• Bible Films Blog

    Looking at film interpretations of the stories in the Bible - past, present and future, as well as preparation for a future work on Straub/Huillet's Moses und Aron and a few bits and pieces on biblical studies.

    Matt Page


    Saturday, October 20, 2007

    Reviews for The Ten Commandments

    Promenade Pictures' The Ten Commandments was released last night, so I thought I'd link to some reviews. Unfortunately my screener only arrived yesterday so I'll not get my review written until Monday.

    Joe Leydon at Variety praises Kingsley's narration, but bemoans the "dispiriting visual clunkiness" adding that "blandly rendered characters are wooden in their reactions and stiff in their movements".

    Reviews from the major papers generally find both positives and negatives. Mary Houlihan of the Chicago Sun Times says it "mostly succeeds in bringing a new level of humanity to the legendary Moses... but as mainstream entertainment at the multiplex, it doesn't quite live up to animated-movie standards".

    Likewise, The Chicago Reader's J. R. Jones is also undecided "The panoramic backgrounds have a silky beauty, but the characters are cheaply rendered with doll faces, enlarged musculature, tiny joints, and clunky movement." Tom Keogh at the Seattle Times calls it "ponderous but somewhat moving".That said, Los Angeles Times / Chicago Tribune's review by Lou Carlozo is very effusive. "There's an endearing, earnest quality to "The Ten Commandments" that transcends its star-studded cast and computer-generated animation".

    Overall though the film has not won the critics over. At this moment in time, Rotten Tomatoes is poised at 18% (though 20% from the cream of the crop), whereas Metacritic is currently a slightly more encouraging 25%.

    Even Christian Critics aren't particularly sold on it. Decent Film's Steven D. Greydanus rates it C+ wishing "If only the worst that could be said about it were in regard to the stiff, unappealing animation". Peter Chattaway's review or Christianity Today gives it 2½ out of four. "As a straightforward introduction to the biblical story, it is arguably better than some of the splashier or more sensational movies out there. Whether it merits a special trip to the big screen, though, is another matter."

    As a film critic, I have to say sifting through the various reviews is made somewhat tiresome by the multitude of weak puns that plague these reviews. (As that one shows), it's really not very difficult to do, so there's a danger that we end up coming across like a bunch of sniggering adolescents.

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