Newsbites: Nativity! Terminator! Von Trapp!

Newsbites: Nativity! Terminator! Von Trapp! August 29, 2006

Woke up this morning; saw a few news items. Enjoy!

1. Mark Moring, my editor at CT Movies, interviews Mike Rich, the writer behind The Nativity Story. Interestingly, the church Rich attends seems to be broadly evangelical, but the three scholars he names as the biggest influences on his screenplay are all Catholic. And it looks like the film will take a stab at coming up with naturalistic explanations for at least one of the biblical miracles:

One of the fun moments was my research on the star of Bethlehem. If you ask half a dozen experts, you’ll get a half a dozen answers—ranging from a comet to a supernova to a major celestial event. But the one explanation that was so intriguing to me—and it’s the one we incorporated into the film—was the alignment of this star the Babylonians called Sharu [better known today as Regulus] with Jupiter and Venus. The only time that’s happened in 3000 years was in that particular time period. To me, the “wow” moment is the mythological references to all three: Sharu is the Babylonian word for king, while Venus is the mother planet and Jupiter the father planet. Father, Mother and King—that’s really an intriguing combination.

2. Speaking of nativity stories, sort of, I have long said that The Terminator (1984) is one of my favorite Christmas movies. It’s got an annunciation, a promise of apocalyptic victory, a slaughter of the innocents, the works. This is one of several reasons why I don’t care for the sequels all that much; but as much harm as a fourth movie might do to the franchise’s continuity, it couldn’t possibly do more damage than a TV series that takes place between the second and third movies. Yet that is exactly what this morning’s Variety says is in the works. The new show will be called The Sarah Connor Chronicles. No word yet on whether the series will ultimately incorporate the protagonist’s death from leukemia.

3. Reuters reports that four of the descendants of the real-life Von Trapp Family Singers are making the Von Trapp Children Christmas Movie. Reuters mentions that the director and several other behind-the-scenes crew members are veterans of the Star Trek franchise, which kinda fits, since Robert Wise, director of The Sound of Music (1965), went on to direct Star Trek: The Motion Picture (1979), and Christopher Plummer, who played Captain Georg Von Trapp, went on to play an evil Klingon general in Star Trek VI: The Undiscovered Country (1991; my comments).

4. Speaking of Star Trek, remember RiffTrax? They’ve finally posted a commentary for a movie that I happen to own: Star Trek V: The Final Frontier (1989; my comments). Can’t wait to hear it!

5. Statistics Canada reports that “Canadians showed a growing interest in watching movies at the cinema rather than in their living rooms in 2004/2005, according to data for the film distribution and video wholesaling industry. Revenues from distributions to cinemas rose sharply, while revenues from sales of DVDs and videocassettes levelled off after surging since 2000.” The Canadian Press and the Toronto Star follow this story up.

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