The movie Son of God was released on February 28, and I was finally able to get out to the theater to watch this two hour and eighteen minute film. I had heard that it was based off the History Channel’s 10-hour docudrama, The Bible, but I didn’t realize that it was basically the same film, just more focused on the story of Jesus. If you watched the docudrama, then you’ve pretty much seen the movie, except for a few additional scenes.
As with The Bible, I liked it, but was disappointed with how often the movie strayed from the Biblical description. Anyone unfamiliar with the Biblical story may walk away from the movie thinking that it was an accurate portrayal when it wasn’t. I’d like to think that anyone watching the movie would also read the Biblical text so that they can distinguish between the two and know what really happened. I wouldn’t say that the amount of artistic license took away from the gospel message, but I found it annoying.
Even taking budget considerations into account, many of the scenes weren’t as powerful as I would have liked. Perhaps the filmmakers did the best they could with the budget they had, but the miracles, in my opinion, could have looked more authentic; I don’t think the movie gave us a real sense of magnitude. Instead of taking advantage of having a Biblical story in theaters across the nation and knocking our socks off, I thought it was wanting. Considering the capabilities of modern special effects, I expected much more.
For instance, according to the Biblical text in the book of Matthew, when Jesus walked on water, he called Peter to him, and Peter got out of the boat and walked toward him, but when Peter saw the wind he was afraid and began to sink. Jesus reached out his hand and caught him, and they climbed into the boat, and the wind died down. Those in the boat worshiped him, saying, “Truly you are the Son of God.” All this was completely lost in the movie. Peter got out of the boat, but began to sink when he let go, and he plummeted beneath the water; then Jesus reached down to grab him, and then the scene ended with Peter waking up. I was left wondering if Peter was waking up from a dream he had- as if Jesus hadn’t really walked on the water.
The rest of the movie was much the same way. I was constantly thinking to myself, “That’s not how it happened in the Bible.”
Nonetheless, it’s good to see Biblical movies in the theater, but I’d like to see them truer to the original text of the Bible. I was happy with the acting, but there was too much artistic license taken for my taste.