Revelation – The Bride, The Beast & Babylon

2016-04-24-revelationI’ve been wanting to watch this for awhile now, after seeing it show up on Google Play for $3.99. It seemed genuinely interesting and I was excited to watch a documentary that covered Revelation. After all, since I am a beginner in Biblical studies, it helps me a lot to read, hear and watch content about the Bible, so I can get a better sense of what’s happening.

I get the impression this is meant to be the first of a series of films that cover things about Revelation because, to my disappointment, this film doesn’t attempt to cover the entire book, but rather just a small part of it. Now, normally that would be fine, but in this case the vast majority of the movie doesn’t focus on future events at all — it simply talks about the Catholic church’s formation for probably 75% of the film.

Now, that isn’t necessarily a bad thing, but I do wish the Catholic angle would have been highlighted in the tagline, so viewers would know what to expect.

Despite that, I do feel like the film did a pretty good job explaining the history of the Catholic church in a broad sense, to cover the major breakaways it had from Christianity over the centuries. Still, a few of the guests speaking and some of what they said just didn’t seem right to me (especially when it talks about the early formation of the church during the time of Constantine), but yet the film moved so quickly viewers could barely register what was said before the topics move on. I’m only mentioning this because I would like to point out that research on your own may be necessary to verify (or solidify) some of the formation details presented.

Overall, I’m not sure the film is worth $3.99 to rent. I would wait until it’s $.99-1.99 or if there are subsequent volumes and you want to see the entire series.

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The Gospel of John (2014)

2016-04-19-gospelofjohnThe Gospel of John (2014) is actually the second film of the same name I’ve ever watched (the 2003 version was one I watched and thoroughly enjoyed years ago) and in many ways, is superior to the fancier, big budget version from over a decade ago.

This version is a true word-for-word representation of the story, so events and dialogue are probably among the most accurate every depicted on screen. The narration across the nearly 3 hours running time allows for the film to easily be translated into a variety of languages, using a variety of Bible translations, and this was clearly the filmmakers’ intent.

I also enjoyed the fact that Jesus finally looked like a Middle Eastern man and not a normal white person from the United States. He also looked rather average/unkempt and spoke in Aramaic…and I think that helped portray Him in a much more accurate, authentic way.

If I had a few complaints about the film, it would be these. For starters, the actor portraying Jesus is clearly in his late 30s/early 40s at the youngest. I don’t know why they didn’t just cast a Jewish actor in his early 30s.

While the film overall is well done and beautiful in many scenes, some scenes (usually those involving Pharisees or mobs) look woefully under-staffed/cast and under-budgeted, which detracts from the immersive nature of the film.

Finally, while the easily-changed narration might be wonderful for the filmmakers to target as many audiences and markets as possible (w/ minor work to do so), the constant narration is not pleasant audibly. When Jesus spoke they should have let Him speak clearly and used subtitles. Same with any other dialogue.

Apparently this is just the first of four films about the Gospels from the same studio, with the remaining three coming at the end of this year. This film is worth a watch if you’re looking for another version of Jesus’s story, but would like a bit more accuracy in certain areas. That said, it’s a long movie, and as a film isn’t as well made as it could have been. The 2003 version is still superior to this.