New Biblical films create excitement for old tales

posted in: December 2014, Opinion | 0
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By Jake Baum

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Historically, Hollywood isn’t exactly known for its creativity.  In the past few years, recycling film trends has been its general strategy. Many Disney sequels were announced for every franchise they had and young-adult dystopian movies haven’t stopped coming out. Now another old, quality trend is making its way back on screen: Biblical stories.

Recently, movies like “Noah” released back in March and “Exodus: Gods and Kings,” which premieres Dec. 12, have resurfaced to bring back the Biblical movie trend yet again. While many movies have been produced in the past about these stories, the beauty of Hollywood is that with a new era comes a new way to tell a story — new graphics, new viewpoints, new ways to sensationalize the plot and excite the audience. The trailer for “Exodus: Gods and Kings” shows that the movie seems to follow the life of Moses perfectly — his birth, the prophecy, his power struggle with the  Pharaoh — while at the same time adding some much-needed action along the way.

While many may say that these Bible-oriented movies are offensive because they sensationalize and diverge from the stories originally presented in the Bible, they’re really nothing more than harmless visual representations of their written counterparts.

"Exodus: Gods and Kings," which comes out Friday, Dec. 12, is another movie that will tell the story of Moses. (Photo taken from http://spinoff.comicbookresources.com/2014/07/09/ridley-scotts-exodus-gods-and-kings-debuts-first-trailer/)
“Exodus: Gods and Kings,” which comes out Friday, Dec. 12, is another movie that will tell the story of Moses. (Photo taken from http://spinoff.comicbookresources.com/2014/07/09/ridley-scotts-exodus-gods-and-kings-debuts-first-trailer/)

Hollywood is a place where books come to life, and no book needs more life than the oldest of them all. In the past, movies like“The Prince of Egypt,” “The Ten Commandments,” and even more satirical movies such as “Bruce Almighty” have succeeded in modernizing Biblical stories while still preserving their traditional nature. Even in “Bruce Almighty,” with such a modern storyline, the writers still managed to squeeze some traditional Biblical values such as the responsibilities of God into its message. So why can’t it be done, you ask? Hollywood is asking the same question, and the answer is that there is no answer. It can and will be done again.

While Hollywood is known for its ability to completely butcher a popular book by making a movie from it, the Bible is simply not one of those books. Even though some claim otherwise, the facts remain that these plots have been set in  stone for thousands of years and anyone who tries to change them will receive enormous amounts of backlash.

Obviously, production companies want money rather than bad press, so they produce these movies as close to the original plot as possible. They can add in the action of war, they can add in the drama of a love triangle, and they can add in the suspense that only Biblical stories such as the splitting of the Red Sea can provide, but their creativity is limited by pressure to stay true to the original message.

The fact is, Biblical stories make for excellent modern-day plots. Their exciting, uplifting and inspirational stories have taught the public many important lessons that have shaped their lives. While some people might believe that putting these stories on screen robs them of their moral value, the reality is that the opposite is true. In producing these movies, Hollywood is actually amplifying their messages — expanding their audience to people the Bible could never reach. So what’s wrong with adding a little excitement along the way?

 

Jake is a freshman international business major. He can be reached at jakebaum1@gmail.com.

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