Rating: Two and one-half out of five stars
If you’re a faithful member of the Christian flock, you’ll probably find much to commend in The Bible, History’s five-part, 10-hour “docudrama” adaption of the good book itself, Christianity’s Old and New Testaments.
Executive produced by reality-show stalwart Mark Burnett (Survivor, The Apprentice, et. al.) and actress Roma Downey (of Touched by an Angel fame, who also appears as Mary), the two-years-in-the-making miniseries depicts the good book with a combination of epic live action, CGI animation and narration by Emmy Award winning voiceover artist Keith David.
Though promo materials claim The Bible to depict the full book from Genesis to Revelations, there’s a fair amount of skipping around. The miniseries opens on the deck of Noah’s ship in the midst of the flood, with Noah (who has a Scottish accent) telling his passengers about the stories of Genesis — Adam and Eve and Cain and Abel — in flashback. Those iconic Bible tales are told for but a few minutes in episode one, but Abraham and company’s travels through the desert are expounded upon in near-tedious detail.
Action picks up, however, as the skein flips the pages to Exodus and the story of Moses, who arrives not as a baby in a basket but as a full-grown teenager and rival to Pharoah (the story of his arrival in the royal court is also told in flashback). There’s some nifty CGI at play when the Jews make their escape across the Red Sea.
The look of the film is both epic and realistic, but the dialogue often veers in a weird space between the King James Bible and modern speech, and action sometimes moves at a glacial pace. These shortcomings are probably not strong enough to warn off Bible believers, but the more-secular-minded may find The Bible’s shortcomings a bit much to sit through.
For a review of History's The Vikings, also debuting March 3, see page 9 of the Feb. 25 print edition of Multichannel News.