The Bible Collection: Abraham, Jacob and Joseph

2016-05-22-abrahamjacobjosephAfter the surprisingly well-made Genesis, I eagerly looked forward to the subsequent parts of this long Bible Collection series.

The next one — Abraham — is the best of the three I’m taking a look at now, and this is mostly due to the good performances, casting and narrative structure of everything. The editing and music is well done also, and helps show the emotion behind the characters’ actions. Abraham is also the most-touching of the three films, and comes the closest to giving a glimpse into actual life/struggles these people faced.

The second film, Jacob, suffers from less-than-ideal casting, questionable editing and some odd acting throughout. The well-known actors seem out of place, and the things they do seem…presented very oddly (like Jacob immediately kissing Rachel upon meeting her and his other proclaiming-of-faith moments that seem more forced enthusiasm/poor acting by the actor than anything else). It’s not a bad film, but clearly a weak entry.

Thankfully, the third film in this set of reviews ends on a high-note, with the story of Joseph and his brothers being done surprisingly well, just like Abraham and Genesis before it. The actors are well cast and seem genuine, and seem to put the source material ahead of their acting desires. In fact, Ben Kingsley does a wonderful job as Potiphar, without overshadowing the equally well-spoken actor playing Joseph or the message the movie is trying to present. Some sets felt a bit small and the segments about Joseph interpreting Pharaoh’s dreams (and then being put in charge) had some pacing issues…but overall the film works (and was actually touching).

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The Bible Collection: Genesis

2016-05-12-thebiblecollectiongenesisRecently re-released in HD, The Bible Collection is a collection of films from the 90s made by TNT, based on various stories from the Bible. I’m always craving Biblical content, and you can pick up all of these in HD from Google Play for approximately $50. The very first one is, of course, based on Genesis, and I had no idea what to expect going into this series.

First off, I have to say that this is one of the most beautifully shot and presented Biblical films I’ve ever seen. The soundtrack is amazing as well, and really helps transport you to a foreign, ancient land far removed from what we know nowadays.

The next thing I should mention is that this is NOT a traditional book of Genesis movie where they hit every single plot point/verse and cover it in detail and explain everything that is going on. If anything, I would say it’s aimed at Christians first and foremost, who know the source material, and simply want to see a big-budget approach to it. That being understood, I’m just amazed at how awesome it was to see such a simplistic and basic approach to the everyday life of people at the dawn of humanity.

For example, the movie slows down for quite a few minutes to show just how harsh the world of Cain’s is when he’s attempting to do something as simple as plant some of the first crops of the world. It’s dead-on in its portrayal of “trial and error” by showing him crudely digging a hole with his hands, a stick and then discovering a rock breaks up the ground even more easily. When the scene shifts to him living in a cave and basically making very little progress and then seeing him get angry over wild pigs ruining his crops, you feel for the people back then.

Another awesome sequence is when Noah and his family keep seeing new human royalty traveling by (increasing in scope and splendor each time), in love with themselves, only for us viewers to see the heathen people come and go over time.

Lastly, the casting and lack of spoken language adds a huge amount of authenticity to the entire production.

This is a very good film (despite some stuff that is obviously inaccurate, such as the ark’s size), and definitely worth watching.

The Action Bible

2016-05-02-actionbibleThis is kind of crazy to admit, but as I close in on my mid-thirties, The Action Bible is actually the FIRST time I have ever been exposed to the Bible fully, at least in a major story-by-story sense, in my entire life. In fact, I’d say it’s very sad it’s taken me this long!

What I find absolutely incredible about the Action Bible though is how it makes the stories of the Bible presentable in a fashion that can be easily understood by just about anyone, young or old, guy or girl.

The artwork is above average throughout the entire 600+ page book, with visuals that summarize large amounts of text in a more streamlined, efficient manner. The imagery also helps people comprehend the world, people and things of the time very well while the overall messages and stories are conveyed.

Now, obviously this Bible is aimed at younger people (teens) and is not a direct translation, but rather a “summarizing” of Bible content. Many important and critical messages, characters and events aren’t present at all, particularly during the New Testament — simply because either that info would be too lengthy / difficult to present visually, would slow down the pacing of this book a lot or just wouldn’t fit the overall tone (making an approachable, easy to read Bible).

I would say The Action Bible is perfect for people who want an initial, visual, understandable version of the Bible that they can wrap their head around…and then after readers complete it, they can move on a standard, true, complete translation of The Bible to get the full messages and meanings God intended. And as they read subsequent Bibles, they can use this one as a visual reference.

I love this version and was extremely grateful to be able to read it.