Son of God - Hollywood's take on God's script + movie event review

"The script writer was doomed from the beginning, which is true of anyone writing the story of one of the most beloved individuals in history."  - Dave Brown, Empire magazine (Paraphrase from the Son of God event)

Son of God was just released in Australia. We had the opportunity to do a special viewing of the film at The Forum. Following the film we had a panel discussion with Ben McEachen (Empire Magazine, Open House), Dave Brown (Empire Magazine) and Will Mitchell (Film/TV professional) after the film. (Review of evening at the bottom)

Walking into the cinema...
I am a Christian. I do love reading and studying the Bible, but I am not a fan of Christian films. The quality of acting, writing and production is generally questionable. You cannot fault the source material for this film, the book is second to none. What comes into question is the production value. Since this film is based on the footage from 'The Bible' television series, this did not give me high hopes for the film. 

Micro-review: The film follows the life of Jesus through portions of his earthly existence.  The story is taken from a portion of the Bible, the gospel of John.  did an admirable job of the lead role, but the writing was for cable television and the quality of production was of minimal value. The landscapes, costumes and sets attempted to give a first-century Middle Eastern feel, but the dialogue, accents and attire made for a confusing  time line of Jesus' life. 

There are historical inaccuracies within Son of God, but the storyline moves along without major theological issues. It was merciful that many things are skipped within this biographical account, because the film seems to to move at a camel's pace. The story is worth reading, but the read is paced better than the film. The film has the feel of a television series, because this is the original intent of the filming. Christopher Spencer did not fail in the television production for the History Channel, but as a feature length film this did not deliver. It truly was the 'greatest hits of Jesus,' but missed on the delivery of the heart of the message. It leaves open the big questions of 'Why did he have to die?' and 'What was the point of him rising again?' 

Overall, this was not a great film, but it did give room for discussion on Jesus, the Bible and God. The source material is worth reading prior to or after seeing the film. Gospel of John 

Family value: 
Many people might be shocked to find out that the Bible is not G rated, but due to the graphic nature of this film I would not recommend this film for young viewers. Also, go in with discerning eyes and consider the actual story of Jesus. 

Overall Rating: Source material - 5 stars, film portrayal - 2 stars

Summary of the Son of God event: Following the film, we had a panel discussion about the film and the content. The panel brought a wealth of experience from the industry. They came from different views on Jesus, which made for good chemistry on the panel. The biggest comment on the feedback forms was 'it was too short' because of the quality of discussion afterwards. 

All of the panellists gave the film a poor review, but Will Mitchell talked of the value of the film for dialogue about Jesus. He spoke of his love for the original material and the importance of what we can learn from the story of Jesus. The audience participation and the comments from our panellists made for a quality evening. The film may have been fair, but the discussion about Jesus and the Bible was worth the price of admission. 

Here are some of the key (paraphrased) comments from the evening: 

"The script writer was doomed from the beginning, writing the story of one of the most beloved individuals in history."  - Dave Brown, Empire magazine (Paraphrase from the Son of God event)

"I am surprised more films are not based on the Bible, because it is such a great story." Dave Brown

"Honestly, I am too lazy to read the Bible, but I would be willing to watch the film." Audience member

"Like the Harry Potter films, I feel this film stayed close to the original source material." Ben McEachen

Photos from the evening

Rating of the 'Son of God' event: 4 stars

Leaving the cinema...

The quality of the evening was in the panel discussion afterwards. The film was mediocre, but the story is worth reading. I can testify, 'The book is much better than the film.' If you do see the film, please take time to read the biographies of Jesus. 

Article for consideration: Adrian Drayton interviews Diogo Morgado about his experience playing the Saviour of the world. Insights article

Written by Russell Matthews based on a five star rating system @ Russelling Reviews