Unfaithful Retelling of Jesus Crosses From Television to Film

“Son of God” premiered nationwide on Feb. 28, 2014. “The Bible” series spin-off illustrated Jesus Christ from the viewpoint of John, his disciple.

“Son of God,” a spin-off of the Primetime Emmy nominated miniseries, “The Bible,” was produced by Roma Downey. Downey gained her fame from acting and producing in the Emmy nominated show, “Touched By an Angel.”

Downey was inspired by Diogo Morgado’s Jesus in the series and decided to take clips from “The Bible” and cut them into a movie she would later produce, henceforth “Son of God.”

The television influence greatly hindered the potential of the film, downplayed the importance of “spirit” in the story of Jesus and overplayed his miracles.

The film introduced a “Latino Jesus,” a Portuguese native named Diogo Morgado. Morgado’s presentation of Jesus was compassionate and kind. His compassion, however, came off as passive and strange. Jesus is known for his kindness and compassion, but it seemed Morgado’s Jesus only had that. He lacked the passion for teaching that Christ had and his parables were boring and overlooked in many scenes.

With an emphasis on the disciples, the film had an interesting presentation of Jesus. It seemed that the movie couldn’t decide what point of view it wanted and opted for all of them. First, the story opened up with John the disciple after he was evicted from the city. It slowly merged to a little bit of Peter and a little bit of Mary, but only sometimes Jesus. The point of view other than Jesus’ is difficult to obtain because it makes it seem like what Jesus had to say was less important than others’ opinions.

In one scene, Jesus was giving the parable of the mustard seed, and instead of focusing on Jesus’ ministry, the scene hushed his parable and focused on the miracles Jesus worked. Later on in the film Jesus’ miracles were enhanced, while his words were diminished. The film made Jesus a magician instead of a teacher and Savior, and that is the biggest flaw.

There was a lot of aerial shooting and many CGI scenes such as the landscape of the Temple. The cinematography was clearly in the television style and there were many long scenes of Jesus and the disciples looking out into the distance as well as fades to black to end scenes. These effects gave the feeling of a commercial.

The film was very slow paced; the dialogue was presented slowly as were the actions. Many scenes were held too long and dissuaded motivation to keep watching. Unlike Mel Gibson’s “The Passion of the Christ,” the TV show creators were a big influence on this film.

The rest of the cast was average, but nothing spectacular. Since the story of Jesus has been done many times, some exceedingly well such as “The Passion of the Christ,” many audiences had high expectations.

According to Forbes, “Son of God” brought in $26.5 million so far and is topping the charts at number two. “The Bible” miniseries spin-off, though successful in profit, is seemingly unsuccessful with critics.

According to Rotten Tomatoes, critics rated the film at 14 percent, while the audience rated it at 81 percent. Why the large gap? The Christian film’s faithful genre had full support from churches across the U.S.

Pastor Rick Warren, and other mega-church pastors, reportedly rented an entire movie theater to view “Son of God,” according to Religion News Service.