Friday, September 26, 2014

Movie Review: Jerusalem IMAX

The Indiana State Museum is showing a new IMAX movie: JERUSALEM. My kids and I were able to go to a free preview showing for educators.

While it is difficult to compress 5,000 years of history into a 45 minute movie, JERUSALEM did a good job. They covered all three major religions (Judaism, Christianity and Islam) equally explaining their differences and similarities.

There was plenty of information without coming across as a dry, stuffy documentary. And the footage was amazing. Sweeping camera shots combined with digital overlays explained the changes in architecture over the centuries.

I only have two criticisms. Some traditional interpretations are presented as fact, especially Jebusite sun worship from the temple mount. This could become a starting point for students to research further.

My second objection is the final message. Each religion is explained by following a particular young woman from that culture. Through an emotional "what if" moment, the idea is expressed that if all three groups could just sit down and talk together, their conflicts could be solved. While hopeful, it's a rather naive interpretation of the deep conflicts within the Middle East and may give students a false understanding of the situation.

Overall it was a good introduction to Jerusalem's role through history. Public school students will find the movie helpful for social studies, while Christian school students will be able to use the movie as a starting point to deeper Biblical studies. Both of my kids enjoyed the movie and said they would love to take a field trip to watch it again.

Link to movie website