Roma Downey (Touched by an Angel) and her husband, Mark Burnett, follow up their epic mini-series “The Bible” with the release of “Son of God”: An abbreviated story of the life and times of Jesus Christ that felt as if it were a television movie.
On this occasion, the greatest story of all time is told by the apostle John as he ponders the events that he experienced, while seemingly waiting for death in a secluded island cave. The story starts out with John having visions from the Old Testament (Adam and Eve, and Noah’s Ark), and then quickly shifts to the birth of Christ. The traditional story of Jesus (Diogo Morgado) is then told in rapid succession, from the recruiting of Simon Peter (Darwin Shaw) and the rest of the disciples, to the eventual persecution, torture, and death of Christ.
There are a few nuances in this movie and I will try to point them out from my perspective. This time around, it appears that Downey and Burnett have intentionally omitted any traces of anti-semitism, which was flagrant in Mel Gibson’s “The Passion of the Christ.” But the high clerics and Pharisees still come off as small minded, greedy, and shaking in their sandals when approaching Jesus. Mary Magdalene (Amber Rose Revah) is never exposed as the repentant sinner that she is, before she joins up with the Apostles. Instead she just appears as a member of Christ inner clan as a follower. (I still do not understand why she was not invited to the last supper.) Pontius Pilate (Greg Hicks) appears to be one of those types of governors that just wants everything to run smooth. He lounges around eating grapes with his wife; does a little aerobic exercising with the gladiators; and when he finds the time, he even governs. Pilate appears to want to wash his hands of this Jesus thing, but the Pharisees won’t leave it alone. The movie also does not explain Judas’ motive for betraying Christ (the money that he received by the Clerics almost appear as an after thought).So why did he do it?
We know how the “Son of God” ends and the crucifixion scenes are always hard to watch. This movie may have been better suited to the cable networks, but if the big screen can be used to spread the word of Christ, so much the better. I recommend the movie. (Rated PG-13; 138 mins.)
My Rating: 3 of 5 Loaves of Unleavened Bread.