Nothing ‘God’-Like Here
Walking into the theater, I didn’t know what to expect from “Son of God.” Released as the compressed version of the History Channel series, “The Bible,” the film set out to convey the story of Christ to a modern audience via a modern medium. High budget filming, a gorgeous cast and a Hollywood vibe brushes the dust off of the Biblical tale, though in doing so tarnishes the legitimacy and overall sentiment of the message itself. It is hard to judge “Son of God” accurately, because it relies so heavily upon a widely known story that it ultimately augments to better fit the mold of a wide release Hollywood film.
These augmentations are what bothered me the most about the film. Most noticeable, in my opinion, was the choice to make Jesus and his disciples white. Being a native of Palestine circa 0 B.C., there is no way that Jesus could’ve been white, yet this image is consistently perpetuated by Hollywood, and it never ceases to annoy. Christ is portrayed by Portuguese actor Diogo Morgado, who looks more like a surf/yoga instructor who sleeps in a hammock on the beach every night than he does a Biblical prophet. Morgado’s handsomeness is actually a distraction, and while I’m not saying that Jesus could not have been a good-looking guy, the actor’s good looks are nothing short of ridiculous. He looks like a model even when he’s being tortured and crucified.
Additionally, the acting was generally a bit cheesy and the scenes were slightly over-dramatic. “Son of God” covers all of Jesus’ most famous miracles and stories, including but not limited to his walking on water, flipping over tables on the steps of the temple and his resurrecting of Lazarus. Possibly, because these stories are told so often, each reenactment seems a bit awkward on screen. Something about seeing Morgado’s Jesus talk about divine forgiveness was off-putting and inauthentic.
However, the film was not entirely bad. Although the dialogue and acting left a bit to be desired, the cinematography, costume and set design were wonderful. Aesthetically, “Son of God,” is quite beautiful to watch, and the visuals of the film are the most pleasing aspect of the film. The film is visually wonderful with the exception of some of the special effects, particularly the scene during which Jesus walks on water. The special effects during this scene were terrible, and just like everything else that was lacking in this film, the low quality was distracting and ultimately harmful to the film.
Despite its flaws, I believe that “Son of God” will be a box office hit, if for no other reason because of the massive built-in audience it has in Christian organizations across the globe. While it is a serious retelling of the story of Jesus Christ, it is far less severe and intense than Mel Gibson’s “The Passion of the Christ,” and will thus be ideal for viewing with the whole family or even in a classroom during a Bible study course. You certainly don’t have to be Christian to enjoy this film, and while it isn’t completely accurate in its retelling of Jesus’ life, “Son of God” is an interesting and educational film that is actually sort of fun to watch if you set your expectations accordingly.
Only recommended if: You don’t set your expectations too high and are looking for the quick and easy Spark Notes on the life of Jesus Christ.