• 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


    Monday, February 03, 2020

    Good Omens (2019)
    Episode 3:Hard Times

    In an effort to stay on-topic, rather than covering all of the episodes of Good Omens, I'm going to stick to those which deal with specific biblical narratives saving my comments on the overall end-of-the-world story for the end of the series.

    Episode 3 begins by returning to the series' opening scene from the Garden of Eden with Michael Sheen's Aziraphale trying to dodge God's question about what he did with the flaming sword. He seemingly gets away with it and we fast-forward to 3004 BC where he and Crowley are reunited in the moments before the great flood. As with Adam and Eve's banishment from Eden Aziraphale's classic British reserve and hesitancy leaves him a little uneasy with God's response describing God's plans to wipe out the human race as "a bit tetchy". Interestingly though this is only to be a localised flood "I don't believe the Almighty is upset with the Chinese, or the Native Americans...or the Australians".

    Crowley, however, seems indignant. "Kids? You can't kill kids?" adding "that's more the kind of thing you'd expect my lot to do.". There's a joke about unicorns, which was perhaps a bit fresher in 1990 when Terry Pratchett and Neil Gaiman wrote the original novel. Pratchett and Gaiman had been keen to adapt the novel for the screen for years before Pratchett's death, but Gaiman only became ready to finish the project after he received a post-dated letter from Pratchett urging him to do so.

    The other biblical scene here is of the crucifixion. While the humour here is no less flippant and irreverent, it's a little more respectful. As Jesus is being nailed to the cross, Crowley observes "Your lot put him on there", to which Aziraphale can offer little defence. Crowley explains how he had "showed him all the kingdoms of the world"; Aziraphale explains that all Jesus did to cause his death was to tell them to "Be kind to each other".

    What is noticeable about this scene, however, is Jesus's teeth (see above). Nearly all Jesus films give themselves away by having their 1st century peasant messiah shown with 20th/21st century dentistry. In some cases this is hugely distracting, but even the less pristine Jesus films cast their lead with near-perfect teeth. Here they have deliberately blacked them out and made it look like the odd one is broken, an odd moment of veritas for such a playful and comic production, but one that is very much appreciated.

    Incidentally, if you want to find out a bit more about Terry Pratchett, I'd point you in the direction of my friend Marc Burrows' forthcoming book "The Magic of Terry Pratchett", the first ever biography on Pratchett, available for pre-order now.



    Post a Comment

    << Home