'Son of God' Film Review
First off, people who are wondering if I would recommend this movie... Yes, but no. I would most certainly, 100%, recommend this film to fellow Believers in Christ. Absolutely. I think it's definitely an accurate representation of the stories told in the Gospel as well as Jesus and his interactions with the disciples. But I'm not sure I would recommend this film for someone outside of the Faith and here's why, because all though I think this film does a great job of taking what is written in His Word and making it into something we can actually watch, I don't think that non-Christians would enjoy this film as much as I did. Not to mention, if I truly wanted someone to watch a film that accurately portrays Christ's love and sacrifice for us, I would recommend Mel Gibson's The Passion of the Christ, which unlike Son of God is Rated R and is a much, much more brutal film, though as I said, I would recommend it.
It's not that I wouldn't recommend this film to non-believers at all, it's just I don't think they'd get as much out of it as someone who knows the story of Jesus as well as believes in Him. Son of God was very much made for believers where The Passion of the Christ was made for a more, and I HATE this word, but "secular" audience. However, if you would be bothered by the violence seen in The Passion or would like to share the story of Jesus with anyone under the age of 17, I would suggest this film as a jumping point (especially since it has a PG-13 rating), maybe to lead to The Passion later, though I will say I believe that this film is more accurate to the Word than The Passion of the Christ is.
The cool thing about Son of God is that it uses footage from The Bible mini-series from the History Channel, as it is the same cast as well as creative team. Some people look at this as a cop-out or would say that this film is obsolete and unnecessary, but I disagree. I think that by taking footage from something familiar, re-editing it, and focusing on Christ, and then releasing it into theaters for everyone to be able to see is actually a genius idea! To be honest, I loved the beginning of this film where John, who is the narrator of the film, talks about all of the different Bible stories that were touched on in The Bible, including David & Goliath, Noah, Moses, Adam & Eve, and many others. I thought it was a cool way to bring the audience up to speed as well as a great use of pre-existing footage.
I really liked the history involved with this film as well. I think Son of God did a great job of showing Pilate and the Romans and how they lived compared to how the Pharisees and the Jews lived, in fact, dare I say Son of God did better at that than The Passion? I don't know, maybe...
That being said, I thought the part when the rebellious Jews (lead by Barabbas, which was a nice touch as well) fought the Romans was great because I think it put Jesus' message of peace, love, and freedom from sin into a new perspective that maybe we as Believers hadn't thought about before. During Jesus' time, there was constant conflict between the Jews and the Romans (and really all Gentiles in general), and the Jews who were listening to Jesus thought that He had come to liberate them from the Roman Empire, but that was not His purpose in coming, at least the first time.
Another thing I liked was how Jesus chose His disciples, Peter, John, Thomas, and Matthew in particular. I really liked the beginning when Jesus just flat-out invades Peter's (then Simon) personal space, because whenever I read about Jesus in Scripture I see that He wasn't politically correct or a respecter of persons, He was pretty much just in people's face all the time, and I think this movie showed that very well. I especially liked the scene when Jesus found Matthew at the tax collectors booth and told him to follow Him. That was very cool.
As for Son of God's biblical accuracy, the film is actually pretty spot-on with a few slight things changed for dramatic effect. The story of Jesus' birth, ministry, death, and resurrection was accurate overall for sure and I had no problems with any of Jesus' dialogue or actions within the film whatsoever. So from a Jesus stand-point I think they did Him justice. I mean, I wish He looked a little more Jewish instead of being the "Catholic white Jesus", but from a story standpoint, He was pretty much spot on. I loved His interaction with the Disciples as well as some of the people in the crowds, Pilate, the Pharisees, and Nicodemus (who I thought was also very spot on in this film).
There were however a few things that I wasn't terribly fond of that were truly minor things, but were noticeable to me as someone who believes, trusts, and finds his faith through the Scriptures, the first of which being the inclusion of Mary Magdalene in just about every sequence featuring the Disciples.
The reason this bugs me is not because she's a woman or anything like that, but because it's inaccurate to the text. In fact, Mary and her sister Martha (who I don't even believe is mentioned) lived in a house and it was only when Jesus came around her area that she would be around Him and the Disciples.
Another thing that irritated me was when Peter denied Christ three times, or at least how it was handled in this movie. I didn't like how when Peter denied Him, it was actually in front of Him, because that's not how it happens in Scripture. On top of that, Peter denies Christ, in this film, in the morning when in fact he actually did this (in three separate instances, not all at once by the way) during the night BEFORE the rooster crowed when the sun rose (Luke 22:54-62). That was a little thing that irritated me a lot.
Finally, the last complaint I have has to do with Jesus rising Lazarus from the dead. I think the story of Lazarus is an amazing story and I think the miracle Jesus performed there was not just incredible but of great importance, that's why I was irritated at how they handled it. In John 11:38-44, it's made clear that Jesus never goes into Lazarus's tomb. In fact, all He does is pray to the Father and the Father says, "Lazarus, come forth." and then Lazarus is raised from the dead. I did not like that Jesus went into the temple and had to physically touch him in the movie because I think it takes a bit of power and majesty away from the miracle that He performed there.
In closing let me say this, I did not expect a whole lot from Son of God. I thought it would just be a bad The Passion of the Christ rip-off that wouldn't be worth seeing. But as it is a film in movie theaters about Jesus Christ and the story of our entire Christian faith, I felt compelled to go see it, so I took two friends of mine (also believers) to go see the film. We were shocked at how much we enjoyed it and how accurate to the Scriptures it actually was. I hope that Hollywood continues to put out good, wholesome Christian films, and on that note I also hope that Christian films can becomes something more than just "good and wholesome", but that they can also be exciting and epic. The upcoming Noah film looks interesting, and don't worry I will certainly review that, and Ripley Scott's Exodus film starring Christian Bale as Moses is something I'm leaning off the edge of my seat for waiting to see. I hope Hollywood realizes that there's a good Christian market out there and a lot of Christians and non-Christians alike who want to see more biblical-based stories on the big screen.
I hope you all enjoyed this review of Son of God, if you haven't seen it, I hope I have convinced you to give it a shot. I want to write up a review of a Christian film called Home Run which my family and I watched yesterday that was absolutely fantastic and I thought was really well done, but I'm not sure when I'll get to it. When Noah comes out I will for sure be writing a review on that film much like this one where I say what I liked, what I didn't like, and what was and was not biblical. I have a feeling I'll be talking a little bit about the Book of Enoch in that review as well. That being said, please go watch Son of God as well as The Bible miniseries, for all it's faults it does a very good job at portraying Scripture (if you can get past the ethnicity issues)!
"The grace of our Lord Jesus Christ be with you all. Amen."
- Revelation 22:21