The length of Channel 4 series meant that it didn't end until early March, just a few weeks before Easter. The Easter period this year was certainly a disappointment. The last few years have seen a number of productions targeting Easter 2010 as a potential release date. Alas none made it through. The one exception was Eric Idle and Co's one-night-only screening of their oratorio Not the Messiah. It had been broadcast on New Year's Day in the UK, and didn't really grab me. It's funny enough in its own way, but most of the humour, for me, lay in remembering how funny the corresponding parts of Life of Brian are. Mark Goodacre disagreed.
One of the promised productions that was not released as originally suggested was the new Ben Hur mini-series. In the end it was only broadcast in Canada, which is funny because when I finally reviewed it, I did kind of like it.
And that was pretty much it until Christmas. While the world was preparing to celebrate Jesus's birth and the magi's journey to discover the new born king, the silver screen was being graced by what is, I suppose, another story of the same ilk. The story of the magi and The Chronicles of Narnia: The Voyage of the Dawn Treader are both stories about long journeys to seek the face of Jesus/Aslan which reflect our own journeys of faith. But despite having one of the longest titles in the history of popular cinema, Dawn Treader struggled at the box office. It was a shame given that it is arguably the best film in the franchise so far.
Top billing for 2010 however must go to the BBC's The Nativity. The four half hour episodes were striped across the week leading up to Christmas gaining decent viewing figures and good reviews. As much as I liked it, many of those I've read or spoken to seemed to like it a great deal more than me. For me, and this is probably just my rugby player side coming to the fore, it was just a little bit trite in places, a weakness easily forgiven in light of the other strengths the film displayed. It will be interesting to see what the BBC do with this. There was talk a while back of them releasing a series of animated films on the Bible, but it's been a long time since I read anything about that project.
There were a couple of other things worth mentioning about the last year. BBC2's series Rev, a humorous look at the life of an inner-city vicar was wince inducing and hilarious. Series 2 has been commissioned and hopefully we will see that next year. There was also a sad note as we lost one of the most prominent actresses from the (second) golden age of the biblical epic, Jean Simmons. Simmons starred in some of my favourite films and her versatile body of work will live on as testament to her talent.
Labels: Reviews of the Years