By contrast Peter C's not drawing any conclusions, although he is concerned (along with me) about the shot of Mary and Joseph struggling in a river. In a separate post to the one above, Jeffrey Overstreet makes some humorous predictions about how Nativity will be received. Whilst it's already clear that this film will not be as controversial as The Passion (media anticipation is decidedly muted at the moment compared to things two months before Gibson's film arrived), I think he is probably pretty much on the money. The reaction might be less hysterical, but it will certainly be yet another arena where the debate about Christianity and Hollywood gets kicked around once more. I do disagree with one of Jeff's predictions though:
Whatever most religious press outlets publish, it'll be worth seeing for the performances rather than the script, and because it's a good story that would be hard to screw up. But as far as filmmaking, it's the acting that will stand out.The main reason I disagree is that I think that this film, like The Passion will be very strong visually as well. That wasn't enough to make The Passion great, and it won't save a hokey script or bad acting, but I think there is enough in this trailer to see that there will, at the very least, be something worth watching it for (and I still dare to hope a great deal more besides).
One final thought on the trailer is that Ciarin Hinds's Herod looks like a dead ringer for Frank Thring's Herod in King of Kings.
The second piece of "Nativity News" is that there is also a third featurette on the official website. Whereas the first was primarily focussing on writer Mike Rich, whilst the second was largely about director Catherine Hardwicke, this one is a number of the crew discussing the production design. So it includes Wyck Godfrey (Producer), Stephano Ortolani (Production Design), Marty Bowen (Producer), as well as Catherine Hardwicke. Again, it's hardly groundbreaking stuff, but it is enough to show us (again) that the production values are high, but that, almost in contradiction to that, it will reflect Jesus's peasant roots. This, again, is encouraging. Far too many Jesus films make Jesus and his family seem like a nice middle class Anglo-American nuclear family. Whilst I don't suppose for a minute that this one will manage to portray Jesus's family with bad teeth, dirt under the fingernails, or grimy malnourished faces, it seems to be far closer than many other films in this regard.
Whilst the marketing team for The Nativity seems to have learnt from the excellence of the publicity department of The Passion (who you have to admit got results even if you don't like the fact that they did, or the way they did it), I suspect they have their own ideas as well. It seems fair to assume that these featurettes will find their way onto the eventual DVD release (next Christmas?). And talking about marketing leads me to my final pieces of news...
Queen Spoo has news of a 250-page paperback novelisation of Nativity which will be released shortly. It's written by Nativity screenwriter Mike Rich and Angela Hunt. Additionally, a DVD documentary called "The True Story of the Nativity", will be released on the 17 October 2006. Spoo has posted the blurb for the documentary so I won't duplicate it here.