Easter is Almost Here and With it, Horrible Bible Movies

Leveraging the marketing possibilities of Easter, television executives unleash a host of bad biblical films around the second week of April which provide a quick study in the decline of Christian culture and, occasionally, real entertainment.

Consider the Feast of the Annunciation. This scene from the Gospel of Luke in which an angel reveals to Mary that she is pregnant with the Son of God was a popular subject for Renaissance and Baroque artists.


Even as late as the nineteenth century, the Feast showed up in the work of a number of Pre-Raphaelite painters. But the scene is botched in most biblical remakes. In the Jesus of Nazareth miniseries, Mary talks to an invisible angel somewhere outside her window and in the recent The Nativity Story a bearded angel with a striking resemblance to the adult Jesus gives a bored Mary the good news.

Proponents of biblical films can point to the success of Mel Gibson’s The Passion of Christ. But Gibson’s film is the exception compared to the awful King of Kings and the epic flop The Greatest Story Ever Told where a dour Jesus roams around the American Southwest running into the likes of Jamie Farr, Pat Boone and John Wayne. More recent efforts underscore that the Bible does not adapt as well to the screen as it does to other art forms. One of the worst recent efforts was Noah’s Ark where Jon Voight saves all the drowning animals and F. Murray Abraham plays leader to a bunch of pirates.

Christianity has always been given strong exposure in the arts, but when the art is little more that a cloying attempt to rehash biblical narratives, one wonders about our respect for the narrative in the first place.

China’s artificial sun reaches fusion temperature: 100 million degrees

In a breakthrough for nuclear fusion research, scientists at China's Experimental Advanced Superconducting Tokamak (EAST) reactor have produced temperatures necessary for nuclear fusion on Earth.

Credit: EAST Team
Surprising Science
  • The EAST reactor was able to heat hydrogen to temperatures exceeding 100 million degrees Celsius.
  • Nuclear fusion could someday provide the planet with a virtually limitless supply of clean energy.
  • Still, scientists have many other obstacles to pass before fusion technology becomes a viable energy source.
Keep reading Show less

Project 100,000: The Vietnam War's cruel and deadly experiment

Military recruits are supposed to be assessed to see whether they're fit for service. What happens when they're not?

Flickr user Tommy Truong79
Politics & Current Affairs
  • During the Vietnam War, Robert McNamara began a program called Project 100,000.
  • The program brought over 300,000 men to Vietnam who failed to meet minimum criteria for military service, both physically and mentally.
  • Project 100,000 recruits were killed in disproportionate numbers and fared worse after their military service than their civilian peers, making the program one of the biggest—and possibly cruelest—mistakes of the Vietnam War.
Keep reading Show less

Here's how diverse the 116th Congress is set to become

The 116th Congress is set to break records in term of diversity among its lawmakers, though those changes are coming almost entirely from Democrats.

(Photo: MANDEL NGAN/AFP/Getty Images)
Politics & Current Affairs
  • Women and nonwhite candidates made record gains in the 2018 midterms.
  • In total, almost half of the newly elected Congressional representatives are not white men.
  • Those changes come almost entirely from Democrats; Republican members-elect are all white men except for one woman.
Keep reading Show less