Indeed, it will give you a better understanding of the Reformation than you’ve ever had before. Not only as event, but as abidingly relevant. It is brilliantly done and brilliantly produced. The narration is on the mark and the talking heads are on top of their game.
Besides the fantastic substance, the form is immensely pleasing. The art and illustrations which are constantly presented are superb. Not since Diarmaid MacCulloch’s video series on the history of Christianity has something even nearly as excellent been acheived.
I’ve had the chance to see all three hours now and I can guarantee both the accuracy of the presentation (except for Frank James’s adoption of the false tale that Zwingli took up arms and died as a combatant in 1531. This old misprision should be utterly consigned to the flames- it is simply wrong) and the usefulness of the three episodes. Nothing is left out, not even the persecution of the Anabaptists or the rise of Reform in England or the Colloquy at Marburg or the Catholic Counter-Reformation and the Office of the Holy Inquisition. Even treated in a fantastically structured way is the rupturing of the Reformation by those who thought their interpretation of Scripture was as valid as the great Reformers themselves. You should see this film. It’s superlative.
It does, though, suffer one minor shortcoming (aside from James’s inaccurate portrayal of Zwingli’s death): it’s presented by a North American scholarly collective and though this is understandable, it surely could be a much fuller and richer presentation if a few European scholars of the Reformation had been included. I’m thinking specifically of Peter Opitz and Christophe Chalamet and Emidio Campi, for example. Without an international cast (as it were) the perspectives presented are not as well rounded as they could be.
But this is a minor quibble and not any sort of sleight of either the film or its producers. And it is not intended to detract from the project. Perhaps any future projects undertaken by the same production team will simply take into account the point at which improvement could be made.
All of the details of the film are presented here. It is very, very much worth obtaining.