by Rod D. Martin
February 24, 2014
Who knew Mark Burnett — creator of Survivor, The Apprentice and seemingly half of everything else on TV — was a Christian?
Well, he is. Last year, he and his wife Roma Downey brought you The Bible, the History Channel’s all-time highest rated miniseries, with over 100 million cumulative views. Burnett and Downey said their “greatest hope” in making the series was that it would “affect a new generation of viewers and draw them back to the Bible.”
Son of God — which Sherri and I privately screened last night at National Religious Broadcasters — is the first portrayal of the Gospel on the big screen in a decade, when Mel Gibson’smasterpiece The Passion of the Christ shocked the world by grossing over $600 million despite being a religious movie filmed entirely in languages no one speaks. But unlike The Passion, Son of God tells the entire story of the life of Christ, literally beginning with Creation, working its way to Bethlehem, depicting His entire Earthly ministry and finishing with His Ascension.
There are areas where you could quibble. Diogo Morgado’s Jesus can’t resist affected dramatic pauses: there’s no way you could have a decent conversation with this guy. He’s also got flowing locks to match any Sunday School artwork, but oddly out of sync with the people around him in the movie: apparently the view that everyone in First Century Judea was some kind of hippie flower child only extends this time to the Messiah Himself (I would question whether it should extend that far). Some reviewers might point out that parts of the story seem clipped, some of the teachings truncated (there might have been more time to get this stuff in if there’d been fewer of those dramatic pauses), and the whole narrative a bit difficult to follow if you don’t already know it pretty well.
These are all valid points, and I’ll be sure to do better when I make my own Jesus movie.
But until then, Son of God is an outstanding, faithful presentation of the life of Jesus and of the Gospel message. You should see it, whether or not you’re a believer: all of Western civilization turns on this narrative, and you’re not doing yourself any favors by missing Burnett and Downey’s quite impressive take on it.
But if you are a believer, you should drag everyone you know — and certainly everyone from your church — to a theatre on February 28 and the several days subsequent: the fate of movies today is determined by their box office take in their first week, which really boils down to Friday, Saturday and Sunday. If you want to see more and better programming on the big and small screens, you have to support it when it appears. Studios don’t make more of stuff that flops.
Son of God: out February 28. Go see the Savior glorified upon the silver screen.