Journey to Bethlehem 2023 720p WEB-DL x264
Scene stealing megalomanic King Herod (Antonio Banderas) hams up marvellously in this enjoyable if totally forgettable pre-Nativity Christmas story. He presides over the kingdom of Judah towards which three magi are heading when they espy a bright star in the sky portending an event of great importance. Meantime, the well educated Mary (Fiona Paloma) is regaling against an arranged marriage with a man she's never even met! Anyway, times being what they are, she has to acquiesce and meets the fairly easy on the eye Joseph (Milo Manheim). It's not exactly hate a first sight, but one night she get's another - more celestial - visitor who leaves her with quite a belly ache. She tells her folks, then her would-be husband and is soon, unsurprisingly, on her own... Quite why Gabriel couldn't just have told everyone at once? Anyway, the increasingly paranoid Herod gets wind of this impending miracle and uses the three kings and his son Antipater (Joel Smallbone) to track down and destroy the potential usurper. That fact that we still celebrate Christmas eliminates any sense of jeopardy so this is essentially just a light-hearted piece of musical theatre that uses the two slightly soporific stars to tell us a story of when Mary met Joseph. The songs are standard fayre with plenty of perfect choreography, some earnest lyrics about love and loyalty (and a fun song from Banderas about absolute power) before Omid Djalili's visiting Melchior tries to explain what myrrh is for. It's wordy, cheesy but joyous seasonal stuff that I was rather surprised to find got a cinema release in the UK. You shouldn't hate it.
- Antonio Banderas
- Milo Manheim
- Geno Segers