#279 – Biblical Action Scenes

I’m reading through Exodus and, once again, I am thoroughly enthralled with the story. The narrative of Moses, Pharaoh, the plagues and the Israelites’ escape through the Red Sea is so compelling. It’s no wonder that this story has led to a number of movies, most notably The Ten Commandments with Charlton Heston and the animated The Prince of Egypt. The Israelites’ flight from Egypt makes for an incredible action scene. Here are some other biblical stories that would make for great action scenes.

Sodom and Gomorrah

Now I don’t necessarily want to see a movie about what led to Sodom and Gomorrah’s destruction. To see that movie there’s a good chance I’d have to go to some shady theater with even shadier patrons. The destruction of Sodom and Gomorrah, though, could be a massive destruction and disaster movie like Earthquake, Independence Day or 2012. The movie could follow Lot and is family as they begin to realize what God is going to do to the cities. And, obviously, the climax would be the destruction of the cities as Lot and his family attempt to escape amidst the chaos. Ideally the credits would roll before Lot’s daughters got their father drunk and slept with him. Because again, that might be shadier than a Bible movie should be.

David

I’m always surprised that there hasn’t been a really good movie made about David’s life. David’s story is filled with sex, violence and heroics, the foundation for any great summer blockbuster. I imagine a movie about David would be filled with action scenes. There could be a scene of him fighting bears and lions. There could be a scene of him fighting Goliath, which would be very short. More than anything, though, I would want to see David fighting in the midst of two great armies clashing, like Braveheart or Return of the King. I would want to see David putting William Wallace and Aragorn to shame with his mad sword skills. If the movie made it as far as David’s relationship with Bathsheba, he could also put Leonardo DiCaprio’s love scene from Titanic to shame.

Paul’s Shipwreck

The New Testament isn’t filled with that many action scenes. Revelation has some scenes that would make for exciting movie fodder. And the life of Jesus has made for plenty of movies, but none of them very action-packed. Paul’s journey to Rome, though, was filled with excitement, mostly due to a storm that blotted out the sun and stars for many days. A lot of movies and television shows depict scenes of violent storms. Castaway had the storm that led to Tom Hanks’ desertion. Pirates of the Caribbean: At World’s End featured a ship battle in the midst of a maelstrom. The Twilight Zone showed Captain Kirk struggling with a gremlin on a plane in a thunderstorm. Paul’s shipwreck could be just as exciting as any of those scenes, especially his moving speech to the sailors. It also wouldn’t hurt to throw Davey Jones or Captain Jack Sparrow in for good measure.

There are plenty of other Bible stories that would make for great action scenes. Like I wrote about yesterday, we should try to apply the same excitement we have over summer blockbusters to reading the Bible. When we spend time in God’s word we’ll see that even the less exciting parts still have a lot to say about how to best live our lives.

What other Bible stories would make great action scenes in a movie?

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2 Responses to “#279 – Biblical Action Scenes”

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    Not necessarily, given what passes for mainstream entertainment sometimes these days. You saw the Super Bowl halftime show, right? Plus, if the sin of Sodom was sexual violence (gang rape) more than or instead of homosexual behavior per se, alas, there’s plenty of that on the mainstream silver screen, too. (That’s probably why I’ll never watch “Clockwork Orange” again – even though it’s an “artful” movie, I don’t like ugly art.)

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    Agreed! At my Bible study yesterday we were just finishing up 1 Samuel, and all agreed that, however God is active in those events, it is one heck of an enthralling story. Really ripe for a good film or even trilogy of films.

    In the meantime, did you watch the short-lived NBC series “KIngs”? It was a modern day/alternate reality retelling of the story of Saul, David, and Jonathan. (E.G., “Goliath” was a super techno-tank brought down by David in the pilot episode – not too far off the mark, considering how the biblical text emphasizes Goliath’s weaponry more than his height!) Good stuff, what I saw of it – I would have liked to have seen how far they would have gone in the tale.

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    Only if you posit that Bathsheba was willingly seducing or seduced by David, which I don’t think the text is clear on at all, given the repeated use of the verb “sent” and the realities of political power. Kings take what they want, just as Samuel warned the ancient Israelites they would (1 Sam 8).

    I also concur with your judgment that Paul would make a good movie. There was a miniseries back in the 80s, “A.D.,” which I believe featured Paul and the other apostles’ ministries. (It also had a scene of little Christian kids being dressed by the Romans as sheep and tossed into the arena with lions that still gives me the heebee-jeebies just to think about, even though it was probably factually inaccurate.) There is also a novel out about Paul right now, I think.

    I wonder if, with a rumored Noah film on the horizon, Hollywood might be willing to take another look at the Bible as source material. I think the best biblical film I’ve seen in recent memory is “The Prince of Egypt.”

    I’d also like to see an action film of Samson. There’s a lot more to him than his haircut in Delilah’s house! (Not that he is a heroic ideal, but he does have one exciting story!)

    Thanks for another well-written and thought-provoking post!

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