Monday, January 01, 2007

"The Nativity Story"

"The Nativity Story" had an $8 million opening a month ago and has so far grossed around $37 million, according to today's LA Times. New Line Cinema spent about $65 million making and marketing the film. They figure they'll make their money back on video.

DIH and the family went to see "TNS" today. Spouse enjoyed it. Daughter seemed to like it just fine. DIH was bored out of her skull. And not just because she knew the ending, either.

I've been trying to put my finger on why I found TNS so deadly dull. A big part of it, certainly, was the depiction of the Virgin Mary. The young actress portaying her- Keisha Castle- Hughes, of "Whale Rider"- seemed to have only two or three facial expressions: gentle happiness, gentle fear, and gentle confusion- and two tones of voice, one a gentle (of course) monotone and the other a brief cry of fear. She seemed bored, to tell you the truth. Well, at least DIH had company.

Does director Catherine Hardwicke really believe that the Mother of the Redeemer could be such a wet blanket? The girl in my kid's Christmas pageant had more personality. And she didn't even get to say any lines.

Mary's parents, Anna and Joachim were a couple of tedious worry-warts. Mary seemed to find them pretty tiresome, too, given the few words she said to them, which of course were delivered in a gentle monotone. "I have broken no law, Father" was about as intense as it got.

And I have to say that was the weirdest Angel Gabriel I've ever seen. He looked more like the angel Moroni and sounded like my hairdresser, without the verve.

The producers say it's unfair to compare "TNS" to "The Passion of the Christ." But why? The challenge of a movie like this is to show us a different way of seeing the familiar, to give us something new to think about in a story we've known all our lives. TPOTC managed to do that. TNS did not.

I could go on, but I hate to pick on these guys. It was a brave attempt to get a real Christmas movie out there these days. But preaching to the choir has never interested DIH, and that's what this movie was. And a pretty dull-witted choir, at that.

1 comment:

Irish Church Lady :) said...

I enjoyed it! I liked it for things that I disliked in "The Passion of the Christ." Don't get me wrong, I 'enjoyed' that movie, but it was personally draining. The Nativity Story was filled with hope, and gave me the feeling that there's a bigger picture to be cognisant of.