The Blu-Ray and DVD release of The Young Messiah is today and I want to encourage all those viewers who want more quality Christian movies or faith friendly or family friendly or values friendly movies to support this release.
That means “buy it.” You will be glad you did.
The Young Messiah is the story of Jesus as a seven-year old boy coming into the realization of his own identity as the Son of God. Yes, it’s speculative, we know so little about that period in his life. Yes, it is dangerous theological territory to deal with such weighty matters. But Cyrus Nowrasteh and his co-writer wife, Betsy Nowrasteh have done a worthy job of exploring it with faithful respect. And you know, it’s the dangerous risks that can provide the richest and most profound stories anyway.
For a full review/analysis of the movie read my post, The Young Messiah: Must See Bible Movie about Jesus.
Also, check out my interview with the director who found Jesus while making the movie, an interesting revelation of how a person’s worldview really does affect the meaning of the movie. They adapted the movie from Anne Rice’s novel, Christ the Lord: Out of Egypt, but purged the sectarian and questionable elements of the novel to make a more orthodox Christian story.
But that’s not all. There’s extra Jesus here…
Deleted scenes. The Blu-Ray and DVD contain the usual extras, like this scene of Mary performing Shabbat. Though it didn’t make the movie, it shows how authentic the writers and director were in portraying a very Jewish Jesus, since he was, after all – Jewish, not a Protestant, Catholic or Evangelical, and certainly NOT a Contemporary “non-denominational” Christian.
I’ll be frank. I don’t care for deleted scenes. After watching plenty of them over the years, I’ve come to the conclusion that 99 times out of 100, there is a good reason why those deleted scenes are not in the movie. They usually do not advance the story or are weak. So I don’t really watch them anymore. The ones on this DVD are not very interesting, except for one scene of the creepy sleazy Herod with his demonic soothsayers, but maybe that’s just my morbid curiosity of a good villain.
BUT there IS an extra that makes this DVD worth purchasing for me…
Director and Writer Commentary
The director’s commentary that features Cyrus and Betsy is fantastic. They are an entertaining speaking duo of husband and wife that provide a wonderful compliment to each other in both creativity and illumination of behind the scenes understanding. Cyrus is more technical oriented and visual in his approach with an articulate voice that gives you a real sense of authority and wisdom. Betsy brings a lighter humorous touch and story interest as a writer. She keeps him humble. She is often the “writing genius” for the best scenes, as Cyrus himself says.
Together they explain how they achieved some scenes and overcame obstacles. But they also explain a little about the deeper themes of the story, such as the Father/Son story of Jesus and Joseph, the family rivalry and making the “holy family” more human to connect to us all.
They explain how many of the scenes were written to foreshadow the events that we DO know about later in Jesus’ life, like foreshadowing the resurrection in Jesus bringing a bird to life, the beauty of Jesus’ own baptism in his healing of Cleopas in the stream, the woman at the well and Mary Magdalene in a liberated slave woman who joins them, and others.
They talk about how they began to see “Jesus moments” in the story where Jesus’ display of compassion or kindness became anchors of holiness that expressed and reminded us of this young boy’s deep identity that would change the world.
These are moments that still bring tears to my eyes.
Making of Documentary
There is also a Making Of documentary that rounds it all out with interviews from the producers, the financiers, Chris Columbus, Sean Bean and others that brings insight from behind the scenes.
One More Thing
WingClips provides a Church Study Guide to lead a small group or family discussion of the film, complete with links to film clips from the movie, questions for conversation, prayer suggestions and action steps. Some of it is touchy-feely crap, but some of it is exegetical and spiritually challenging. On the whole, a good resource to go deeper than merely watching the movie like a passive sheep.
In a time when Hollywood is finally seeing the need to make Bible movies, yet too often doing it all wrong (Noah, Exodus: Gods and Kings), The Young Messiah is a case where they’ve done it right, and we should support this offering if we want more like it.
While you’re at it, check out this grown-up Jesus kicking demon butt and taking principalities captive on his journey into Sheol, Jesus Triumphant, the novel…