The Nativity Story (PG)
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Well, I don't usually much go in for religious stuff like this. I mean, I have my beliefs, and all, but it's not what I'd call entertainment. Still... I don't want to say you won't find this movie boring, but I didn't, for the most part. Surprisingly enough. It kind of made me feel a little bit closer to my faith than I normally do, which I think is worth noting. Even if the feeling doesn't last much past the end of the movie. Anyway, I think the movie tells the familiar old story reasonably well. It can be amusing at times, though some of the embellishments seemed a bit out of place to me. But generally it was all very subtle. Mostly I just noted what was different about the past, but also how similar people were, no matter time nor place. But it also makes me wonder how accurate it is; after all, it is mostly in English. Other things could be inaccurate, too, like just the way people thought and acted. In spite of some differences from modern times. Meh, I dunno, I'm confusing myself here. I just need to say that my perspective of the film frequently had two opposing viewpoints which somehow didn't seem entirely... paradoxical. Or whatever.
Well, I need to actually talk about the plot. I'm not too worried about spoilers, since I assume most of you will already be familiar with the basics of the story. Well, there are a few different settings, with different characters. The main character, of course, is Mary. She is forced to marry Joseph, but she's not happy about that at first. Also, she is visited by an angel, who tells her she'll conceive the child of God, who will be the Messiah who was prophesied long ago, who everyone's been waiting for. Of course, this presents the problem that no one's going to believe the truth when she starts showing. This may well include her own family. See, it's the custom for two people not to consummate their marriage until a year after they marry.
So, fearing what Joseph and her family and everyone else in Nazareth will think (and the strong possibility of her being stoned to death), she goes to visit her cousin Elizabeth, who the angel told her had conceived a child, despite her old age (you know, old for the time; to my modern eyes she didn't look too old). Oh yes, earlier in the movie Elizabeth's husband Zechariah had been told Elizabeth would conceive, which he thought impossible at first, thus he was struck mute for his doubting. But anyway, Elizabeth and Zechariah were certainly in a position to believe Mary's story when she showed up to stay with them. But after their son John was born, Mary returned home to her family. And of course, she was showing by then, which was the first Joseph and her parents had heard of any of this, so... drama! But Joseph accepts her story, uncertainly at first, but later the angel appears in a dream, then he's convinced.
Well. Another part of the story involves King Herod of Judea, who is constantly concerned about threats to his rule (even from his own son, as he had a wife and a couple other sons previously betray him). And currently he's mostly concerned about the old prophecy of a Messiah, a king of kings and all that. Anyway, eventually Caesar decrees everyone in the Roman Empire (including Judea) has to return to the place of their ancestors for a census, which means Joseph has to go to Bethlehem, along with Mary. And that's a pretty long trip, but we don't see much of it. Meanwhile, Herod will be watching for anyone returning to Bethlehem, as that's where he's expecting to find the new king who could end his rule.
Yet another part of the story involves three wise men, Melchior, Balthasar, and Gaspar, who I guess are astronomers. There are like these three heavenly objects, um... I think it was Venus, Jupiter, and I forget what the other was. Meh, I'm probably wrong about everything, but whatever, they said this alignment hadn't happened for um, it was 3,000 or maybe 4,000 years. Anyway, it all was a sign that the prophecy about the Messiah was about to come true, so they went on a long trip to find the baby. One of them wanted to go, the other two didn't at first, but they all did. And eventually they got to Jerusalem, ate with Herod, who wanted information about the prophecy. Said he wanted them to tell him when they found the Messiah, so he could worship him too. They ultimately didn't fall for that, but they did let slip that they were looking for a young child, not a man as Herod had assumed, which led to a terrible tragedy in the end. But even so, Jesus, Mary, and Joseph escaped.
Getting ahead of myself. But then again there's not much else to say. On the way to Bethlehem, Joseph and Mary met a shepherd, who the angel later appeared to when Jesus was born. Oh yes, you probably know there were no rooms so Mary and Joseph had to stay in a manger. And a star shone down on them. And then the shepherd showed up, and then the wise men, who had gifts of gold, frankincense, and myrrh. And that's about it. Later the angel warned Mary and Joseph to head to Egypt until the coast was clear. The end.
Yep, that's about it for plot. I probably didn't relate it very well. Anyway, not a bad story for something that happened 2000 years ago, even without much in the way of special effects. I think religion back then was definitely more entertaining to the general populace since they didn't have TV or anything. And um, everything looked pretty simple to me, a kind of life I wouldn't want to lead, but then again it didn't look that bad or that different from today, aside from, as noted, lack of television, plus the occasional raid from tax collectors who could take your land and your daughter if you couldn't pay your debts.... Anyway... I feel like there's more I should say, but I can't think what right now. Um... it was boring, but in a good way. And amusing, but in a subtle way. And moving in probably a few ways. And um... it was all kind of like Star Wars, yeah, that's the ticket....