The Hunt for the Hidden Relic (TV Movie 2002) Poster

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Not a bad time travel story
pds-417 June 2005
This is a reasonably good, fast paced action/adventure/time travel thriller. Here in Australia, it was screened by SBS (without commercial interruptions!) as 4 one-hour segments over 4 weeks. There have been enough strongly negative comments about this film, and enough low ratings, that I suspect it has been shown in different edits in different places. The four-hour edit I saw was suspenseful and compelling, the acting and production were good, and there weren't any more plot holes than your typical thriller, and fewer than many more popular films. It was good enough to bring me back for each part after I accidentally switched it on half way through the second part. If you like a good adventure/thriller, and don't mind a bit of blood and a (fairly standard) time travel premise, and can catch the four hour edit, give it a go.
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Nice, be it a bit predictable movie
Jacques-Kinnaer24 October 2004
I have seen a 2 hour version of this movie and found it nice and enjoyable entertainment. The story flowed well and was interesting. Having seen perhaps too many movies, the plot was somewhat predictable, but nice, nonetheless.

In common with many action movies, we see the hero being beaten up, shot at, tortured ... and still running around in the end. Had it been me, I probably wouldn't even have survived the main character's first drop. Contrary, however, to many action movies, there was a story and the story did not get lost in the action. Dialogues were more than some stupid grunting and one-liners ... there was an attempt to make this story if not believable, then at least acceptable.

All in all, a nice movie ... It got my attention enough to want to read the book.
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Why didn't they use ANY of the novel's original ideas?
unbrokenmetal18 December 2002
I almost always avoid to compare movies to the novels they're based upon. You can't film a 600 page book and stay true to the text. That film would be 10 hours long, have endless dialogue scenes and be terribly boring. So I do agree, a screenplay writer has to simplify the story. But `Jesus Video' goes way too far to be acceptable. The book offered an amazing story (time-traveller presumably filmed J.C. Superstar, surely envied by Cecil B De Mille, but where did he leave the camera for the world to see?), many new ideas and surprising turns. Andreas Eschbach, the author, had a very clever way of never letting you easily guess what will happen next. His characters think a lot about the problems of time-travelling and the origins of religious belief, a fascinating concept. The movie script abandoned all creative ideas and all logical thought that made the book so impressive, instead it replaced them by a stupid action story we have seen a thousand times before: hey, that guy stole something that rightfully belongs to us! Let's chase him, torture him, kill him! Thus, a breathtaking story full of suspense was turned into a violent, boring 3 hour movie. 3 hours should be plenty of time to develop a clever storyline! Why were the producers scared and preferred to waste the huge potential? For example, the professor (in the book) is in a difficult situation, standing between his employer and the hero (his student). In the end, he is the key figure to the solution. In the movie however, they somehow didn't know what to do with him, since they wanted to rewrite the ending anyway (with another big explosion if possible), so somebody just shoots the professor in the middle of the film without any convincing motive. Bang, bang, one character less to write lines for, story even more simple from now on. The movie's only virtue is: every five minutes, somebody fires a gun to keep you awake.

This is definitely not a candidate for the `worst film ever'. It just is so depressing that this particular novel offered something we rarely get to see: new ideas, no cliches! But the movie doesn't use ANY of these ideas and delivers a below average action movie (I voted 3/10) instead. Such a waste of potential is annoying.

In opposite to a few other reviewers here, I think the actors did okay (within the limited possibilities the script gave them). Naike Rivelli reminded me so much of her mother, screen legend Ornella Muti, in the early 1980s. I'm looking forward to see more movies with this talented young lady, but please not `Jesus Video 2 - Pontius Strikes Back"!
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Surprisingly well made Action Adventure
knyrz6 December 2002
This surprisingly well made German two-part mini TV series is a worth while and entertaining action adventure.

During an archeological dig in Israel a student discovers an artefact that doesn't belong in the time period of the find along with clues to a missing piece that might have profound implications on the history as we know it. What follows is a suspenseful hunt by different organisations to find the missing piece and use it for their purposes.

Well scripted, acted and directed with some shortcomings towards the end.
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It was better than many others
rslaw6528 December 2005
It was a better movie than the EXPERT considers it to be, I did not move from my seat until it ended, sometimes experts want us to see things the way they see them, yet, we are not that spoiled. The settings were great, the quality of the movie was ideal, the chase scenes were entertaining, wardrobe, extras, the buildings, the wall of lamentations, I like the whole thing!

The leading lady was fine and very beautiful too.

How would the expert have liked it to be so that his review could have improved?

I don't agree with the critic, he was very biased.

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Complaints and Praises
andrew-12608 February 2006
There is a mix of people who have seen this movie and / or read the book. Many said it was bad and many said it was great. I haven't read the book (well, I really don't like reading books) but I thought the movie was great. Action packed with a twist at the end.

While it isn't Hollywood material, lets face it - it is much better than some of the Hollywood movies out there (like The Pacifier and The Shaggy Dog).

Its a great movie to watch and very enjoyable. But wish the DVD had subtitles in English (and other languages too). Very enjoyable and worth watching.
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Better than the books that's for sure
antoinebachmann23 September 2003
Having read some comments explaining how the film did not do justice to the book, I bought and read the book. It was a tough task because this is one of the most poorly written books I have read in a long time (not the translator's fault - I read it in German).

As for the ideas, the cliches abound and nothing is believable.

So even though the film is full of unbelievable moments, and of cliches, believe it or not but it is a marked improvement on the book!

Make sure you don't buy the book, or waste time reading it.

Yes it was a best-seller in Germany but I guess this only proves that today's masses are ignorant and unsophisticated enough, that they can be made to love such a thing... ;-)
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candole22 August 2005
This is my kind of amusement movie. A middle eastern location, intriguing mystery story and lots of running around exotic locations looking for lost-for-millenia hidden relics. Therefore it wouldn't be that hard to make this a good enough movie.

You would think.

Instead it turns out to be a POINTLESS film. The acting is OK and the locations fulfill the requirements of sandy exotica, but the rest...

How does he suddenly get the idea that the skeleton could be a time traveler, five minutes into the film? How can any of the characters survive all these onslaughts of violence with nothing than the odd photogenic cut next to his eyebrow? If all these people are looking for him why does he walk around Jerusalem looking exactly the same as he normally does?

The questions go on and on but it would spoil the plot of the movie, so i will stop. Enough to say that the why? you ask yourself at the beginning of the movie is still unanswered by the time the credits roll. From what you hear from the members of the board, the book sounds rather interesting, containing the elements that would have made this a great movie. Therefore the recommendation is pass the rental and go and buy the book.
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very good work
john-36458 July 2006
good story with well developed characters. baddies were real bad, pre-dates the intrigue of the current religious stories. good action simple and dramatic with good twists and turns. A bit of a brain teaser and not completely predictable as some generally are. I should be available in the US even in German but it would be nice as to have some English. this is one of the few where you could get away with that as there asre several characters from various nationalities in the cast. If it ever remade re made please don't loose the good acting, good story and mystery for to much action, it does not need anything more. several of these actors need more exposure, i found them all believable.
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One of the worst scripts ever
GMTMaster6 December 2002
One has to watch the truly ill fated JESUS VIDEO till the end to fully grasp the mindless screenplay that went into this so called "Event" production. A young archeologist student (total misscast - Koerbelin) finds by accident a 2000 year old instruction book to a Sony Video Cam. With it a mysterious letter, that leads to the assumption that Jesus was filmed with this Camera. Sounds good, since this is the basic plot outline from the novel, which this film is based upon. What happens next is 180 minutes of a boring chase between typical bad guys (of course all dressed in black) and a week archeologist student. The Mossad, a secret Vatikan brotherhood and a rich US guy are after the camera. "Action" takes place in Israel and everybody speaks fluent German. Everybody is chasing the student and whoever the student meets is being killed after a minute or two. A shameless rip off of a plot-point from "The Marathon Man" tops the dull script. Also this must be an action film where there is more talk than action. The acting is beyond words. The DOP, however is a small highlight, but doesn't help over a bad direction. Who are they trying to fool with this boring and mindless story? I'll give it 2 out of 10.
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They Needed To Shoot Someone Else
woodwyn29 October 2006
I saw this in the video store titled "Ancient Relic" and was intrigued, knowing nothing about it. When I started watching it, I was impressed with the production values, the music, the look of the cast and then they opened their mouths: DUBBED! I quickly stopped the DVD, went to the menu expecting to switch to German dialogue with English subtitles, only to find no such option existed. The only way to watch it was dubbed. Doh! And watch it I did. It was a fun a little story that really needed to be cut down to 2 hours, but otherwise a joy to look at. The music was enthralling and the story interesting. But the producer or the distributor and definitely most of the dubbing actors (if you can call them actors) needed to be shot for the dreadful blow they dealt to this film (oh and let's not forget the voice casting director!). The lackluster voice performances destroyed any compelling drama the original production might have had. There is no way to adequately judge a movie that has been dubbed, beyond the story and production values. It further disturbs me that our country has gotten so lazy that we would rather listen to a badly dubbed movie than feel the drama of the original performance and read the subtitles, so much so some production or distribution executive decided not to spend the money on offering a subtitled original language version. I sat riveted to "Das Boot" in the original German, even as I read the English translation. Not that this is anything as brilliant as Das Boot, but come on, the weaker the content the more you need to give it every edge possible. Frankly I think this was a fine film, definitely entertaining and definitely worth watching -- otherwise I would have turned it off within the first 15 minutes of the horrible dubbing job. It is most unfortunate that someone in power was so bone-headed as to actually think this version would be acceptable to anyone, much less represent the film the way the director intended. I might have given the film an 8 if not for the poor dubbing. But I enjoyed watching it enough to recommend to others despite the bad English dub.
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Festival of ridiculous clichés!
Anetka2 February 2005
This movie is so poor and full of clichés, that I watched it to the end just from masochistic pleasure and desire to see, how bad it can yet become. From solving of love-triangle problem to amazing escapes, from changing the characters behavior as the story need to romantic-heroic quotes - cliché on cliché! I absolutely agree with the opinion of some other user, that: "It's one of those movies which are so bad, that it gets funny." I laughed on tons of flat dialogs and actors trying to pretend the dead-seriously acting. I watched it on TV in two parts and in first part I was able to predict some things that fulfilled in second part. I have not read the book, I never heard of it, but it must have been bestseller only because of the topic (people like mysteries, but I've read surely much better books about time traveling). Regardless of book, this TV adaptation is awful. The main character (Matthias Koeberlin) can act just with his eyebrows and the rest of the cast is a bunch of ugly Germans (except Manou Lubowski) acting just with the angry face. From my point of view is German cinematography mostly made of C-class crime-series and D-class romantic flicks with poor actors, but there are some fantastic exceptions, like Knockin' on Heaven's Door, I'm Juli (without the apostrophe, it's not my fault, this system always rewrite it), Was tun, wenn's brennt? or Das Experiment. If you want to watch something German, try rather these ones.
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SilentJay766 December 2002
This was one of the two worst movies I have ever seen in my life (the other being "Anaconda")! It's one of those movies which really are so bad, that they get funny.

The story actually sounds really interesting. But the acting is terrible, there is absolutely no logic to the events, and even less realism. The author of the book was apparently quite upset about what they had done to his story. No wonder! Take a terrible screenplay (completely changed from the book), add some awful actors, and you've got a candidate for turkey of the year.

I haven't read the book on which it was based, but it was a bestseller and won several awards, so I'm sure it must be better than this made-for-TV garbage. If there's nothing else on TV one of these nights - go to bed. Play Scrabble. Read a book. Clean your apartment from top to bottom. Just don't suffer through this self-proclaimed "movie event of the year!"
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Super-flat (why did A. Eschbach approve to this??)
jensolejak31 January 2008
Maybe I didn't enjoy this movie only because I read the book first.

The book: it is not utterly brilliant, but contains some excellent ideas and some cleverly touching moments, making it a worthwhile read on overall.

The film: although I appreciate that the plot had to be shortened to fit into a two hours duration, it has almost nothing in common with the book. On the plus side, a few entertaining and well-made action sequences that weren't contained in the book. But most (really, most) of the good things of the book were simply left out - IMHO the screenwriter did a terrible job. The plot was super-flattened and the characters were frighteningly empty, making it a silly action flick as opposed to the great and clever film it could have been. I have *very* rarely observed such a huge discrepancy between a book and its film version.
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A plot good enough to make me want to read the book
...Unfortunately my German is too rudimentary and apparently it has never been translated into English or Spanish. The film, per se, is poorly directed and acting is High School play level at best. I swear there are scenes when actors are virtually laughing when they should be grieving.

I think the book has the potential to serve as basis for a good remake as a mini-series. Actually, I saw the short version in TV a few years after it was released (according to the posted date here) but I couldn't make much out of it and just found the 3 hour version dubbed to English at a friend's CD library. It actually made sense but I guess the four hour version much be better in the storytelling department.

I'm giving it a 6/10 grade mainly because of the plot. I don't think the book will be translated into English or any other language I can read fluently as I've found it was not a huge sales success, but hopefully the novel by Andreas Eschbach and its sequel do get remade into a couple of seasons of a better produced mini-series.
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Germany tries to snatch Dan Brown's laurel crown
myriamlenys11 July 2018
Warning: Spoilers
To begin with the good : "Das Jesus Video" does have entertainment value, at least for viewers willing not to overthink things. The science-fiction angle is barely examined but there is a lot of adventure and suspense against a background of historical monuments or exotic scenery. Pursuits, assassins, secret societies, culturally important landmarks, age-old conspiracies, Documents That Might Change The World As We Know It : we're clearly in Dan Brown country rather than in the Holy Land, although the series, I'll give it that, takes itself less seriously than Dan Brown's oeuvre does. It's a professionally made little B-series of the popcorn variety, and should be watched (and appreciated) as such.

I would not necessarily encourage the actors (the blond protagonist included) to go and tackle some of the great Shakespearian tragedies, but again, this is pretty much par for the course.

However, our blond hero does look spectacularly trim and handsome, especially in shorts and underpants. He continues to look spectacularly trim and handsome, even when getting punched and beaten up like a giant stress ball. The same goes for those scenes where he is getting tortured or being threatened with torture. (Strangely, none of this causes him to get hospitalized for fourteen months or so.)

Which rather brings me to one of the negatives : there are some pretty weird undercurrents here. I get the impression that some of the material, especially the torture scenes, might be of considerable interest to psychiatrists. Hell, I can picture a seminar full of psychiatrists making notes, using quite a lot of words beginning with dys- or ending in -pathy and -phobia.

Finally it needs to be said that the ending is frustrating, since it does not offer any clear dénouement or resolution, and this after hours of pursuits, explosions and double-crosses. It's quite possible that it was designed to be mysterious and tantalizing, but still, frustrating is the word...
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read it before you watch it
bartek-michalski14 December 2007
if you love the book, the movie is good to see to make a comparison. People who do not know the original novel, most likely, will not enjoy the movie. It's flat, died-and-ran-away, and "what is it all about?". I agree you can't make a good 2,5h motion picture out of excellent! >600 pages twist and turn (and "make me think") story. Watch it on your own risk, but don't come back and complain until you read the original. ...

well done from technical side..., no complains about actors'es play, pity the director focused only on "run for your life" scenes, but as it seems a quite low budget movie (so don't expect any FX to remember), sounds as a nice event for an evening (if you red a book before - otherwise go and see "Mummy ..." series"). Veni, Vidi, flushed....

I loved to see it as the book is in my Top 10 "Sci-Fi" list.... go and spend a week to find what is it all about.
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Not perfect, but who cares?
PlaceKatemus23 April 2006
Fist of all, there are no ideal movies in this world, because this is to personal meaning. It is great for me. Yesterday in Russia we had Pacha(Christian holiday) and this film was shown deeply at night, 2 parts at once. Someone here sad that the main character could act just with his his eyebrows, but I think that's not because of bad actor game, that is because of character specific. It is hard to imagine such things would happen for real, so you can only guess how the real person would act. Also, I don't think the good film should be expensive. And sometimes I hate Hoolliwood movies and there actors/ You want good European actor to act like all them? Thera are the same! And the fact, that they act not just with there eyebrows doesn't mean they do it well.
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It probably would have worked at 90-100 minutes
Horst_In_Translation30 March 2017
Warning: Spoilers
"Das Jesus Video" or " The Hunt for the Hidden Relic" or "Ancient Relic" is a German German-language movie that came out back in 2002, which means it has its 15th anniversary this year. It is based on a novel by Andreas Eschbach. The director is Sebastian Niemann and the writer is Martin Ritzenhoff and looking at other works from these two I must say I am almost a bit surprised that this film we have here did not become a huge failure as there are more than just a few projects in their bodies of work that are underwhelming to say the least and honestly when ProSieben makes a film about Jesus that runs for over three hours, then chances are it becomes a huge mess. So yes this was a small screen release, but it did not turn into a huge mess. But it also did not turn into a quality film by any means. If you look at the cast, you will not find too many known names here. Koeberlin is a bit of a poor man's Florian Lukas (not that Lukas is a great actor) and other than him the stunning Naike Rivelli is the female co-lead. Dietrich Hollinderbäumer is probably known to heute show audiences. Hans Diehl is August Diehl's father. Gode Benedix is kind of a nice presence, at least for me, even if he admittedly also played in quite a few bad films and you can probably count this one here as well into that category.

Now about the film itself: There are some weaker acting performances with bad moments in here, but there is not one area where the film really sucks. But there is also not one area where it is really convincing. I already stated in the title that I feel the script is kinda bloated. The title of the film states that this is a film about time travel and thus about the possibility of making a video about Jesus Christ with actual footage and the latter is the absolute core plot in the film. But wait... isn't the fact that they may have succeeded with time traveling much more spectacular? Anyway, there are some moments here and there when the film digs into sucker territory, like the way they kill off one guy so that the female protagonist is single again and ready to mingle with the male protagonist. Anyway, with this subject I am not too surprised that the film received a great deal of attention (not with awards bodies, just audiences), but it is sadly at over 180 minutes not good enough, not focused enough, not concise enough to really live up to its potential. The ending is fine I think, though a bit melodramatic perhaps and I also liked some other scenes like the interrogation at the end of the first 90 minutes. As a whole, however, the negative is more frequent and I give this one a thumbs-down. Don't watch.
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Well Worth A Viewing: Time concepts
desertsunflower9923 May 2008
Warning: Spoilers
Rented this film on VHS(!!) from a small town video store a few years ago - would like to see it again on DVD (and even own a copy). If anyone is wondering about the original title this is a non-religious film with story relevant references to religion. So really more of an archaeological beat with adventurous extras. A German-Indiana Jones-in-the-desert, perhaps. Well worth at least one viewing and for the following reason I would have preferred to have given it 10 stars: The time travel aspects + the arc in the story addressing concepts of non-locality and spherical time. Don't want to say more on that for fear of adding spoilers and ruining the fun details. I may have been a little generous but 10 stars would definitely be misleading. Though the acting was good there seems to have not been much of a budget. But I believe they did the very best they could with what funds they were given. No doubt. And an on the ball cast, crew, director, etc. can make the difference between a total bomb and a worthy 'B' movie. I saw a version dubbed into English. They did a pretty good job (good timing, believable character voices) and for the action this made it nicer than having to read subtitles. I was not familiar with the actors - maybe if I had been and knew what they really sounded like it would have been a distraction. If the locales are 'exotic' for you it will be a fun ride. And (because of the discussion of the alternate paradigm regarding the nature of time) if you are into 'the new' quantum physics, the holographic model of the universe and related topics, e.g., the studies re: praying for the past affecting medical patients in the present, then you might find this an enjoyable film~~
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Brilliant entertainment based on bestseller
Zwuck11 November 2002
If you have the chance to see this two-part mini series, you can´t afford to miss it: I have never seen before such an action- packed and amazing thriller from germany. The director Niemann did a great job in all subjects - camera, music, actors and the script are just excellent!!!
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This movie is a dull example of what filmmakers can do to a really great book!
michael_kleinhenz8 December 2002
What an awful book adaption!

Can please anyone tell me why they have changed the wonderful book plot this way? The original author of the novel, Andreas Eschbach, carefully avoided any logic errors, like the time paradoxon problem or the fact that the main character does not recognize his own handwriting. All this was destroyed thru the radically changed new ending. Also, some of the nice details of the book were initially mentioned in the movie, but not used to the extent: the monk says that "they can take a look at the mirror every hundred years", but when the camera is examined, it has no power whatsoever.

Sorry, but this movie is a dull example of what filmmakers can do to a really great book!
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A great story about a video tape of Jesus made by a time traveler.
xerofun6 December 2002
This movie is really good although it's a German movie. ;) German movies usually have cheesy plots but this one is really good. On an archeological excavation a student falls into a hole and finds a skeleton of a person that died 2000 years ago. Along with the skeleton there's a manual of a video camera and a letter written by the one who died 2000 years ago.

This starts a hunt for the jesus video that's hidden somewhere.

It's a great exciting plot with a lot of action.
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This is not a movie, this is a bad joke!
ZeryabFilms21 December 2002
This is not a movie, this is a bad joke!

this Joke is full of annoying and stupid mistakes, like a cobra snake in Israel, and many more!

I did not see such a joke before in my life
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Better than the book; worse than the book
lastliberal13 November 2008
This is not another Nazi film, although is is German, and it is eerily similar to Raiders of the Lost Ark.

Based upon a novel by Andreas Eschbach, you get two contrasting opinions on the film compared to the book. At over three hours, you will think you are reading a novel, rather than watching a film.

It is a suspense thriller/time-travel movie. Archaeologists find bones that are carbon dated at 2000 years, but there are amalgam fillings in the teeth and a rod in the leg that can only be seven years old. In addition, there is a plastic bag withe instructions for a video camera that is not even on the market.

Only one explanation, and the German title, Das Jesus Video, gives a better clue to what was going on.

While the archaeologists are trying to decipher the riddle, there is a group led by a man in a secret organization descended from the Spanish Inquisition, much like Silas in The Da Vinci Code. Both have no qualms about killing for Jesus.

Lots of action, and great stunt work, along with blood and torture, as the two groups go after the video camera that allegedly has the face of Jesus. Some surprises at the end, as expected, which add to the mystery.
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