on March 29, 2002
I wish I could give this film 10 stars! Watching it for the first time on television last year, I was very moved, and I feel it is the best film about Jesus that has ever been done. The use of 3-D and 2-D animation was very creative. The 2-D animation was used for flashbacks or when Jesus was telling stories (such as the parables) which gave a realness to the 3-D characters. Also, the 3-D characters were less distracting than live actors which put more emphasis on the story and its message.
Based on the book of Luke, it is Biblically accurate. The only error I could see, and very minor, was when during the Parable of the Good Samaritan and one of the people who walked was said to be Sadducee. I suppose the writer thought that would more interesting. Of course one always wishes they could have every scene, but realistically the film producers could not include everything and were restricted to 90 min. I do wish they had been able to include Jesus calming the storm, but I am happy at what the writer COULD include like the Road to Emmaus (not included in any other film I've ever seen). I understand that the writer is a Christian, which shows, by the emphasis on the Resurrection and mention of the Holy Spirit(at Christ's baptism and Accension). The writer did use parts from the other Gospels as well to complement Luke.
The story is masterfully done and I like how the characters are developed, especially Mary Magdalene and Tamar (they gave her a name), the Leader of the Synogogue's 12 year old daughter who was raised from the dead. It was neat how they followed the story from a child's eye view and the character of Tamar was a thread that helped bring the story together. Another theme that was throughout the story which I really liked, was the idea of Jesus being the Doorway into Life.
The DVD has some neat features including a documentary about how the film was made. They show the little dolls, models, that were made by Russian animators. I think many of us would like to have the Jesus one! I also liked how the menu has Christian symbols on it, and the cursor that you use to select special features is in the shape of a cross. Very creative.
I think this film has had a very significant spiritual impact on many people and it was definitely inspired! The soundtrack is also fantastic (very moving) and really adds to the movie. Lastly, the best thing about this film is that it makes you want to go read the Bible!! :-)
on July 5, 2000
I too saw this fantastic animated film on Easter, 2000 on television. And, I was spell bound! I was really moved by an animated movie! It was amazing how historically and Biblically accurate it was. I have come to expect some degree of "artistic license" in any film about Jesus (especially these days). But Miracle Maker kept such license to a minimum! I was also astounded that an animated movie could capture the feel of Israel at the time of Jesus so very well. The costuming of the characters, the appearance of the buildings, even down to the way the Jews typically ate! Finally, in this film Jesus looks Jewish! I found out from the film's website that the makers of this film actually did a vast amount of research for this film (on archaeology etc.) as well as consulted several Christian theologians to be Biblically accurate. The animation to is wonderful and is very intersting the way it shifts between "claymation" and 2D cartoon looking stuff. Very interesting. What is best of all though is the producers managed to catch a wonderful view of Jesus Himself. They really honored Him and the Gospel accounts (and for that I am really grateful!). In this film Jesus is compassionate, approachable, powerful, confident, laughs, cries, etc. In other words, He is shown as both human and God! How amazing! How truly amazing! Please see this wonderful film!
on April 6, 2000
Miracle Maker is not the same as Franco Zeffirelli's monumental epic on the same story, but it is a lovely movie. The characters are well defined and the voices (with Ralph Fiennes as Jesus) are excellent. The story is told from the point of view of Jairus' daughter, and there are many flashbacks and sub-narratives. All the essential items are there: Jesus' life and miracles, his claims about himself, and his resurrection. Very highly recommended.
on April 23, 2000
In an age of shallow and lifeless kids entertainment...especially on biblical topics (witness the recent NBC "Noah" debacle...), this movie is fresh and energetic. I sense a real passion here for the subject matter....though that's not often in style these days. Largely faithful to (and certainly respectful of...) the biblical text, it embellishes well to "flesh out" the story and help clarify what's happening. for audiences unfamiliar with the story. Unlike a previous reviewer, I found no lack of joy where it seemed appropriate. The claymation technique serves so well to draw kids into what can be complex subject matter...and, just as importantly, helps keep older siblings and parents entertained as well. The music and soundtrack have plenty of punch, and the voice characterizations are very good. Ralph Fiennes and William Hurt are the two recognizable voices to my ears, but all the voice actors brought respect and heart to their roles. Oddly enough, the use of 2-D cartoon animation for dream sequences, parables and such help to give an even more "life-like" texture to the claymation...very tasty stuff. As far as great entertainment based around biblical themes, this was my most pleasant surprise since "Prince of Egypt". Very accessible. Terrific quality. I highly recommend it!
on April 23, 2000
I just watched this on ABC, and it is great! It is amazingly true to the Bible. The only things I noticed different from the Biblical account was that they gave Jairus' daughter a more central role--which is a creative idea--and when Jesus is telling about the mansions in Heaven ("In my Father's house are many mansions..."), he is talking to Jairus' daughter rather than His disciples. I like the way they explain things, such as the parts they add to the Parable of the Good Samaritan telling why a priest wouldn't want to touch an injured man and why the idea of a Samaritan helping a Jew sounded so strange. They also emphasize Barabbas just enough to explain that he lead a rebellion, and they show Judas' motivation for betraying Jesus (i.e., Jesus wasn't bringing the military revolt against the Romans that Judas was expecting).
The claymation is excellent, and the regular animation is an interesting effect. I've never seen both formats used in one movie. It's quite creative.
on July 23, 2005
I must say that I thoroughly enjoyed this film. I saw a portion of it at a friends house and I knew I had to buy the film, for myself and also for my posterity. This film is great for adults as well as children. When I was first told that it had been done in animation, I thought to myself "Here we go, another cheesy rendition". I am a believer in Christ but I generally don't like films about his life because they don't seem accurate to me. I previously gave the nod to The Passion of the Christ, but now I must say that this film was the most accurate both techincally and spiritually. It is hard to separate the two in this review, so I will try to inter-mingle.
I was very impressed by the attention to detail and the desire for true authenticity. As a student of the Bible, I was able to see it really come alive. You can tell that this film was thoroughly researched before they actually did any physical work. Watching the "making of" documentary confirmed that thought. I must say that despite the complexity, using the clay/animation methods allowed them to be more true the scriptures historically, than could be achieved by using "real" people.
The topography and the characters are very "real" as long as you don't mind a little chopiness. Again, the attention to detail was great. The way the baptismal (immersion) performed by John was accurate historically (John led the people to water but they had to immerse themselves). The costume of the High Priest was the most flawless that I have seen. The character of the loveable and zealous Simon Peter brings out his brashness perfectly.
Even the physical character of Jesus (Yeshua) himself was the quite accurate. Watching the included documentary allowed me to see that the filmmakers sought to be authentic without causing an uproar. Understanding that Jesus was born among ancient Hebrews, they realized that he looked much more "Middle Eastern" than most paintings and pictures that we see of him and so they tried to portray it as best they could. The one dispute that I have with all of them is that, regardless of the ethnic features, Jesus was not charismatic and charming, nor was he very handsome. I once saw a re-creation of biblical events on the Discovery channel that I think portrayed it best - it was an unassuming "ancient Hebrew looking" man. Isaiah 53:2 delcared that he would have "no form, nor comeliness....he would have no beauty that we should desire him". That was God's plan because he didn't want people drawn to those things at all, but to the purity of the words that he was to speak and the demonstration of power - not talents and/or charm!
I must say though - they did not "scimp" when it comes to Jesus words. This was also done very accurately - the power and truth of his words spoken by a clay character - still was able to make tears come to my eyes! There was no attempt to "dumb down" the message!! It was made clear that God offers forgiveness for sin only through His Son.
Again the portrayal of the environment, physically and emotionally was great. Jesus (Yeshua) was a Hebrew and lived with them. The portrayal of the political and spiritual turmoil going on at that time in history was accurate. They conveyed the tension with the Romans wonderfully. The relationships of the different towns and cities (one character declared "life is hard in the city and the country") all help the Bible to come alive to really understand what was going on during that time period. Even to see Judas and his friends arguing over the Messiah that he should be a great warrior, not understanding the he would have to die in order to save the people from sin!
I could go on but I will close by saying this is the best movie about the Bible I have seen. I hoped they could have done more - but that would have taken too long and been too expensive.
on February 1, 2001
This was one of the best depictions I have ever seen of the life of Jesus, and amazingly, it was done all in 3d animation, using molded puppets, and in hand drawn animation. I never would have thought that the story could have been told so well using this format, but this movie was truly well told.
Unlike a lot of the other stories told about Jesus, this one was mainly told through the eyes of Tamar, the daughter of Jairus. Tamar was the little girl who had died, but Jesus had said that she was only sleeping, and that he would awaken her. That was the extent that we had heard about her in the bible, but this story tells a lot of what happens from her perspective, and though unusual, it did a very good job.
Also, one of the things rarely seen in other movies on Jesus, we got to see more of his human side in this movie. Jesus was after all, both a man, and God, so it was nice to see him portrayed that way, to see him laughing, taking joy in life, and not above taking time to enjoy life.
It was interesting to see how flashbacks, some miracles, and the parables that Jesus told were done using animation, to give a different style to the movie. They were also done in a somewhat humorous style, and were easy to understand, so that we could see how the parables reflect our own lives. The story never got too preachy, and instead, just showed us the way that God wants us to live our lifes without hammering away at the point.
Ralph Fiennes did a good job as the voice of Jesus, as did everyone else, adding to the overall production value of the movie. His inflections, especially as he told the parables, was right on, lending value to the stories themselves. You could feel that he was speaking right to the people, showing them the right path, and trying to help them follow it. I was simply amazed, particularly since the movie only runs for about an hour and a half. Some things are skipped over in this production, some of the other parables Jesus taught such as the man with two sons, and there's no mention of the feeding of the multitudes either, but with the time constraints, certain things had to be cut out. What we are left with though is more than adequate, and leaves you with a warm feeling long after the movie has ended. I highly recommend this movie to anyone.
on August 6, 2004
I am a Christian, a former pastor and a would-be New Testament scholar, and yet I must confess that Jesus movies don't excite me a great deal. I loved The Miracle Maker, however.
Ralph Fiennes gives an endearing and original portrayal of Jesus in what strikes me as a fairly original retelling of the gospel story. I enjoyed the creativity of the writing; for example, when Jesus tells Mary, "I can still mend doors... but I'm building something new, now." The animators bring first-century Palestine to life with great vibrancy, and the diversity of accents in the cast (American, English, Scottish) really helps to give the setting a cosmopolitan feel.
The only lowlights for me were the traditional animation/cartoon sequences, which didn't quite work, and were of inferior quality to the clay-animation. Despite that, however, The Miracle Maker is a wonderful film which, at a healthy 90 minutes, I would recommend to children and adults alike.
on November 15, 2009
I cannot recommend this movie due to its blasphemous depiction of Jesus at the Last Supper.
Watch the Last Supper scene again and pay careful attention to how they depict Jesus ordering Judas to go and do what he HAS to do. He does this several times to a seemingly reluctant Judas.
Jesus to Judas: "Judas, go and do what you have to do".
Judas' reply, "Master?"
Jesus to Judas: "While you have the chance."
Judas looks down at the table.
Jesus to Judas: "Go on, go and do it."
Judas still looking down at the table.
Jesus to Judas: "Go and do it quickly"
Judas appears overpowered and stammers trying to get out of it "Master, I . . " and then slowly and sadly leaves (apparently obeying) as if he has just been ordered to do something he would rather not do and betray his God.
Why has nobody else had a problem with this scene.
This is a terrible reinterpretation of the Gospel of John's 'Satan entered into him <Judas>. Jesus said to him, "What you are going to do, do quickly."'
It is what Judas had already decided and resolved to do indicated by Satan entering him, not what he HAD to do or what Jesus repeatedly ordered him to do as if he had no choice in his actions.
In the Miracle Maker movie, it is like Jesus is doing the tempting in place of Satan and ordering Judas to sin when it appears Judas would rather not do this or has not yet made up his mind and is only being obedient.
God does not want men to sin and perish. Luke's and John's gospels indicate Satan entering into Judas when the decision has already made. That is before Jesus indicates to Judas that his cover is blown and that he should leave in John's Gospel.
The Last Supper is a crucial scene and the Miracle Maker film makers have twisted this badly. This portrayal would be disturbing in any movie, much less one that would indoctrinate kids with their first impressions of Jesus. I cannot recommend this movie which otherwise had promise.
I am throwing my Miracle Maker DVD out with the next load of trash.
on September 29, 2000
Now that is a pretty strong statement for me to make. After all I am a huge Christian Bale fan and I loved his performance as Jesus in "Mary, mother of Jesus"...but how can I compare "Mary..." with the superb "The Miracle Maker" and I dont mean the story of Helen Keller. I remember hearing about the Miracle Maker and just rolling my eyes. "Great," I was thinking. "A boring claymation story of Jesus' life. Why cant they leave well enough alone?" When Easter came, I had completely forgotten about "The Miracle Maker" being on tv. My mom was flipping through the tv channels and she called me over to see this "crazy" thing on tv. Well it was the "Miracle maker", I was enticed from the first glance. I caught it at the time Jesus was getting baptized by John and wow, I was impressed. This isnt like all the other claymation stories. There is a high level of technology put in to make the claymation Jesus...real. It is like a cross between an animated cartoon Jesus and the real life human being Jesus. It is a big trip. The actors do a fine magnificent job at their roles. If you had to pick only one Jesus movie, this would be it!