The student news site of Smithson Valley High School in Spring Branch, Texas

Valley Ventana

The student news site of Smithson Valley High School in Spring Branch, Texas

Valley Ventana

The student news site of Smithson Valley High School in Spring Branch, Texas

Valley Ventana

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‘Journey to Bethlehem’ brings refreshing new take on the Christian movie genre

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Director Adam Anders first thought of “Journey to Bethlehem” 17 years ago and has been working diligently to make the movie since. Photo via “Journey to Bethlehem” movie website.

The newest addition to the Christian movie genre was released on Nov. 10, and it’s unlike any before. “Journey to Bethlehem”, directed by Adam Anders, is a movie musical retelling of the story leading up to Jesus’ birth. 

The movie grossed over 2.4 million dollars opening weekend, and with a 6.7/10 on IMDb and a 76% on Rotten Tomatoes, “Journey to Bethlehem” is receiving fairly good reviews from critics and fans alike.

The cast features an interesting group of people, with Oscar nominee Antonio Banderas as King Herod, singer Joel Smallbone from the Christian music group “For King & Country” as King Herod’s son, Antipater,  actor Milo Manheim, best known for playing Zed, a teenage zombie in the Disney Channel original movie “Z-O-M-B-I-E-S” as Joseph, and rapper Lecrae as the Angel Gabriel.

The movie stays fairly true to the biblical story, but deviates away from the source material occasionally in order to drive the plot forward, mainly by creating tension between Mary and Joseph over Jesus’ conception, known as the immaculate conception by Christians, and between King Herod’s son on whether or not he will be a ruler of power or grace.

Additionally, the film has comedic relief through the Magi, or the three wise men. The movie follows their journey as they track the star that shines over the stable when Jesus is born, and they often find themselves in not so favorable conditions. 

The music was written by Adam Anders himself, along with the help of his wife, Nikki Anders. Having previously worked on music for the television show “Glee”, “Journey to Bethlehem” features pop songs of the same genre. The music felt a little out of place at times, but the pure shock of King Herod breaking out into song about how he wants all the power in the world is what made the movie enjoyable and a fun watch.

One of the best songs, “The Ultimate Deception”, comes at a pivotal point in the story when Joseph has to decide whether or not to believe that Mary is telling the truth about carrying the son of God.  He battles himself, both physically and lyrically, until he ultimately decides he believes her. It was honestly such a strange scene to watch, but Manheim’s voice sounded incredible, and the catchiness of the music made up for the odd scenario. 

“Journey to Bethlehem” was a refreshing addition to the Christian movie genre because of its lack of the “redeemer” plotline common in many Kevin Sorbo movies where the atheist finally “sees the light” and is saved right before dying. Instead, the movie simply told the story from a piece of literature of regular people faced with a challenge and how they overcame it. That piece of literature just so happened to be the Christian Bible.

While it sounds a little out there, “Journey to Bethlehem” was a feel good movie that captures the spirit of Christmas for both believers and non-believers alike. It’s a Christmas season must-see.

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