This animated feature-length life of Jesus boasts a stellar pedigree. Originally a BBC: Wales production, it showcases the voices of some of Britain's finest actors in any medium: Ralph Fiennes as a brooding and humble Jes... more »us, Miranda Richardson as Mary Magdalene, Richard E. Grant as John the Baptist, and David Thewlis as Judas. The lovely, flute-heavy score is by Oscar winner Anne Dudley (The Full Monty). And clearly a lot of expense has gone into the Claymation-like animation. But while it's hard to find fault with the rendering of this familiar story--it's respectful and definitely done, you might say, by the Book--it would have been nice if there had been a tad more joy, if it walked a bit lighter in its sandals. As it is, all the characters seem consistently subdued, whether they're expressing angst, rage, terror, or bliss--none of which is helped by the figures' blank-eyed stares (if animators are becoming ever more sophisticated, why can't they get rid of those creepy Charlie McCarthy gazes once and for all?). Still, the weight of having such formidable actors play these familiar roles lends the production a certain credibility, and parents looking for good religious videos that won't insult their kids' intelligence will be thrilled. --Anne Hurley« less
"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!! :-)"
Miracle Maker is Wonderful!
Richard Burley | Austin, TX USA | 07/05/2000
(5 out of 5 stars)
"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!"
Brilliant miracle maker
Dr. S. Raftery | St Helens, England | 04/06/2000
(5 out of 5 stars)
"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."
www.DavidLRattigan.com | United Kingdom | 08/06/2004
(4 out of 5 stars)
"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."
Wonderful depection of the life of Jesus
Mark E. Summers | Altoona, PA USA | 02/01/2001
(5 out of 5 stars)
"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."