Movie Review: Son of God

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Stars: Diogo Morgado, Joe Wreddon, Darwin Shaw, Roma Downey, Amber Rose Reven,

Rated PG-13 intense and bloody depiction of The Crucifixion, and for some sequences of violence , Running time 138 minutes, Drama

Compare to: The Greatest Story Ever Told (1965), The Jesus Film (1979)

When it comes to adaptions, I’m not sure if any book is more difficult to take on than stories in the Bible. Whether the viewer is a believer or not can have a major impact on how you appreciate the movie itself. In comparison, The Hunger Games movies may still be enjoyed by people who aren’t fans of the books.

How you felt about this movie from the trailer or even the poster, will determine exactly how you feel about this movie. Did it seem idiotic? Then that’s how you’ll feel about it. Did it look captivating or enthralling? Then that’s how you’ll feel when watching it. Did it seem like it had a powerful message wrapped in corniness? You get the idea.

From 2013’s TV mini-series, The Bible, is a more detailed account of Jesus, His followers and His miracles. From birth to death, much is covered in what Jesus spent His time on earth doing with everything leading up to his trial and crucifixion.

You be familiar with the story.

You may be familiar with the story.

It’s interesting that when watching Son of God, many of the same thoughts that went through my mind were the same thoughts that went through my mind when watching movies involving the military, specifically films that feature the death(s) of soldiers.

Much care seems to go into the tone of the stories, while not enough emphasis is placed on anything else. I wouldn’t bother going into the more “trivial” details of period pieces like this (clothing, accents, etc.) but there is much care put into how Jesus speaks to His followers. Slow motion may be used when a stone is dropped or when Jesus waves His hand through water before a miracle is performed. If He speaks to someone with wise words, he might put His hand on their cheek and slowly slide it off of their face. It gets to be tedious.

Jesus getting His miracle on.

Jesus getting His miracle on.

Everything is meant to be powerful and gripping and you don’t get a choice in what has an effect on you, you’ll just keep being told. But more than that, the issue with the film is its disjointed feeling. If you’re not very familiar with the Bible itself, well then sorry- you’re not going to figure out much from this. It seems to be told with the idea in mind that you already know the major details and you just want to see them played out in dramatic fashion.

My problem with 2009’s Public Enemies is that we see much of bank robber John Dillenger’s exciting escapades, jerking us from one heist to the next awesome thing he does. And then he dies. Movie over. Spoiler.

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No other comparisons can be drawn between Public Enemies and Son of God (Surprised?) but their narrative is much the same. Here are some things for you to be amazed by. We don’t need continuity, this is Jesus we’re talking about!

But it seemed more like we were being rushed through what could have been the next Passion of the Christ thematically. Just passing the decade mark, Passion had its problems but it wasn’t flawed in the “emotional weight” department; anything Gibson wanted you to feel, it was there.

Son of God may not be meant to carry that same weight but it could have been a little more clear about what we were meant to take away from it.

Positives: Certain moments will always be interesting to see onscreen- Jesus’ miracles, age old stories played out; nothing beats the big screen. Hans Zimmer composed the soundtrack (Gladiator, 12 Years a Slave)

Negatives: No clear direction, melodrama overtakes story, feels like it was made for TV if you get my drift.

Grade: C-

Cee-lo Green sings a cover of “Mary Did You Know” in the credits. Do with that what you will.

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2 Responses to “Movie Review: Son of God”

  1. To begin with, I do not have cable. So I have not seen the Bible series on television. I was excited to see this movie, thinking it would be great to see more depth of what Jesus did before the cross which is the sole focus of Passion of the Christ. I love movies and I’m not usually not very critical of them. But Taylor, I can see what you are talking about in terms of this as a film, an art form, not the subject matter. For me, the story line was choppy; it jumped from one scene to another before you had a chance to be in the moment and feel something about what Jesus was doing. I began to feel moved in some scenes just to snap out of it because the scene changed abruptly, the actors didn’t feel real, or there were inaccuracies of scripture. While I love Jesus and what he has done and continues to do for me, this film served as reminder, but didn’t pull me in emotionally like Passion did. I am not the only one of the group I went with (from church I might add) who also pointed out the change of actions that are described in the Bible or changes of wording when Jesus spoke. It bothered them like it bothered me. It kept me from being immersed in the film. Some of my problems with this movie are based on my knowledge of the subject matter, while most are based on my love of film and the reason behind it: to lose yourself in a world shown on the screen which I seemed unable to do. Like you, I hope God may use this movie to reach those He intends to, but it isn’t one I would probably see again.

    • Taylor Says:

      “The Dude” version of Jesus I think has worn a little thin. “Choppy” is a good word to describe it.

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