Judge David Johnson has no Easter jokes. Oh wait, here's one: "How does the Easter Bunny stay healthy? Eggs-ercise!"
Three young folk, archaeologists Derek and Margo and their nomadic little friend Moki, get drawn into a sand pit on one of their digs and fall into an ancient chamber. There, they are time-warped to the days of the Bible, where they experience the major Biblical stories, first-hand. For this go-round, our friends are made privy to the mother of all Bible stories: the Easter narrative.
This episode unfolds in a slightly different manner than others. Where past installments had Derek, Margo, and Moki actually on the scene, and often actively playing a crucial part in the proceedings, this time the three meet Mark (of The Gospel of Mark fame), who then tells the Easter story to them. It's a shrewd move by the creators, sparing the characters from having to witness the scourging of Christ and all that.
Basically, you have a straightforward telling of the major events of Christ's final days on Earth: Palm Sunday, the Last Supper, the Garden of Gethsemane, the Roman ear-amputation, the trial before the San Hedrin, the release of Barabas, Peter's denial, the Crucifixion, the burial, the Resurrection, the revelation to the women, and, finally, the Ascension. Derek, Margo, and Moki simply listen to Mark's story, and the events play out chronologically (with one of the three characters asking a question here or there for theologically clarifying purposes).
This is a decent translation of the cornerstone of Christian faith into an easy-to-digest bit of animation. It's not graphic or disturbing (no more than anything you'd find in Sunday School) and covers all the big moments of the story. The animation is passable—though Jesus looks a little too airbrushed—and I'm glad Derek, Margo, and Moki were kept away from the real-time goings-on. That would have just been weird.
And here is my plea to parents looking to expose their young kids to a visual, dramatic enactment of the Easter story: go with this over The Passion of the Christ. Please. It gets the same job done, but with less emotional trauma.
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Scales of Justice
Studio: Warner Bros.
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