Two thousand years ago, a 3D-animated piece of clay changed history forever. This is that piece of clay's story.
After a long, and very serious-looking credit sequence in which we learn that Mel Gibson's production company, Icon, and the BBC are involved, we can surmise that this won't exactly be an extension of ABC's TGIF lineup. Ralph Fiennes is the voice of Jesus, by the way. We pan in to a small village in Upper Galilee, where a really nice Kosher deli now stands. Some villagers are wandering around, and greet each other in jerky, Claymation movements. One of them is bumped by a rude Roman soldier and the jostled man tells his visiting buddy that that's just the way it is, as it will one day say in the Bible, Bruce Hornsby 5:19. He is the father of Tamar, a curly-haired girl who has recently been afflicted by a fever. They walk through town, and the curly-haired girl admires a groovy-looking carpenter with long hair and a beard. I'm sure we'll get back to him later. We keep following Tamar, her dad and a family friend as they seek out the village doctor. Suddenly, the Claymation version of Helena Bonham Carter (but voiced by Miranda Richardson) enters in the form of a spastic, loopy Mary Magdalene. She hoots and hollers and says she knows things, but nobody seems that impressed. Some of the carpenters working nearby make fun of her. The foreman pushes her to the ground and is about to whip her, causing Tamar to flinch, but who should step in but a hunky guy who just so happens to be the son of God. He goes to Mary, helps her up, and before he can offer her some wine, or at least a wafer, she runs away. Although he was destined for great things, Jesus was never known for his luck with the ladies. The other carpenters, The Carpenters of Exposition (I think they're in Leviticus) mention that this mysterious bearded man is from Nazareth. "Uh, yeah, my cousin went to Nazareth," one of them says, "He played fullback."
In the doctor's chamber, Tamar's dad learns that what she has can't be cured. The doctor, a specialist named Jackus Kavorkianus, offers a potion which will ease her pain. Tamar asks her father what the doctor says and he tells her only that they should never have come to this terrible city. Tamar sees Jesus across the way, and then he wanders off, with his own little jaunty theme music.
Jesus leaves the city gates, presumably to commune with nature and spend some quality time with Dad. He flashes a big, goofy Claymation smile straight at the camera that is slightly less than holy. He goes down to a small stone house that looks like it came out of Bedrock. Inside, Mom sympathizes after Jesus tells her he quit his job. She reminisces about a time she and Joseph lost Jesus in Jerusalem. We switch to 2D animation, because I guess everybody just ran out of clay. There was a time when they lost Jesus only to find Jesus the Pre-teen preaching to a bunch of elders on the Word of God. It must have been a whole different culture because when I used to try that with my family, I'd get threatened with the belt and end up having to sit at the little kids' table. Jesus says then, as he does now, that he's trying to do his father's work. It's a family-owned business, see.
We cut to Jesus sleeping, and apparently dreaming of his own birth. We get a 2D animated scene with the Three Wise Men presenting their gifts. We come back to Mary, who looks much sadder as a Claymation figure.