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Movie review: 'Son of God' is more about faith than filmmaking

Published March 4, 2014 8:55 am

Review • Something is lost in translation from the small screen.
This is an archived article that was published on sltrib.com in 2014, and information in the article may be outdated. It is provided only for personal research purposes and may not be reprinted.

It may well be that reviewing "Son of God" is pointless. Everyone who goes to see the movie will love it; everyone who would hate the movie won't go.

Looking at it simply in terms of moviemaking, there is much to recommend this latest version of the story of Jesus. Unlike the traditional portrayals, the actors are allowed to act and not be wooden images — although the performances (including Diogo Morgado as Jesus) are good, not great.

Unlike the graphic "The Passion if the Christ" and "The Last Temptation of Christ," "Son of God" is unlikely to stir controversy, although it includes a good deal of violence — Romans beating and killing Jews, and a horrific crucifixion scene. This is not a movie for children.

It is also not, strictly speaking, a theatrical production. This is a cut-down version of husband-and-wife executive producers Mark Burnett ("Survivor," "The Voice") and Roma Downey's ("Touched by an Angel") TV miniseries "The Bible," lifting out the story of Jesus and adding some scenes that didn't make the TV cut. (Downey co-stars as Mary, Jesus' mother.)

Notably, Satan has been exorcised from the movie because the actor who played him looked sort of like President Barack Obama.

And there are times when "Son of God" looks like a TV show on the big screen. Camera work that was OK on the small screen can be migraine-inducing on the big screen. Shots of ancient Jerusalem that looked OK on TV look jarringly fake in a theater. And jumping over commercial breaks makes for a choppy edit in spots.

"Son of God" is more about faith than filmmaking. What some may see as 2 hours and 18 minutes of inspiration, others will see as a movie that's 20-30 minutes too long. —


'Son of God'

Opens Friday at theaters everywhere; rated PG-13 for violence, including an intense and blood portrayal of the crucifixion; 138 minutes.






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