Diogo Morgado. Action drama bio. Produced by Roma Downey, Mark Burnett, Richard Bedser. Directed by Christopher Spencer.
FILM SYNOPSIS: This life of Jesus recreation has been taken from the made-for-TV miniseries, The Bible, which aired last year on the History Channel.
PREVIEW REVIEW: Itís a theatrical release made earlier for television, with scenes added and subtracted. Thatís always worrisome for a Christian who reviews movies. And sure enough, it has the problems I feared, mainly a budget that could have stood enhancement.
In an attempt to recreate a comprehensive representation of Jesusí ministry, many of the biblical anecdotes and miracles are included. Alas, there is a choppiness to these sequences. The film is long (138 min.), but it doesnít always flow. Diogo Morgado as Jesus struggles with an Australian accent (strange, because heís Portuguese) while trying to do an English accent (itís traditional in biblical movies) and, boy, does this guy have brilliantly white teeth. Heís a walking ad for Pepsodent. And quite honestly, the first half of the film did little to inspire me. Remember, however, Iím a bit jaded as Iíve seen nearly every movie ever made concerning the Christ with true craftsmanship by filmmakers such as Franco Zeffirelli, George Stevens, Mel Gibson, Nicholas Ray and Cecil B. DeMille Ė as well as several big- and low-budgeted church renditions. But wait. There is someone else you should be listening to concerning this faith-based production.
About halfway through Son of God, I started to get involved and found several moving scenes that completely engaged me. And throughout the scenes depicting Jesusí ordeal, I felt that still small voice talking to my soul. By the end of the movie I honestly felt the Holy Spirit was upon this production. Suddenly the choppy editing and the leadís white teeth paled in comparison to the tug I felt in my spirit.
Mr. Morgado is charismatic and sincere (in real life heís a Believer) and despite the cinematic weaknesses, it became fulfilling. It cannot be denied Ė itís a movie about something!
As someone who is paid to analyze the construction, tone and purpose of movies, perhaps I should be more objective about this one. But any way you look at it, itís not a bad movie, and I want to be supportive of this production. Gee, I wonder why.
While Iím careful about telling readers which films to support, letís remember that in the entertainment business, the success of a production is weighed in measures of gold. If these films do well at the box office, it sends a message to media moguls that there may be further audience interest in biblical principals and perhaps biblical principles.
The Passion of the Christ was released back in 2004. A new movie-going generation has yet to be introduced through the cinema to the story of Jesusí earthly mission. Until now.
On a press junket last year for the TV miniseries The Bible, I spoke with producer Roma Downey. She was nearly giddy concerning the production.
ďJust think about all the people who donít know the Bible,Ē said the former star of Touched By An Angel. ďWe pray they will become interested in Godís Word and that believers will be reminded to make Bible study a part of their daily lives.Ē
Rated PG-13, the violent content is not suitable for little ones.
DVD Additions: The Passion of the Christ (definitely not for the whole family, but it is the highest grossing R-rated film of all time). The New Testament makes it clear that Christ came to die for the entire world, and that all men placed Him on that cross. He, who was without sin, made the ultimate sacrifice by taking on the sins of all people. This film, while showing the physical horrors Christ endured, is not really about what mankind did to Him, but about what He did for us.
Jesus of Nazareth. Acclaimed for its thorough biblical and historical research, Franco Zeffirelliís 6Ĺ-hour TV-movie is considered the best screen version of the story of Christ. Robert Powell heads the all-star cast.
King of Kings: Jeffrey Hunter stars as Jesus. All-star cast also includes Robert Ryan and Rip Torn and it is narrated by Orson Welles. It lacks Zeffirelliís energy, but it has its moments and a musical score that moves our emotions. I was also extremely moved by The Robe, because rather than present an actor playing the Christ, we merely witness Him through His effect on the lives of others. Ben Hur catches that same quality.
The Miracle Maker. This is one for the whole family. With the use of claymation and graphically striking two-dimensional animation, it tells the story of Jesus and a sick little girl who encounters Jesus through different stages of His life; we are given a remarkably accurate retelling of Christís ministry.