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What are filmmakers getting wrong with Bible-based movies? The universal story may not be so universal

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From the recent film 'Noah' to 'Exodus' much is left to the imagination.

Hollywood has released a lot of movies centered on Christianity and the Bible's stories during 2014. Some of them were well-received by Christians and even film critics, while some of the movies received negative, cold responses, especially from those who subscribe to the religion. However, faith-based movies like "God's Not Dead" (IMDb: 5/10), "Calvary" (IMDb: 7.5/10) and "Unbroken" (IMDb: 7.2/10) were received with warmth by the Christian audiences, while most Bible-based films were not.

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MUNTINLUPA, PHILIPPINES (Catholic Online) - According to Alissa Wilkinson, writer for Christianity Today, many viewers were left disappointed because of their familiarity with the story; somehow the films fail to deliver the messages with significance.


"The thing is, the Bible is a terse book. Whole familiar stories fill scant chapters. Lots-maybe on purpose-is left to the imagination," wrote Wilkinson.

This could explain the cold reception for movies like Aronofsky's "Noah" and Ridley Scott's "Exodus: Gods and Kings." Despite having huge budgets for production and a surrounding hype, they ended up being less-liked by Christians.

"If we want to make and watch movies based on the Bible, then, we've got to be okay with some degree of imagination. The real question for most people, especially religious people, to grapple with is this: where is the limit? This may be where the documentary and creative nonfiction discussion becomes useful again," added Wilkinson.

Taking the varying degrees of audience imagination into account, the film adaptations of Biblical stories may fail to match expectations, with the filling imaginative touches not quite seen as one person sees them.

Whereas faith-based movies enjoy more creative freedom, Bible-based films are expected to interpret the Scriptures with integrity -- as this integrity is a very important and serious matter of belief and faith for the Christian community.

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