Judge David Johnson lives next door to a former KJB agent.
The book that changed the world.
John Rhys-Davies (The Lord of the Rings) presents this documentary/reenactment of the creation of the King James Bible. And while on first blush that may not sound like the most thrilling stories of history to devote a film to, I was impressed.
Granted, I'm a) a sucker for English history, and b) a God-fearing sprout myself, so there's a vested interest going in right away—but I'm confident that even if you possess an atom or two of interest in the material, you will come away equally as entertained.
KJB (which, admittedly, sounds way too much like the ring name of a WWE superstar) tells it tale through three methods: Rhys-Davies walking and talking the audience through the story; dramatic, period reenactments of major biblical events; and a selection of experts and researchers providing further details and insights. It's an effective combination, lending the birth of the King James Bible a weighty, almost epic tone.
Of the three storytelling methods, the sequences with Rhys-Davies are my favorite. Set aside the fact that he has been popping up in terrible low-budget sci-fi movies far too frequently, and you'll be able to go with the image he puts forth in this film: a passionate, learned man excited about the material. The guy is genuinely awed by the story and watching him circulate through locations where these historical events actually happened is fun; he's very much like a kid in a candy store.
The quality of the reenactments can be dodgy, but the actors are earnest and the production design is solid. Regardless, they're limited in their usage and tend to be front-loaded, used primarily to set the historical scene.
My only criticism: the history and process is covered in depth, but not much is told about the actual significance of the King James Bible. Rhys-Davies notes how it was such an impacting publication, but details are scarce. How did the translation affect Christendom? How did it fit in the Reformation? How was it embrace by the common man? To be fair, many of these points are elucidated in the bonus features.
The technical specs are solid, featuring a clean, attractive 1.78:1 anamorphic widescreen and a 2.0 stereo mix. Extras: 40 minutes of extended interviews with the scholars, and an entertaining interview with John Rhys-Davies.
Hence, Thou Shalt Not be Guilty.
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