The Ten Commandments

tencommandmentscgi.jpg

For those who thought Happily N’Ever After was the weakest CG film of the year, or for you who think the upcoming Beowulf or Alvin and the Chipmunks are a desecration of the originals, I give you: The Ten Commandments.

It opens in movie theatres on October 19th from Promenade Pictures and it’s begining to get some publicity coverage. Check out the trailer (and be sure to check the “sizzle reel”). I know the people behind this film mean well, and their intentions are pure, but honestly, Elliot Gould as the voice of God?

There’s some money behind this. They got Ed Naha (Honey I Shrunk The Kids) to write the screenplay, Frank Yablans (former president of Paramount Pictures) to excutive produce, and a voice cast including Ben Kingsley, Alfred Molina — and Christian Slater as Moses. I just wish they had put some of that money into the visuals.

These are the people who did that horrendous CG animated Ben Hur on TBN (narrated by Charlton Heston) a few years back. Unlike that film, this one is getting a big-deal theatrical release. And it doesn’t stop here. The production company, Epic Stories From The Bible, is currently in production on Noah’s Ark. I have no doubt these films make a ton of money, but I sincerely wish they looked better. A lot better.


  • derick von fuscho

    is it just me or were there a lot of shots in the trailer lifted from the ‘prince of egypt’?

  • http://jeffereycook.blogspot.com Jefferey Cook

    The best character looks to be THAT burning bush. I like the effects animations in the trailer. The effects really outshone the animation. But with ‘The Prince of Egypt’ in the can, couldn’t they have picked another story to tell?

    Ben Kingsley, I’m sure will bring some much needed gravatis to the table.

    Fortunately I’ve never come across anything by this company before, I doubt that will get a theatrical release in New Zealand, so I will just have to keep looking foward to ‘Beowulf’, The animated sequence in ‘Enchanted’ and ‘The Nightmare before Christmas’ in Digital3D.

  • http://www.sandwichbag.blogspot.com Elliot Cowan

    Apart from the fact that it looks like a sack full of arseholes, didn’t Dreamworks already make most of this film a few years back?

  • Leon Sooi

    I also heard that the animation work on this film is outsourced to ST Electronics. (A Singaporean company that deals with military equipment.)

    The Singaporean government has been investing billions and trying very hard to promote Singapore as a “global hub of entertainment”. I hope that we see some results of this investment.

  • http://www.autodaddy.blogspot.com tom

    Holy crap!

    Where do you find these gems?

  • Andrew

    If it were getting a big release, why didn’t we see any promotional material until now? It’s a little over a week to its release, and there are no billboards, ads, commercials, or anything like that.

  • http://musingsofachick.blogspot.com sudiegirl

    Uh – didn’t they already do this? As in Dreamworks? I realize there’s not a copyright infringement but it seems a bit redundant. Not to mention craptastic.

  • Jeff

    I have to agree with Jerry’s assessment. I’m disappointed both as a fan of animation and as a Christian. Why are almost all “faith” films poorly done? Is it due to budget restrictions? And do we really need another Moses cartoon less than 10 years after Prince of Egypt? I realize the DeMille made the Ten Commandments twice himself, but at least his second effort brought something different to the table in the form of sound and color.

  • http://hitlersbrain.deviantart.com R

    You complain about Gould as God, but not CHRISTIAN FRIGGIN’ SLATER AS MOSES?

  • chris robinson

    and you wonder why we don’t show many features in Ottawa!

  • http://gagaman.blogspot.com The Gagaman

    The main problem with the visuals is mainly that the characters look like they have been made of plastic, and have rather stiff animation. Prince of Egypt did a much better job judging from those videos.

  • Ken

    do we REALLY need anther “10 commandments? 2 in one year is enough, and I thought we got rid of that fairy tale crap with judge roy moore:

    http://www.rottentomatoes.com/m/ten_commandments_the_musical/

  • http://portapuppets.does.it uncle wayne

    No pund inteded…but Oh My GOD!! I have never, ever, seen CGI look like stilted Clokey. Ransid-Bass does CGI. Leave well enuff a-LONE! ["Prince of Egypt," however, was a gorgeous film!!] That’s pissing away a lottttttttttt of dough!!

  • http://danielpoeira.org Daniel Poeira

    “a Lot better” and “holy crap” were the best comments ever :)

  • slowtiger

    “Why are almost all “faithâ€? films poorly done?”
    It’s the same in literature and music all over the world. The original works have some inspiration, but every follow-up is just like thin lukewarm tea.

  • http://www.anikey.nl Albert

    Isnt there a commandment that prevents these kinds of movies being made?

  • http://www.cartoonsolutions.com Ryan Simmons

    Wow, I can’t believe how many elements they lifted right from Prince of Egypt: the coloring and lighting, the sets, the whale in the water!
    All of the characters look like plastic action figures! Hey, maybe they actually are action figures and they did this all in stop-motion! If so, then I would be impressed.

  • Lainey Schallock

    Lord help us. Oh wait.

  • chris

    “Noah’s Ark: The New Beginning” is coming out in 2008, by the same crew !!! GOD HELP US!!!!

  • http://animationwhoandwhere.blogspot.com/ Joe Campana

    @ derick – Dead on! I am very familiar with Prince of Egypt, having screened the entire film more than forty times and many of the shots were identical! Again, Why was this done?

  • http://animationwhoandwhere.blogspot.com/ Joe Campana

    AND how many “Executive Producers” does a film like this require???

  • http://educatedmetalhead.blogspot.com/ DanO

    Elliot Gould was available!!

  • alan

    I find it hilarious that someone named ‘Christian’ is playing the most prominent Jew in the Jewish religion.

  • Anthony

    Legions of private Christian school kids grew up forced to watch those dirt cheap, crappy Hanna-Barbera Tales from the Bible cartoons and reached adulthood thinking all H-B ever did was garbage. On second thought…

  • Jorge Garrido

    Man, there needs to be some decent Christian cartoons. When the best cartoon in your sub-genre is “veggie tales” you know you’re in trouble. It can’t be so hard…

    And did I mention before that I’m sick of celebrity voice actors?

    *sigh*

  • http://robcatview.blogspot.com Robert

    To watch the “sizzle” trailer you’d think this movie was made entirely by the efforts of voice actors. Not one shot of an animator working.

  • http://www.ovinedelcu.blogspot.com ovi

    As a Christian myself, I’m not sure if I should clap or cry (in a bad way) when I see this. I agree with some of the comments from above, why do Biblical films have to be made so poorly. Aside from like, Ben Hur, Jesus of Nazareth, the “Heston” 10 Commandments, the First Noel and Prince of Egypt, the rest of them are Unwatchable.
    I’d rather watch Veggie Tales, and I’m NOT kidding. If people want to tell these amazing original Bible stories that are full of life and inspiration in the Good Book than do them some justice or don’t do them at all.

  • red pill junkie

    sorry, what I meant was

    “THOU SHALT NOT MAKE HIDEOUS CG MOVIES ABOUT ME OR MY PEOPLE”

  • OM

    …Hey, look to the bright side: maybe they’ll parody this in Shrek IV :p

    “Hey Shrek! What’s dis?”

    “I dunno, Donkey….lessee here…’Commandments Eleven thru Fifteen….”

  • http://www.bishopanimation.com Floyd Bishop

    You know how many films in Hollywood are ruined by the “film making by committee” process? Imagine a committee that has been around for thousands of years and has members from nearly every nation and religious group. That’s why religious projects nearly always look bad. You spend so much time trying to please everyone, you get an end result that’s bland.

    I think the bulk of the money on this went to the voice cast and the minimum was spent on visuals. With the combination of the epic story and tiny budget, it’s a miracle they got what they got from the animation group.

    Given that this is a religious themed project, I tink it will make back it’s production budget and then some.

    This project was mentioned over at CGTalk a while back. Based on information in that thread, it looks like this project was animated by Huhu Studios in New Zealand: http://www.huhustudios.com

    From that thread: “Being our first Film, both for me and the Studio, there was a lot of learning going on!”

  • http://eggheadcheesybird.co.uk Alex

    Maybe…this is what good animation looks like.
    I mean, the general public aren’t complaing, are they?
    Maybe we’re all wrong.

    Pfft, emoting characters, the laws of physics, interesting designs…these are just “concepts” aren’t they? You know what really counts is…uhh…SHINY RENDERING!!!

    Yes! We’ve cracked it! Let us phone Pixar and let them know they’ve been wasting time and money!

  • Luke

    Forget using celebrity voices. For “Fritz the Cat” Ralph Bakshi went into bars and recorded real live drunk people, then animated to those tracks. That dude was onto something.

  • http://musingsofachick.blogspot.com sudiegirl

    Yeah…Christian Slater as Moses…nope.

    Val Kilmer really did a good job of voicing Moses in “Prince of Egypt”. He was one of the better choices, I felt.

  • Alusa

    I just watched the Prince of Egypt a few days ago, and I’m flabbergasted at just how much of it was lifted by this shoddy little two-bit wannabe. The angles, scenes, shots, colors, tones, lighting, and even some the characters are such blatant ripoffs that I don’t even know how they got away with it. And then I watch the sizzle reel, and the director’s like “blaaah, we wanted to do it like nobody has done it before, blaaarg make Moses a realistic character with doubts hurrr.” Oh, you mean like the Moses portrayed in Prince of Egypt? INGENIOUS.

  • Nick

    Moses seems to have been modeled after the man whose arms exploded… Seriously though, this is a must see! Such great arcs of motion oh and very believable physics. Much better than that Godless rat movie …yeah right…

  • Jayster

    An Alan Smithee worthy animation.

  • http://robcatview.blogspot.com Robert

    Only good animated Bible movie I’ve seen was “The Miracle Maker”, a British production made with Russian artists. Anyone who’s a stop-mo fan should check that out. It had some really great performances. ABC showed it around Easter several years ago.

    http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0208298/

    But really, guys, anyone who even gets an animated feature DONE deserves a medal because there’s only a million ways it can all collapse and leave you with nothing to show for years of effort. I wish them the best and hope they remember to pay the animators.

  • http://www.puppetstudio.com Steve Sherman

    Ya know what I hate? Those 360 degree camera pans. The character is talking and the camera is revolving like a merry-go-round. STOP IT!

  • http://kitschensyngk.deviantart.com/ Kitschensyngk

    Four words: PRINCE OF EGYPT KNOCK-OFF.

    The (plastic) CG animation changes nothing.

  • http://zekeyspaceylizard.blogspot.com Zekey

    You gotta love the really obvious “photshop render clouds” dust and smoke rising over the town in that one shot. Nothing screams cheap quite like “render clouds”

  • http://www.jessica-plummer.com Jessica Plummer

    This is too bad. I will just return to watch Prince of Egypt instead of this then. Oh and I agree with your disappointment in Beowulf, too. I was really let down when I saw the trailer.

  • http://www.thekidsbible.com Tom

    Jorge,

    There is some good Christian CG product out there, not necessarily in the theatrical field as yet but on DVD.

    Have you seen The Animated Kids Bible?

    Go view the trailer at http://www.thekidsbible.com

    All the best

  • http://www.autodaddy.blogspot.com tom

    “Kitschensyngk says: Four words: PRINCE OF EGYPT KNOCK-OFF.”

    I vote this the funniest unintentional joke of the year!

    BTW, K, I heard they were both based on a famous book.

  • http://www.meandutopia.blogspot.com/ christopher panzner

    This is BY FAR the scariest thing I have EVER seen in my ENTIRE life. I don’t know where to begin: my outrage that the 45 people who have responded find this « cute » in some way or another or the fact that it is a COLOSSAL artistic, editorial, philosophical and financial ABERRATION. My knee-jerk reaction is disgust, horror and shock. In an effort to control my indignation and skin-crawling recoil, I’ll refrain from using vulgar language, but this is the most INSULTING affront I have ever witnessed in my entire professional career in animation. That people would take this seriously; that serious people would participate in this plastic, dead-puppet, exploitatiive, rip-fest, con-job, SHAM of a TRAVESTY of a FARCE of a JOKE; and that it got financed and distributed leaves me simply slack-jawed. FOR SHAME. SHAME!!! When is the Animation Community going to wake up, take control, create the REAL again and stop chasing that filthy, perverted, psychopathic, dollar-driven, American-Dream-gone-amok, commercial, corporate, public HOAX and start making something with SOUL again? My e-mail is [email protected]. My profile is http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Christopher_Panzner. I AM SO FURIOUS. F-U-R-I-O-U-S. If you want to live again, drop me a line and let’s talk about making life livable again.

    But before you respond, see:

    http://www.meandutopia.blogspot.com/

    http://www.grassroads.blogspot.com/

    http://lhooqmagazine.blogspot.com/

    No, this is not a marketing ploy. No, this is not a pathetic cry in the dark from a frustrated, alienated shlub. This is about the INDIG NATION… Cp

  • subby

    So has anyone here actually seen it, or is all the invective based on the trailer?

    By all means critique a piece of work you’ve seen (and I expect to see plenty of critique) but don’t ascribe intent to people you don’t know… we went out of our way to not rip off POE (a film I love) but given part of the same story to tell that can be kinda hard. That we made a film at all with the money and time we had is a miracle in itself, believe me!

    I won’t defend the indefensible however. Noah will be streets better, we’re not blind to our own failures – we love animation as much as anyone here.

  • maxeythecat

    I’ve seen some pretty bad animation computer and otherwise, but this really takes it. As beautifully rendered as “Prince of Egypt” was this pathetic attempt is beyond a horrorshow. Parents, do yourselves a favour….spare your children’s eyesight and do NOT watch this.

  • subby

    “I’ve seen some pretty bad animation computer and otherwise, but this really takes it”
    If this is the worst you’ve seen, you need to get out more ;)

    My 6 year old and 8 year old both enjoyed it… for my 6 year old to sit still thru a whole film is kudos enough for me.

  • AnimationLover

    Well, atleast it’s better looking than the “Hoodwinked” movie, which was a box office smash, btw. But I guess, what saved that movie was the story. Let’s hope the story in this version has a better story than POE(or atleast as good).

    I read on some Christian blog that this movie is not marketed enough in the US. No one has seen any TV ads for it or anything. This is surprisingly, considering it is claimed to be marketed by the same people as Narnia and Passion of the Christ.

    MMmmmmmmm

  • the Invertabrat

    looks like a bad video game……A very bad video game.

  • AnimationLover

    Found this old article on the net.

    “The contract, worth over NZ$5.6m was signed after seven months of negotiations with Hollywood producer Promenade Pictures, is significant because it includes another five pictures to follow over the next three to four years, two of which are already underway.”

    That is a extremely low budget for feature film. Even if the budget was overblown by a 3-4 million, for that budget it’s definately is a good quality movie. “Hoodwinked” was made for 20 Million. I guess if TC had that budget then perhaps it would have been heaps better.

    Kudos for doing a good job with that tight budget. Not everybody has a Pixar/Dreamworks like budget of $80 million. So stop complaining about the quality.

    Wonder how much the animators would have been paid and what their frame quota would be like?

    Also here. “Huhu Studio, through Wise Giant Enterprise Limited which it founded and established in 2005, has inked a $25 million production deal on a 6-part Animation Series that centers on the “Epic Stories of the Bibleâ€?”

    $25 for all the six movies!!!!!! For a Christian backed movie company, they sure they don’t want to spend a lot on on movies which promote their ideology. I bet the pastors of the mega churches on TBN probably make that much in one of the Sunday sermons.

    Anyways…..Congrats on completing the movie

  • ThisGuy

    The Bible aint kids stuff, theyll probably gloss over pharaoh killing a nation of children, moses murdering a man just before being sent out of egypt, or the a nation of people fornicating infront of thier home-made god as moses comes down mount sinai. I believe the Bible is history and i dont like it when people make the reality of the Word more ‘family friendly’. What artists should do, if theyre going to retell a story like this, is help bring knowledge and understanding, these people were real people, these places were (and are) real places. Most of all it should point us back towards the original text.

  • montresor

    “The Bible aint kids stuff, theyll probably gloss over pharaoh killing a nation of children, moses murdering a man just before being sent out of egypt, or the a nation of people fornicating infront of thier home-made god as moses comes down mount sinai.”

    Saw the screener last week, and they don’t skimp over any of that, except the fornication — since there obviously will be children in the audience, they’ve toned it down to some scantily-clad dancing before the idol. But though they aren’t graphically represented, the deaths are there, and you know exactly what’s going on.

  • Ann

    I think elliott Gould as the voice of God is great; he has a wonderful ‘commanding’ voice. And why not Christian Slater as Moses?, I mùean what is you people’s problem??

  • AnimationLover

    More featurettes on the 10 Commandments here

  • Julie Joy

    As someone who loves the Prince of Egypt with all my heart, I have to say I died a little on the inside seeing that.

    It’s like they took one of the best animated films ever (if not the best animated bible story) with beautiful animation and voice acting and songwriting… and reduced it to this.

    I… I need to go cry now.

  • subby

    Oh please. At least see the film before you go all Drama Queen…

  • http://pseudointellectualist.blogspot.com brant

    wow… I tracked this page down after watching the trailer. That is some of the worst animation I’ve ever seen. As a Buddhist, I couldn’t care less about Christian good intentions, but shouldn’t this have been this is a labor of love by somebody. This is the best you could come up with? Was some knuckle head, who spends so much time shepherding the flock that they think this passes as animation? Or is it some opportunistic jackals, who know that if they make a religious themed film, it will continue to generate residuals until the end times? Oh wait – I think I answered my own question. If this is the best your wild imagination can cook up about your own religion – it’s time to pick up the Bahagavad-gita or a Quran. Seriously – this looks like Saturday morning CGI – circa 1998. Who ever okayed this animation crew needs to be violated by silverback gorillas. Repeatedly.

    I would have loved to seen the reaction of any of the principal voice over actors when the saw the final cut: “I signed on for THIS!?” Lol.