Son of God — the trailer is now online

It is not uncommon for TV shows made in one country to get theatrical releases in another; think of how some of Ingmar Bergman’s films, such as Scenes from a Marriage (1973) and its sequel Saraband (2003), were produced for Swedish television and released in American theatres, or of how Steven Spielberg’s classic TV-movie Duel (1971) got a theatrical release in Europe.

And it is not uncommon for popular TV shows to have big-screen follow-ups, from the Star Trek and X-Files movies to High School Musical 3 (2008).

But when was the last time a North American TV show got repackaged for North American theatres? Outside of festival screenings and similar one-shot presentations, when was the last time a studio asked people who had already seen a show on TV to pay for the privilege of seeing it all over again on the big screen?

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The Garden of Eden gets cameos in Noah and Son of God

I attended a preview screening of Son of God last week, and while it’s far too early to post a review of that film (it doesn’t open theatrically until February 28), producer Mark Burnett and the others who spoke at the screening were certainly keen to drum up interest in the film and its impending release; they asked everyone there to spread the word via social media, etc. So consider this blog post my small contribution.

One detail I did find interesting is the fact that the film begins with a montage that ties the story of Jesus to the stories in the Old Testament (using footage from the OT episodes of The Bible, of course). That means that this film begins, in part, with Adam and Eve eating the forbidden fruit in the Garden of Eden, just as Darren Aronofsky’s Noah will apparently do.

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The first officially released footage from Noah is here!

We live in an age when studios don’t just release teasers and trailers for their movies, they also release sneak previews of the teasers and trailers themselves. And so it came to pass that, today, the Entertainment Tonight website released an 18-second clip from the trailer for Darren Aronofsky’s Noah, the full version of which will apparently premiere on the show tomorrow.

The puzzling thing is, the website might have un-released the preview, too. Their search engine says it should be viewable here, but every time I try to go to that URL, I get redirected to their home page and there is a “page not found” message in the new URL.

However, the embed code that various other sites are using still seems to work, so you can watch the preview for yourself below the jump (warning: you may or may not first have to watch an ad that may or may not be longer than the preview itself).

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Abraham and the Three Visitors: five filmed interpretations

Fred Clark posted an item last night in which he expressed surprise that the story of Abraham and the three visitors in Genesis 18 is a lot stranger than he had thought. For one thing, Abraham and the visitors eat a meal that mixes meat and dairy, and would therefore be regarded as non-kosher by many of Abraham’s descendants. But, more crucially, Clark notes that one of the three visitors — who are often called “angels” — seems to be God himself. A walking, talking, eating God.

Personally, I’m surprised that Clark is surprised by that last bit, partly because it has always seemed clear to me that one of the three visitors is God himself. It’s certainly implicit in the text itself — not least because, after God finishes “standing” with Abraham and discussing the fate of Sodom with him, only two of the three visitors arrive in Sodom itself. Presumably God himself was the third visitor.

But beyond the text itself, nearly every single dramatized version of this story that I have seen has suggested that there was something different about one of the three visitors. So I had always assumed that that was a standard interpretation of the text, if not the standard interpretation of the text.

Here is how five different films and TV shows have dealt with this story.

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The latest attempt to film all four gospels word-for-word

Every now and then, someone embarks on a quixotic quest to film the entire Bible, word for word. In the 1970s, the Genesis Project got as far as filming the books of Genesis and Luke, the latter of which was condensed into the Jesus film that is now distributed by Campus Crusade. More recently, there was the Visual Bible, which produced adaptations of Matthew and Acts in the 1990s and then, after a change of ownership, an adaptation of The Gospel of John in 2003.

Yesterday I came across what seems like a more modest project: an attempt to film all four gospels under the collective title the Lumo Project.

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How do you promote a Bible epic when you’re not religious?

Ridley Scott first revealed that he was making a life-of-Moses movie while promoting Prometheus last year. I’d been hoping that he would spill even more details about the film, now called Exodus, while promoting his latest film, The Counselor, but alas, that film didn’t get much of a promotional push (and it ended up having one of the worst opening weekends of Scott’s career).

A few tidbits about Exodus have trickled out, however. First, Scott told The New York Times: “I’m an atheist, which is actually good, because I’ve got to convince myself the story works.” And then, he told Empire magazine the film will be “fucking huge.”

Suffice it to say, this is not how Bible epics have generally been promoted in the past.

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