VIDEO

LABEL: BYU BROADCASTING/GROBERG FILMS
CATALOG NUMBER: CCID-2700901
UPC NUMBER: 796795402593
NUMBER OF DISCS: 1
RUNNING TIME: 75 MIN.
YEAR RECORDED: 2014
RELEASE DATE: 2015
ASPECT RATIO: 16:9
AUDIO: STEREO
REGION: 1

VIDEO SAMPLES OTHER RELEASES

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SITE RATING:  6/10
SITE REVIEW:  An earnest, often handsome, but ultimately messy and unfocused documentary by Utah filmmakers Lee Groberg and Mark Goodman, Handel's Messiah feels like three different films, all getting in each other's way.  The first film is a beautifully-filmed historical re-enactment of Handel's life, with rich costuming, location filming in Europe, good-to-excellent acting, and elegant, if occasionally florid voice-over work by actress Jane Seymour.  The second side of the film is a pure documentary, with interview segments with various musical experts, including John Rutter, Paul McCreesh, and various professors, opera producers, and others, give informed, sometimes enlightened commentary on Handel's life, works, and personality.  The third part of the film is the most intrusive, with various choirs from around the world breaking in to offer their own interpretations of Messiah's Hallelujah chorus, with styles ranging from Rock to World Music, to more traditional performances.  These performances, interesting as they are, are thrust into the narrative in jarring cuts that not only break the narrative flow of the documentary, but stylistically are so remote from the 17th-Century reenactment as to give an air of absurdity to the proceedings.  Jarring too is the evangelical bent the narrative takes, which is an outgrowth of the documentary's attention to Charles Jennins' libretto, but seems to push it's own agenda, apart from the oratorio.  In addition to the main feature, there are several bonus featurettes, which expand and elaborate on the themes found in the main documentary, including "The Making of Messiah," "The Message of Messiah," "The Musicality of Messiah," "Hallelujah Chorus performances" and others.  A film that seems to have tried to hit too many bases and do too many things, in the end, it doesn't do any of them nearly as well as I would have hoped.


The Compleat Messiah All Content Copyright 2016 Bret D. Wheadon
All Rights Reserved.