By Dean Close, Editor
Every year, almost, someone makes a Christmas movie, looking to give us a new way to see one of civilization’s oldest holidays.
This year, that movie is “The Star.”
“The Star,” an Affirm Films/Sony animate project, tells the familiar story of how the angel came to Mary to announce the news that she would become the mother of Jesus, and then follows Mary and Joseph to Bethlehem, where the familiar Nativity characters gather to celebrate the birth of Christ. A large part of this story, played out mostly by the animals, is how that the evil Herod attempted to kill the child, whom the Wise Men had described as a new King.
What makes this film unique is that it tells the story from the perspective of a variety of animals, who observe what happens and try to become involved.
The producers acknowledge that they have taken some cinematic license with the story, but tried to keep the movie full of the spirit of the original Christmas.
In my view, they succeeded.
The movie, which includes the voices of many well-known actors, singers and celebrities, from Oprah to Ving Rhames, and Krristin Chenoweth to Kris Kristofferson, includes many beautiful Christmas carols and songs, including the modern favorite, “Mary, Did You Know?” (which was written, ironically, by Christian comedian Mark Lowry).
Affirm Films is what modern media calls a “faith-based” company, working with major studios to create movies with strong messages based on Biblical themes. “War Room” and “Courageous” are among the titles offered on its web site.
“The Star” continues this trend; the names of the characters as well as the story line indicate that the writers are very familiar with the Bible, as well as the Christmas story. The main players in this animation are Ruth and Bo (Boaz); in the Old Testament, Ruth and Boaz are the great-grandparents of King David; Christmas takes place in The City of David (Bethlehem), where the Israeli King was crowned.
I think everyone should see “The Star.” It’s a unique and yet familiar telling of the Christmas story, and carefully navigates one of the hardest parts of the Nativity: The pursuit of the child by the wicked King. Despite dealing with this theme, the movie is appropriate for young children; the producers add enough humor and music to put this part of Christmas into terms a child can relate to.
The message the animals hear in “The Star” is the same that humans have heard for years: I can be different because of what happened at the stable.
And at this time of year, the Palace is a great place to hear that message again.