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What parents need to know
Parents need to know that The Three Wise Men is an animated, faith-based reimagining of the tale of the first Christmas told from the perspective of one of the three Magi. The story speaks openly of God and God’s love for the world, as well as of miraculous happenings like an angel appearing to Mary to tell her she was chosen to bear God’s son and a bright star that inspires three men to travel the land to meet the new king. It also introduces Herod as a villain type who implies he means harm to the baby boy he views as a threat but doesn’t elaborate on what that might mean. This sweet, beautifully animated story is an exceptional, family-friendly rendition of the birth of Jesus and has a wonderful soundtrack to go with it.
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What's the story?
THE THREE WISE MEN is a retelling of the Christmas story of the birth of Jesus and the arrival of the shepherds and Magi to the stable in Bethlehem. Told in charming rhyme by narrator Andy Griffith from the perspective of Melchior, the tale follows the Wise Man’s long journey toward a prophetic star, eventually joined by two other Magi named Balthasar (voiced by Mike Krause) and Caspar (Rod Goldfarb). As they make their way toward Bethlehem, the story introduces Mary (Catherine Gilbert) and Joseph (Ernie Gilbert), tells of the angel Gabriel’s (Steve Twitchell) messages to them and their ensuing journey to Bethlehem for Caesar’s (Matthew W. Taylor) census, and factors in Herod’s (Twitchell again) nefarious plot to discover the identity of the newborn king. Christmas carols performed by The Brothers Cazimero provide the backdrop for this charming faith-based tale.
Is it any good?
If ever a new classic deserved a place in your family’s Christmas movie rotation, this is it. The Three Wise Men is lovely to watch and enchanting to listen to. It tells the story of the first Christmas in simple rhyme delivered by the legendary Griffith, weaving lines from carols like "We Three Kings," "Silent Night," and "Angels We Have Heard on High" into the narration and backing up the story with wonderful renditions of the songs between scenes.
Spinning the tale from the point of view of one of the Wise Men is a welcome twist on the retelling as well. Legend typically lumps the three together into a compound singular, so the fact that the three elite visitors to the manger have names known to history may even be a surprise to some. Much fun is had with the distinct personalities of the Magi, adding to a lot of the humor of the story and helping to illustrate the Christian messages of unity and equality heralded by the first Christmas. This wonderful, heartwarming movie is a perfect pick for families this holiday season.
Talk to your kids about ...
Families can talk about how this retelling compares to others they've seen and heard. How does Melchior's perspective change how the story is told from the more traditional third-person tellings?
How does this story of the birth of Jesus promote themes of compassion and unity? What characters experience these firsthand? How are they changed by the experience? Are you changed by hearing this story?
How do your family's holiday traditions reflect your culture and/or faith? What are some favorite memories you have from holidays past?
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