Century Fox to create “Son of God,” a film about Jesus’ life that will doubtlessly attract churchgoing Americans. As the first film on this list to release, it may be a helpful box office barometer for the others.
“Noah,” March 28
A flood of publicity already has been created around “Noah” and its impressive $130 million budget. The cast includes Russell Crowe, as the sailor himself, as well as Anthony Hopkins, Jennifer Connelly and Emma Watson. Darren Aronofsky (“Black Swan”) directed the movie. If the trailer is any indication, it should be visually stunning while taking massive artistic liberties.
“Heaven is for Real,” April
Though not technically a biblical movie, “Heaven is for Real” will likely riff on popular Bible themes such as heaven, Jesus and salvation. The film is based on the New York Times bestselling book by the same name and stars Greg Kinnear, Kelly Reilley and Thomas Haden Church. This story of a little boy’s life-after-death experience is not so coincidentally scheduled to release just before Easter.
20th Century Fox has kept a tight lid on Ridley Scott’s “Exodus.” All we know is the film is an adaptation of the biblical story of the ancient Israelite people’s liberation from Egypt. Christian Bale will star as Moses, and Sigourney Weaver will co-star. Critics won’t be able to help comparing it to the 1956 movie “The Ten Commandments” starring Charlton Heston. The question will be whether this film can duplicate the classic’s success.
“Mary, Mother of Christ,” December
The long-awaited prequel to “The Passion of The Christ” is scheduled to arrive before Christmas after a long set of delays. The cast includes the late Peter O’Toole, Sir. Ben Kingsley, Julia Ormond, and 16-year-old Israeli newcomer Odeya Rush as the holy mother herself. The hefty cast combined with a serious budget from Lionsgate and the backing of several Christian notables, including mega-church pastor Joel Osteen, who gets an executive-producer credit, give this movie serious potential.
The uptick in biblical movies is a testament to the ongoing power of those ancient narratives and reminds us Hollywood is driven by money more than agendas. The Bible’s stories are an enduring draw, so Hollywood is doing what it does best — turning a buck by giving audiences what they want.
In this way, the film industry i a mirror reflecting what society desires: sex, violence and great stories with a touch of God in the mix. In 2014, we’ll find out just how much they crave the latter.
First reported by mysanantonio.com
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