The Nativity Story — an audio commentary


Since the first DVD version of The Nativity Story has no bonus features to speak of, and since we will have to wait several months for the two-disc version, I got together with one of my priests a few nights ago to record an audio commentary of our own.

You can download all 96.4 megabytes of it by right-clicking here.

I have wanted to record a commentary for a long, long time, and I am still working out some of the kinks; call this the Beta stage.

For one thing, the mp3 and the DVD probably won’t stay in sync, so you may have to pause one or the other every now and then to sync them up again; I am toying with the possibility of dubbing in a ping! sound every 10 or 15 minutes, to help you re-align the mp3 with the timer on your DVD player, but I haven’t decided yet what to do here, or even whether I should do anything here.

Also, in an ideal world, Fr. Justin and I would have had separate microphones so that we could mix our voices together on an even level; but as it is, we had just a single digital recorder, and I think my voice comes through a little more clearly than Fr. Justin’s.

I almost always enjoy conversational audio commentaries more than commentaries where a person talks all by himself, and I think this commentary is a lot better than it would have been if it had been just me yakking. That said, it was a challenge to hold on to some trains of thought, as Fr. Justin and I picked up on different aspects of the movie simultaneously, and especially as we tried to keep up with the movie; there are quite a few points where Fr. Justin and I comment on a scene that has already passed, because during the scene we were busy talking about something else!

Anyway, I hope it’s a fun listen. We certainly had fun recording it, and I’d love to do another one, soon — but for which movie?

About Peter T. Chattaway

Peter T. Chattaway was the regular film critic for BC Christian News from 1992 to 2011. In addition to his film column, which won multiple awards from the Evangelical Press Association, the Canadian Church Press and the Fellowship of Christian Newspapers, his news and opinion pieces have appeared in such publications as Books & Culture, Christianity Today, Bible Review and the Vancouver Sun. He also contributed essays to the books Re-Viewing The Passion: Mel Gibson’s Film and Its Critics (Palgrave Macmillan, 2004) and Scandalizing Jesus?: Kazantzakis’s The Last Temptation of Christ Fifty Years on (Continuum, 2005).

  • http://www.blogger.com/profile/11884647995104136193 matushkadonna

    What a great idea!

    You & Fr. Justin should guest on some Orthodox radio shows. There’s CRTL, and there’s Dn. Gregory Kopchuk’s show out of Alberta….

    Why don’t you get together with John Granger for the next Harry Potter film? (though admittedly John has I think pretty mixed feelings about the movies)

  • http://www.blogger.com/profile/07395937367596387523 Peter T Chattaway

    Harry Potter, eh? Yeah, that could be pretty interesting! And mixed feelings would be perfect, I think — few commentaries are more boring than the ones that simply say “Isn’t this cool!” all the way through. (Which, alas, is how a lot of commentaries sound, because they were recorded when the film was brand new and all the filmmakers were still in publicity mode, or promotional mode.)

  • http://www.blogger.com/profile/17492591447246532970 jasdye

    sounds like a great idea. i’ve yet to see the Nativity, but if i do, i may use your audio piece.

    i really think that you and Overwstreet should do audio commentary on TMNT when it releases.

    that would totally rock!

  • http://www.blogger.com/profile/11889644509382119024 Sheila West

    Hey, Peter, I just got done listening. Thanks so much! I appreciated a lot you and Father Justin had to say. I am a former Roman catholic myself, so I have a little insight into where you guys are coming from here.

    A few highlights from your (and his) comments:

    - the convenient hole in the roof of the cave that’s supposed to be a shelter

    - the deserted and near-personless area where Joseph and Mary were trying to find a resting place as she went into labor

    - the comic relief role assigned to the three wise men

    - the subtlety of the performance in Mary’s role

    - the depth of Joseph’s role

    - the idea that the whole world could see the star all at once

    One observation you made about Mary that I disagree with: she returned to Nazareth pregnant enough to where she was showing, and you guys were both saying “How can she be showing at just three months?” But I got the impression she stuck around with Elizabeth beyond the birth of John the Baptist for at least another month or two. So she returned at four or five months and that would be plenty. (Unless there’s an aspect of th church calendar or of the film’s timeline I’m missing.)

    I had to listen to your commentary without the film, so I listened and visualized the film from memory. I think I successfully recalled most of it with your help, but a few spots I was lost on (but that’s my problem for not getting the film).

    Please do this again, especially with a priest. You guys were very funny, very educational, very film-savy, and made for a good listen.


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