Archive for category The influence of film
This week I saw the new “Mary Magdalene” movie. The film stars actor Joaquin Phoenix as ‘Jesus’ and actress Rooney Mara as ‘Mary Magdalene.
The story begins in 1st century Magdala, Galilee, where the young woman, Mary Magdalene, lives with her family in the remote fishing village. The community is centralised around family life and the Synagogue. But Mary wrestles with the life that is set before her and knows there is something more.
One day after a troubled visit to the Synagogue, her family is convinced she has a demon and they attempt to exercise the demon in the night. They fail. She is treated poorly. They know about Jesus, ‘the healer’ and He is called in.
It is a very tender and gentle moment when Jesus enters the house and says to Mary “Your family says you grapple with the demon“. Mary is lying on the floor and in a moment Jesus declares ‘there are no demons here‘.
This introduction kept me in good spirits about the film, it set the theme for a peaceful, simplicity. As the film progressed, I recognised the landscape did not look exactly like Galilee, but I overlooked that because of the films correct portrayal of ‘followers of Jesus’ as peaceful, none violent people. Likewise, Jesus appeared to be portrayed as a quiet man and ‘a Man of sorrows, acquainted with grief‘ (Isaiah 53: 3). This portrayal dominated the film.
As the film progressed, Mary left her family to follow Jesus and they attempt to get her back somewhat aggressively, but Jesus baptises her. This, is where the problems of this movie began to surface. Jesus is seen baptising Mary Magdalene. Something which Jesus in the Gospels never did. Jesus never baptised anyone (John 4: 2). In the film however, He baptises her once, but thrice by full immersion. The emphasis of Jesus’ baptism and message is upon being born anew and to follow the light and the coming kingdom. I did not hear any emphasis upon repentance of sin.
The film moves on, Mary follows Jesus with the Disciples and the narrative becomes somewhat void and plain. Very little dialogue holds to the memory. They move to villages and in this film Jesus does heal people. No explanation is given. He is exhausted after raising a man from the dead. He gets tired, sleepy, and appears worn out. He heals a blind girl of her sight.
For the most part the film appeared traditional in some sense, some of it appeared to be based upon Luke 8, but a fair amount of focal points are upon Jesus talking with Mary Magdalene alone. A majority of the narrative was not canonical and reflective of the apocryphal gospel of Mary. Especially the portrayal of Peter.
The miracle scenes are not over dramatised, but some of this left the film very dry and unspiritual. The film is also somewhat multicultural and the accents are mixed and distracting. Judas is given a fair amount of screen time.
As the film slowly progresses, they walk to Jerusalem, and to the Temple. Judas believes that Jesus will now usher in the new kingdom. Jesus turns the tables of the money changers over. I did like this portrayal of the anger of Jesus.
Judas gets disappointed because he has not rightly understood what the new kingdom is. The portrayal of the betrayer is rightly portrayed as someone who you would least expect to betray Christ. All of that could be argued as acceptable, however, I thought that all too often Jesus appears to know not what to do? He seeks Mary to guide Him. Although there appears no direct hint of any physical relations between them, all too often Jesus is walking side by side with Mary Magdalene as his guiding apostle.
Yet toward the latter part of the movie, the modern agenda creeps in. In one scene as Jesus approaches the ‘last supper’ Mary is seen walking beside Him on the left, then parts to the left of the meal and Jesus to the right, Mary then sits down on Jesus’ right side which clearly forms a visual hint of ‘Da Vinci’s The Last Supper’. This brought the whole film down for me and I became suspicious of the agenda.
Much of the film was agreeable and careful. But they left a lot out. Presumably to focus upon what Mary saw, not the events we’re generally familiar with. There is no anquish in the Garden of Gethsemane, but Judas does betray Jesus with a kiss. Judas does hang himself. After Jesus is crucified and has risen from the dead, Mary Magdalene goes to the tomb, and sees Jesus sitting on the ground. The is no rolling away of the stone. Mary goes to tell the apostles that He is risen, and although they believe her, the film presents Mary as the ‘chosen one’ who out of them all, understands Jesus’ message above Peter and all the apostles.
John barely features at all in this movie, which given the central focus on Peter, implied to me that the focus of this film was a feminist attempt to set Mary Magdalene as ‘co-equal’ apostle with Peter, who the Roman Catholic Church sees as its first pope. I noticed a hint of Roman Catholicism in the Temple scenes, it looks reminiscent of St. Peters Basilica, Vatican.
This became even clearer to me when the closing credits came up. The main religious and political agenda of this movie is confirmed by itself. It is distinctly revisionist. The aim being to further promote the position of leadership for women in the Church.
For the most part, the film was very unspiritual and lacked passion and power. Although it remained fairly respectful to the story. I never thought it was anything but well meaning (in the human sense). But the script seemed too ordinary and lacked any dynamics for a story that has changed the world. The portrayal of Peter was insignificant and had no impact. Likewise, Jesus appears, in some sense, portrayed as somewhat untrustworthy and confused? Mary appears to be the spiritual one who held it all together.
Some Christians might like this movie, others will not. The film itself made no lasting impact on me at all. I left the theatre wanting nothing but a hot cup of tea. I didn’t detest the film at all, but I doubt very much that I would even desire to see it again? But if you do go to see it, remember that there is a focal agenda. For women who think themselves as Deacons, Elders, Bishops or Pastors, they might like it. But for any woman, or man like me, who believes the Bible and knows it, we are labelled ‘misogynistic’ merely because we recognise that female leadership in the Church has no authorisation in Scripture, or by God. But the revisionist attempt is an age old claim, nothing new, but bound to continue further. Yet strickly, unbiblical.
This week I went to see “Risen” at a cinema.
I am not an overt cinema goer, but I’m always interested in Biblical movies. For me, seeing visual depictions of the Bible on screen is often exciting and inspiring.
Recent so-called ‘Biblically inspired’ releases such as “Noah” and “Exodus: Gods and Kings” have not even made it into my collection, but “Risen” certainly will. After all, the Bible contains the greatest stories ever written and the Biblical landscapes always look fantastic on film when the Bible is portrayed in a proper way.
For those who may not know, “Risen” is a new fictional movie inspired by the events surrounding the historic death and ‘resurrection of Christ’. It features a character named “Clavius” who is a Roman official, tired from battle, and summoned by Pontius Pilate in Jerusalem to break the legs of the newly crucified Jesus and dispose of His body. By the time Clavius arrives at Golgotha, the crucified Jesus is already dead and Clavius instructs a Roman solder to thrust the spear in His side. The body of Jesus is taken by Nicodemus, as Scriptures tell, and a Roman seal is put upon His tomb and under the watch of Roman guards.
When rumours surface of a resurrection, Clavius is sent to take care of the situation and find His body and settle the matter before Caesar arrives in Jerusalem.
When the ‘body of Jesus’ cannot be found the investigation begins but things do not work out as both Pilate and Clavius had planned. What follows is a Biblically respectful film and one that, on the whole, is consistent with what the Gospels record.
Joseph Fiennes, who plays Clavius is a great actor of modern times. His portrayal of Martin Luther in the 2003 film “Luther” was excellent and fresh. Likewise, his portrayal of Clavius was also well played.
In my opinion, “Risen” is a good film, Biblically consistent and respectful. The film had a positive and distinct absence of mere entertainment based dramatics and over acting, and seemed to deliver a film based upon dialogue and confronting personalities within the narrative of the greatest story ever told. Clavius is human, the disciples are fun. Pilate is concerned and Mary Magdalene is “free”.
For me, I felt the overall direction of the film was not heavy, the sets were excellent and the costumes fitting. The soundtrack was appropriate and occasionally the script contained a sense of the type of things New Testament people might have said in everyday life.
In my opinion, “Risen” remained respectful to Scripture and the centrality of the resurrection story. It was careful to not over interpret the narrative. I enjoyed watching the whole film. I wasn’t overly impressed by some of the accents or the portrayal of Jesus, but I suspect the film makers chose to present Jesus in a more ‘regular’ sense than many other films, however, he maintained a distinct middle Eastern appeal.
I think all Christians and none Christians should go and see “Risen” and for believers, I would like to say this; please don’t be put off by the recent past releases of “Noah” and “Exodus: Gods and Kings”. Forget about them, “Risen” is not in the same league. And although “Risen” may not be one of the greatest Biblical movies ever made, it is still ten thousand times better than “Noah” movie and “Exodus: Gods and Kings” combined. And the sooner Hollywood learns from this and realizes that the Bible contains the greatest stories and narratives ever written, the sooner Hollywood can stop wasting its time producing mock Biblical films and the more Christians can cease from wasting their money on going to see them.
December 2014 saw the release of the latest rendition in the string of so-called Biblical movies. “Exodus: Gods and Kings” is director Ridley Scott’s ‘fictional retelling’ of the autobiographical historical and Biblical story of Moses and the Exodus.
The film industry’s re-telling of Biblical stories is nothing new. After all, the Bible contains the greatest narratives ever written so its no surprise when Hollywood and so forth use the stories to make a lot of money out of them. Every major cult and industry in the world has used the Bible to further their own agenda’s and no surprises, the Holy Bible is the greatest book ever written. So it comes as no surprise to me when I see secularists using the Bible to fire darts at faith.
So what then of Exodus: Gods and Kings? Well, I have a few thoughts on it, much of which echo’s what I have said a number of times.
I went to see Exodus: Gods and Kings with a fellow Christian and sadly, the film was as I expected it to be: ‘it was good… but not that good. It could have been magnificent‘.
As an actual film, Exodus: Gods and Kings was well made. Ridley Scott’s direction was mature and accomplished. The sets were magnificent. The audio and visuals superb. And so it should be, these people have been making movies for years. Likewise, the acting was excellent. Moses was played by Christian Bale, and although I do not think he portrayed Moses accurately toward the Biblical or Talmudic texts, I thought gave an excellent and dominating performance for what it was. Joel Edgerton played a brilliant characterization of Ramesses 11 and again an excellent performance. However, despite Exodus: Gods and Kings being somewhat of an accomplished film, it was like secularisation and new atheism: full of gaps.
I would like to point out that within the context of historical accuracy and Biblical and Theological insight, I thought the film positively slumped because of the script and its rejection of the grand Biblical text. The film portrayed God inconsistently according to the Bible, and even the Talmud and reason, and it insulted and attacked the foundations of Judaism and Christianity in a subtle yet obvious way.
Exodus: Gods and Kings presents a secularisation of the Bible!
I went to see this film in 3D at a screening almost devoid of people and watched the film intently. Unfortunately I left the theatre with a feeling that I hadn’t really seen anything purposeful. In other words I left the theatre wondering ‘what was all that about’? They missed a lot of the best bits out. But I guess that will happen when the Bible is in the hands of the secularists. They clearly have a problem with the Bible.
For the first half of the film, much of it worked. But there were problems right from the start, first of which was the inclusion of the Battle of Kadesh in one of the opening scenes.
These are a few of the problems.
The Battle of Kadesh occurred 1274 BC. In the film Moses was in the battle and saved Ramesses life. The problem is, Biblically and Historically it is doubtful that Moses was even there. The reason I say this is Battle of Kadesh took place under Ramasees 11, who could not have been the Pharaoh of the Exodus. Ramesses 11 reigned in the 19th Dynasty (1279-1213 BC) Moses lived either 1391-1271 BC, or according to Ussher Chronology Moses was born 1571 BC.
Thus, the Pharaoh of the Exodus was likely to have been Thutmoses 111 or Amenophis 11, certainly not Ramesses 11.
Sadly, as the film progressed it became clear that a covert Hollywood sewer was continuing to pump out its ‘Anti-Christian’ or anti-Judaic propaganda. They quite literally reversed almost everything. Continuing on in a long line of obvious messages like those found in ‘Lego movie’ and ‘Noah’, the script of Exodus: Gods and Kings presented new atheist mind seeds from an anti-religious lobby.
In fact, Christian Bale at a recent BAFTA Q & A claimed that ‘Moses and Ramesses’ were, at the start of the film “essentially, two atheists”. A claim which cannot be verified by any reliable historical source. Neither the Bible, Josephus or any Jewish historical narrative makes any such claim.
I am reminded of the words of the Psalmist: “Why do the heathen rage, and the people imagine a vain thing?The kings of the earth set themselves, and the rulers take counsel together, against the Lord, and against his anointed, saying, Let us break their bands asunder, and cast away their cords from us.” Psalm 2: 1-3
Like Noah and Lego Movie, each of these films have one thing in common: they all present their rendition of “the Creator” or “the man upstairs” or “God” as the bad guy. I think Exodus: Gods and Kings travels the same path. It presents God like a child who wants all his own way and unless he gets it, he will inflict pain upon people. This is not a correct character assessment of the God of the Bible. The God of the Bible punished people according to the law, not His emotions. The God of the Bible pleaded and pleads with people to repent, like He did with the Pharaoh who through Moses said “Let My people go” (Exodus 9: 1)
But in Exodus: Gods and Kings, Moses is the one who makes the demands and not while holding a staff, but placing a sword to Ramesses’ throat. Moses is transformed from a Prophet into one who does not believe in prophecy and, as I repeat, according to Christian Bale in the recent interview, was an atheist? In this film Moses was not a humble man, as is historically claimed, but rather one who refuses to be humbled. In Exodus: Gods and Kings the secularists have transformed Moses from what he was into a shadow of their own selves. Moses the atheist? A claim that is not supported in any historical account from either the Bible, the Talmud, Josephus or any other historical narrative.
In Exodus: Gods and Kings, God does not necessarily appear to have instigated the plagues, he merely knows they are coming and uses them to his own advantage. That is, if the film is even claiming that God actually exists? After all, apart from one fragment of a scene, where Moses is shouting at this god and yet he does not appear until Moses is walking away, I would doubt that God is portrayed at all in this film?
Like the Noah movie, with the inclusion of Methuselah drinking tea and serving it to Noah, the god-child in Exodus: Gods and Kings was likewise serving tea from an Arabic teapot to Moses. Very odd! What point are they both making there? Could it be communicating that Moses was at Sinai in Arabia? The problem is that we have no evidence of tea drinking in those areas and the ancient Egyptians drank water, beer, milk and wine. But Tea? Tea originated in China. What’s all that about?
The scene which began the tea drinking curio, was the scene that changed the feeling and meaning of the film. Moses can be seen following three lost sheep up onto Mount Sinai and falls victim to a landslide and gets a bump upon the head, knocking him unconscious. He regains consciousness and sees a boy standing near him. The boy does not look unlike a Tibetan monk. Moses by that time is fully immersed, only his face visible, in some form of a swamp and the boy will not help him out. Moses learns that this boy claims to be God in some way and the script includes a brief “I am”. The scene cuts and Moses has a damaged leg and is seen with his wife who tells him the experience was the result of his wounds. Moses apparently received a bump upon the head and saw God? Funny enough, he receives another bump on the head when he is swimming out of the closing of the red sea. Even stranger, Moses’ wife sounds like an atheist attempting to convince him it was a delusion and asks him what kind of God would take him away from his family.
Somehow, I am not that convinced the child in the film was a depiction of God. The kid could be a mere portrayal of a delusion or just some kid from another Country? Or someone who happened to know a Tsunami was taking place 500 miles away and just used Moses to play kids games? I don’t know, but whatever it was, those scenes are weird.
Throughout the movie the Biblical narrative was replaced with a lesser script and the obvious historical changes. The film stank of a secular and atheist attempt to re-interpret the Biblical narrative. Outside of the Miriam scene and the scenes where Moses was with his wife, there was no language or terms which made impact. The outstanding Mosaic plea of “Let my people go” was not present in this version. There was no “I am the God of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob”. Aaron was was not present with Moses and they replaced Moses’ staff with a sword. They even reworked and twisted Moses killing the Egyptian and almost ignored Joshua altogether.
It is also worth noting that in this film, Moses calves out the Ten Commandments on the tablets of stone.
The film is little more than a secular attempt to play about with the Bible and plant mind seeds into a whole generation of movie goers. But somehow, I think in our heart of hearts, we know this movie is not historically or Biblically true. Its just a movie and maybe little more than that.
Although I am not criticizing Ridley Scott as a director or the actors abilities, I am pointing out these issues purely from a historical, Biblical and Theological context. I don’t think the film mocks the Bible, and it seems to have degrees of respect, but it certainly is not a faithful rendition. Altogether, outside of the fantastic settings, clothing and look of the film, it was probably one of the most UN-Biblical, Biblical films ever made. Which is a shame. It could have been magnificent. If only they would have let go of the new atheist bigotry and embraced more of the Greater narrative.
So here we stand, at the gate of the secular palace and we speak once again for those in captivity and slavery to a secularisation of the West “Let my people go”.
On Thursday 7th June at 9pm the BBC broadcast a new documentary on William Tyndale. This documentary was written and presented by Melvyn Bragg.
I was in Scotland that day and I was unsure if I was going to be able to catch the film. I am glad I did.
But such is not always the case.
These days when it comes to Christianised documentaries by the BBC, I often roll my eyes or become irritated by the constant errors and prejudice the documentaries manifest. So often the BBC presents far fetched and somewhat speculative scholarship and narrow minded claims against Christian Truths and Truth in general. But such was not the case with “The Most Dangerous man in Tudor England”. In fact, in my view this was better than ten years worth of BBC documentaries and BBC films rolled into one.
I enjoy researching the life and works of Tyndale and after a number of years research into his New Testament with many actual original prints of the Tyndale New Testament and his writings at Chethams Library and John Rylands Library, I can say Melvyn Bragg presented an honest, none-prejudice telling of the life of England’s greatest Biblical Scholar.
What I would say is that if any viewers or my readers are unaware of the life and teachings of William Tyndale and of his translation, then look him up, research him from his actual writings and of course his translation.
And to the BBC, please, in the spirit of accuracy, lets have a little less prejudice and more Truth.
May the God of William Tyndale, the Salvation of our Lord Jesus Christ and the fellowship of the Holy Spirit be with Melvyn Bragg and with you all. Amen
Tyndales New Testament. 1534 edition (modern spelling by David Daniell)
Works of William Tyndale. 2 Volumes
The Obedience of a Christian man by William Tyndale
William Tyndale. A Biography by David Daniell
Also you can find my William Tyndale Facebook @ https://www.facebook.com/pages/The-Life-and-Teachings-of-William-Tyndale/192363984132613
It seems that every week, more or less, the BBC attempt to brainwash us Brits with more fairy tales about ‘Macro-Eveolution’ in the on going quest to corrupt the foundations of true Christianity in her fundamental reading of the Bible and make all religions equal in error and in truth?
As is said: If Britain does it first, the rest of the world might follow?
The latest quest by the BBC is entitled “Archaeology: A secret history” in which Dr Richard Miles offers us a version of history and archaeology which as it is said, began to prove Biblical truth starting in the 4th century AD with the founder of archaeology, Helena, the 1st Christian Archaeologist. The history soon moves forwards and the quest to prove the Bible got archaeologists into dangerous waters?
Permit me to say as one who has studied these matters, knows the Biblical narrative in its original languages and visited some lands of the Bible, that when the Archeology of the Bible lands is handled correctly, there is no contradition whatsoever between Archaeology and the Biblical narrative. That is unless the evindence is in the hands of the BBC or Israel Finkelstein, Bart Erhman or some other polemic or church conspiracy theorist.
It never ceases to amaze me of how prejudice and narrow minded documentaries can progress, as they work their angled agendas against something by opening rather fairly and then move rather swiftly on to debunking their opponent with a mere majority system of thought. Facts have little to do with it. Opinion more like. Majority opinion.
It so-often starts with creation does it not? With Genesis and so forth. Suddenly the archaeology slips on its own vomit and then dumps on its own dinner by confusing ‘Archaeology’ with ‘Geology’. Which are not the same thing. Similar though they are.
It seems that the misleading title “Archaeology” has now stepped onto new territory and entered into the geological field. A geological field which is often stated as a fact, but is in reality little more than a philosophy. Thats right, a philosophy. An idea. A theory. Not modern at all, but an 18th century philosophy called ‘Uniformitarianism’. In other worlds, an assumption which is believed to have started with James Huttton (1726-1797) and made popular by Darwins apostle, Charles Lyell (1797-1875). Lyells publication “Principles of Geology” (1830) was read by Darwin and thus, the rest is history.
Suddenly the Bible, ancient history, Judaism and so-forth are now proven wrong because a philosophical theory takes centre stage? For Darwinians, Creationism (their enemy) has been the support act while ‘Uniformitarianism’ is the headliner, though under a deceptive new name.
For those who are still in evolutionary ignorance and do not know, permit me to mention what Uniformitarianism is. Uniformitrianism is a philosophical concept which evolutionary science uses to claim that what the earth is doing now it has always done. That is merely an idea, a philosophy, not a fact.
The idea of Uniformitrianism is that the earth was shaped by a series of sudden and violent events is an idea which is not the only conclusion to the evidences we see before us. But it is the more common notion which people tend to follow because ‘Science’ says so. The rest of the world must bow the knee because ‘Science’ says it is a fact. The earth is billions of years old? Those who think otherwise are either uneducated or bias due to religious persuasion and fundamentalism. Wishful thinking.
It seems to me that the only facts which present themselves with documentaries such as “Archaeology: A secret history” and those commonly broadcast by the BCC these days is that they are prejudice towards the Bible and Biblical archaeology are basically uniformitarian in their concepts and believe that the present is the key to the past. How so?
It is for this very reason why the BBC have in the past laid the foundation-stone in this anti-Biblical quest by attacking the historical claims of a worldwide flood. A flood not only written about in Genesis and compiled in the Bible, but written about in Africa, Babylon, China, India, Australia, America, North America, South America and even Greece. These historical accounts cannot be ignored, neither are they going to go away. And the catastrophic consequences of the flood would mean that the present cannot be the key to the past, since the earth’s crust would have changed when the flood resided.
But clearly Dr Richard Miles has concluded otherwise and we sheeple must bow the knee to what the scholars say, because scholarship is always right, right?
Clearly by his employment of ‘Neanderthal’ in his documentary thesis, Dr Miles has concluded that Genus Homo (Neanderthal) is evidence of a common ancestor rather than a common designer. That an ancient and incomplete set of bones which have been reconstructed accordingly is evidence for macro-eveolution?
I think not. If ‘Neanderthal’ is evidence for macro-evolution then I am Jack Benny reborn.
But what does it matter what I think, I’m just some deluded religious nut case with an over literal reading and knowledge of history. I clearly have some issues with the way the world is these days. But if believing that history is history and that there was indeed an ancient flood makes me a fundamentalist nut case, then I am indeed content to be a fundamentalist nutter. But I’ll be damned before I believe in some fairy tale theories about some ancient extinct creatures being our common ancestors. And I would rather lick the dirt than believe the present is the key to understanding the past.
Thus, when history is what we know and have in writing by ancient eye witnesses, with evidence to back them up, are we really going to deny written history and vast amounts of geological evidences because of Charles Lyell’s 19th century agenda to ‘Free science from Moses?’. Are we really going to take the word of orthodox evolutionary scientists without thinking for ourselves?
I don’t know about you folks but I have never believed in fairy tales and I am not into scientific totalitarianism. Neither am I willing to put my trust in evolutionary scientists who present theories as fact, and philosophies as geology when I know they are not speaking the truth.