- The Nativity Story DVD
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A cinematic journey into the heart of history's greatest story, The Nativity Story is poised to come to the big screen for the first time in a major motion picture event.
New Line Cinema's The Nativity Story chronicles the arduous journey of two people, Mary and Joseph, a miraculous pregnancy, and the history-defining birth of Jesus. The dramatic and compelling film traces the perilous journey of a young couple who must travel from their home in Nazareth to Bethlehem, Joseph's ancestral home, to register for a census ordered by King Herod. It is a journey of over 100 miles, through treacherous terrain, made much more difficult by the fact that Mary is nine months pregnant.
The actual story of the Nativity can be found in the Biblical Gospels of Matthew and Luke. It begins at the end of the intertestament era - the 100 or so years between the time of Judas Maccabeus and the birth of Christ.
The story begins with the King Herod (client king of Judea under Caesar Augustus) and his fear of the Old Testament propechy of the Messiah. Paranoid he will lose his kingdom, he orders the infamous Massacre of the Innocents - the slaughter of all male children under two years old in the city of Bethlehem.
Following the trail of the prophecy, the film then flashes back one year to the Holy Temple in Jerusalem where Zechariah, a pious priest, receives a vision from God instructing him that his wife "will bear him a son and he shall be a prophet, preparing the way for the Lord." As Zechariah's wife Elizabeth is past her child-bearing years, he expresses disbelief and is struck dumb.
Meanwhile, in Nazareth, a town oppressed by the devastating taxation practices of King Herod, a teenage Mary is told by her parents that they have arranged for her to marry Joseph. Distraught by the idea of marrying "a man I hardly know, a man I do not love," Mary takes refuge in an ancient olive grove to collect her thoughts. There, she is visited by the angel Gabriel, who tells her that she has been chosen by God to bear his son and call him Jesus, and that he will be a Saviour for his people. Mary accepts this news, but is overwhelmed by this annunciation and has no idea how to tell her parents.
Back in Jerusalem, King Herod begins to feel threatened as word spreads of a prophecy that a new King will soon arrive. Herod orders his troops to kill anyone who might be this "man of power, this Messiah."
In Persia, another group of men are following the prophecy, but with great excitement. The three Magi - Melchior the scholar, Gaspar the skeptical translator and Balthasar the Ethiopian astronomer - have studied the ancient documents and feel that a celestial event (what we now call a planetary convergence) is about to occur, which will signal the birth of the Messiah. Melchior convinces his comrades to undertake the long journey to Judeah, following the "star."
In Nazareth, Mary, in an effort to understand her situation, goes to visit her cousin Elizabeth, assuring her parents that she will be back for the harvest. Mary is relieved that what Gabriel told her is true: Elizabeth is in the midst of a miraculous pregnancy due to her advanced age. Elizabeth provides Mary encouragement and shares in her joy. Following the birth of John the Baptist, after which Zechariah regains his speech, Mary is emotionally ready to return to Nazareth.
Her homecoming is less than warm: as she climbs off the wagon in Nazareth's town center, her coat slips open and her pregnancy is clearly revealed. She is scorned by the locals and faces a difficult confrontation with Joseph and her parents, who do not believe her: "An angel told you this? That you would bear the Son of God?" The following night, Joseph has a dream in which he is visited by the angel Gabriel, who confirms Mary's story. He tells her he will stand by her, no matter what the others say: "You are my wife. I am your husband. That is all anyone need know." For the first time, Mary starts to realize that Joseph is, as her mother said, "a good man, a strong man."
Shortly thereafter, following a decree from Rome, King Herod orders everyone to return to the town of their birth for a census which he craftily believes will help him find the Messiah. This forces Mary and Joseph to begin a long trek to his birth home of Bethlehem. Crossing treacherous mountain passes, swift-flowing rivers and barren deserts, Joseph walks the entire way, doing everything he can to live up to his promise to Mary's parents: "I will protect your daughter and the child, with all that I am." Mary's appreciation for this man grows stronger with each step.
Mary and Joseph pass through Jerusalem undetected by Herod's soldiers, but the Magi, in their magnificent silk robes and ornamented camels, are spotted by the soldiers and forced to "dine" with the King. He seduces them with a feast and discusses the impending birth. Herod "encourages" them to find the boy, then return to him with news of his whereabouts so he "may worship him as well."
Mary and Joseph reach Bethlehem just as Mary goes into labor, but they find no inn and no room. Eventually, a shepherd lets them use his stable and in this grotto, Jesus is born. At the moment of the birth, the planets align, creating an extremely bright "star" - a celestial event seen by all - including shepherds in the fields, who follow it to Bethlehem and pay homage to the child. The Magi also arrive at the stable, offering gifts of gold, frankincense and myrrh. Melchior is stunned to find this new king born in a stable, instead of a palace, proclaiming "The Greatest of Kings, born in the most humble of places."
Deeply moved, the Magi realize that going back to Herod with this news would be a mistake. Furious that the Magi did not return to him, Herod orders the Massacre of the Innocents. As Herod's soliders charge toward Bethlehem with murderous intent, Gabriel warns Joseph: "Arise, Joseph...take the child." Mary, Joseph and Jesus escape just in time, heading to Egypt...and fulfilling the prophecy."
- Aspect Ratio: Widescreen and Full Screen formats
- No. of Discs: 1
- Run Time: 101 minutes
- Audio: English (Dolby Digital 5.1), English (Dolby Digital 2.0 Stereo)
- Subtitles: English, Spanish
Dont't forget to also check out: The Nativity Story
The Nativity Story was released December 1st, 2006 and stars Keisha Castle-Hughes, Oscar Isaac, Hiam Abbass, Shaun Toub, Ciarán Hinds, Shohreh Aghdashloo, Stanley Townsend, Alexander Siddig. The film is directed by Catherine Hardwicke.