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By Randy Sly

12/11/2011 (2 years ago)

Catholic Online (www.catholic.org)

A 3D Movie about the Eucharist makes it to the big screen

People take things for granted; it's human nature. In "The Greatest Miracle," opening Dec. 9 in limited release around the country, producer Pablo Jose Barroso and Dos Corazones Productions offer a 3D, animated story of hope and faith set against the backdrop of mysterious spirits and a religious service many have come to take for granted.

Article Highlights

By Randy Sly

Catholic Online (www.catholic.org)

12/11/2011 (2 years ago)

Published in Movies

Keywords: Mass, Catholic, Eucharist, Sacraments, Liturgy, Animation, 3D


WASHINGTON, DC (Catholic Online) - In recent weeks, Catholics across the country have been reminded that they may have been attending Mass on automatic pilot. Just as many parishioners in the pew are getting reacquainted with the liturgy of Divine worship, producer Pablo Jose Barroso and Dos Corazones Productions are premiering a new movie on the Mass called, "The Greatest Miracle."

This 3D animinated story is being released on theater screens in 14 states on Friday, December 9. A listing of theaters can be located here.

I truly enjoyed the story, which intertwines the lives of three people who have put their spiritual lives in cruise control. However, one day they end up attending the same Catholic Mass due to crises they were each experiencing. While they were "Mass veterans," who knew the words of the liturgy well, that day they discovered it afresh and anew.

The three were taught the mystery of the Mass and the wondrous encounter we each experience with God every time we enter for worship. They also learned about spiritual warfare and what unknown activities may be taking place around Christians who seek to live their lives for Christ.

These and other insights are shared with them by their guardian angels.

When I was asked to screen an animated feature, I first thought I would be viewing a Pixar-styled production like Toy Story or something along the lines of Shrek. I was surprised, as the movie began, that the animation styling looked more like "Second Life" or other computer generated sites online. I must confess some disappointment, as the characters were like avatars in virtual reality.

For me, this styling and approach detracted from the story; the quality was much lower than what moviegoers are used to. In addition - and it may be due to a language issue (it was released in Spanish and English) as well as the graphic medium - the voices and lip movements of the characters were not always in sync. They also sounded stiff, lacking dimension.

My other concern about the movie had to do with the treatment of some Catholic doctrines from a visual perspective. For example, there was a scene showing the Holy Souls in purgatory, which, at least to me, looked more like souls in utter torment rather than experiencing purification. It may be an artistic call, but it didn't work for me.

The musical score is absolutely beautiful; an audible feast that added a great deal to the overall impact of the film. Between the orchestra arrangement and soaring vocals, the audio portion helped set a truly spiritual ambiance.

The wonderful storyline, which touches on God's love for his children, the mystery and power of the Eucharist, the spiritual battle we face daily and the grace that is ours through Christ overshadows any of the shortcomings I've mentioned. It is an inspiring message for all Catholics.

The film fulfills its mission, helping people embrace the Eucharist with more of their heart, soul, mind and strength. As Pope Benedict XVI stated in Light of the World, his book-length interview, "Something quite special is going on here. He is here, the One before whom we fall on our knees!"
 
The film is directed by Bruce M. Morris, the visual writer of the animated hits Pocahontas and Hercules. He also earned an Academy Award® nomination for his work on 2009's The Princess and the Frog.
 
Oscar®-nominee Mark McKenzie (Dances with Wolves) wrote the score for the film, which earned the 2011 Hollywood Music in Media Award for Best Original Score - Independent Film/Short/Documentary. McKenzie's work also includes Men in Black, Spiderman and Ice Age: The Meltdown.
 
"The Greatest Miracle" opens Dec. 9 on 3D screens in 14 states. Again, a full list of theaters is posted on the film's website

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Randy Sly is the Associate Editor of Catholic Online and the CEO/Associate Publisher for the Northern Virginia Local Edition of Catholic Online (http://virginia.catholic.org). He is a former Archbishop of the Charismatic Episcopal Church who laid aside that ministry to enter into the full communion of the Catholic Church.

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