Wednesday, October 1, 2014

A Good Nephi Movie?

I admit, I have never seen a good Nephi movie done. The closest is the Book of Mormon cartoons I used to watch as a kid. The episode of Nephi and his brothers going to Jerusalem to get the plates was the best one. There was a clear plot- to get the plates and a clear antagonist. Outside of that a great Nephi movie hasn't been done.

I thought about that and I think the problem is that the Book of Nephi is told from Nephi's point of view. As soon as he prays in the wilderness to know if God spoke to his father and then received his own testimony, Nephi pretty much stayed the same. He stayed firm and obey the Lord. The only time Nephi questioned the Lord was when he was told to kill Laban. Other than that, Nephi is static. Any questions he had, and 1 Nephi 2 mentions that he did have some doubt, were resolved at the beginning of the book. After all, 1 Nephi wasn't written for our entertainment, but rather for our instruction. Nephi wants to teach us how the Lord guides us and blesses us as we obey him. Even in the most difficult circumstances, the Lord will find a way to accomplish His work. Nephi teaches that the Lord is the same yesterday, today, and tomorrow. Like he blessed Moses, he blessed Nephi.

That is divine instruction, but not the best entertainment. A better movie would be Nephi struggling to be understood by his brothers, servants, and even parents. He is the rock through each obstacle, sort of a superman without the super powers. Each disaster that unfolds would end with Nephi pushing forward in the name of the Lord, like the story of Moses. In the end, either the supporting characters will grow, like Sam, Lehi, and Nephi's wife, or fall away like Laman, Lemuel, and Ishmael's sons. If only they had faith, they would be as strong as Nephi for Nephi is not powerful and he knows it. It all comes from God. Showing Nephi's fear at times and frustration at his family would help us connect to him. Nephi's "superpower" is his faith in God.

Nephi's companions would be Sam and Zoram. Nephi is batman to Sam's Robin and Zoram's Alfred. Lehi is the wise sage along with his supportive mother. Ishmael's daughter would be his love interest but they shouldn't fall in love instantly. They have to grow together and his wife learns from him. Maybe at first she doesn't understand him? Laman and Lemuel are the antagonists but they shouldn't be so cookie cutter. In fact, I think they should be the characters we relate to the most as their reactions mimics a worldly one. If our father, who was already in trouble with the law, told us to run away to the promised land and then go back to the city to steal priceless plates from a military leader wouldn't we also call him a "visionary man" and doubt him? I also don't think their descent into apostasy should be so extreme. There should be hints of it. Laman should not be shown as straight up evil. He was a good person. He obeyed his father and Nephi after they complained which is more than most would do. He believed that Jerusalem was a great city, blessed by God. He should be shown making bad decisions. Maybe he lies and gets away with it? Maybe he got into trouble with a woman not his wife? Maybe he followed popular customs by dancing to Ishtar. Was that the dance Nephi refused to join on the boat? He was more educated than Nephi and maybe he shows this off. Laman should be shown that anyone could fall if they don't have faith in the Lord. He should be shown as handsome, strong, and worldly guy, not the Jafar looking character we usually see.

What do you think would make a good Nephi movie?

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