Warning - this one is gonna be long so grab a drink and a snack.
I honestly cannot remember the last time I went to the theatre to watch a movie. I think it has probably been about 8 years or more! I used to love to go to the movies. When I was a kid my girlfriend Colinda and I would go to the movies early on Saturday and stay all day. In the old days you didn't have to get there at the beginning of the movie and you didn't have to leave at the end. In fact usually it was a double-feature. For you young ones out there, this was when you paid one price and they played 2 different movies back to back. We would pack some snacks in our purses, buy a soda and some popcorn and settle in for whole day of movie watching.
I loved getting lost in the story and all the darkness of the theatre. I loved the ability to not be distracted as I soaked up every nuance of the story, this is unless I had a noisy "neighbor" (I have been known to change seats more than once to get a quiet neighbor). In the 90's I had a great movie buddy, Michelle, she and I went to the movies together almost every week. And I have gone to the movies all alone and enjoyed that just as much. As I said before I like to get lost in my movies and I don't want to talk while I watch them. But something happened along the way. I lost my movie buddy Michelle and my Girls and Gary and I have totally different tastes in movies. The tickets got so expensive and the sound systems got too loud (am I showing my age here?). And honestly most the movies in the past several years have just not interested me. I am just not into comic book characters. I really dislike vampires and zombies and I am just too plain old for cartoons (yes I am a bad Grandma and I don't take my grandkids to all of the Disney and Pixar movies that come out). So these days most of my movie watching is done on DVD - oldies but goodies and the occasional Red Box rental.
I am feeling like 2014 might be the year that gets me back into the theatre! It seems Hollywood has some new Super Heroes lined up this year, and from what I read, next year too. With the success of last year's "The Bible" miniseries, Hollywood's big movie studios are taking a chance on some non-fictional super heroes, Noah, Moses, Jesus, Mary and others. I Have highlighted some of the upcoming movies below for you.
This Month (Feb 28th), 20th Century Fox is releasing "Son of God" about the life of Jesus. 20th Century Fox has teamed up with "The Bible" creators, Mark Burnett & Roma Downey for this one. You can watch the trailer here
Just 8 days later on March 8th Paramount releases "Noah". I hope this one will deserve it's $150 million budget! I can't wait to see Russell Crowe as Noah and Anthony Hopkins (one of my favs) as Methuselah. So far it seems to have gotten a lot of good press about its production quality, but I did read an article by Hollywood insider Brian Godawa that said "If you were expecting a Biblically faithful retelling of the story of the greatest mariner in history and a tale of redemption and obedience to God you'll be sorely disappointed,". But his comments were based on his review of a draft of the script before production started. So I will hold out great hopes that it will be good. Here's the trailer for Noah
Then on March 21st we have another Faith based movie coming our way, "God isn't Dead". Although not by one of the "big" studios, it does have some "big" actors like Kevin Sorbo, Dean Cain and even an appearance from some of the Duck Dynasty folks. I told you all about this movie awhile back and I am still excited to see it. You can watch the trailer here
In April, Sony Pictures is releasing the movie version of the NY Times best-selling book "Heaven is for real" by Todd Burpo. It is the true story of a four year old boy that has a near death experience and sees heaven. It stars Greg Kinnear. You can watch the trailer here
So far it looks like I will have to budget movie tickets into my budget for at least 3 months in a row!
In December, 20th Century Fox is giving us another one! This time it is the story of Moses in "Exodus". Ridley Scott is directing this one and Christian Bale will star as Moses. I wonder how it will compare to the 1956 movie "The Ten Commandments"? There is no theatrical trailer as of yet but you can watch a music video from the movie here
December is a busy month with yet another movie. Lionsgate Films is giving us "Mary, Mother of Christ". Perfect timing, releasing it at Christmas time. The cast includes the late Peter O'Toole, Ben Kingsley and Julia Ormond. And apparently Joel Osteen is given an executive-producer credit, hopefully this means good news about this film. There is no trailer for Mary either but they do have the beginnings of a website started here
So that is what 2014 is looking like in the theatres, but it appears that there are even more of these Biblical super hero movies on the horizon. Warner Bros is working on a script called "Of God and Kings" which is another Moses story. Will Smith is said to be working on a story about Cain and Able while there is buzz about Brad Pitt playing Pontius Pilate in yet another movie.
So what do you think is causing Hollywood to get all Biblical on us? The last real big budget, faith based movie we had was Mel Gibson's "Passion of the Christ" in 2004. I watched that one on DVD and had to look away most of the time. Before that we had Martin Scorsese's "The Last Temptation of Christ" in 1988. Although I would NOT call that one a faith based movie - it was so far off from what the Bible teaches it was offensive to most Christians. Maybe Hollywood is making a nostalgic return to its glory days. Days when movies like The Ten Commandments, Ben Hur (both with Charlton Heston) and The Robe proudly played in the theatre and actually won Academy Awards and earned money!
It's no secret that the industry is stuck in a bit of a rut. The demand for blockbusters is bigger than ever, but there are only so many comic book characters and stories, and you can't reboot the Spider-Man franchise or churn out Iron Man sequels forever. The Bible, meanwhile, has chapter after chapter and verse after verse (pun intended) of action-packed material—Moses, David, Job, Joseph, Abraham, Jesus, and so on. Plus it has a "fan base" that's even larger and more avid than Marvel Comics'. And unlike movies based on superheroes, or the latest literary sensation such as Fifty Shades of Grey and Harry Potter, the studios will not have to pay millions of dollars in copyright and licensing fees. The stories in the Bible are free to use.
But here are the questions of the day. . .
Will the filmmakers respect the source material or use it to push standard Hollywood themes?
And will we actually head to the local theatre and spend our money to watch these movies?
I'd really love to know what you think? Leave me a comment and tell me are there any of these movies that you would spend your money to see?
Till we meet again. . .