An update is written below the film review.
The movie opens with the lofty words,
“In the beginning, He was always there in our struggle for the promise land,”
and amazingly beautiful imagery. Honestly, I was hooked from the first few seconds and looking forward to watching and hearing the story unfold. Soon, however, I was thrown by the choppy feel of the scene transitions and the increasing sense that the movie was more of a reading of select passages than a reenactment of a very important period of the Christian life story. I knew going in that the scenes with satan had been deleted. According to the media, there had been backlash about the actor playing satan resembling President Barack Obama. Indeed, The Hollywood Reporter quotes Roma Downey, co-producer of the film with husband Mark Burnett as saying, “For our movie, Son of God, I wanted all of the focus to be on Jesus. I want his name to be on the lips of everyone who sees this movie, so we cast Satan out. It gives me great pleasure to tell you that the devil is on the cutting-room floor. This is now a movie about Jesus, the son of God, and the devil gets no more screen time.” That’s all well in good in theory, but the devil plays a huge role in every believers life. Especially early on. And he played a significant role in Jesus’s testing in the flesh. What good does it do us (Believers) to see a representation of Jesus strolling through the desert and chatting on mountainsides with His friends? It was a pretty film but nothing in the Bible tells me that Jesus had a pretty and unencumbered life. I left this film thinking,
That’s why we have weak believers. People think we have a weak savior. They don’t think our Jesus did anything extraordinary.
Two main arguments Jesus Believers encounter are (1) Jesus was just a man, no one special; and (2) satan doesn’t exist. Basically, there is no ultimate good and no ultimate evil. And of course that leads to a larger argument about the existence of God. If we accept forms of Christian story-telling that omits significant elements of the story our belief is based on, then we risk weakening our belief in our Foundation.
A few days after seeing the film, I commented on a thread discussing it on Facebook. Rather than rewriting what I shared on Facebook, I’ve simply pasted my comments below. The question was: “What do you think of the film and the controversy surrounding The Son of God?
March 8, 2014
LaShawnda Jones commented on a status.
I actually didn’t care for it. I have an issue with ppl trying to water down the gospel to make it comfortable for non believers or naysayers. The movie felt like a mashup of scripture readings linked together to tell a story. It should’ve just been the story. Most unfortunate is that they cut scenes of satan out, which could be why it felt choppier in spaces. They cut him supposedly bc ppl complained the actor looked too much like Obama. Seriously? So you attempt to tell the story of Jesus with no adversary? It made for a very flat story. It made Jesus look like He was just coasting thru the desert making friends. It’s been in my blog queue to post about this week, think this comment will get me going.
**Finally posted! 🙂 ** Someone asked a question about my above comment and I responded:
March 8, 2014
LaShawnda Jones commented on a status.
Nope, V——, it is certainly no Passion of the Christ. I will say, I saw Passion before I became a practicing Christian. I claimed to believe in Jesus at the time, but the thought of Jesus really had no substance for me until I saw that movie. Why? Because suddenly I could visualize a scourging, I could visualize what the lashes did to his body. Even the crown of thorns blew me away because, in my reading it was still just a crown. How can a crown hurt? Yes, Passion was violent and it was overwhelming for me watch but it didn’t run me away from the faith, it helped me to understand who I am believing in a bit more. The world is violent and the world treated Jesus violently. Glossing over that is a deep injustice to everyone struggling with their faith and everyone we are trying to reach to teach about Jesus – and most especially a deep injustice to the telling of how Jesus accomplished His assignment.
UPDATE re SON OF GOD and THE BIBLE Series
On April 19, 2014, I watched about half of the ten-part The Bible series. It’s an amazing production. When I got to the last three episodes of the series, I immediately thought: What a disservice they did with the movie, Son of God, by cutting out so many scenes from The Bible series. I understand that they wouldn’t want to release a four hour movie to the theaters, but there is so much meat, beauty and truth in the interactions of The Bible series. As noted above, I completely felt the choppiness of the cuts and edits to make the movie feature film length.
If you have not seen Son of God and you are interested, I suggest you skip it and go straight to The Bible series episodes the film was cut from. As you can imagine, the series provides a much fuller story and flavor.
As a further balance, I share this link http://thelasthiker.wordpress.com/2014/02/23/the-son-of-god-movie-is-not-what-we-think-do-you-know-the-voice-of-your-master/ which discusses the non-Christian beliefs of the makers of the film and series. To that I say, whatever you watch and in all things, use caution and discernment.
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