The Beginning of the End is Luke's version of the Christmas story told in claymation. The obvious point of comparison here is The Miracle Maker especially as this film is very accessible for children. But whereas the Christmas scenes from The Miracle Maker feature both the shepherds and the wise men, here only the shepherds appear.
The other difference from The Miracle Maker is that The Beginning of the End is wordless apart from the (original) songs which narrates the story as it unfolds on the screen. The song is a little uneven but has a strong chorus which brings the film nicely to an uplifting and memorable climax.
The animation is clearly claymation proper (as in the modelling done with modelling clay rather than puppets), and whilst Nick Park and co. make it look effortless, it's surely one of the trickiest of all media to work in. Given that The Beginning of the End was made by a 13 year old, and 11 year old and their dad it's an impressive achievement.
As you might expect, some parts work better than others, but the interaction between Mary and Joseph conveys a real tenderness, which must have been difficult to pull off. It also give us angels that not only sing of their good news, but who dance as well. This is something of a new angle, largely unexplored in film so far. It gives us heaven's viewpoint on the events on earth - this isn't just heavenly messengers fulfilling their duty, but real joy in what is unfolding before them.
The film is available to buy on DVD, with proceeds going to the Barnabas Fund. To get a copy contact Peter Mackie through his website.
Labels: Nativity - Mary Joseph