Amanda recently sent me links to two movie trailers, 'Son of God' and 'Noah'. I responded saying they looked great and that I wanted to see them both. She then asked me if I would like to see 'Son of God' and write a review about it for the blog. Mission accepted.
Let me start off though with a double disclaimer:
First, I am not much of a movie-goer in general. I typically don't sit still long enough to watch a movie in its entirety. Prior to this I believe it was about three years since I had been in a movie theater.
Second, I am recently growing in my knowledge of the Bible and stories of Jesus' life and ministry. I grew up connected with a church, but from my early teens until a few years ago I had not been involved with a church at all, until I came to FPCB in late 2011.
So this review is based on my somewhat limited knowledge and experience. Now that we have that out of the way, on with the review!
Walking into the theater with a friend early on a Tuesday evening, I was pleased to see there was practically nobody there. I would like to say something incredibly cool, like that there were 12 of us in the theater, but in reality I believe there were 10. I was glad there were so few in attendance, ensuring that there would be little to no distractions.
The film starts off with John, having since outlived the other disciples, living alone in exile and seeming maybe just a bit crazy as a result. The words "In the beginning was the Word" are spoken, setting off a fast forward sequence of events including the Creation, dinosaurs, Adam & Eve, Noah, Abraham, Moses right up through the birth of Jesus in Bethlehem. A sort of 'high speed chase' from the birth of the universe to the birth of our savior. I imagine for someone with no knowledge of the Old Testament, this would leave the viewer's head spinning with a lot of questions.
Next, Jesus is offering to help a fisherman, Peter, who refuses. Jesus walks into the water and is helped by Peter into his boat where he offers Peter a new life, which he also refuses. Jesus suggests they try to catch some fish and Peter again refuses, saying that there are no fish this time of day or any other time of day, but still they go. Peter throws out a net and Jesus gently moves his hand through the water. After pulling in net after net full of fish, Peter is exhausted and asks what Jesus did. Jesus tells Peter he will make him a fisher of men if he joins him, that they will change the world. Soon they are on their way to do just that.
Now I won't go into all of the details beyond the opening scenes. We all know the story, or parts of it, and I am sure many of you have your favorites. In general, I felt the chosen stories were fairly well played, although some of them seemed a bit brief or lacking some depth or details. A miracle or two were performed in less than two minutes. For me, The Sermon on the Mount is a scene that stands out as less powerful that I would have hoped for. There may have been a story or two that I would have liked portrayed that were not. But to tell the whole story of the life of Jesus in less than two and a half hours is no small task. Overall I feel that the writers and producers did a solid job. The cast and performance was strong and believable. The scenes, sets and costumes all seemed authentic to my mind. I am sure the music had a huge impact on me. When the music fits so well that I barely notice it, as it did here, it usually means it was well done.
Moving through the story, things get tense when Jesus and his disciples arrive in Jerusalem and things start moving very quickly. The last supper and the arrest and trial of Jesus happen pretty fast and the choice between freeing Jesus or Barabbas is made. Jesus' journey to Golgotha and his crucifixion were incredibly realistic and deeply agonizing to watch. Honestly, the last 40 minutes or so of the movie I was either fighting back my tears or just letting them flow. My heart was breaking and I felt a tension deep in my core. I cannot say if, when or why I might have ever felt like this before. It was not a feeling I could easily label nor will I try to do so now. The final scenes were peaceful as the movie came to an end. I was left with a sense of knowing that although the movie was over, the story continues today.
All who were there watched the credits in their entirety, as if nobody wanted it to end. There were a few scenes during the credits that covered some stories that were left out of the movie. As we walked out in silence, it was obvious that all in attendance were deeply moved. The only words spoken were that of my friend saying "Good luck writing that one" - knowing this review was to follow. Before leaving I had to sit in the parking lot to process some of the emotions that were built up inside of me while in the theater.
I can say that for me, this movie was exactly what I needed, just when I needed it. Amanda asking me to do this was not random, coincidence or luck, or anything else of the sort. It was our God working through her to get me where I needed to be, and maybe to get you to go see the movie too. That is how He works, right? I believe I am changed for the better as a result of seeing this movie. Enjoy!
Dave plays bass for the FPCB Oasis band and is also an aspiring photographer and writer. He can often be found leaving home with his bass on one shoulder and his camera bag on the other. He works in the computer networking field but would prefer to combine his passions for music and photography to work a concert photographer.