Actors: Gary Oliver, David Rintoul, Paul Knops, Sebastian Knapp
Format: Multiple Formats, Blu-ray, AC-3, Color, Dolby, DTS Surround Sound, Dubbed, Subtitled, Widescreen
Language: English (DTS 5.1), French (Dolby Digital 5.1)
Subtitles: English, French, Spanish
Dubbed: English, French, Spanish
Aspect Ratio: 2.35:1
Number of discs: 2
Rated: PG-13 (Parental Guidance Suggested)
Studio: 20th Century Fox
Release Date: June 3, 2014
Run Time: 138 minutes
I’m stuck between having nothing to say and too much to say about Son of God. I have nothing to say about the film itself, which is an inoffensive and entirely unnecessary Sunday-school adaptation of Jesus’ greatest hits from the Bible. I have too much to say about the production (or post-production, as that is all that was needed for this film’s creation), the producers, the marketing campaign, and the backlash from many prior to even seeing the film. I just don’t know how any of what I have to say is relevant, and I don’t want to talk about the film itself for fear that it will be half as dull as the actual experience of watching it.
Let’s start with the production, because I really doubt that any plot description is necessary beyond the title. This is not an original film. It is a new edit with additional footage inserted, but this has primarily all been seen in the previously aired History Channel mini-series, “The Bible.” Producer Mark Burnett (best known for reality television, such as “Survivor” and “The Apprentice”) has simply edited the footage into film form and served it up cinematically, trying to fool us like the lunch-lady sneaking leftover hamburger into the next day’s lasagna. We all know that this is leftovers, and that’s when it begins to feel more like a grab for additional cash than anything sincerely spiritual.
This leads me to the marketing campaign. Either the producers are sincere in their faith and desire to spread God’s word through previously used material, or they are actually just using their religion as a reliable market to peddle refurbished sub-par entertainment. The fact that there were large chunks of tickets sold through churches sickens me a bit, and the only redemption of this film is including the scene of Jesus overturning tables selling on the steps of a house of worship, so that I can imagine the church leaders who pushed the sale of these tickets squirming in their own hypocrisy as they watched it. But I’m sure there are also many people who willingly bought tickets and enjoyed the serving of bland re-heated entertainment. I just wasn’t buying the cool-aid. Say what you will about Mel Gibson’s version, The Passion of the Christ, but he made it with all odds against him and nobody believing it would be a success. Son of God arrives with the expectations of business, an air of entitlement rather than the passion and faith required for Gibson’s film.
The Blu-ray release includes an assortment of propaganda-filled featurettes. It isn’t necessarily that they are forcing religion onto the viewer, however, as much as they try and make a selling point for the many reasons Son of God is actually a better film than it appears. This is a film made to preach to the choir, but the featurettes and the film itself come off forced and uninspired.
Entertainment Value: 4/10
Quality of Filmmaking: 4.5/10
Historical Significance: 3/10