Tuesday, April 9 2013, 05:32 PM MDT
Blu-ray Review: The Bible - The Epic Miniseries
The Bible: The Epic Miniseries
Rated: Not Rated
Genre: Television, Docudrama
Street Date: April 2, 2013
Available On: DVD and Blu-ray
The Film: 10-hour miniseries from Roma Downey (“Touched By an Angel”) and Mark Burnett (“Survivor,” “The Voice”) that attempts to cover the entirety of the Bible.
The Extras: “The Bible: Genesis,” “The Cast of The Bible,” “The Bible: Creation,” “Scoring The Bible,” “Believing in Miracles,” “The Bible: Visual Effects” Featurettes and “Mary Did You Know?” Music Video.
Recommendation: To try and tackle the entirety of the Bible in a mere 10 hours is an ambitious project. It requires that many stories be drastically trimmed or cut entirely. The task of adapting the Bible is made all the more difficult by the fact that there are multiple versions of the book. For this series the New International Version and the New Revised Standard Version were used. This gives the dialogue a more modern quality than what those used to the King James Version might expect. Also, to fill in the gaps in the story and to offer context to the various happenings there is the almost constant use of Keith David (Ken Burns’ “The War”) as a narrator. The narration helps to smooth out the transitions, but it doesn’t keep the miniseries from feeling rushed and somewhat superficial. And, as many have noted, there are some inaccuracies in the adaptation (including the “Ninja Angels”). These sort of changes are commonplace, but when you’re working from a text that many believe to be the word of God the alterations become far more troublesome.
Visually the miniseries is fairly impressive. Were it not to the occasional instance of mediocre computer generated graphics there wouldn’t be much to complain about. The performances are a bit stiff, but generally better than you might expect from a program with so many cast members. Despite using three different directors the series feels fairly uniform. Hans Zimmer’s score is quite good.
Ultimately I find “The Bible: The Epic Miniseries” to be somewhat underwhelming. It isn’t terrible, but it fails to capture the epic scope of the book as a whole. Forgiving viewers will still find much to enjoy. For the cynics I can only say that I don’t see it as being a work of blasphemy, even if it takes some unnecessary liberties with the text. I do find it rather odd that the filmmakers have also published a novelization of the series, particularly since they claim their main hope was that people would be inspired to read the Bible.
-Ryan Michael Painter