Jonah: The Musical on DVD

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The old, old story comes to life on DVD, as Virgil Films presents JONAH: THE MUSICAL.

Filmed at the Sight & Sound Theatres in Lancaster, Pennsylvania, this presentation blends screen animation with actors on stage to deliver a captivating, comical, and Christian experience.

The tale begins in animation, with Jonah as a boy. He's presented as someone who wasn't very social with other children, not very physical, and afraid of the water. He prays a lot, and one day hears God tell him a prophesy. This makes him famous among his people, but he doesn't hear from God for another seventeen years, well after the Philistines killed his father.

Shifting to live stage, Jonah's latest prophecy is to go to Ninevah. Jonah would rather see them destroyed than saved, so he goes into hiding. His countrymen, knowing he has a prophecy they need to hear, hunt him down high and low, until his mother, sister and grandparents find him and see him off on a ship to Tarshish.

You know the rest of the story, of course. But seeing how it gets pulled off using stage props is a visual spectacle. The underwater scenes are masterfully pulled off, and do not use any projected animation. The "whale" actually swims out over the audience, swallowing up a dangling Jonah (on wires) before shifting to an animated projection with live-action Jonah at its center to show the three days in the beast's belly.

While the DVD does its best to capture the experience, I can only imagine how much more immersive it would be as an attending audience member. But if you can't make the trip to Pennsylvania, then this DVD is definitely the next-best thing to being there.

4.0 / 5.0