The Miracle Maker (2000) Poster

User Reviews

Review this title
33 Reviews
Sort by:
A unique and thought provoking piece of work
risingsap15 April 2001
This is a great production which is far superior to any of the 'epic' real life re-tellings of the life of Jesus. If you look at the list of theological advisors in the credits at the end of the film you will see part of the reason why - rather than a dramatic Hollywood interpretation of the story, this work is part based on the thoughts of people who have spent a lifetime reflecting on what Jesus meant. That means rather more depth than we get with, for example, John Wayne as a centurion in The Greatest Story Ever Told. Plus the puppets and animation mean that the audience (or at least myself) aren't distracted by the sets and the actors. It's real, but has an other worldly edge that makes it different. Very strongly recommended.
11 out of 12 found this helpful. Was this review helpful? | Report this
What Rankin Bass would do now with better $$ and smarts.
gazzo-223 April 2000
You remember all those Rankin-Bass holiday Specials from the 60s and 70s, Rudolph and Frosty and Easter things? Well, this is a throwback to them-but with a big budget, excellent voicers(Ray Fiennes, Richard E Grant, Julie Christie, Ian Holm, etc.), terrific animation, great heart.

I liked most of all the straightforward, reverent way in which they portrayed Christ, sure it's from the Gospels without much(if any) contemporary shading-but that is really what the material deserves, in my thinking. If you are going to do the Easter story, and his parables, show the 12 apostles and etc-then this is the way to go about it. I enjoyed the mix of stop motion and toon animation, esp in the parables. There was an interesting mixture of styles too-some looked folky, some looked outta Marvel Comix(whenever Judas saw Christ as some revolutionary figure, for example), some more cutting edge.

It didn't have the walking on water or Sermon on the Mount scenes, but did include Lazarus, a flashback to the nativity, healings and etc. I think they did the gospels proud here,and have done a very good job of it. This deserves to become a classic.

***1/2 outta ****----very good.
8 out of 9 found this helpful. Was this review helpful? | Report this
Absolutely Fantastic Example of Good Animation!!
Jimi the Saint28 November 2001
I woke up this morning to the alarm on my bedroom TV. I could hear familiar voices... Ralph Fiennes?... Richard E Grant?... William Hurt?... When I rubbed the sleep from my eyes, I realised that the program on BBC2 was an animated version on 'Jesus of Nazareth'.

Not being a particularly religious disposition, this was not the reason that prevented me from getting up out of my nice warm bed. Alas, it was the unbelievable animation that bedazzled me. I come from a design/multimedia background, and so I found this example of animation very interesting, and the more I watched it, the more I was amazed.

The flow of the animations; the realism of the characters' features; the expressions on their faces; the interlaced, drawn animation 'dream-sequences'; all these aspects aggregated to form a top class exhibition of animationary excellence.

And to top it all off, the dialogue and storyline were superbly written in a way that would appeal to young AND old. I a twenty-nine year old man, but I have to admit that watching this brought a tear to my eye, and a lump in my throat.

Whether this was an empathetic reaction to the plight of Jesus, or an inherent appreciation of the animation quality... one can only guess.

10 out of 10 (and I only caught the last half hour!!) I shall be ordering a copy of this on DVD as a Christmas present. Thats the easy part... the hard part is deciding which one of my four favourite neices to give it to!
10 out of 12 found this helpful. Was this review helpful? | Report this
A solid animation that Christian parents will love and casual viewers may take to
bob the moo28 June 2005
When he decides to quit his job as a carpenter, everyone thinks Jesus has perhaps flipped but his mother knows that this "father's work" that he speaks of is in fact God's mission for him on Earth. Jesus sets off to tell the people how things should be, gathering a group of men (disciples) around him as he goes. His message is simple but it is not met well by the religious leaders of the day. Seeing the passion and zeal he brings to the people, these leaders plan to accuse him of blasphemy and see him removed from the spotlight in a bloody and permanent fashion.

Whenever I watch a film I try to view it as objectively as possible, ignoring my own preconceptions, media hype etc. With this film I will set aside my opinions on the subject matter but will admit that, if you are a Christian with kids then you'll probably love this movie because it does a great job of presenting Jesus in an accessible and convincing way without making it into a Pixar or Disney Happy Meal type product. The plot is well-known but the film still does a good job with it, careful with what it drops and what it includes, building the main blocks of the tale and allowing enough to be hammered home without doing so much that it would overwhelm with events. The animation is well done; the models are smooth and match the action well, while the variations into other styles is used to make a point or to expand the limited scope of the models and their backgrounds.

The voice cast is pretty close to being stellar and they certainly helped the film sell. Fiennes is OK as Jesus but I didn't think he delved deep for a character – perhaps an unfair complaint since this is aimed at kids and therefore not a performance that called for complexity or interpretation. Holm is good as Pilate; Hurt is strong in a foundation role, important in building the story on a personal level for kids. Grant is a strange John the Baptist – mainly because he sounds very like Richard E. Grant and it doesn't seem right! Stott is unmistakably but a very good Peter. Support from Massey, Molina, Peck, Thewlis, Christie and others all help the voice work add to the classy feel of this film – certainly they raise the film above the Sunday school cartoon level that lesser actors could have seen it stuck at.

Overall a good film on several levels. Christians with kids will love it because it gets the message across without being "educational" in a way that puts off kids and without being the other extreme of being a glossy cartoon. However the casual viewer may enjoy it as well, because the voice work is roundly strong, the animation professional and the story told in a manner that is well delivered and watchable. Considering the millions who went to see the lesser "Passion of the Christ", this film deserves to have many more viewers.
6 out of 7 found this helpful. Was this review helpful? | Report this
Great Easter special
Tarlonniel27 April 2000
I enjoyed this immensely, even though the reception on my TV was terrible. It makes the Bible stories more real than any other film I've seen. The claymation really worked and the change to animation for the parables and such was interesting. On the downside it seemed a little hurried, but trying to get all the significant events of Jesus' life into two hours is a tall order (and some were still left out, as others have stated). Overall an excellent presentation and ABC is to be highly commended for having the guts to show it.
5 out of 6 found this helpful. Was this review helpful? | Report this
This is Claymation?
sngbrd3924 April 2000
Wow! This movie has such stunning visuals. The first time I saw an ad for it on TV, I could not tell that they were clay figures. They really looked lifelike. Not only this, but I thought this movie was really a lot better than most of the live action "Jesus" movies I've seen. Its dialogue was a lot more down to earth and probably closer to the way He would have spoken. Even though I was annoyed by the switching back and forth between drawn animation and claymation at first, it grew on me, and I think it had a good effect. Even though the voice actors were too dramatic at times, they really delivered a great performance overall. In short, this movie was a great ending to my Easter.
5 out of 6 found this helpful. Was this review helpful? | Report this
One of the best life of Christ films
Jim Menke14 April 2001
Of the many life of Christ films, this should be rated as one of the best. Some viewers have called it a "claymation" film, it is not. This is a stop motion puppet film. Anyone who has the DVD version can view the "making of" film and see that the figures are flexible puppets made of foam and plastic and not the crude figures done for "claymation". There is a vast difference in stop motion puppets and claymation figures.

What sets this film apart is that through the puppet medium, the figures look like people from the time and place of the original happening, not Hollywood actors in costumes and make up. Since the viewer does not associate a certain actor with the part, it is much easier to accept the puppet as the "real" character. You don't see Jeffrey Hunter, the actor in "King of Kings", playing a part but see more acceptable versions of Christ and the apostles.

The combination of 3D and 2D animation works well in separating the parable stories from the "real" action. It is a jolt at first, but becomes very acceptable as the film goes on.

Don't let the "puppet" idea keep an adult viewer away from this wonderful film. It is a concept that makes the Bible stories wonderfully accessible to all age groups.
5 out of 6 found this helpful. Was this review helpful? | Report this
Lana Falana16 April 2001
I don't care what most critics say. "The Miracle Maker" is going on my Ten Best List for 2000. I don't care if TV movies are not supposed to be on a Ten Best List. In my defense, I will say that it was a theatrical feature in England and Europe, where they have the courage to release challenging and original films like this one. Shame on Artisan for not giving this the theatrical release it deserved. Unfortunately, in this age of films aimed more and more at teenagers, films like "Pollock", "Dr. T and the Women" and "The Miracle Maker" get lost in the shuffle.

While it is normally a caveat to condense a rich and lengthy story such as the life of Jesus Christ in a short running time, we already have a film that really goes into great detail about Jesus: Franco Zefferelli's 1977 masterpiece "Jesus of Nazareth". But this is a perfect film for enlightened children and even the parents will love it. The switching from claymation (which is not really clay, but that is unimportant right now)to regular animation is stunning, not distracting as it would be in a lesser film. It is easily the best animated film I've seen all year. Kudos to Mel Gibson and his production company, Icon, for putting the time and effort to making a wonderful film like this. I only wish Artisan had gotten behind it better, along with another Icon production "Felicia's Journey". I recommend both to anyone who wants to see pure cinema at its' finest.

**** out of 4 stars
6 out of 8 found this helpful. Was this review helpful? | Report this
A Surprising video
phil-77125 May 2006
A Surprisingly useful video. As a teacher of Religious Education this movie was always going to be useful to me, but as a synopsis of the New Testament based largely upon the Gospel of Luke, this video offers an uncanny degree of insight. The creators have bothered to research particulars and peculiarities of life at the time of Jesus, and although there are particular details missing that disappoint me (e.g. the absence of the Dove at the Baptism narrative), individual cut-scenes from this movie make excellent alternatives to trying to get pupils to struggle through texts from the New Testament in class.

The frequent transitions between clay and cartoon animation as a theatrical technique needs explanation before use, especially if only watching brief clips, but these do not detract from the pupils own ability to empathise with characters and evaluate stories based on its presentation.

As an overall synopsis various pericopes are omitted, but this can easily be forgiven a movie of a commercial length, and suitable for pupils to watch in the course of an afternoon.

I personally, as a passionate Christian and student of New Testament Theology, find it a moving and engaging presentation, and it is among the DVD's that I'll stick on on a lazy Sunday afternoon: it's fine for the kids to watch (although obviously they don't get much of its meaning), and I'll enjoy it, too.
3 out of 4 found this helpful. Was this review helpful? | Report this
This is a very good movie
alecsaved16 November 2003
This movie is about Jesus Christ. And any movie that glorifies Christ is worth seeing; this one is actually quite good at it. The animation is unique and effective. The voice acting is convincing. The whole family can enjoy this one. The cel animation that appears throughout the movie is neat. At least rent it for a viewing, you'll be glad you did. The DVD has some neat special features.

As the title indicates, this movie centers on Christ's miracles, but has plenty of parables, counter-legalism interactions with the teachers of the Law, historical clues, relationships, calling of the 12, Gethsemane, the miracle of the Cross, and most importantly the resurrection. My favorite scene is the woman who touches His robe.
6 out of 11 found this helpful. Was this review helpful? | Report this
Beautiful film
Warning: Spoilers
"The Miracle Maker" is such a great film. It is easily one of the best movies inspired in the gospel. While the script it's very faithful to the Bible, the life of Jesus of Nazareth is portrayed in a very artistic, poetic way combing stop motion animation with some traditionally animated sequences and the result was simply outstanding. Ralph Fiennes gives a great voice performance, and the rest of the cast made a great work as well. The plot of this film describes the life of Jesus Christ through the eyes of a young girl, Tamar, the daughter of the Jairus (Which is not named in the Bible) and the result is beautifully made, being a great movie for the whole family. I think that even those aren't Christian would be able to enjoy this film due to the high quality of this film.

2 out of 3 found this helpful. Was this review helpful? | Report this
Best Jesus film ever!
estrellaSMC19 May 2007
Warning: Spoilers
I first saw this film on TV one Easter Sunday. I fell in love with it right away. I loved how the clay figurines looked so lifelike. The voices were very realistic. Another Jesus movie I saw the characters just sat or stood around and said their lines. There was no emotion or feeling. Also, this Jesus was more human. He laughed, he cried, he got angry, he groaned once when the Pharisees and other temple leaders were pestering him with their questions. It was a lot of fun to watch him. The other characters were as good. You could feel Mary Magdalene's grief as she tried to speak while weeping in front of Jesus' empty tomb. You could hear the determination and loyalty in Simon Peter's voice when he said he'd never let Jesus down. You could hear the awe in Thomas's voice when he said, "my lord and my god." The list goes on and on. As it said on the website, "It's been told for over 2000 years but never like this..."
2 out of 3 found this helpful. Was this review helpful? | Report this
The Best Biblical Film Since 'BEN-HUR.'
rosebud-28125 April 2000
The producers of 'BRAVEHEART' and the world's top animators use state-of-the-art cartoon animation, clay animation, and computer animation to tell the story of the life, death, and resurrection of Jesus Christ. Released through Disney and ABC, 'THE MIRACLE MAKER' is the best Biblical film since 'BEN-HUR.'

The voice-over performances are outstanding, particularly Ralph Finnes (QUIZ SHOW, SCHINDLER'S LIST) as Jesus. The writing is never sentimental or dumbed-down for the kiddies, it is intelligent and mature without annoying musical numbers, while still maintaining emotion and poignancy. I almost always dislike made-for-TV films, in fact I rarely even see or review them. The last TV movie that was really good was ABC's 'THE SHINING' about four years ago. After viewing the previews for 'THE MIRACLE MAKER,' it looked too good to pass up.

Rarely do religious oriented pictures turn out good at all (remember 'NOAH'S ARK' with John Voight ?), so I don't know why this film wasn't released theatrically. The claymation is brilliant, but never acts as a gimmick either. I wish the flashbacks in the story were done in the same style. Adults will probably enjoy 'THE MIRACLE MAKER' even more than the kids, though it is a fine family film. It is accurate, realistic, and entertaining. If it makes way to video, see it.
2 out of 3 found this helpful. Was this review helpful? | Report this
Enjoyable, reverent, could've been a bit longer....
emorr24 April 2000
...very enjoyable and moving stop-motion/animated movie condensing the life of Jesus into 2 hours. All the flashbacks and the temptation scenes are hand-drawn, all else is stop motion puppets. I felt there was a scene or two they could've added, but they were probably on a tight budget. Possibly the loaves & fishes, and the expelling the demon from the man into the pigs, and the dialogue between Jesus and the other two crucified thieves could've been added. I'm sure you'll see this on every Easter from now on. It's not preachy by any means, and very enjoyable. I also liked how Pilate was portrayed as an evil man, yet his decision with Jesus' fate was not based on his character. Temptation scenes with Satan were excellent also. Highly recommended.
2 out of 3 found this helpful. Was this review helpful? | Report this
Beautiful, intelligent and compassionate, like a biblical film should be
TheLittleSongbird27 January 2010
An absolutely wonderful film, not dull at all. It is true to the Bible, and really is something special. In the crucifixion scene, I not only had a lump in my throat but also had tears streaming down my cheeks. And the resurrection scene was just as powerful. The claymation puppetry is outstanding, the realism of the facial expressions and the sophistication of the backgrounds really do make your jaw drop. The music is just beautiful, there are places where it is haunting and there are others where it is heart-breakingly sad. The story is compelling and the script is excellent. And the voices are stellar, Ralph Fiennes gives a vocal performance of true intelligence and compassion in particular. Ian Holm is great as Pilate, and William Hurt is strong as Jarius. Richard E.Grant was a strange choice admittedly for John The Baptist though, but he is okay as his voice. In conclusion, this is a wonderful film. 10/10 Bethany Cox
1 out of 1 found this helpful. Was this review helpful? | Report this
Wonderful and beautiful
degreet11 August 2008
I cried over and over watching this movie. Being a Christian, it is very joyful seeing a representation of my Saviour's life, because He was such a wonderful Man, being that He was God.

Everyone should see this movie and realise truly and Biblically how this Man really was the greatest human being who ever lived- Jesus Christ.

The animation is excellent and the dialogue based mostly on the Bible gospels. The voices are famous people- like Ian Holm and Ralph Fiennes. They are all of different accents too, which i think is very good, because it shows that many people from different parts of the world were involved with making such a powerful movie.

Sit back with a good friend and enjoy a representation of the miracles and the wonder of Him.
1 out of 2 found this helpful. Was this review helpful? | Report this
Good story, excellent detail in animation
ssc_sunshine23 October 2006
This was an enjoyable movie from beginning to end. My husband and I caught part of it by accident when our Tivo recorded the wrong thing. We were so engrossed in the story that we had to find it and watch the rest. Luckily, I recognized Ralph Fiennes' voice, so we were able to track it down and buy the movie.

The quality of the audio (5.1) and the animation was incredible. I was especially impressed by the expressions on the characters' faces, especially in their eyes. It was like we were watching real people, not animation.

We recommend you check it out if you get the chance; we're even thinking of getting it as gifts for friends and family.
1 out of 2 found this helpful. Was this review helpful? | Report this
The Miracle Maker
Jackson Booth-Millard12 September 2005
Warning: Spoilers
For a TV made film, and a probably clay made animation film, this is actually a really good attempt the story of a our saviour the Christ, King of the Jews and the son of God. Jesus (played by The English Patient's Ralph Fiennes) known as The Miracle Maker has many extraordinary powers, e.g. giving people strength to stand, helping catching many fish and turning water into wine. Unfortunately, there were those who feared him, and threatened to destroy him. So he was condemned to be crucified. Some sad moments, and just the few tiniest moments that seem a bit cheesy, but this religious story is still very interesting. Also starring Julie Christie as Rachel, Richard E. Grant as John the Baptist, Sir Ian Holm as Pontius Pilate, Lost in Space's William Hurt as Jairus, Tim McInnerny as Barabbas, Spider-Man 2's Alfred Molina as Simon the Pharisee and Miranda Richardson as Mary Magdalene. Worth watching!
1 out of 2 found this helpful. Was this review helpful? | Report this
dropkickjenny14 April 2003
This film is amazing, not only for its story, but for its artistic qualities. The claymation and animation are truly masterful, and a wonderful thing to see. There is a perfect mix of claymation and cartoon animation, and the voice talent is impressive. It is just absolutely amazing to watch the detail they've put into this, the life-like qualities of the animations are spectacular. This is a must see for child and adult alike.
1 out of 2 found this helpful. Was this review helpful? | Report this
An excellent and faithful portrayal of the life of Jesus
greendoopey23 April 2000
I saw this on ABC on Easter Sunday. I was so pleased by this adaptation of the life of Jesus. The animation was non-traditional, which in a way was nice because it made this adaptation unique and not just another animated Jesus story. The story was very faithful to scripture, but it never dragged and had a good narrative arc. The voice work was excellent. I instantly recognized Ralph Fiennes as the voice of Jesus, and he filled the role with intelligence and compassion. The performances brought a warmth and realness to what is often seen as a bunch of cold, old, and distant Bible stories. In sum, this is a quality production that is excellent for kids and families and serves as a wonderful introduction to the life of Jesus.
1 out of 2 found this helpful. Was this review helpful? | Report this
Grant Smith26 October 2000
Our family viewed this on the big screen and all the children loved it.

I felt it took a unique approach to the gospel story, one which made it come alive more for the viewer. Pretty honest to the gospel story.

The animation was amazing and worth more than 10 out of ten for this one aspect.

It was a little strange though to hear strong Scots and Welsh accents among some of the characters.

On the whole this was one of the best cinema experiences of the year. Thoroughly recommend it.
1 out of 2 found this helpful. Was this review helpful? | Report this
Beautifully crafted depiction of the gift of faith
AMW-56 May 2000
Although specifically telling the story of Jesus and the beginnings of Christianity, the film does, I think, have something to offer people of all faiths and those of us who have no religious faith beyond a commitment to humanity and humanitarian principles. It achieves this by telling the story from the view point of ordinary people who witnessed the events. It is the effect that Jesus' life and death has on them that provides the "heart" of the film and their disbelief, emerging wonder, sorrow and final joy are extremely moving - and gives us something with which we can all identify.

This film has no state of the art effects. It provides no adrenalin rush of excitement. But it has been made by people whose belief in the enterprise shines through and as such provides all the satisfactions of any well-crafted work of art.
1 out of 2 found this helpful. Was this review helpful? | Report this
Excellent effects and narrative
brice15 May 2000
This movie has excellent effects. While it is like a claymation animation it is also in part drawn animation. Whenever a vision or dream is taking place it goes into this drawn animation mode. As for the story, it follows scripture well. When it deviates from scripture, it does so to help the narrative flow of the story. I would highly recommend it.
1 out of 2 found this helpful. Was this review helpful? | Report this
caroline-3117 April 2000
This is a charming and moving animation which uses a combination of Russian puppet animation and 2-d animation to great effect. The little girl that Jesus brought back to life has been used as the central character in this story following the last years of his life.We see him moving from giving up his trade as a carpenter through to the crucifiction and resurrection. Using animation means that the effects are more moving than just using real life actors - and the use of such a high-spec voice cast works well - Richard E Grant is suitably manic as John The Baptist for example. Loved it
1 out of 2 found this helpful. Was this review helpful? | Report this
Not rated for a reason.
Matthew Bennett16 March 2011
For being touted as "the #1 family film event", this movie is clearly not for children. There were several violent themes, and an overall message that didn't make any sense. Some parts were unintentionally funny but other than that, this is not a movie I would recommended to another human (especially not impressionable children). The "morals" included in this travesty were highly questionable, if not outright ridiculous. I don't feel it's appropriate to teach children that they can get away with anything as long as they tell some specific hippy-guy they're sorry and submit to his will unquestionably. I don't want my kids to submit to some creepy hippy-guy, that stuff makes the news and is why we have kids on the side of milk cartons! To sum it up, don't watch this movie unless you understand the difference between reality and fiction. The deus ex machina of this piece was absolutely mind numbing, the main characters couldn't accomplish anything without it. An example of extremely lazy writing.
2 out of 9 found this helpful. Was this review helpful? | Report this
An error has occured. Please try again.

See also

Awards | FAQ | User Ratings | External Reviews | Metacritic Reviews