As a whole, the series is animated using a whole range of different techniques, most of which are very expressionist, few of which sit simply as just “cartoons” (see posts on Jonah, Ruth). Elijah is no exception. Eschewing attempts to create life-like illustrations of these characters the animation is again highly stylised. Elijah looking like Atlas, Ahab wide and squat, Jezebel tall and decorated. This is not animation just for kids.
Another unusual feature of this film is the soundtrack. Most 30 minute cartoons maybe have a silly song or two to break up the story. Elijah, on the other hand, realises the epic nature of it’s material, and enhances the towering images on the screen with operatic music performed by the BBC National Orchestra of Wales and the BBC National Chorus of Wales. Elijah’s solos are performed by Bryn Terfel (as opposed to David Schofield who voices his speech).
The film depicts nearly all of the biblical material concerning Elijah as can be seen by looking at the following scene guide.
Intro to Ahab - (1 Kings 16:29-34)The only episode missing from the film then is Elijah’s meeting with Obadiah in 1 Kings 18:3-15, although Elijah getting his servant to climb the mountain in search of a rain cloud is also excluded. The screenplay does also subtly add some useful pieces of historical information such as the fact that Baal was god of the rain, or that the widow of Zarephath hailed from the same place as Jezebel herself. It also illustrates the slaying of the prophets of God, which is only referred to in the text (1 Kings 18:4), but acts to provide a good context for the stories that follow.
Death of the prophets - (1 Kings 18:4)
Elijah predicts drought - (1 Kings 17:1)
Elijah and the Ravens - (1 Kings 17:2-6)
Elijah and Widow of Zarephath - (1 Kings 17:7-24)
Elijah and Prophets of Baal - (1 Kings 18:1-2, 16-40)
End of the Drought - (1 Kings 18:45-46)
Elijah on the mountain - (1 Kings 19:1-18)
Elijah calls Elishah - (1 Kings 19:19-21)
God declares Judgement on Ahab - (1 Kings 21:17-21)
Elijah taken to Heaven - (2 Kings 2:1-14)
Another note the film adds is when Elijah calls Elishah from his father’s fields. Elishah’s father tells Elishah he is due a double portion of his inheritance, and this is obvisouly still in Elishah’s mind when shortly afterwards he asks his spiritual father, Elijah, for a double portion of his blessing instead.