Joseph Smith, The Prophet of the Restoration debuts at the Legacy Theater (on the Temple Square corporate campus in Salt Lake City) on Saturday, December 17, according to this story in the Deseret News. There is also a long list of Visitors Centers that will be showing the new movie beginning on December 24.
The article notes that the film was “produced under the supervision of the First Presidency.” That’s interesting, as there is no official biography to use as a script, apart from the brief canonized account authored by Joseph Smith himself and appearing in the History of the Church and the Pearl of Great Price, two 19th-century documents. The movie, in a sense, becomes the 21st-century “official” depiction of the life of Joseph Smith. Welcome to the video age; we do movies, not texts. Movies have soundtracks, good for motivating spiritual emotions that should be associated with the Joseph Smith story. Conveniently, movies have no text that can be quoted or analyzed, just a string of images and depicted events. The dialogue is the closest thing to a text, but most of it will no doubt be fictional if plausible dialogue, words that would likely have been used by Joseph or other people during the events shown in the movie.
So come December 17 we will have a textless, official 60-minute movie version of the Joseph Smith story to complement the 561-page scholarly but unofficial textual account of the Joseph Smith story recently authored by Richard L. Bushman. It will be enlightening to compare the two accounts.