The Good

This inspirational film looks great on DVD.

The Bad

I would have liked to have at least seen a featurette on how this movie was made.

With a restrained look but a large scope we have Catherine Hardwicke's The Nativity Story. This tale begins in Nazareth as we see the rule of the oppressive King Herod. Mary, who comes from a very poor family and is slated to marry Joseph, has an angel appear before her who tells her that she will carry the Son of God. Soon after they are wed and Mary and Joseph have to go to Bethlehem where they must pay an important tax. When they get there, Mary is tired and very pregnant but nobody had any room for her. Allowed to stay in the stable of an Innkeeper, it is here that Mary gives birth her son, Jesus.

Regardless of what side one takes on the religious spectrum, I think that anyone who sees The Nativity Story will be swept up in it's emotion, power and depth of filmmaking. This story is truly inspirational because at it's core it is about having faith, especially when all signs seem to point otherwise.

Features

No Extra Features came with this DVD.

Video

Presented in a format preserving the 2.35:1 Aspect Ratio of it's theatrical exhibition. Enhanced for widescreen TVs. This movie is very large in scope and I am surprised that they haven't made it available in HD or Blu-ray DVD. I say that because this film has a really well composed look. The shots of the countryside have a real weightiness to them, and I am very impressed with how they were captured. The compression on this DVD seems to have really done a good job of preserving this movie's look, without making the images "burn" too much into the screen.

Audio

Dolby Digital. English 5.1 Surround. English Stereo Sound. Subtitled in English and Spanish. Close Captioned. The audio on this movie can best be described as earthy. There isn't a ton of dialogue in this film. Hardwicke seems to be trying to evoke mood and emotion via images and sound. Thankfully she has actors with faces that can easily convey this to us. I also like he she had spirits come in and out of the film. We would just hear a voice, like one inside our own heads, and right away we knew that the character in question was having a divine experience.

Package

All of the main actors are featured on this DVD cover with the most prominent one being Mary (Keisha Castle-Hughes) as she stares up into the sky. The back features the most known image of people gathering around Mary and Joseph after the birth of Jesus. There is a small description of what this movie is about, a cast list, and some technical specs. While not the most amazing packaging in the world it is appropriate for this release.

Final Word

When considers the other films that Nativity Story director Catherine Hardwicke has done (Lords of Dogtown, Thirteen), her work on this film is quite impressive. I bring up this point again because while the subject matter (youth in trouble) might be familiar, the setting that she is working in certainly is not. This isn't a period film on the scale of Gladiator, but it is on a completely different scale than we have ever seen Hardwicke work before. There is a simplicity amidst the lushness that she and cinematographer Elliot Davis have put across on screen, that really plays well within the context of this story.

If you missed it in theaters, I am sure you will want to own The Nativity Story. This is the kind of movie that could become a holiday classic.

The Nativity Story was released November 30, 2006.