Jump to content
Sign in to follow this  
Peter T Chattaway

David and Goliath (2015)

Recommended Posts

Links to our threads on previous life-of-David adaptations King David (1985) and Kings (2009).

Links to our thread on the in-development life-of-David movies Goliath and Day of War and the in-development TV series King David.

I still want to know what's become of that King David script that J. Michael Straczynski wrote.

 

- - -

 

Apparently there's a new movie about David & Goliath in the works. Supposedly it will be filmed this year for release next year. I'd never heard of the filmmaker, Tim Chey, before, but apparently he gave an interview where he promised his film would be "biblically correct in every way"... which got me and others thinking about how he'd reconcile the discrepancies between different scriptures and different versions of those scriptures. Assuming he even knows that those discrepancies exist, that is.

 

(E.g.: I Samuel says David killed Goliath, but II Samuel says a soldier named Elhanan did. This overlap between the two texts apparently bothered the author/editor of I Chronicles enough that *that* text says Elhanan actually killed the *brother* of Goliath and not Goliath himself.)


"Sympathy must precede belligerence. First I must understand the other, as it were, from the inside; then I can critique it from the outside. So many people skip right to the latter." -- Steven D. Greydanus
Now blogging at Patheos.com. I can also still be found at Facebook, Twitter and Flickr. See also my film journal.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

"Sympathy must precede belligerence. First I must understand the other, as it were, from the inside; then I can critique it from the outside. So many people skip right to the latter." -- Steven D. Greydanus
Now blogging at Patheos.com. I can also still be found at Facebook, Twitter and Flickr. See also my film journal.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

"Sympathy must precede belligerence. First I must understand the other, as it were, from the inside; then I can critique it from the outside. So many people skip right to the latter." -- Steven D. Greydanus
Now blogging at Patheos.com. I can also still be found at Facebook, Twitter and Flickr. See also my film journal.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I couldn't finish the trailer. The constant attempts at Peter Jackson-style swooping camera movement just draws attention to how lame this movie looks.


"A director must live with the fact that his work will be called to judgment by someone who has never seen a film of Murnau's." - François Truffaut

Twitter.
Letterboxd.

Reviews and essays at Three Brothers Film.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I kept wondering what Daenerys Targaryen was doing in the movie. But, for some reason, I can't bring myself to outright mock the trailer; it's so darn square and earnest.

 

Perhaps I'm going soft.

 

EDIT: Ok, on re-watch--"You're just doing this for riches, honor, and my hand in marriage, aren't you?" is a pretty funny line.

Edited by NBooth

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Oh, NBooth. You actually re-watched it. You're a braver man than I.

 

But yes, now that you mention it, that *is* a funny line! I must confess I hadn't even thought about that, because I was too distracted by the implausibility of the princess being on the front lines, having any say in her future, or being blonde.


"Sympathy must precede belligerence. First I must understand the other, as it were, from the inside; then I can critique it from the outside. So many people skip right to the latter." -- Steven D. Greydanus
Now blogging at Patheos.com. I can also still be found at Facebook, Twitter and Flickr. See also my film journal.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I almost gave up at the awkward Psalms translation that went "He lies me down in green pastures..." What?!?

Am I getting this right--the entire movie is centered on the David & Goliath incident? No wonder there's so much yelling. They're trying to expand the source material to fill 90 minutes.


There is this difference between the growth of some human beings and that of others: in the one case it is a continuous dying, in the other a continuous resurrection. (George MacDonald, The Princess and Curdie)

Isn't narrative structure enough of an ideology for art? (Greg Wright)

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Yeah, the yelling got to me, too. It also looks like in order to emphasize the threat that Goliath is, they have him killing a lot of his own guys - an odd choice. They found a huge guy to play Goliath, but he doesn't seem like much of an actor. Sad, sad.


In case you were wondering, my name is spelled "Denes House," but it's pronounced "Throatwobbler Mangrove."

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Since this film isn't screening in Canada, but is screening about 4 miles from my house, I may write a guest review for Peter's blog.

To prepare, I watched two other Tim Chey films: SUING THE DEVIL and THE GENIUS CLUB (featuring Stephen Baldwin). Based on those films, here are some predictions for DAVID AND GOLIATH:

  • It will begin and end with, and be interrupted by, tedious narration because that's the easiest way to do exposition. 
  • It will conclude with a modern worship song whose lyrics don't have anything to do with the plot.
  • Someone will complain about high gas prices.
  • Actors will do a lot of yelling. 
  • Someone will get cancer. 
  • Someone will pose the standard theodicy question, "How could God let this happen?" and get some kind of one-sentence pat answer.
  • The film will purport to tell a story within a given narrative framework and then proceed to violate whatever rules might inhere in that framework.
  • If you miss a line of dialogue, don't worry. It will be repeated if Chey thinks it is important.

The reported budget for DAVID AND GOLIATH is $50 million (which, I guess, doesn't include the money raised via crowdfunding to get the film onto cinema screens). Remember, THE PASSION OF THE CHRIST was made for $30 million.

Looks like Chey is also planning a theatrical release this summer of his 2013 end-times film, FINAL: THE RAPTURE, which had a couple of screenings when he completed it and has been available on DVD and video-on-demand since then.


FINAL: THE RAPTURE features Carman ("the Italian Tom Jones for God"), for what it's worth. And Chey claims that he "made this film to scare the living daylights out of adult non-believers." He might succceed, too, in a manner of speaking:

 
(I guess I didn't realize there was a "Christian Post" news site that looks exactly like the Huffington Post.)
 
And here is Carman himself (who seems uncomfortable and unprepared, doesn't know which camera to look at, and is speaking in an entirely different voice than you'll hear on his live albums from the '80s) interviewing Chey:
 
It's tempting to refer to Chey as the Carman of filmmaking, but since Carman has also made films, that description doesn't quite seem fair.
Edited by mrmando

Let's Carl the whole thing Orff!

Do you know the deep dark secret of the avatars?

It's big. It's fat. It's Greek.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Yeah, the yelling got to me, too. It also looks like in order to emphasize the threat that Goliath is, they have him killing a lot of his own guys - an odd choice. 

Hard to tell who's being killed at certain times in that trailer. Perhaps the film will make things a little more clear, or perhaps not. Costume continuity isn't one of Chey's strong suits, judging from SUING THE DEVIL. 

I Sam. 17 does imply that Saul's army and the Philistines were engaged in combat in the Valley of Elah, even while Goliath was issuing his daily challenge. I.e., it was a fight, not just a standoff. So Chey could choose to include some battle scenes without betraying his commitment to biblical accuracy, whatever he thinks that means.  

You gotta love Tim Chey for this: he is a maverick, operating completely outside the conventions of filmmaking on several levels, not just in intent and choice of subject matter. Of course, defying convention is how you get a Robert Rodriguez or a Quentin Tarantino, but it's also how you get an Ed Wood or Tommy Wiseau. 

I guess the first two trailers for this film have been pulled from YouTube, but there's a third one. You should watch it at the film's Web site to get the full-Monty experience of the way it's being marketed online: 

http://davidgoliathmovie.com/

Edited by mrmando

Let's Carl the whole thing Orff!

Do you know the deep dark secret of the avatars?

It's big. It's fat. It's Greek.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

mrmando wrote:
: Someone will complain about high gas prices.

 

This might be my favorite Bible-movie prediction ever.

 

Incidentally, at the 4:20 mark in that video, Tim Chey says The Passion of the Christ was "number eight all-time" at the box office. The film actually reached #7 on the all-time North American chart before Shrek 2 and Spider-Man 2 came out and knocked it down to #9 by the end of the year. (It is now down at #25 in North America, and #93 worldwide -- though Big Hero 6 could pass it on the worldwide chart within the next week or two.)

 

So that "number eight all-time" figure would have been accurate for, I dunno, a few weeks in mid-2004, but this interview was conducted several years later, right?


"Sympathy must precede belligerence. First I must understand the other, as it were, from the inside; then I can critique it from the outside. So many people skip right to the latter." -- Steven D. Greydanus
Now blogging at Patheos.com. I can also still be found at Facebook, Twitter and Flickr. See also my film journal.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

And still no one has edited the mistakes on that page. They're still planning to open this film in theathers in places like El Paseo and Alburqureque.


P.S.  I COULD BE WRONG.

 

Takin' 'er easy for all you sinners at lookingcloser.org. Also abiding at Facebook, Twitter, and Google+.

 

"Forget it, Jake. It's Funkytown."    

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I just watched the trailer, and...

 

look, I have a cold, and it really wasn't fair to let me watch something that would get me laughing like that without a warning.


"Anyway, in general I love tragic artists, especially classical ones."

"Even the forms for expressing truth can be multiform, and this is indeed necessary for the transmission of the Gospel in its timeless meaning."

- Pope Francis, August 2013 interview with Antonio Spadaro

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Update: The "theathers" and "El Paseo" typos on the film's Web site have been fixed. The "Alburqureque" typo, however, remains. Also, the copyright statement reads "ALL RIGHT RESERVED," which, coincidentally, is what the guy at the restaurant told me at the end of our phone conversation yesterday. 

Edited by mrmando

Let's Carl the whole thing Orff!

Do you know the deep dark secret of the avatars?

It's big. It's fat. It's Greek.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

New on the Web site: a 30-second version of the trailer (no new footage) and a link to this GodVine article, purporting to explain why the film "outshines Noah and Exodus." The only comparison made to those two other films, however, is that David and Goliath mentions God a lot more often. It reminds me of how some people used to approach CCM lyrics — rejecting an album if "the J-word" didn't appear a certain number of times. 

 

Notwithstanding Alissa Wilkinson's refusal to publish a review of the film, two of her recent pieces are relevant here: 

 

http://www.christianitytoday.com/ct/2015/march-web-only/asking-insufficient-questions.html

http://www.christianitytoday.com/ct/2015/march-web-only/word-flesh-and-biblical-epic.html

 

Everything Chey has said about this film suggests that he would reject both the formal definition of art (something having both form and content, made by an artist for an audience) and the common theological concept of art-as-incarnation (artmaking being an echo of God's act of creation). Instead, art is just a container for a "message," and the process of artmaking is just the process of putting your message into a bottle that's superficially interesting enough to get your audience's attention. 

It's my suspicion that these ideas about art are related to the gnostic/neo-Platonist view of the body as little more than a container for the soul. This belief found its ultimate expression in the Heaven's Gate cult of recent years, whose members deliberately shuffled off their containers so their souls could hitch a ride on a comet — but some of the things I heard growing up in church were closer to that idea than they should have been. 

I really wish I had some reason apart from morbid curiosity to see this film, but every step taken thus far to promote it has struck exactly the wrong chord. Since the "Biblical accuracy" drum is being pounded relentlessly, I'll make an effort to take note of the slightest deviation from I Sam. 17. For instance, what's with the leather helmet Goliath wears in some shots in the trailer? The Bible clearly says his helmet was bronze. (Considering that scholars have various opinions about Goliath's height, and some translations of the Bible aren't even consistent on the question of who killed Goliath, there is only so far you can carry the banner of "Biblical accuracy" in a film like this.)


Let's Carl the whole thing Orff!

Do you know the deep dark secret of the avatars?

It's big. It's fat. It's Greek.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

mrmando wrote:
: Considering that scholars have various opinions about Goliath's height, and some translations of the Bible aren't even consistent on the question of who killed Goliath . . .

 

It's not just a translation issue. David kills Goliath in one passage and Elhanan kills him in another. As far as I know, that's consistent across all known copies of the books of Samuel in the original Hebrew.


"Sympathy must precede belligerence. First I must understand the other, as it were, from the inside; then I can critique it from the outside. So many people skip right to the latter." -- Steven D. Greydanus
Now blogging at Patheos.com. I can also still be found at Facebook, Twitter and Flickr. See also my film journal.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

The KJV and NIV insert "the brother of" before "Goliath" in 2 Sam. 21:19, with the NIV noting that "the brother of" isn't there in the Hebrew text. Other translations don't do this.

 

1 Chron. 20:5 mentions Elhanan again, this time crediting him with killing "Lahmi the brother of Goliath."

 

So, if you want things nice and neat, you can argue that words were left out of 2 Samuel and it should agree with 1 Chronicles, thereby killing two Philistines with one stone, as it were: no ambiguity about Elhanan with respect to which Philistine he killed or who else might have killed one of those Philistines:

However, this would satisfy neither Biblical inerrantists, who would have to admit that something was missing from 1 Samuel, nor textual critics, who would point out that Chronicles was written 140 years after Samuel.

So yeah, the ambiguity is there in the Hebrew text, notwithstanding the efforts of some translators to smooth it over.  

 


Let's Carl the whole thing Orff!

Do you know the deep dark secret of the avatars?

It's big. It's fat. It's Greek.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

mrmando wrote:
: However, this would satisfy neither Biblical inerrantists, who would have to admit that something was missing from 1 Samuel . . .

 

Oh, well, this is where saying the Bible is inerrant "in the original manuscripts" comes in handy. We can always imagine that these words *weren't* missing from the *original* version of I Samuel.


"Sympathy must precede belligerence. First I must understand the other, as it were, from the inside; then I can critique it from the outside. So many people skip right to the latter." -- Steven D. Greydanus
Now blogging at Patheos.com. I can also still be found at Facebook, Twitter and Flickr. See also my film journal.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

There is a "copyist's error" argument about the 2 Sam. verse, explained here (a bit into the weeds perhaps, but interesting). Of course, I don't expect the film to spend any time at all on this. As for Goliath's height, the actor in question is 7 feet 8 inches (5 cubits and 1/3 of a span), which comes reasonably close to splitting the difference between the Septuagint 4 cubits/1 span and the Masoretic 6 cubits/1 span. Chey couldn't go full Masoretic without some fancy camera tricks, due to a general lack of 9.5-foot actors.

 

I feel compelled to highlight this paragraph from the GodVine article: 

 

And his dedicated crew went to great lengths to make sure that just that happened, even risking their own lives during the filming in North Africa. They faced angry mobs, killer bees, death threats from Islamic extremists, and even the outbreak of the Ebola virus.

This is just blatant, shameful hucksterism. There were no Ebola cases reported in Morocco; the nearest case was in Bamako, the Malian capital, which is 700 miles from Morocco's southern border with Western Sahara. Claiming that Chey's crew "faced" the Ebola outbreak is nothing but an insult to people who actually did face it. My sister-in-law, a lab technician at a hospital in Dallas, was arguably at greater risk of Ebola exposure than anyone in Morocco.

The term "killer bees" refers to a hybrid of African and European honeybees found in North and South America; it has never applied to non-hybridized African bees. Furthermore, the term is imprecise and sensational; scientists and responsible journalists don't use it. Whether and to what extent our heroes actually "faced" angry mobs and/or specific death threats from any specific extremists, I don't pretend to know, but the claims about Ebola and bees haven't earned Chey any points for credibility. 

 

Finally, if we're looking for ways the film betrays Chey's claim about Biblical accuracy, we need look no further than the voiceover of Ps. 23 that opens the trailer. "He lies me down in green pastures" is not Biblically accurate, since no known English translation renders the verse that way. This phrase is also a betrayal of English grammar—actually, it's a worse betrayal than you might think. There are two common grammatical errors involving the verbs lay and lie. The first is to use "laid" as past tense of lie, when the correct past tense is "lay": I laid down in the grass in place of I lay down in the grass. The second is to use the transitive lay in place of the intransitive lie: I'm going to lay down in the grass in place of I'm going to lie down in the grass. But the mistake here is neither of those. It's a mistake I don't think I've ever heard before: using a form of the intransitive lie in place of the transitive lay! TIM CHEY HAS INVENTED AN ENTIRELY NEW GRAMMATICAL ERROR, JUST FOR THIS FILM! 

Edited by mrmando

Let's Carl the whole thing Orff!

Do you know the deep dark secret of the avatars?

It's big. It's fat. It's Greek.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

mrmando wrote:
: There were no Ebola cases reported in Morocco . . .

 

Are you referring to the David & Goliath shoot? Seems this film was shot in Morocco in May of last year, and possibly June (or even July?) as well, depending on how long a shoot they had. I was in Morocco in October, and in all my visits to the clinics here at home for my travel shots, etc., I never once saw any indication that Ebola came anywhere near Morocco.


"Sympathy must precede belligerence. First I must understand the other, as it were, from the inside; then I can critique it from the outside. So many people skip right to the latter." -- Steven D. Greydanus
Now blogging at Patheos.com. I can also still be found at Facebook, Twitter and Flickr. See also my film journal.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

The crew may have been concerned about traveling to Africa at the time, due to uncertainty over where the virus would spread. But they were never in actual danger of Ebola, and to bring it up in their marketing now, almost a year after the fact, is just sensationalist and childish. The three confirmed cases in Mali occurred in October and November, well after the David and Goliath shoot had wrapped. Border closures in Senegal and Mauritania made it highly unlikely that anyone with the virus would be able to travel from Guinea/Liberia/Sierra Leone as far north as Morocco. Morocco is not even mentioned once in the Wikipedia timeline of the Ebola outbreak. 

 

I'm also pretty sure there has never been a killer bee attack in Morocco. 

Edited by mrmando

Let's Carl the whole thing Orff!

Do you know the deep dark secret of the avatars?

It's big. It's fat. It's Greek.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Join the conversation

You can post now and register later. If you have an account, sign in now to post with your account.

Guest
Reply to this topic...

×   Pasted as rich text.   Paste as plain text instead

  Only 75 emoji are allowed.

×   Your link has been automatically embedded.   Display as a link instead

×   Your previous content has been restored.   Clear editor

×   You cannot paste images directly. Upload or insert images from URL.

Sign in to follow this  

×
×
  • Create New...