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Nativity through the eyes of animals

Monday December 11, 2017 Written by Published in Entertainment
A scene from the movie The Star, now screening at Empire Cinema. 17120804 A scene from the movie The Star, now screening at Empire Cinema. 17120804

When you think about the story of Jesus on film, most movies seem to follow a similar theme - his life, his death, and ultimately, his resurrection.


The Last Temptation of Christ, the Passion of the Christ, The Greatest Story Ever Told, Jesus of Nazareth, King of Kings, all focus around Jesus’ short life on earth.

Although it is the most famous story in the world, how many times can you tell the same story from the same point of view?

Which brings in The Star, the latest movie to screen at Empire Raro that reimagines Mary and Joseph’s journey to Bethlehem with talking animals.

And while that might make the movie sound a bit farfetched, it is done in such a way that it appeals to children while delivering adult messages.

It begins with Mary being told about her great task, that she will be the mother of the son of God, Jesus, before we meet our heroes.

The first is a donkey Bo (Steven Yeun), and his best friend Dave (Keegan-Michael Key), a dove.

Bo is a plain old donkey unhappy with his lot in life, as he dreams of escaping from milling wheat to join a travelling caravan so that he may experience a new life.

When he does finally escape, he stumbles up to Mary and Joseph, and unwittingly joins them on their quest.

And yes, Mary did have a little lamb and her name is Ruth, who joins Bo and Dave in their travels.

The other point of view is presented through the three camels that travel with the wise men, Deborah (Oprah Winfrey), Cyrus (Tyler Perry) and Felix (Tracey Morgan).

All the while, Mary and Joseph are being searched for by a terrifying giant soldier, who uses his two menacing dogs to sniff them out.

The Star really is a movie for all ages.

For the children, there are laughs aplenty, and it is an easy introduction to the story of the birth of Jesus.

As for adults already familiar with the story, it presents it from a fresh point of view.

When a flock of sheep are spoken to by God, don’t look at it as saying that people are easily manipulated by a voice from the sky and will follow the herd. Rather, it is a display of unity, how as people we can unite for a common good.

Then there’s Ruth, the lovable sheep who leaves the herd mentality to go on her own quest, because she believes in a higher meaning after seeing a special star in the sky.

And there’s the story from the viewpoint of the camels, who have travelled countless miles through deserts, on the brink of exhaustion, with just the slightest inkling that this star will lead them to the new King.

Perhaps most of all, true believers will identify with the donkey, Bo.

Bo is someone who starts out with a dream, before being “born-again” with a new purpose, to help those in need.

He makes new friends, fights against bullies, is creative, and relentlessly believes in something because of what he heard, not what he saw.

We should all strive to be more like Bo.

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