Pros: Relevant powerful intriguing mystery solved. Much information delivered in a helpful, visually appealing way. Memorable.
Cons: Wish it came in a longer version with more bonus features. A few verbal glitches.
THE STAR OF BETHLEHEM by RICK LARSON: "Unlock the Mystery of the World's Most Famous Star":
THE STAR OF BETHLEHEM by Frederick A. Larson may be the only DVD with both praise from scientists and the Dove Foundation’s highest five-Dove rating. Called “wide-ranging and insightful scholarship” by a former science magazine editor (who was also President of the American Association for the Advancement of Science), and also “fascinating and meticulously researched” by Dove (both quotes on the DVD’s back cover) - this is a DVD with impact both for Christians and nonbelievers, for scientists and nonscientists.
Just as good scientists need open minds willing to go where the evidence leads, so do those seeking mysteries of spiritual things.
Those who believe in Jesus Christ as Savior will find this a compelling and perhaps even shocking revelation of the miraculous power and mystery of God (and may never look at the stars quite the same way again). Those who don’t believe, but who are willing to open their mind’s eye may find this subject surprisingly of interest.
As Rick Larson says at the start, instead of beginning with either the position that the biblical account of the star is true or false; his goal is to lay out the evidence. The story of the star is found in Matthew, the first book of the New Testament, in chapter 1 starting with verse 18, and in chapter 2. Magi from the East saw signs in the sky that the eternal King of the Jews was about to be born, and traveled to worship him. Going to Jerusalem to find where the King was born, they were told the Messiah was prophesied to be born in Bethlehem.
They saw the star, the Bible says, that moved and “stopped” over Bethlehem, and—filled with joy—they went to worship the child (no longer in a manger, but living in a house) and to offer Him gifts. Matthew 2:9 (that is, the book of Matthew, chapter 2, verse 9) says the star “stopped.”
How can a star “stop”?
Larson will show you.
He will show you many other "signs and wonders" too: A “woman clothed with the sun and the moon at her feet” (Revelation 12), and what took place in the sky not only at the probable conception of the Messiah in September, at the time of Rosh Hashanah (also called the Feast of Trumpets), and what was the extremely bright star seen 9 months later, and how a star later stopped over Bethlehem. But he also shows the signs in the sky at the time of Christ’s coming into His own on the day He died as the Passover Lamb, before rising again. Brings light not only to an understanding of Matthew - but also to Revelation and Joel.
You’ll hear about a triple conjunction, and other astronomical terms, but no prior understanding is needed; Larson admirably and carefully explains in an informal way, illustrated by animations of the sky, to show you what he found.
How did he do it? He used astronomy software to discover what was in the sky back in history. He put the pieces together, a process that took years. He began to be asked to give it as a presentation, being invited around the globe, and put his findings in this DVD.
Note that there is a Website both for the movie (http://thestarofbethlehemmovie.com/ ) as well as Larson’s own site at http://www.bethlehemstar.net/ . Larson’s site is rich with more information. He has a page for what people are saying about the film, more background and detail, questions and answers and more.
THE STAR OF THE BETHLEHEM usually is a fairly inexpensive video that’s worth more than – well, you decide.
A great film for giving as gifts, for watching any time of year. Curious? This may be your movie.
The film is not rated. There are brief scenes (artwork and a few very briefl shots from the movie "The Passion of the Christ") that show the crucifixion. Suitable for all ages, though level of understanding will naturally vary (though parents may want to screen first to see the crucifixion shots). I'd have no problem with any child watching this, but would want to be able to explain that the Jesus who was born came to die so we can live with Him forever, and that His death was very horrible, but He rose from the dead and is alive today. This is a nonfiction documentary of law professor Rick Larson’s journey in understanding the Star and what he discovered. Produced by Stephen McEveety (“The Passion of the Christ”; “Braveheart”). It’s in English with Spanish subtitles (or you can set your TV to closed captioning for English subtitles). Widescreen format. Visually attractive, with a dramatic score that enhances the film.
The Musical Score reminds me more than anything of The Lord of the Rings movies, mainly for its power and beauty. But it is at the same time, nothing like it--utterly original. Joyous. It adds without distracting. There is a CD of the "Star of Bethlehem" soundtrack available. Julie Larson, an award-winning composer, wrote it.
Special Effects: If you're looking for sci-fi effects (a hamster-turning-into-a-gargoyle type of stuff), you won't find that here. What you will find are effects perfectly in keeping with the film. Superimposed images, use of light and lighting--this is a gorgeous thing to see. When I think of "absolutely amazing" special effects I think of Gollum in Lord of the Rings or weird sci-fi stuff. I'm giving the effects here the highest rating because they are perfectly suited to this film, and beautifully done. They enhance; they don't distract. Sometimes the animation is simply done and is perfect because it keeps attention focused on what's being said. Other times--at the right--times--the effects are artistic and visually stunning. Great job.
Also--Larson shows the skies as they were. The same kind of math that knows where a planet will be in space at a certain time in the future can also be used to rewind the past. You see the most scientifically precise view of the ancient skies possible. This is no boring PowerPoint lecture. This is hearing someone tell you the story of what they did and found in solving a mystery--and letting you see it.
A lot of information packed into 65 minutes. Can be watched many times, picking up more details. Brief Bonus Features include the score’s composer and Larson showing what happened in the sky on Passover as the Passover Lamb (Jesus) died on the cross. Note that was at 3 pm—and the beauty of astronomical software is that it is very precise: choose a time and location and see what was there.
Larson didn’t make this up or invent this. He took time to discover it. He found 9 characteristics of the star in Matthew and then found the same in the astronomical facts. There are many years of research into this mystery of over 2000 years, packed—into this ~1 hour film.
Great Christmas gift, or for any time of year.
Some DVDs are great to get at the library; The Star of Bethlehem is great to own, and even to get a second copy of to lend to others.
Awesome, inspiring, and thought-provoking. Valuable for both those with little astronomy background and Bible knowledge as well as for those with much. A revelation. Masterfully well-done.
“Can a star stop? It can and it did, and I’m going to show you.” -- Rick Larson, from “The Star of Bethlehem”
Haven’t gotten tired of watching it yet.