The Prayer of Josh Bell
We’re on a journey. A journey, first, to understand the Art and Craft of Filmmaking and, second, to employ a higher standard on our own projects. A higher standard that is not dictated by the size of your budget. Of course more money can always help, but as Hollywood has proven time and again…(*cough* godzilla *cough* daredevil) big budgets don’t guarantee squat.
What film would you make for $150K? Or $1M? Or think reeeeeally big…how about $20M? Well according to Box Office Mojo, that was the budget for 8X Entertainment’s One Night with the King. Right on! I’d say we could all agree that $20M is a pretty decent production budget. And on top of that it’s got Peter O’Toole for crying out loud…you can’t go wrong with Lawrence of Arabia.
I’ll let the following review from Josh Bell take it from here. It was published the week of October 12, 2006 by Las Vegas Weekly. It used to be here but has since disappeared. That’s unfortunate because I feel like this humorous “prayer” sums up what the world thinks of Christian Film in general and certainly this latest film specificially. I can’t find it online anymore, so I’m re-posting it here at Wired4Film.com because we need to chew loooooooong and hard on these words.
Dear Lord, why must Your most ardent followers unleash such bad movies in Your name? Surely, as our Creator, You wish for us to have better entertainment than the cut-rate fare that passes for faith-based film? Is Your glory really best served by the Left Behind movies, starring Kirk Cameron, or toothless Mormon comedies, or conspiracy-theory obsessed series The Omega Code?
Perhaps You have been paying attention to the prayers of religious film producers, who no doubt are beseeching You for better scripts, larger budgets and bigger audiences. In particular, those who made The Omega Code and its sequel have been blessed in the creation of their new film, One Night With the King, as it boasts not only lavish production values but also actors with far greater range than their previous big star, Casper Van Dien.
In Your wisdom, Lord, You have delivered unto the producers John Rhys-Davies, Omar Sharif and James Callis, actors who elevate One Night With the King above its stiff storytelling and bland, declaratory dialogue. You have used Your powers to guide the filmmakers to the Old Testament story of Esther (Tiffany Dupont), a Jew who became queen of the Persians and saved her people from the genocidal Haman (Callis).
This story, the origin of the Jewish holiday Purim, is likely to appeal to more of Your followers than the reactionary Christian tales of religious films past, although You might want to send director Michael O. Sajbel a vision imparting to him that a really loud score and lots of sweeping camera movements do not a classical epic make. But his heart is in the right place, Lord, and One Night With the King sometimes succeeds as passable, third-rate entertainment.
But I despair, Lord, that such third-rate passability is all that exists to exalt Your name, and I bet You do, too. Although Dupont is a fine specimen of the beauty of Your creation, she plays Esther like a petulant teen. Surely, Lord, moviegoers would be thankful if next time You inspired more talented people to take on one of Your most beloved stories. Amen.
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