Warner Bros. // 1989 // 28 Minutes // Not Rated
Reviewed by Judge David Johnson // April 14th, 2006
Healing the lepers in 2D.
Hanna-Barbera produced a series of Bible cartoons about 20 years ago. These shows featured straight-forward retellings of classic Bible stories, but with a weird twist: each episode featured three kids from "current times" (i.e. 1986). Derek and Margo are young archaeologists, and they're accompanied by their wise-cracking, comic-relief Bedouin pal Moki. One day, while poking around a dig site, they find themselves launched back into time, to when the happenings in the Bible were actually happening.
This installment has the kids cruising around some time in the A.D. In a marketplace they meet a guy named Benjamin, who launches into the story of Jesus. Our three young protagonists sit transfixed as Benjamin relates the various miracles of Christ (with an occasional gag thrown in by Moki to elicit some chuckles). Benjamin hits the major miracles: the calming of the storm, raising the dead, turning water into wine, healing the ill, hooking up the Roman Centurion, the giant catch of fish, walking on water, it's all there. The thrust of the feature is juxtaposing the tricks and illusions Moki is enthralled with at the marketplace to the real-deal miracles Jesus pulled off during his three-year ministry.
As was the case with The Easter Story, another one of these "Greatest Adventures" shows, the kids don't actually interact with the unfolding narrative. The Moses, David and Goliath, and Noah's Ark episodes actually have the kids partaking in the events; the Jesus stuff has them as listeners, which makes sense considering the theological ramifications of having the Son of God forced to baby-sit some kids from the '80s.
Miracle of Jesus is a nice recap of the stuff Jesus pulled of in the Bible. The animation is adequate and the storytelling no-nonsense, but for what it's trying to do -- faithfully transmit the Big Man's miraculous endeavors in an easy-on-the-eyes cartoon format -- the show works. If you're looking for introductory Biblical storytelling, this disc do fine.
My complaint, however, is the same for every other installment: the lack of content. The feature presentation only lasts 28 minutes, and aside from trailers, there's nothing else on the disc. Too bad Warner Brothers couldn't have consolidated a bunch of stories on one disc.
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Scales of Justice
Studio: Warner Bros.
* Full Frame
* Dolby Digital 2.0 Stereo (English)
Running Time: 28 Minutes
Release Year: 1989
MPAA Rating: Not Rated