214 of 262 people found the following review helpful
The Son of Man and the 13 Disciples,
This review is from: Son Of God (DVD)
When I first heard about the movie SON OF GOD, I didn't think it was a good idea. SON OF GOD is a movie that mostly contains re-edited scenes about Jesus from the 2013 miniseries THE BIBLE. There are some additional scenes in the movie, but the majority of it already appeared on television. I understand wanted to reach as large an audience as possible about the gospels (good news) of Jesus, but personally, it reeked a little too much like a money grab to me to simply re-edit television footage and add a few deleted scenes to make a movie that would be released in cinemas. However, I was willing to give the movie a chance and ended up seeing it in theatres twice.
The movie begins with the apostle John, brother of James, on the island of Patmos. John begins to tell about Jesus in the form of a voice over, "In the beginning there was the Word and the Word was with God and the Word was God." The short intro takes the viewer through the creation of the world, the destruction of the Earth through flooding, and other events until the birth of Jesus. Then the movie quickly skips over a lifetime.
When we next see Jesus, he is walking towards the shore (from out of the wilderness and the temptation with Satan it is to be assumed) and begins gathering disciples and followers and soon he has a core group of thirteen (that's right, thirteen; more on that later) disciples that travel with him as he goes about teaching, preaching, performing miracles, and seeming to ridicule the Pharisees who question him.
Meanwhile, in Jerusalem word is brought to the high priest of the Jews, Caiaphas, of this man named Jesus. At first he doesn't think much of it and with the arrival of Pontius Pilate to the city, Caiaphas has more important matters at hand. However, as Jesus continues to do what he was doing, Caiaphas comes to see Jesus as someone who could bring harm and suffering to the Jews and, therefore, he must be eliminated.
Jesus is betrayed, captured, and killed, but he rises from the grave. He appears to his disciples and suddenly disappears. The end of SON OF GOD returns to John on Patmos.
In terms of cinematography and film values, SON OF GOD is an average movie. Some of the dialogue is taken from the Bible, but some of it is not Biblical and is very cheesy. The acting isn't terrible, but there are no outstanding or noteworthy performances, either. In terms of production values, SON OF GOD is better than most low budget movies, but it does not have the feel that a big screen movie should have. As mentioned earlier, SON OF GOD is mostly re-edited footage from the tv miniseries THE BIBLE and, for most of the movie, SON OF GOD looks like a tv movie. This won't be as big an issue with the DVD and Blu-ray releases of the movie, but if you watch SON OF GOD on a larger screen television, you can definitely notice a difference in the production values.
In terms of a movie that's supposed to be a Bible-based movie, SON OF GOD is pure fluff that only uses the Bible for its core values, while ignoring the details and some of the more difficult and darker parts of scripture.
Personally, the biggest Biblical error with SON OF GOD is that instead of twelve disciples there are thirteen and the thirteenth disciple is a woman named Mary. Yes, there were woman who followed Jesus around and some of them (not just one of them) was named Mary. However, there was never a disciple named Mary. When I first saw the Mary character I thought, "Oh, that's a little different, but I understand why she's there." However, it took me a little while to understand that this "Mary" wasn't just going to be a close follower of Jesus, she was actually going to be a disciple. She follows the men wherever they go: eating and sleeping in the same places. Not only that, but "Mary" is given some of the better lines in the movie. She jokes around with the boys, is outspoken, and reproves the other disciples for not having enough faith (also suggesting that her faith is stronger). She's there to comfort Martha at the death of her brother and she's there at the foot of the cross when Jesus is crucified. She's the first (and initially the only one) to see the empty tomb and it is she, not angels, who reminds the other disciples that Jesus said he would arise on the third day.
There are many other Biblical changes, inaccuracies, alterations, and outright errors in SON OF GOD (for instance, Jesus doesn't know that Peter is going to deny him until he gives him a hug). Movies are a completely different medium than literature. I understand that. In telling a story on the screen, especially a story that covers three years (or all of history, really), you have to make changes and sacrifices to make a 2 - 2 ½ hour movie that is not only appealing to believers, but to those who might not really know much about Jesus. I get that. However, there's no cinematic reason to add another disciple and make her a woman. I believe that the reason for doing so was to appeal to a wider (and more female) audience, but in doing so, SON OF GOD dilutes not only the message, but the messenger of Jesus himself.
Overall, I was really disappointed with SON OF GOD. On a cinematic level, I expected the movie to be a better movie than it was. However, as a movie, SON OF GOD feels more like a big budget tv episode than it does a feature-length motion picture. In terms of Biblical and scriptural accuracy, SON OF GOD verges on heresy and seems to be more similar to the books The Holy Blood and the Holy Grail and The Da Vinci Code than the Bible. I realize that there are people who will be uplifted and inspired by what they see on the screen. However, if you want to see a movie that actually tries to stay true to more than just the spirit of scripture, I recommend Jesus Film, Jesus of Nazareth, or The Passion Of The Christ Definitive Edition. I give this 2 ½ stars out of 5.
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Showing 1-10 of 32 posts in this discussion
Initial post: May 26, 2014 7:36:23 PM PDT
Bombay Lover says:
I appreciate the time you took with your review. If true, I'd have to agree with most of your points. But in the tv series, Said Bey's performance as Matthew when he was called by Jesus was solid gold. (Luke 18:10-14) If that is still in the movie, then there is at least one stellar scene. Having Matthew himself be in the parable was a beautiful harmonizing of the Gospels for the screen, in my opinion.
In reply to an earlier post on May 27, 2014 1:33:34 PM PDT
[Deleted by the author on May 27, 2014 1:33:48 PM PDT]
In reply to an earlier post on May 27, 2014 1:41:42 PM PDT
That scene is still in THE SON OF GOD. The movie is not completely bad; especially considering they didn't have that large of a budget (even for a tv miniseries). The scene with Matthew is in the film and it was one of the positive things about the film. Personally, I had a really difficult time digesting the 13 disciples-that choice alone eradicated many of the good things about the film. I didn't even really discuss it, but another non-Biblical thing about the film was how Caiaphas was portrayed. Caiaphas is shown as being almost as sympathetic as Jesus: he didn't really want to put Jesus to death, but it was the only way to save the Jews from the Romans. In my reading of the scriptures and of history, Caiaphas never seemed that way to me: he always seemed to me to be someone more concerned with his own personal influence, power, and position than he was for the people. Anyway.
Posted on Jun 4, 2014 1:44:40 AM PDT
Thomas M. Sipos says:
The producers say this is the first major film about Jesus since The Passion Of The Christ. Not true. There was also The Gospel of John, which came out a year later.
The Gospel of John is the BEST film about Jesus ever made. Why? Because they used the actual Gospel of John for the script -- WORD FOR WORD -- including all the narration and dialog, with NOTHING ADDED and NOTHING TAKEN AWAY.
The result is a 3-hour film that's like seeing the actual Gospel on screen. Plus, it's beautifully acted, with great set decor. And unlike SON OF GOD, or any other Jesus bio, there's no re-writing of history. How can there be? It's the actual Gospel.
Filming Gospels word-for-word have been done before. In the 1990s someone produced The Gospel of Matthew, but sadly, it's a cheap, low-budget production and it shows. Poorly directed, with cheap sets. I might have liked it, but I saw The Gospel of John first, and The Gospel of Matthew is poor by comparison.
So before anyone goes gaga over SON OF MAN, I suggest they first view The Gospel of John. Then decide.
In reply to an earlier post on Jun 5, 2014 12:19:59 PM PDT
U. Foster says:
I totally agree with you. The Gospel of John is THE best Jesus movie hands down, in my opinion.!
Posted on Jun 6, 2014 1:34:43 PM PDT
K. C. says:
I haven't seen the movie & I'm taking your review to heart. I would like to add to your mention of the great film "Jesus of Nazareth." I have it on DVD & watched the first half of the movie again just last week. It demonstrates that a sensible filmmaker can take elements of the bible story & expand them into narratives that fit it's tone perfectly. In one dramatic act, Jesus reconciles Peter & Matthew's relationship in possibly the finest scene I have ever seen in any movie. This particular conflict is not contained in the bible, but I certainly believe similar, yet unrecorded, things could have occurred. I don't cry easily, but I do every time I see it. Jesus of Nazareth gets a 5 star in my book. Stream this through Amazon or better yet, buy the DVD!!!
In reply to an earlier post on Jun 15, 2014 8:22:13 PM PDT
K. Christensen says:
Jesus of Nazereth has been my favorite for years until now. Please don't let the religious picky critics ruin the Personal experience you can have through watching the Son of God with an open Heart. The movie and it's star is absolutely beautiful.
Posted on Jun 22, 2014 10:34:09 AM PDT
Francis L. Harrold says:
It was a big disapointment
Posted on Jun 23, 2014 6:56:57 AM PDT
I'd just like to thank you for the informative and well written review. It takes a LOT of time to write a review like that and I truly appreciate it.
I'll be waiting for this to come out on TV or Netflix before I purchase a DVD. I do NOT like movies that stray from the Bible. Mary was a wonderful woman after she turned her life around and followed the Lord. She had wonderful God given insight on Jesus being the Son of God. This is proved by her anointing of Jesus' feet with her perfume and drying His feet with her hair. That said, she was NOT a 13th disciple/apostle. Never mentioned in any Gospel or in Acts as being with the 12 as Jesus moved about.
Regardless of all this, it's still a good thing when a movie comes out supporting Christ and getting Him out to the masses. I sincerely hope that people were touched by the movie and through God's grace hopefully some were saved, which is the ONLY thing that Matters.
This is why it is important to read the scriptures for yourself, so you can learn what is right and wrong in yes, movies like this, but more importantly, in life. Giving your life to Christ and serving the Lord is the only thing that matters.
God Bless you all and thanks for the great review.
Posted on Jun 23, 2014 5:57:49 PM PDT
The "Mary" you talk about is Mary Madgdalene. Now in the Bible when Jesus goes to see Lazarus, and is told he is dead, there was a Mary and a Martha, but they were Lazarus' sisters. Mary Magdalene was a follower of Jesus, not a disciple. She was with Jesus and the disciples a lot, as were other followers. She was the first one to Jesus' tomb, and was there with the Mother Mary when Jesus was crucified. Does this clarify things for you? I hope so...
God Bless you!