Wednesday, July 2, 2014

Son of God Review

Son of God Review

I am going to dare try something on this blog, I am fairly certain I will be hammered for this opinion, depending who reads this. All I can say in my defense is that I am completely honest when it comes to this blog. There is no movie I will not give a fair shake, I will watch anything you put in front of me, start to finish, for better or for worse. I am not afraid of any genre, any director or any vision. I will also admit that I don’t love everything I see, read enough of my reviews and you will see that. I don’t care if you disagree and I don’t care if you get upset, this is my personal opinion, I personally feel my opinion matters enough to get out there. I don’t write anything to please people or to twirl on the status quo, I write from a very passionate place in my heart. That is all I really can do.

When writing about a movie that has to do with religion, especially the story of Jesus Christ, it is easy to step on people’s toes. I feel lots of religious people blindly followed Mel Gibson’s “The Passion of the Christ” simply because it was a story about Jesus. But, I have to say, Mel Gibson’s film is all gore and no substance. I understand the story of Jesus and his crucifixion, but that bold story did not hold up well on the big screen. Jesus Christ’s story is the greatest story ever told, but it is also a deeply sprawling story. You have to know what you are going to say and do before you say it. I think the best film to portray Jesus Christ was Martin Scorsese’s “The Last Temptation of Christ.” Sure, the ultra-conservatives wanted to burn it. It was a film that dared to portray Jesus as a troubled man. It dared to tell his story in a much different, more human direction. While filming the film in that fashion, Scorsese created a film filled with emotion and tension.

“Son of God” was released on DVD a few months ago, and I finally caught up with it tonight. I had a pretty good idea of what I was getting myself into, but I wanted to see it for myself as always. All I can say is this, if you went to Sunday School as a child, or if you watched “The Bible” on The History Channel, then you will have no need to see this movie. This is by far the safest, most cuddly Jesus Christ story ever committed to film. It is just rehashed footage from “The Bible” mini-series from TV, and that is exactly what the movie feels like, a mini-series. That’s the biggest problem with the movie, it’s simply a mini-series in film form, except it never once feels like a movie. It features television special effects and television acting.

Not only that, but “Son of God” just a laundry list of ideas from Jesus Christ’s story. There is no tension, no emotion and no suspense in the entire movie. This is another reason why “Son of God” never feels like a movie, it’s a series of familiar events and then it is over. Look, I may not have loved Mel Gibson’s movie, but his movie was major league compared to this, simply because he focused lots of time and attention on one specific incident in Jesus Christ’s life. “Son of God” plans to jump through his life and highlight what made him great. “Son of God” is Jesus Christ’s Greatest Hits. It is handled in the most boring way possible, after close to two hours and thirty minutes, I slowly felt the time slip off. I could never identify with any of the characters, because the script so bland and so mediocre that I couldn’t identify with anybody. I can’t say how good of an actor Diogo Morgado was as Jesus or Amber Rose Revah as Mary Magdalene or Darwin Shaw as Peter or Greg Hicks as Pontius Pilate because they were so horribly written. I suppose the crew thought since this was a Jesus story, nothing of any thematic or technical merit mattered, but it sure mattered to me.

Look, I think movies that dip into the religious spectrum can be good, even great. Darren Aronofsky made one heck of a Noah movie earlier this year; a movie that was grand and near-transcendent while also ambitious. “Son of God” will be shown at Sunday Schools everywhere because how safe it is. You’ve seen movies like this all your life; this one just particularly tries to be something bigger and better. It’s not though, which is just too bad.


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