Sunday, March 03, 2013

The History Channel Presents Part One of 'The Bible' and Critics Squirm

The History Channel's 'The Bible' Part one

Part one of The Bible  (10-hour) series on The History Channel first aired on March 03, 2013. It is filled with action and drama, covering many events that occurred in The Old Testament.

The Bible Part One Highlights:
One of the biggest action scenes in part one happened at the event of Sodom and Gomorrah, which is found in Genesis 19. In THC's adaptation, the two angels come to Lot's house. Men surround the house, wanting the two angels. Lot escapes as the two angels use weapons to fight the men and causing blood to pour out of their eyes. While this was an artistic freedom, it was an action fight scene worthy of today's movies and television.

Then Abraham takes his son Isaac up on the mountain, and is willing to sacrifice him, when God stops him from killing his son. The next segment goes to a young Moses in Egypt, fighting Ramses in a sword fight, cutting Ramses on the face. Ramses later finds Moses' amulet necklace in the hand of a dead man, building the tension between the two. In the Bible, Moses was not aware that anyone saw him kill the man. In the TV series, a man says to "go" so he could hide the body.

Fast forward and old Moses has an encounter with the burning bush as an old man. Moses says: "With your power, I will set my people free." Then, an older Ramses is seen on the throne of Egypt as the Pharaoh, while Hebrew slaves work as day-laborers. Moses appears on the scene and speaks publicly at the labor camp, inspiring the Hebrews with his words. Aaron steps forward and confirms that Moses is who he says he is.

50 minutes into part one, Moses and Aaron meet Pharaoh Ramses. Ramses asks if Moses looks for forgiveness. Instead of forgiveness, Moses says to let his people go. Ramses is unwilling to yield to an "invisible" god, asserting himself as god.

In the next scene Pharaoh is bathing in the Nile River. The Hebrews spy on the Egyptians as Aaron plunges his staff into the water, turning it blood red on Ramses as he bathes.

"You are not a God, you are just a man, and you will set my people free," Moses says.

More plagues ensue, and Ramses does not give in, as his heart is hardened.

Part one comes to an end with Moses parting the Red Sea.

Critic reviews below:

Dr. Geoff Tunnicliffe wrote this review for the Christian Post:

"Just recently I did a marathon session and watched the entire series in one single day. For someone that has read and taught the Bible for most of his life, I had a remarkable spiritual and emotional experience. The theme of God's love and hope for all humanity is the thread that holds the entire series together. I received a fresh new perspective on many of the famous Bible stories: Looking through the eyes of Sarah as she thinks that her husband, Abraham, has sacrificed their son Isaac; listening to Noah telling the story of Creation to his children on the ark; agonizing with Mary (played by Roma Downey) as she sees her son, Jesus, beaten and crucified. These and so many other stories allow you to connect with the characters on a deep emotional level."

New York Times critic Neil Genzlinger was disappointed with The Bible. He wanted a "make me believe it" challenge, rather than the spirit of the series capturing the essence of the Bible.

Los Angeles Times critic Robert Lloyd said:  "The series is ultimately a work of the imagination; indeed, it could have used a little more." Lloyd continued: "The Bible according to Burnett and Downey is a handsome and generally expensive-looking production, but it is also flat and often tedious, even when it tends to the hysterical, and as hard as the Hans Zimmer soundtrack strains to keep you on the edge of your sofa. The dialogue is pedestrian and functional — sometimes it has the flavor of having been made up on the spot — and often overacted, as if in compensation. It is 'psychological' only in obvious ways, with the poetry of the King James version all but ignored."

Critic Glenn Jarvin from the Miami Herald said: "The Bible, on the other hand, doesn’t amount to much more than a further piece of evidence that drama and reverence don’t mix well. (To be fair, it would be the prohibitive favorite if only there were an Emmy for Screenplay In Which The Sentences ‘God Has Spoken To Me’ and ‘God Will Provide’ Are Said the Most Times.) With the pace of a music video, the characterizations of a comic book and the political-correctness quotient of a Berkeley vegetarian commune — laughably, the destruction of Sodom is depicted without the faintest hint of the sexual peccadillo that takes its name from the city — this production makes Cecil B. DeMille look like a sober theologian. The Bible marks the first attempt at drama by reality-show maven Mark Burnett, whose soul I would consider in serious jeopardy if it hadn’t already been forfeited during the second season of Are You Smarter Than a 5th Grader?"

The Hollywood Reporter's critic, Allison Keene said:  "The Bible never seems to figure out how to present itself. It spends a lot of time in the New Testament (at least, in the Gospels), which is already very well-worn territory on TV and in film.  Sometimes it stays true to scripture, but then does things like adds angels with ninja skills to spice things up. That's one thing the Bible itself really doesn't need -- it's a complex and lyrical work full of prophesies and call-backs and a sense of being one, organic, intertwined story. Unfortunately, The Bible is fractious and overwrought. Others are sure to pick apart the deviations from the sacred text, but that's just the beginning of the miniseries' issues. In the end, this is the most well-known and popular book in the history of humanity for a reason -- it's exciting and interesting and full of hope. The Bible is unfortunately none of these."

Publicly shared comments:
User "Teddybearmiller" commenting on part one of The Bible

Critics' Reviews Source:
The Hollywood Reporter

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