Review by Tres
I would like to start by apologizing for not meeting my weekend post for our followers. The intention was to go see The Son of God on release Friday and then write my review and post it Saturday. With our state standardized testing, our MATH Bowl completion (which I coach) that Thursday night, and then my sermon to prepare for that Sunday morning… I just got behind.
So my apologies to our followers and my blog buddies.
I went into this movie without reading a single review purposely. I’m writing my review without reading anyone else’s purposely. I want to give my honest opinion.
I walked in wanting to love this movie. Within the first few moments I was concerned. John is narrating about Jesus and we see images a the birth of Christ. Having done studies and sermons on what that scene looked like I was troubled when they depicted 3 wise men, but I understand the general assumption because of the 3 gifts (though there is no Biblical support there.) However, when they have them at the manager I have an issue.
Yes, the world has adopted the idea that wise men were there, but we are not to be of the world, but of The Word. The Word is quite clear that the wise men presented their gifts to a young child Jesus at his home.
Matt 2:11 – And they came into the house and saw the young child with Mary his mother; and they fell down and worshipped him; and opening their treasures they offered unto him gifts, gold and frankincense and myrrh.
So I took a took a deep breath and went on.
Then we see Jesus walking on the shore of Galilee as he watches the fisherman. Enters Peter and James, his bro…. No wait… It’s just Peter fishing. Anyway Jesus tells Peter to throw down his nets and follow hi…. Oh no. Actually here Jesus tells Peter he needs help fishing and when Peter denies his suggestion… YEA! Peter turns Jesus down!… Jesus just walks out to the boat and tells him he’s getting in.
Matt 4: 18-20 – And walking by the sea of Galilee, he saw two brethren, Simon who is called Peter, and Andrew his brother, casting a net into the sea; for they were fishers. 19 And he saith unto them, Come ye after me, and I will make you fishers of men. 20 And they straightway left the nets, and followed him.
… and I get the “We talked about this” look. We did. I hadn’t mentioned anything about this movie to her until this weekend because my wife is a techy… Completely opposite of her husband… And I knew she’d be researching it. As we drove there tonight, we talked how the biggest complaint is that it’s altering the Bible and how some people are saying no one complains when Hollywood changes other “books” (beg to differ… Check out our Superman discussion about Zod). And that there were going to be differences and we’d have to expect it.
Well, 2nd major scene and I have two issues. I think to myself… I’m gonna have to bite my tongue a lot.
There were a few other things here and there that bothered me, but the next two really frustrate me as a Christian.
The first, is a 2 part with Lazarus. A time where Hollywood could have shown the tenderness of Jesus and the light of God was like watching a firework shoot high up into the air to fizzle into nothing. I was literally sitting on the edge of my seat.
Jesus approaches and Mary, who is with Jesus (… read further), speaks to Martha to find out Lazarus is dead. Jesus doesn’t cry.
REALLY?!?! One of the first memory versus my ADHD brain could actually remember when I was a kid, “Jesus wept.” John 11:35
“Jesus wept” here people!!!
But then I was waiting for the Lord’s commandment that would show how just 3 words spoken from our Savior conquers death, “Lazarus, Come forth!”
John 11:43 And when he had thus spoken, he cried with a loud voice, Lazarus, come forth.
Instead I get some Hollywood concocted Jesus going into the tomb and interacting with a corpse scene. UHG!
The second was how they treated Judas and his betrayal of Jesus. Sitting at the table at the last supper you have the interaction between Judas and Jesus. HOWEVER, instead of Jesus secretly letting Judas know that he is aware of his betrayal, he publically announces it to all 12. Instead of Jesus telling Judas to simply do what he must do, it is portrayed as if Jesus is telling Judas to go do it as a commandment he is giving.
These upset me. With Lazarus it took the heart and tenderness from Jesus and it took his power from him as well.
With Judas it took the greedy heart of a Judas completely out of the equation and made the betrayal appeared to be Jesus betrayal of himself. That would be a total contradiction of scripture if he orchestrated his betrayal.
An appreciation I did have was that many of the things that Jesus said throughout the film that were actually scripture. Though they had him saying them in different settings, which to me was just odd. But I didn’t catch any (not saying there weren’t any) that were misquoted.
One quote said in a strange way confused me with the purpose of it. Jesus knows his time is drawing near. He visits the temple. Knowing this is his Father’s house that was instructed to be built from tines of old Jesus had a connection to it. Jesus is talking in the scriptures with a heavy heart that the temple would be destroyed, but rebuilt in 3 days. In the movie he teases a little girl about the entire temple being destroyed and walks away laughing.
The connection of the Heavenly Father to the temple would never have Jesus laughing at a time like this. However, he was never once referring to the physical temple when he spoke of this situation. Mark 14:58 “We heard him say, I will destroy this temple that is made with hands, and in three days I will build another made without hands.” He was referring to how he would be destroyed/killed, but raised from the dead in three days.
I also appreciated the layout of Jerusalem and the historical perspective. Having studied DVD preached in the temple, they seemed quiet accurate on the temple set up, the city of Jerusalem layout, and how things were set up.
The scenery overall was well done and truly resembled what I have seen in photographs of the area, though I’ve personally never been blessed to be there in person. (One let down was the city during the day because it looked like a CGI city to me, but I get picky in CGI at times.)
Another appreciation is the presentation of the torture of Jesus. That will sound very strange, I know. However, when my older children first spoke about being baptized I wanted them to understand what Jesus truly went through for us. The Passion of Christ, though recommended by me to many new adults to the Bible, children can’t watch that graphic of a scene. They show the things that Jesus suffered while keeping it in a range that’s would be difficult for children to watch, but acceptable for them to watch.
I feel that his portrayal of the pain and agony was genuine and as real as you could possibly make it.
His struggle to carry the cross through the city due to the beating he had suffered was well done. Too often I have seen an exhausted Jesus portrayed getting help. It wasn’t because Jesus was tired. He had been in trial, tormented, and beaten. He struggled to carry it because if what his body had been through.
The movie allows you to feel in your heart what the Lord and Savior was willing to do for you out of Love and obedience for his Father and true love for you. A person, even the strongest of men, struggle to fight the emotions as Jesus suffers. Then the emotions begin to break down as you hear him yell out as the nails are pounded unto his hands and feet.
I have to go back to a negative though… Now, the thorn in my side, the persistent sawdust in my eye, the gnat that kept buzzing in my ear, or any other comparison of something that just kept bugging me… MARY. The movie doesn’t come out and explain if she is Martha and Lazarus’ sister, or Mary Magdalene, or Mary Quite Contrary. She shows up early on, hanging with Jesus and his disciples; ok. Then as the movie goes on, she’s always there. Not only is she always there, she’s in places where the Bible tells us that Jesus was only with his hand picked disciples.
On top of that, you see her often rebuking different disciples. Now really, historically speaking, if a Jewish woman rebuked a man, let alone publicly, how well would that have gone over? Yet, we see this Mary, as If she is an accepted disciple of Jesus. She is even there when he ascends to heaven and he commands them to go forth and preach the Gospel.
Mary… Mary… Mary…
Back to the conversation that my lovely wife and I had on the way there. I referred to the Percy Jackson movies. I Love the books. Not too thrilled with the changes in the movies, but they are ok and I don’t say much.
But this is not a book made by man. This is God’s Holy Word. You add something to it and you ask for all the plagues you read about to be added to you. You take something from it and you’re asking for your name to be taken out of the book if life. (Revelation 22:18 I testify unto every man that heareth the words of the prophecy of this book, if any man shall add unto them, God shall add unto him the plagues which are written in this book:)
And she made a point that is very valid. Her concern would be the people who never have or choose not to read the Bible and just believe this is how it all happened.
I also look at it this way: This is history. Percy Jackson= fiction, so change it. Hunger Games = fiction, so change it. Superman= fiction, so change it. However, this is God’s Word= NON-fiction. What if I made a movie about the assassination of Abraham Lincoln and showed him getting his throat slit or shot in the heart as his way of being killed? How about a film about the founding fathers of America being atheists? Mother Theresa was a priest? Gandhi was a female? Etc…
People would flip! Why? It’s not accurate. You’re rewriting history.
Why can we not do that with American and world history, but we can do this with God’s history?
I feel like we are treading a very fine line here, Hollywood.
I truly wanted to see a fabulous God driven, Biblically founded movie that I could love. Interesting enough. I caught an episode of Pawn Stars Sunday night while grading papers and the guy turned down buying a car. He said something like, “I got in the car really wanting to love it. A bad deal is just a bad deal though.”
I have to give this a 3.
There are some things well done.
The changes to scripture really bogged me down.
Mary being a disciple really kept getting my goat.
I wanted to really enjoy it, but I just couldn’t freely do so.
I don’t foresee this one being in my collection.
Some people, such as my wife, are still going to see this as a good movie. I just can’t swallow sand with chocolate cake, though, and call it tasty.