Review: The Miracle Maker: The Story of Jesus Blu-ray

The Miracle Maker Blu-ray boxSTUDIO: Lionsgate | EXECUTIVE DIRECTOR: Derek Hayes | CAST: Ralph Fiennes, Ian Holm, Julie Christie, William Hurt
RELEASE DATE: 3/8/2011 | PRICE: Blu-ray/DVD combo $19.99
BONUSES: commentary, featurette, storyboard-to-film comparison, trivia game
SPECS: NR (nothing objectionable) | 91 min. | Animated family/religious | 1.78:1 aspect ratio | DTS-HD audio | English subtitles

RATINGS (out of 5 dishes): Movie | Audio | Video | Overall

The Miracle Maker: The Story of Jesus movie sceneToday’s Ash Wednesday, the first day of Lent, so what better day to review the new Blu-ray version of The Miracle Maker: The Story of Jesus, which debuted yesterday?

A blending of stop-motion and hand-drawn animation, The Miracle Maker is a wonderful Easter film. It tells the story of Jesus through the eyes of a family who go to the Messiah to seek help for their ill daughter. We see Jesus’ actions, taken from the New Testament, through his crucifixion and resurrection, all lovingly animated with models. As Jesus speaks to his listeners, the parables with which he teaches them how to live are illustrated by beautiful hand-drawn animation.

The movie’s voices were cast well, and it’s a pleasure to hear Ralph Fiennes as Jesus (yep, before he was the Evil Lord Voldemort in the Harry Potter movies, Fiennes played the Messiah), Ian Holm (The Lord of the Rings) as Pontius Pilate and Julie Christie (Doctor Zhivago), William Hurt (Broadcast News), Alfred Molina (The Sorcerer’s Apprentice), Miranda Richardson and Richard E. Grant.

This new Blu-ray showcases The Miracle Maker nicely, but there are some spots from dirt or scratches, which is a shame. They can be seen throughout the film, but they’re minor and don’t take away too much from the movie’s video, which has bright colors shown through the grain of film. The audio is fine too.

The movie is accompanied by some nice special features. The appropriately titled “Making-of Documentary” is a well-done and interesting piece about the film’s creation, which was a co-production between Wales and Russia. We hear from the directors, producers, writer and many of the voice cast (Fiennes shows up very briefly, shyly saying how thrilled he is to be involved), but the most interesting parts are when they discuss the work on the animation and how the models were made.

One aspect that comes through very well in the featurette and the commentary, which was recorded with director Derek Hayes and producer Naomi Jones, is how dedicated everyone was to making a good film.

The Blu-ray disc also holds a storyboard-to-film comparison, which plays some scenes and blends the final composite with the original storyboard. It’s interesting, but not as effective as when the storyboard and final film are shown side by side.

None of these special features are new, however, as they were all included in the Special Edition DVD released back in 2007. But they’re fine repeats.

And the DVD that comes with the Blu-ray seems to be the same DVD that was in the Special Edition too. The disc has some features for the more religious viewers as well as for younger viewers: The “It Is Written” track plays during the movie and pops up the Bible verse that is being reflected in the action, and “Learning From Jesus” is a trivia game that’s easy enough for parents to play with their children. It’s too bad these weren’t ported over to the Blu-ray disc.

 

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About S. Clark

Sam Clark is the former Managing Editor/Online Editor of Video Business magazine. With 19 years experience in journalism, 12 in the home entertainment industry, Sam has been hooked on movies on since she saw E.T. then stared into the sky waiting to meet her own friendly alien. Thanks to her husband’s shared love of movies, Sam reviews Blu-ray discs in a true home theater, with a 118-inch screen, projector and cushy recliners with cup holders.