Follows the book of ACTS. Shows the complete message of Christ and the transformation of Saul to Paul and how the high priest of Judea does not believe in what has taken place after the Crucifixion of Christ.
In this hour, MSNBC goes inside the world of Bryon Widner, a former skinhead "pit bull", as he undergoes painful treatments to remove the physical representation of the hate he had exhibited to the world for more than half his life.
When Jesus is in the Synagogue Friday night, the cantor is chanting the contemporary Friday night prayer, "Lecha Dodi." This prayer was composed in the 16th century by Rabbi Shlomo Halevi Alkabetz, some 1500 years after Jesus's time. See more »
Mary, Did You Know?
Written by Mark Lowry and Buddy Greene
Performed by CeeLo Green
Courtesy of Atlantic Recording Corp./Warner Music UK Ltd.
By arrangement with Warner Music Group Film & TV licensing See more »
There are a few caveats to this review. First of all, I didn't initially realize that this film was a spin off of The Bible miniseries from the History channel. It's one of those TV shows I was meaning to check out, but haven't found the time to, and then mixed reviews held me back. Secondly, I must admit that I'm probably not well-versed enough in the good book or theology in general to judge every single nuance of this film.
All that being said, I expected this film to be worse, given some of the reviews I've read. Some folks have written this off as a bore, but I found myself pretty well-engaged in the film. It runs pretty briskly, breezing through one scene after another to cover all of Jesus' life in a short couple of hours. There are bursts of melodrama, violence, political intrigue, and an overall sense of wonder at times. The film plays out in a straight and earnest fashion.
As far as the content goes, it's going to be a hit-and-a-miss. The film generally strings all the major events from the New Testament into some kind of narrative, although it's never clear where Jesus and his apostles are going from one minute to the next, and why. It's like they just wander around and do stuff, and when they get to where they're going, it's like, "hey, it's time for such-and-such a scene." So you see many of the major events one-after-another, but on a thin thread of a plot. Characters act the part, but nothing much is revealed about their deepest motivations or feelings, so they come off as one-dimensional caricatures.
The biggest issue with the film, however, are the artistic liberties taken with the source material. It's not word-for-word faithful to the Bible, which is understandable, since the film would have probably droned on for hours if it was. However, the film can be nit-picked for getting certain facts wrong: the manner in which Jesus resurrects Lazarus differs from what's in the Bible, Jesus causing a ruckus in the temple occurs way sooner than it should have, Peter denouncing Jesus thrice happens later than it should have, and so on. The film throws in more scenes with Pilate's wife, for no apparent reason. The biggest omission, however, is the absence of the most important villain: Satan. He's nowhere to be seen at all. I only learned later that these scenes were actually cut, because of concerns that Satan looked too much like President Obama. Ugh, really? Well, fine, whatever. Because of all that, Jesus only has to put up with evil people in this movie; the film does a fine job of underscoring the evil of human beings at certain times, but without the Devil tempting and testing Christ (and subverting humanity), some important lessons and themes are cut out (including the biggest one of them all: good triumphing over evil).
So what's left? The good news is that there are still a few solid messages in the film that Christians can relate to. Faith in Jesus is the biggest theme emphasized, and that's enough reason for many folks to love the film. I think the movie also does a fine and dandy job of highlighting the oppression and savagery of the era (for the film has its violent parts), which gives His sacrifice a bit more weight.
The film is crafted with okay photography and editing. Acting is nothing to scream about; Diogo Morgado looks the part and does his best to be warm and nice, but the man has no real commanding presence. Greg Hicks plays a total jerk as Pilate, for better or for worse. All the apostles are alright. I hated the writing in this film; most lines have been warped around to the point where they lost their impact (seriously, lines like "let he who is without sin cast the first stone" is delivered as "I'll give my stone to the first man who tells me that he has never sinned," and it just doesn't sound good). Most lines are over-simplified to the point of losing any sense of elegance; the whole mustard seed parable was truncated so much, I found it laughable and stupid. Even the Lord's Prayer had its last line cut off, further distancing the film from the real villain of "evil." The film's sets, props, and costumes are great. Special effects are bad. Music sounds like more of the same.
It's a straight dramatization of the key events of Jesus' story, and it gets some things right and some things wrong. Experts can probably nit-pick on many different issues, while novices may find the film enlightening. Christians in general may get a kick out of it regardless. If you're a fan of The Bible miniseries already, then the film is likely just an extended episode for you. As it is though, I personally value The Passion of the Christ the most, because it covers a lot of similar ground with more realism, more attention to detail, and more power. Son of God is a fine and dandy depiction, but little more.
3/5 (Entertainment: Pretty Good | Content: Average | Film: Average)
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