Diogo Morgado plays Jesus in Son of God. (20th Century Fox)
This year will be saturated with film adaptations of Old and New Testament stories, including the upcoming Noah (Paramount) and Exodus (20th Century Fox).
The first of these to hit theatres will be Son of God, which sadly falls short and has very little to offer.
Directed by Christopher Spencer, the film is a truncated version of History’s popular 10-hour miniseries “The Bible,” produced by husband-wife tandem Mark Burnett and Roma Downey.
The film stars Diogo Morgado as Jesus, Greg Hicks as Pontius Pilate, Darwin Shaw as Peter, and Amber Rose Revah as Mary Magdalene.
The feature film mainly focuses on Jesus’ days of preaching and gathering disciples, as well as his run-ins with the Jewish lawmakers, his betrayal, crucifixion, and eventual resurrection.
This film is the latest of many attempts at depicting “The Greatest Story Ever Told,” but unfortunately disappoints right from the start.
Son of God has been billed as an epic. However, ostentatious computer-enhanced graphics does not an epic make. The film does a very poor job transitioning from childishly computerized landscape shots to the more sensible scenes in the woods or in the town of Nazareth.
The acting was, for the most part, appalling. There was very little chemistry between Morgado’s Jesus and his disciples, and this was prevalent throughout the film.
As far the cast goes, the only redeeming performance was given by Hicks (Pilate).
Pontius Pilate, for what seems to be time immemorial, has been portrayed as a vicious, depraved lunatic who is drunk with power. Even though Son of God still portrays him as a violent despot and representative of the Roman Empire, Hicks does a phenomenal job in depicting Pontius Pilate as a very intelligent governor who reaches surprisingly conclusions about the turbulence around him, and hints at remorse at what he knows is Jesus’ fate.
The movie was pieced together from a much, much longer miniseries made for television, and the editing was extremely sloppy, thus ruining any sort of consistent flow.
The worst part of this editing process was the decision to omit the scenes with Satan. Of all the scenes they could have chosen to omit, (and there were many,) they removed one of the most pivotal experiences from the story of Jesus – where Satan attempts to tempt him away from God – scenes that could have potentially changed the dynamic of the film.
The reason for this omission? The actor portraying Satan looked “too much” like President Obama. Leave it to a religious film to ruin its reputation for the sake of appeasing controversy.
Ironic, isn’t it?
Overall, this film lacks substance, cinematic continuity and apart from a select few, was very poorly cast. Watch the television miniseries instead, if you want to get the full experience of what is a very impressive television endeavor.
Too bad it didn’t stay there.
Son of God
20th Century Fox
Opens Friday, February 28 in Los Angeles
Films are rated on a scale of 5 stars (must-see), 4 stars (exceptional), 3 stars (solid), 2 stars (average) and 1 star (unworthy).