Skip to comments.Redeemed in the End: 'Son of God' fails to do justice to Jesusí significance. Read the Bible.
Posted on 03/01/2014 12:01:19 PM PST by SeekAndFind
Their empire, his kingdom is the tagline for Son of God, the new movie depicting Jesus life from his birth to his ascension. It captures the films central dramatic action: Jesus and the kingdom he preaches present a threat to Caiaphas, the high priest struggling to ensure the continued existence of the Jewish people under Roman rule, and to Pontius Pilate, the jaded and casually cruel prefect who can guarantee his own preservation only by ruthlessly oppressing the restive provincials of Judea.
Roma Downey, herself a Christian, produced Son of God with her husband, reality-TV producer Mark Burnett. It grew out of the filming of Downey and Burnetts hit History Channel miniseries The Bible, which aired last year to 13 million viewers. The film opens with the first words of the Gospel of John: In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. John the Evangelist, the aged apostle, provides the voiceover from his exile; he supplements the Biblical text with an explanation that this is the same Word who was present in all of salvation history (cue a montage, from The Bible, of Noahs ark, Abraham, and Moses and the burning bush).
Diogo Morgado, the Portuguese actor who plays Jesus, began his career as a model and then starred in telenovelas, and it shows. His performance in The Bible last year inspired the Twitter hashtag #hotjesus, and his Jesus is a gentle bearded Adonis, who looks with a soft smile and piercing eyes upon the crowds of people who pursue him around the Sea of Galilee. (Downey herself plays Mary, Jesus mother, though she would have done better to choose someone else who looks the part of a middle-aged Jewish woman from Biblical Israel, not Beverly Hills.) The film itself has a bit of a gauzy telenovela feel to it granted, with a much higher production value. Whereas the old Biblical epics of the 50s and 60s had a certain sweeping Technicolor majesty to them, this one relies on lingering shots of the awed or angered faces of Jesus disciples and enemies to deliver the import of events. Simon the Pharisee has several tangles with Jesus in which he deploys his smoldering Thats blasphemy! look in response to whatever miracle or parable Jesus has just antagonized him with.
Though the movie is mostly faithful to the Gospels, there are a few cringeworthy embellishments: Jesus tells Peter at the outset that together theyre going to change the world, and before the entrance to Jerusalem, Peter exhorts the other disciples that its time to take their message right to the heart of power. There are also a few lines pregnant with heavy-handed dramatic irony from people dismissing Jesus as someone who will be quickly forgotten once hes gone.
While the first half of the film, which glides over the main events of Jesus public ministry, can feel schmaltzy, the depiction of the Passion does not. Perhaps this is because there is something inherent in the accounts of Jesus suffering and death that makes it fit for dramatization and vicarious participation. At any rate, the Passion in Son of God is bloody and viscerally affecting, and its impossible to be unmoved by it.
Downey told the Philadelphia Daily News that she and her husband took pains to set the historical scene accurately and depict the antagonists as multidimensional. But in any attempt to dramatize the Biblical accounts of Jesus life, there is the challenge not just of presenting the narrative of his incarnation, ministry, and death but of pointing toward their significance. The film falls short of the latter, admittedly difficult, aim, but thats what the books for.
Katherine Connell is an associate editor at National Review.
It doesn’t surprise me if the book is better; that’s what happens when Hollywood tinkers with great literature of any kind. “1984” was the last movie I saw that was as good as the book it was based on.
TBN sometime show both those movies Jesus of Nazaterh and Greatest story ever told
It has “made for TV” written all over it. Why bother seeing it?
Haven’t seen the movie but the trailers have given me some sense of the “cringe” he talks about. But it sounds like the crucifixion part was good. I’ve always felt like depicting the brutality of the crucifixion was gratuitous, but I’m learning that for each undeserved brutal thing he received, I received undeserved forgiveness, favor, honor, healing, and riches. My focus is now on the degree of God’s love for me in taking all that I deserved and putting it on Jesus so that I now get all that Jesus deserves. Thank you Jesus.
There is absolutely no way to depict accurately the Bible on the screen. However, the goal was to spread the Gospel, which was Downey’s intention, so I applaud her. Did she succeed at that, I wonder? Why make changes to what Jesus actually said, according to Scripture, and create an impression that is inaccurate or misleading?
I agree that Downey was horribly miscast as Mary. Her awful plastic surgery was so distracting, let alone her looking like an Irish lady that wandered onto the set. In the tv production, she chose to highlight Samson and Delilah, but no mention of Jacob and his 12 sons - odd choice, I thought.
Mel Gibson was right when he said about his version of ‘The Passion of Christ’ - “This is my movie - if you don’t like it, go make your own movie.”
I very much admire Roam and her husband.
No doubt this will be an excellent film.
For the record I don’t think I know anyone associated with this movie.
As was my favorite movie ever:
“ The Ten Commandments”
I can watch it over and over again.
I love this movie and look forward to Easter when I will also get my fix for “The Greatest Story Ever Told” and others of that genre.
There is absolutely no excuse for not portraying Biblical characters exactly as in the Bible. The Downey/Burnett TV series on the Bible had so much fiction included that we turned it off by the second week.
Last night, we viewed the movie Jacob which my wife rented from Netflix. Not a bad movie but once again, they threw in silly scenes that were not in the Bible.
There is no excuse for doing that. One can produce a two hour length movie about significant Biblical characters without resorting to fictionalizing the character(s).
An angel of God becomes a Ninja-style warrior who goes on a stabbing spree in the ancient city of Sodom in "The Bible" TV miniseries. The stabbing spree is not mentioned in the actual biblical account. According to the Old Testament, angels merely struck the citizens of Sodom with blindness before God firebombed the entire city. The TV series did include those elements as well. The show, however, did not mention the rampant homosexuality in Sodom, or that the citys men actually sought to have sex with the angels.
When that happened, I knew the series was bowing to the evil homosexual lobby. We are fighting a great wickedness in our time. Homosexuality is now the centerpiece of Satan's crowbar to rip Christians and their Constitutional rights apart. Christian teaching will be outlawed in the not so distant future, as any teaching that violates the "civil rights" of homosexuals by stating God's truth about their sin will be grounds for arrest, persecution, and imprisonment. Christians who are in the military are already being persecuted for their faith.
“However, the goal was to spread the Gospel, which was Downeys intention, so I applaud her.”
Downey is New Age through and through. “Son of Man” is told through the eyes of a New Age guru.
Take time to read the link:
She was quoted in an article talking about how she listens to books on tape by Eckart Tolle. I get my own selections [on the radio in the car] books on tape by Eckhart Tolle, Tony Robbins She goes on to say, My husband says Im so self-realized Im practically levitating. Really? Because I have never heard my pastors wife talk like that? If you are not familiar with Eckart Tolle, he is a New Age teacher who twists the Bible and adds it to his Hindu, Buddhist, Taoist, Shintoist philosophy. If you are familiar with him, and you like himwhatever. He is a false teacher when it comes to Christianity. Charlie Campbell has a list of his troubling statements...
Aside from her VERY questionable theological beliefs, she has gone to the University of Santa Monica to get a degree in Spiritual Psychology. When I first read that I thought, so? BUT when I looked it up, the University of Santa Monica is not just a school like Cal Poly or USC that people from all walks of life go to. When you click on their home page you will see that it specializes in New Age degrees.
ACTRESS Roma Downey has talked to her mother through a psychic on live TV. The Derry-born Touched By An Angel star was a guest on a celebrity version of the US psychic show Crossing Over, hosted by medium John Edward. Romas mother Maureen died of a heart attack in Derry when she was 10. And Roma was heartbroken that she was never able to tell her how much she loved her. So she jumped at an offer from the producers of the show on the Sci-Fi Channel to speak to her mum using Edwards for the connection. (source).
Barabbas with Anthony Quinn also.
Have you seen “Shoes of the Fisherman” where he plays a Russian pope? It sort of predicted John Paul II.
Yes, very good movie. He really was a fine actor.
Just saw “La Strada” not too long ago.
Crikey - I thought Roma was a Catholic. Thanks for enlightening me. That explains a lot of if she is a fan of Tolle, et.al.
“Jesus of Nazareth” is definitely epic. I, and many others, are waiting for Lionsgate to release the US blu-ray. As it stands, the Mexican blu-ray is still amazing and beautifully remastered, but has a few scenes that are cut. However, it’s the best we got so far (German release isn’t good at all).