What a lot of people don't know going into the theater is that this movie was actually part of The Bible mini-series awhile back on the History Channel. What they did was splice together certain parts for a movie experience. Some of it you can tell has more of TV budget than film, but it's nothing too bad. The intro I particularly liked, a very nice prologue featuring all the key Bible Scriptures from the Old Testament. After that, we head on over to the main story. The film is over two hours, so I can't believe I'm saying this, but it could have actually benefited from another hour. The birth scene could have been longer and more detailed. The fact that the Satan scenes were removed didn't help matters. How great would it have been to see the Three Temptations adapted for the big screen? It was a truly missed opportunity.
Diogo Morgado had an interesting thing ahead of him; portraying Jesus is always a challenging but accomplishing task. I am definitely pleased with how the portrayal came out. He portrayed happiness, righteous anger, and sadness effectively. He nicely delivered all the core verses Jesus said in the Scriptures. The Disciples, while technically getting screen time, don't stand out other than being "the disciples of Jesus." Only Peter and Judas really are given importance, even John the Baptist is surprisingly not a big deal in the film. But, Mary Magdalene is. She was definitely one of the best written of the people in the whole thing. The strange thing however is that she's featured a lot more than John, (almost every five minutes) and was made out to be a more important figure than what was said in the Scriptures when compared to The Baptist.
The thing, however, about the movie is that it assumes the viewer knows everything about the Scriptures it's based on. So key scenes such as Judas hanging himself are rushed because it assumes the viewer knows this ahead of time. Also, some of the lines are very robotic and could have been handled better. The biggest culprit is perhaps the scene where Peter denied Jesus three times. We know it's going to happen, but the problem is that it feels and looks scripted, as if he's reading an off-screen paper with the lines. Mary surprisingly doesn't play a huge factor here. But, her actress does a nice enough job displaying the emotion of a mother losing her son.
It's hard not to compare the final act to The Passion. Let's get one thing out of the way: yes, the Passion's portrayal of it was definitely more powerful and emotion inducing. But, that's not to say the Death wasn't handled that great here. It does the job very well, with great emotion portrayed by Diogo. It's a nice reminder that while He was God, He still had the flesh of a man, and thus felt pain. The entire Cross scene was well done. I also like how well the film does explaining the reason why Jesus was crucified. (Aside from the Spiritual reason.) Here we have this Man forgiving people's sins and claiming to be the Son of God, a clear blasphemy to some of the Jews at the time. The story does a great job explaining this, even more than The Passion. The soundtrack is pretty much what you'd expect. It goes nicely with each scene, and has good choir for the emotionally powerful ones.
Overall, SON OF GOD is a pretty great watch. Yes, it does take some liberties, and changes a few things, but in the end, it's hard to complain since what we get is a great telling of the life of Jesus. It could have used more scenes detailing certain things, and the fact that the Three Temptations wasn't included was immensely disappointing. But, despite any lingering complaints, the film succeeds in what it wanted to do. It might be a long time before we see Jesus on the big screen again, so the film is special in that regard too. We're all going to have our personal faults with it for taking some liberties, but by the end when He's on the Cross you'll forget about everything. SON OF GOD is definitely worth a watch, for anyone.
I am coming soon.