Hollywood is doing it again. They are trying to make films based on the Bible. They almost always mess up the biblical stories they do. Very rarely do they even come close. They seem to think they can improve on the truth of the Word of God, and all they ever do is mess up the movie.
People who aren’t Christians see that the movie is about the Bible and they don’t want to see it. People who are Christians see that the movie is about the Bible and they get mad because the director felt his version of events was better than what really happened. As a result, the movie bombs, and the critics say our society doesn’t like biblical stories. Most of us Christians have learned to watch these movies with a huge bucket of salt (popcorn optional), since we know the director, writers, producers, etc are probably not evangelical Christians.
The other problem with making movies based on the Bible is that different believers have different views of exactly what happened in a given passage. I’m not talking about the big picture here, I’m talking about little details. Take “Prince of Egypt” for an example. It does a good job telling the general story of Moses and the Exodus, but it gets many details wrong. Here are a few examples:
- Moses was 80 years old during the Exodus. He didn’t look 80, and his brother and sister who were older than him didn’t look their correct ages either.
- Moses was not raised by Pharaoh’s wife as Pharaoh’s son as the movie implies, but by Pharaoh’s daughter.
- The Bible says Aaron spoke before Pharaoh, not Moses, and yet we never hear the man speak in Pharaoh’s presence.
- Not enough? Click here for a list of 35 biblical inaccuracies in this movie.
But that’s just one movie you say? Do a quick search for “biblical errors” and the title of whatever biblical movie you think is error free. I’ve only ever found one that even came close to biblical accuracy (defined as not straying from the account given in the Bible), and that was the movie “Jesus” which was released in 1979. That movie sticks very closely to the biblical account of the life of Christ as told in the gospel of Luke. I watched this movie as a teenager with my Bible open, checking it for accuracy, and I only found one place where the movie had Jesus saying or doing something that was not in the Bible: He touched a little child’s hair and said, “Hello.” The Bible never records Christ doing this, but it isn’t against His character. If you want to watch this movie, you can do so for free at jesusfilm.org.
And so now there are at least four movies coming out that are based on the Bible:
- “Noah” starring Russell Crowe, directed by Aronofsky who also directed “Black Swan.”
- “Left Behind” (remake) starring Nicolas Cage. I foresee “National Treasure: The Mystery of the Missing People”
- “Gods and Kings” is a retelling of the story of Moses by Steven Spielberg. Because what we need is another movie about Moses. Oh, and Spielberg says he is going to give Moses the “Braveheart” treatment. Joy.
- Warner Brothers has stated they are in the beginning stages of making a movie about Pontus Pilate (a man of whom the world knows very little other than that he was a Roman prefect and that he presided over the trial of Jesus Christ).
- “The Redemption of Cain” starring Will Smith. It is reported that after he kills Abel, vampires get involved. Shudder.
And people wonder why I am looking forward to “The Hobbit.” At least if Peter Jackson messes it up, I don’t have to get theologically offended.