News / Arts & Entertainment

    Biblical Epics Flourish in Hollywood

    Religious Films: Not All Created Equali
    X
    Penelope Poulou
    March 19, 2014 12:20 AM
    It's been called "the greatest story ever told," so it's not surprising that for more than a century Hollywood has turned to the Bible for inspiration. The trend of faith-based films remains strong with the movie industry producing 16 such films this year alone. Many of them may be forgotten just weeks after their release, while others could become huge blockbusters. So what makes religion-inspired movies successful? VOA's Penelope Poulou has more.
    Religious Films: Not All Created Equal
    Penelope Poulou
    It's been called the greatest story ever told, so it's not surprising Hollywood has turned to the Bible for inspiration for almost a century.

    The trend toward these kinds of films remains strong; the movie industry expects to produce 16 faith-based movies this year alone. Many of them may be forgotten just weeks after their release, while others have the potential to become blockbusters.

    So what makes religion-inspired movies successful?

    Son of God, about the life of Jesus, opened recently and is doing very well at the box office. Churches around the country are renting movie theaters for their members to watch the film.
     
    American University Philosophy professor Martyn Oliver says films that offer a popular depiction of Jesus target Christian audiences.
     
    "There is not a singular or particular vision on the part of the filmmakers," Oliver said. "That is, they are giving you what you already think you know."
     
    The financial risk for the filmmakers was lessened because the Christian market was tested in 2004 with The Passion of the Christ. Mel Gibson's controversial movie grossed more than $1 billion dollars worldwide.
     
    "He had an aggressive marketing campaign in Protestant and, particularly, large evangelical churches prior to the release of The Passion of the Christ,” Oliver said.
     
    Gibson also had artistic vision. His violent and polarizing portrayal of the passion of Jesus mesmerized people the world over, Oliver said. Son of God is not on par with Gibson's film and its targeted audiences could thin out soon.
     
    Unlike Son of God, a redemptive, friendly story about Jesus, Darren Aronofsky's Noah is a heavy, apocalyptic story about the end of the world.

    "Aronofsky's decision to focus on the wrath of God, and that's a God we maybe don't want to think about," Oliver said. "He's an unfriendly God, and in that sense his [Aronofsky's] reading of the Noah text is not a Christian Noah."
     
    Aronofsky's Noah is more faithful to the Genesis story accepted by Jews, Christians and Muslims alike. But the film may not become a hit. It received a lukewarm reception in Mexico from a mostly Catholic audience that found it too dark and not reverential enough to Noah's character.

    Many Muslims also oppose the film, because Islam prohibits visual depictions of its prophets.
     
    However, Noah might resonate with viewers who relate to its environmental message, "to protect nature or perish by it." The fact that the film has impressive special effects does not hurt either.
     
    Even for the best religious films, success remains elusive, according to Oliver.
     
    But if a film has artistic vision, a powerful message and a captivating story, watching it can be a feast for the eyes and soul.

    You May Like

    Former US Envoys Urge Obama to Delay Troop Cuts in Afghanistan

    Keeping troop levels up during conflict with both Taliban and Islamic State is necessary to support Kabul government, they say

    First Lady to Visit Africa to Promote Girls' Education

    Michele Obama will be joined by daughters and actresses Meryl Streep and Freida Pinto

    Video NYSE Analyst: Brexit Will Continue to Place Pressure on Markets

    Despite orderly pricing and execution strategy at the New York Stock Exchange, analyst explains added pressure on world financial markets is likely

    This forum has been closed.
    Comment Sorting
    Comments
         
    by: alfredo ibarra barajas from: mexico
    March 26, 2014 5:38 PM
    This movie of Noah is not what I was expecting to be, I thought it would be like The Ten Commandments of Charlton Heston, where the versión was not an iconoclast, as this movie of Noah is. I have Heard here in my country commentaries in the negative, that the movie is not close to the Genesis that we were taught in primary. Maybe for that reason the pope Francis declined an invitation to watch it.. This Noah does not come across as the one I read in my youth. That one was more likable. And I never saw pictures of those Stone creatures. Defintevely not.

    Featured Videos

    Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
    Brexit Vote Plunges Global Markets Into Uncharted Territoryi
    X
    June 24, 2016 9:38 PM
    British voters plunged global markets into unknown territory after they voted Thursday to leave the European Union. The results of the Brexit vote, the term coined to describe the referendum, caught many off guard. Analysts say the resulting volatility could last for weeks, perhaps longer. Mil Arcega reports.
    Video

    Video Brexit Vote Plunges Global Markets Into Uncharted Territory

    British voters plunged global markets into unknown territory after they voted Thursday to leave the European Union. The results of the Brexit vote, the term coined to describe the referendum, caught many off guard. Analysts say the resulting volatility could last for weeks, perhaps longer. Mil Arcega reports.
    Video

    Video Orlando Shooting Changes Debate on Gun Control

    It’s been nearly two weeks since the largest mass shooting ever in the United States. Despite public calls for tighter gun control laws, Congress is at an impasse. Democratic lawmakers resorted to a 1960s civil rights tactic to portray their frustration. VOA’s Carolyn Presutti explains how the Orlando, Florida shooting is changing the debate.
    Video

    Video Tunisian Fishing Town Searches for Jobs, Local Development Solutions

    As the European Union tries to come to grips with its migrant crisis, some newcomers are leaving voluntarily. But those returning to their home countries face an uncertain future.  Five years after Tunisia's revolution, the tiny North African country is struggling with unrest, soaring unemployment and plummeting growth. From the southern Tunisian fishing town of Zarzis, Lisa Bryant takes a look for VOA at a search for local solutions.
    Video

    Video 'American Troops' in Russia Despite Tensions

    Historic battle re-enactment is a niche hobby with a fair number of adherents in Russia where past military victories are played-up by the Kremlin as a show of national strength. But, one group of World War II re-enactors in Moscow has the rare distinction of choosing to play western ally troops. VOA's Daniel Schearf explains.
    Video

    Video Experts: Very Few Killed in US Gun Violence Are Victims of Mass Shootings

    The deadly shooting at a Florida nightclub has reignited the debate in the U.S. over gun control. Although Congress doesn't provide government health agencies funds to study gun violence, public health experts say private research has helped them learn some things about the issue. VOA's Carol Pearson reports.
    Video

    Video Trump Unleashes Broadside Against Clinton to Try to Ease GOP Doubts

    Recent public opinion polls show Republican Donald Trump slipping behind Democrat Hillary Clinton in the presidential election matchup for November. Trump trails her both in fundraising and campaign organization, but he's intensifying his attacks on the former secretary of state. VOA National Correspondent Jim Malone reports.
    Video

    Video Muslim American Mayor Calls for Tolerance

    Syrian-born Mohamed Khairullah describes himself as "an American mayor who happens to be Muslim." As the three-term mayor of Prospect Park, New Jersey, he believes his town of 6,000 is an example of how ethnicity and religious beliefs should not determine a community's leadership. Ramon Taylor has this report from Prospect Park.
    Video

    Video Internal Rifts Over Syria Policy Could Be Headache for Next US President

    With the Obama administration showing little outward enthusiasm for adopting a more robust Syria policy, there is a strong likelihood that the internal discontent expressed by State Department employees will roll over to the next administration. VOA State Department correspondent Pam Dockins reports.
    Video

    Video Senegal to Park Colorful ‘Cars Rapide’ Permanently

    Brightly painted cars rapide are a hallmark of Dakar, offering residents a cheap way to get around the capital city since 1976. But the privately owned minibuses are scheduled to be parked for good in late 2018, as Ricci Shryock reports for VOA.
    Video

    Video Florida Gets $1 Million in Emergency Government Funding for Orlando

    The U.S. government has granted $1 million in emergency funding to the state of Florida to cover the costs linked to the June 12 massacre in Orlando. U.S. Attorney General Loretta Lynch announced the grant Tuesday in Orlando, where she met with survivors of the shooting attack that killed 49 people. Zlatica Hoke reports.
    Video

    Video How to Print Impossible Shapes with Metal

    3-D printing with metals is rapidly becoming more advanced. As printers become more affordable, the industry is partnering with universities to refine processes for manufacturing previously impossible things. A new 3-D printing lab aims to bring the new technology closer to everyday use. VOA's George Putic reports.
    Video

    Video Big Somali Community in Minnesota Observes Muslim Religious Feast

    Ramadan is widely observed in the north central US state of Minnesota, which a large Muslim community calls home. VOA Somali service reporter Mohmud Masadde files this report from Minneapolis, the state's biggest city.

    Special Report

    Adrift The Invisible African Diaspora

    New in Music Alley

    Take It From The Top: Stanley Jordani
    || 0:00:00
    ...  
     
    X
    May 17, 2016 5:01 PM
    Jazz fusion artist, Stanley Jordan is known for his touch technique which allows him to play melodies and chords simultaneously. He can also play two different guitars or a guitar and piano at the same time.

    Jazz fusion artist, Stanley Jordan is known for his touch technique which allows him to play melodies and chords simultaneously.  He can also play two different guitars or a guitar and piano at the same time.

     

     

     

     

    Blogs

    African Music Treasures