To make this a little different I did a few things I don’t usually do. First, I went to see the new movie, Son of God, on opening night. Second, I didn’t read a single review before seeing it (or since). Third, I didn’t write down any notes, comments, tweets, posts – nothing! – before writing this review. I wanted to see what I would be thinking, feeling, and remembering a few days later. So…here you go…
Main Topic: 3 Pros and 3 Cons of “Son of God.”
As you probably know, Son of God came out last Friday. Behind the movie are the husband and wife team of Roma Downey (actress in Touched by an Angel) and Mark Burnett (executive producer of Survivor and Shark Tank…and a gazillion other shows). It’s a big-budget, high-profile Christian movie.
There were a few things I really liked.
And there were a few I didn’t.
In today’s episode I look at my top three “pros” and top three “cons.” Let’s jump in.
- It’s well done. Let’s be honest. Some Christian movies are pretty cheesy. This one isn’t (for the most part). The cinematography is nicely done. The sets and costumes are really good. The acting is solid (not amazing). The music is stellar. Of course what would you expect from Oscar Winner Hans Zimmer?
- It gives context to little-known people in the Bible. While there are some people in the Bible we know lots about, there are many more who appear only once or twice. Some people won’t like the “creative license” they took developing these people in Son of God. I love it. These are creative people using their God-given creativity to paint a picture of who these people might have been. (It’s a movie, not a theological encyclopedia.) What was Barabbas like before he was released instead of Jesus? How much did Pilate’s wife really try to talk him out of convicting Jesus? Was Malchus more than just “the guy who got his ear cut off by Peter? How about Nicodemus – the Pharisee who visited Jesus at night? If you ask questions like this, you’ll enjoy this movie.
- It paints a clear picture of the political tension. I always “knew” there was tension between the Romans and the Jews. This movie helped me experience it. The Jews didn’t just want a political savior. They needed one. Son of God does as good a job of portraying that tension as I have seen.
- It felt a bit disjointed. I have tried to put my finger on what just didn’t “feel” right at different times in the movie. A few days later, I think the best way I can put it is that Son of God felt like I was watching home movies of various scenes in the life of Jesus put in chronological order, as opposed to a well-told story of the life of Jesus. I’m not sure if someone who didn’t already know the story would have grasped what Jesus’ life, crucifixion, resurrection, and ascension truly accomplished.
- It tried too hard to be epic. The story is already epic. I felt like they were trying too hard. Every glance of Jesus carried weight. Every word. Every touch. Every movement. Too much was emphasized. And as I tell my communication coaching clients, “If you emphasize everything…you’ve emphasized nothing.” (NOTE: I talked to someone else over the weekend who had seen the movie and didn’t feel that way at all. One man’s opinion…)
- It had some distracting errors. These weren’t theologically horrible errors. Just little things they changed that didn’t need to be changed. I’m ok with taking creative license where we don’t know the facts. (See Pro #2.) But when John 20:19 says, “On the evening of that first day of the week, when the disciples were together, with the doors locked for fear of the Jewish leaders, Jesus came and stood among them and said, ‘Peace be with you!’” why would you have Jesus appear in front of an open door with the sun shining behind him? It was like a paper cut. Not life-threatening. But annoying nonetheless.
Son of God is a good movie for Christians to see together. It will lead to some really interesting conversations and open your eyes to some things you may never have thought of. I had hoped it would be a movie made for someone curious about Jesus. Maybe next year.
Here are a bunch of other resources, interviews, etc.
Behind the Scenes “making of” video.
(You’ll need to click the video and enter this password: soglightworkers.)
This page has everything from social media, to videos, to images, to discussion guides. You name it…it’s on this page!
Listener Question (Listen at 18:36)
How do I catch up when I’m behind on my Bible Read Thru?”
On the podcast, I unpack three different options. The super short version is: One…Set aside a chunk of time (usually on a weekend). Two…extend the “end date” of your read thru (after all, we don’t want to make it a chore or a to-do list). Three…simply add 5-10 minutes a day (by far my favorite of the three).
How do I get my whole youth group on board with Bible reading?”
First off, I love it that a student is even asking this question! Outstanding! My advice (unpacked further on the podcast) is to recognize that different people are ready at different times. The fact that someone isn’t excited – or even responding – at the same time you are, doesn’t mean that you’re not making an impact God will use later. The goal is to share your excitement and how God is using His Word to impact you! Once they want what they see you have, they’ll ask you how to get it.
Can I answer your question on a future episode?
I have several ways you can submit a question – or an idea for an episode topic:
- Call the dedicated Podcast Voicemail Line: (425) 522-3487
- Shoot me an email: podcast– at – keithferrin.com
- Record a voicemail – up to 90 seconds – at www.speakpipe.com/keithferrin.
- Leave a comment here on this page.
Resource of the Week
What’s in the Bible? is primarily a DVD series (13 DVDs) that walks through the whole Bible. Here are the highlights:
- Created by Phil Vischer, one of the guys behind VeggieTales.
- Aimed at students in Grades 1-4
- Physical DVDs or downloads
- Full curriculum for those in church/home school setting.
While this is primarily a DVD series, there are also some great resources on the blog (articles for parents, free video clips, free downloadable coloring pages, etc.). Check it out. There’s a ton there!
(Note: The coupon below is good this week only! However, you can always check the current coupon in the sidebar of this blog or simply go to What’s in the Bible? and check out what they have.)
Links (People, Info, and Resources) from Episode 018:
- Son of God (official site)
- Roma Downey (IMDB Site)
- Mark Burnett (IMDB Site)
- Hans Zimmer (IMDB Site)
- Son of God on Rotten Tomatoes (professional and viewer reviews)
- Bible Read Thru 2014 – Referenced in the Listener Questions
- Direct Link to the page dedicated to My Top 10 Online Bible Study Tools (and they’re all FREE) – www.keithferrin.com/freebook (Feel free to share!)
- Podcast Art – Pipe & Tabor (Vancouver, WA)
- Intro/Outro Music – Dan Carollo of CeltoGrass Music
[callout]Help spread the word!
- If you enjoyed this episode, would you do me a favor and share the love? (pre-written tweets and Facebook posts)
- Or…write a quick review or rate this podcast on iTunes?
- Or…you can TWEET THIS:
“Struggle with LIKING the Bible? Want to like it more? Check out @KeithFerrin’s podcast http://wp.me/P2rPgQ-FS #LikeTheBible”
[reminder]What did you like – or not like – about Son of God? Or…What’s YOUR favorite Christian movie?[/reminder]