Rated: PG-13 for intense and bloody depiction of The Crucifixion, and for some sequences of violence. Reviewed by: Frank Release date: February 28, 2014 Released by: Warner Brothers
Director, Christopher Spencer brings us an even steady story filled with many of the stories and statements we learned in bible school as kids. "Give unto Cesar what is Cesar and to God what is Gods": We met Doubting Thomas(Matthew Gravelle) the trader Judas (Jo Wredden). Jesus fills the fishing nets of Peter (Darwin Shaw) and calls him to be a fisher of men. Mary Magdalene (Amber Rose Revah) is saved when Christ asks who will throw the first stone.
The initial segments are filled with what is expected as each of the little stories show miracles performed by Jesus (Diogo Morgado) as he travels and builds a reputation. That reputation brings fear to the security of Jewish leaders who see him as an up-start who will challenge their power and long time beliefs. Pilate (Greg Hicks) looks like a military man who just wants things quiet so the reports back to Rome will look good.
Both the religious leaders and the Roman soldiers lead Christ into a brutal vicious slaughter which ends in death on the cross.
But films like this and The Passion of the Christ, Mel Gibson's ten year old film spend their energy on the dark violent betrayal and torture of the holy man. For me there is not enough time spent on the firm good of Christ, as he lived his first thirty years quietly and the last three moving among people doing and preaching peace and the joy of believing in him and his ability to bring redemption to those who follow him.
I remember an old radio program called The Greatest Story Ever Told in which the voice of God with a soothing and comforting tome filled the air waves with principles of Christian religion in the lives of people. We can also look to an old film called: The Next Voice You Hear with Nancy Reagan and James Whitmore as ordinary people who along with everyone in the World, hear the voice of God over all communication systems giving guidance as to how to live a good life. The reforming of daily thinking in that small film has a stronger emotional impact that the big bible specials like this, which attempt to force the audience to suffer the ugly demise of Jesus.
This film has done the marketing needed to sell the film to believers, that is designed not to promote Christ's principles but to bring in good income for the producers of the film.
Believers will probably be satisfied with this production it is certainly more reasonable that Gibson's excessively bloody presentation, but it is sad that film producers know it is not necessary to work for significant quality in production, acting and directing to be financially successful in a film about religion. It would be impressive to watch a top shelf production which could show true reverence to the subject matter.
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