Saturday, March 01, 2014
"Son of God": Popular now in the Box Office, but we've seen this done before; when would you really "follow" a charismatic young man?
“Son of God”, from Christopher Spencer and essentially Fox Faith, tells the story of Christ from the viewpoint of John. There’s already another film that does that, “The Gospel of John”, by Phillip Saville, back in 2004. So the new film likewise skips the Nativity and the wonderful even where Jesus shows how precocious he was at 12. It opens, after John introduces himself as living in exile, with Jesus approaching a destitute fisherman in the Sea of Galilee and offering “free fish”.
There is something about a charismatic and attractive young man approaching me and expecting me to drop everything I’m doing and recruit others, even with the guise of faith. That would be “upward affiliation” in the extreme, which I know a lot about. I tend to fall for it. But, really, I would only trust my feelings of idealization if I really saw something. (Is that playing Doubting Thomas?) But, if a young man has “powers”, whether the teenage Clark Kent or Jesus Christ (here played by Portuguese actor Diogo Morgado), then I would indeed be fascinated, tantalized. I may have seen something like this happen, at least once. Today, you would think, the person has to be an alien.
The film does a good job of presenting the politics leading to the crucifixion. The Romans exploited the orthodox Jewish leadership and put the ball in the priesthood’s court. The leader is convinced that Jesus will cause a popular revolt that will lead the Romans to destroy the Temple, so Jesus in effect threatens the Temple himself, and in fact the entire future identity of the Jewish people.
The crucifixion is not as drawn out as it is in Mel Gibson’s “The Passion of the Christ”. The resurrection is telescoped and brief, and more could have been done with that sequence.
Jerusalem is recreated with CGI, although it doesn’t look as real as it might, given the size of this production. It’s not as visually striking as some of Fox’s spectacles in the 50s, the first in Cinemascope. I remember “The Robe”, and crying at the end, very well.
This may be a good place to mention sgain National Geographic’s “The Gospel of Judas” (2006), a documentary not only about Judas himself but about many other “unauthorized” gospels. The concept of a “Judas Kiss” became the title for a masterful LGBT film in 2011 (June 4, 2011 here).
The Lightworks Media site is here.
I saw this late Saturday afternoon in the large flatscreen Regal auditorium in Ballston, ample crowd. Four of the screens in that early 90s-era theater are large; but only two are curved.
I do recall an ungainly coworker who said back in 1971, "God is my only hero." He would get upset if he lost to me in chess.