"The Nativity Story" is a major release (from New Line, like CNN a unit of Time Warner), and boasts the kind of production values only money can buy. Discreetly ecumenical in thrust, it's a reverent, orthodox movie aimed at churchgoers across the spectrum.Is there a problem there? Do we need an "updated" version of the Nativity, a modern-day retelling? Do we need to change things to make the story more "believable"? Should we reduce the account of Christ's birth to anecdote or fairy tale?
A little too reverent, perhaps. It takes the first chapter in the Greatest Story Ever Told and turns it into a mild yarn.
Drawing on the gospels of Matthew and Luke, screenwriter Mike Rich takes no liberties with Scripture, though there are occasional concessions to contemporary sensibilities.Review: The greatest 'Story' ever dulled [CNN.com]
I think this movie fills its niche in the same way Passion of the Christ filled its own. That movie was gut-wrenching and painful to watch, because the events it recounted were gut-wrenching and painful to endure. So Nativity will be slow at times, or tense at times, but it won't feel the same as Passion because it's not the same thing. Get over it.