The Son of God is the latest of Hollywood’s religious movies. I normally limit my reviews on this blog to fantasy or science fiction; this movie is intended as neither. Some people, of course, may regard the story of Jesus of Nazareth as a complete fiction and therefore appropriate for a Fantasy Blog: I am not one of them. I am a Christian (at least, today I am) and am reviewing the movie in terms of quality of storytelling, etc…. The movie stars a number of people I have not heard of before, with the exception of Roma Downey as Mary, the Mother of God.
The story told is, of course, the story of Jesus of Nazareth. It starts with his miraculous birth and ends with his horribly, cruel death on the cross followed by his Resurrection and some of the events that followed that. It, pretty much, follows the events recorded in the New Testament although a few minor liberties were taken, but nothing worth getting upset about. Like most stories of Jesus there seemed to be a strong emphasis on the miracles he performed and, to me, that tends to distract one from his main message: love one another, love God, and talk to one another.
Strengths: the movie told the story of Jesus of Nazareth fairly well, although since it was a movie version of four entire Gospels plus, it obviously couldn’t tell every event, but it did hit all the highlights. The special effects were well-placed, well-chosen, and appropriately reverent. The acting was good, and the action flowed coherently from one scene to the next. Weaknesses: I can’t really think of any major weaknesses other than the previously mentioned tendency to focus on miracles instead of message, but a lot of people do that. If you are an atheist, I’m sure you’ll scoff at the movie and regard it as a complete fantasy, so perhaps that is a weakness. It is not a convincing proof that Jesus was who he said he was, but it was probably never intended that way.
Anyway, I liked the movie. It wasn’t as violent and gory as Mel Gibson’s The Passion, but it got the point across. I’ll give The Son of God four stars out of five.