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Matthew A. Brown,
The story of Lehi and his wife Sariah and their four sons: Laman, Lemuel, Sam, and Nephi. Lehi leaves Jerusalem because he prophesied unto the people concerning the destruction of Jerusalem, and they sought his life. He journeys into the wilderness with his family. He sends Nephi and his brethren back to Jerusalem after the brass plates and the family of Ishmael. The sons and daughters of Lehi marry the sons and daughters of Ishmael. They take their families and continue into the wilderness. Ishmael dies in the wilderness. They come to the sea. Nephi's brethren rebel against him. He confounds them, and builds a ship. They cross the sea to the promised land in the Americas. Lehi dies in the promised land. Nephi's brethren rebel against him again. Nephi departs again into the wilderness. Written by
a fan of LDS Cinema
Noah Danby, the actor who played Nephi, had never read the Book of Mormon before making this film. Before the end of the project, he was preparing for baptism and dating Jacque Gray, the actress who played Terza, Nephi's Wife. See more »
The costumes - an odd hodge-podge of modern Middle Eastern and ancient Aztec apparently patterned after the highly fanciful paintings of Arnold Friberg, bear no resemblance whatsoever to Jewish attire of the day. See more »
My friend and colleague Ishmael has sufficient daughters for my sons and sons for my daughters.
Father, I think this is the best vision you ever had. Father, I will go and do the thing the Lord hath commanded for I know the Lord would not give a commandment...
Enough, Nephi, enough. Do I note a little more enthusiasm this time?
Perhaps, Father, perhaps, oh, one more thing Father, a favor, before we leave tomorrow, could you inquire of the Lord if there is anything more he would have us do while...
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This project is something that many members of the LDS faith have wanted to see in motion picture form. Gary Rogers had the guts to step up and actually do it. Was this a good idea? Should a 'golden book' be made into a movie with a 'copper budget?'
Well it was done. The result is something extremely controversial. The Book of Mormon Movie, Volume 1 the Journey has pros and cons. What is good about the movie is Noah Danby (Nephi). That man can act! He can cry on the queue and make a stunt move that looks painful. Mark Gollaher (Lemuel) isn't so bad either! The rest of the cast have their moments but are weak or sappy most of the time.
The miniatures by Clark Shaffer, who has work for I.L.M. for years, are well done. The models are large (the great and spacious building was about 5 five feet tall!) and highly detailed. The shots with Jerusalem and the boat are forced perspective shots (bringing the model close to the camera, then the people further away, and using a special lens to focus it correctly). And some of them worked while others did not. The compositing was done well most of the time, with the exception of a close up of Nephi and the blurred figures in the background have a sharp edge against the ocean.
The music is good at parts but needed to conform to a Middle East feel rather than the Russian feel I believe it had. This could be done by being in a different key and using different instruments.
My favorite scene was when Nephi collapses in the desert and there is a rush of images and powerful sound in a 'Gladiator' type of moment. It catches the film up to that point in an interesting well done editing moment.
The biggest problems were:
Too much voice over!!! The reason that some people feel that the movie is 'slow paced' is not because it is slow paced at all. It actually covers a lot at the end with a fast pace. It drags, and the reason it drags is because Nephi narrates half the time while you see a slide-show of events.
The Automatic Dialog Replacement (ADR) did not match up. In other words you can tell when it was dubbed. And the sound quality was poor. This project was done on 24p High Definition cameras, the same cameras Lucas used for Episode 2, and the print job to 35mm film was not good. It lacked a full range of values and color. It was grainy at parts and doesn't look as clean as the HD source.
Some of the things important to the story were skipped; how did Nephi convince Ishmael and his family to leave into the wilderness? How did the boat get to sea and how did they land?
The costumes where lacking in quality and for some reason there are more fat people in Jerusalem than actual middle-eastern people. Most of all the camera angles lacked in creativity and greatness (I admit that I did like a couple of shots and the helicopter shots were cool). There are a lot of jump cuts because of lack of any other angle to cut to, mostly a big lack of coverage. This is due to many factors including: a low budget, a limited 30 day production shoot, and an underpaid crew.
The worst scene was probably the one between Sariah and Ishmael's wife. It was over dramatic and the dialog is feeding back story information to the audience. That isn't the best way to establish their closeness.
What's amazing that the budget was stretched beyond it's limits and that this thing actually got through production and post production and into theaters, unlike Richard Dutcher's Joseph Smith project. After seeing this one I have faith that Gary will make the next one better. And don't think that you'll see a big budget 'Mormon Movie' not put out by the LDS church, if The Book of Mormon Movie was made for $40 million, or anything else considered big budget, it would never make the money back. It's just too small of an audience. The reason the LDS church can put out movies like 'The Testements' is because they can fund the production and the people working on it well.
Personally I am not a fan of these 'Mormon Movies.' But this is what a lot of people asked for so this is what they get.
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