Is it “epic” just because it’s biblical?

Is it “epic” just because it’s biblical? September 3, 2007

It’s a slow news day here at FilmChat, so for those who follow Bible movies as obsessively as I do — if not more so — here is an update on Promenade Pictures and its plans for a series of CG-animated Bible epics, beginning with The Ten Commandments.

If you go to Promenade’s official website and click on “Films”, the first thing that comes up is six paintings under the heading “Epic Stories of the Bible”, each of which is labelled like so:

  1. The Ten Commandments
  2. Noah’s Ark: The New Beninning (sic)
  3. David & Goliath
  4. Samson & Delilah
  5. The Battle Of Jericho
  6. Genesis

The first thing that occurs to me on seeing this list is that, with the exception of The Ten Commandments — which will reportedly include not just the Exodus but the 40 years of wandering that followed it — none of these stories is particularly “epic”.

“Genesis” might sound big, but the synopsis says it will concern the story of Adam and Eve — and apparently nothing else.

Every cinematic version of the “Noah’s Ark” story that I have ever seen is a short film or a mere segment of a larger film — with, I think, the single exception of that 1999 mini-series, which puffed the story up with a lot of nonsense, or with bits cribbed from other parts of the Bible that have nothing to do with Noah’s Ark.

“The Battle of Jericho” may be “epic” in scale, given that it concerns the conquering of a rather large city — but it is really just one episode in the considerably larger conquest of Canaan by Joshua.

And the lives of Samson and David might be “epic”, if they were depicted in their entirety — but the episodes involving Delilah and Goliath actually make up a small portion of their life stories.

If all of these films are supposed to be feature-length, then most of them will need to be padded out quite a bit — unlike The Ten Commandments, where we have so much data on the life of Moses that any movie about him has to leave some things out.

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