“Son of God”: A Weak Jesus
You know when you read a book and then go to watch the movie and you’re disappointed that the movie changed a bunch of stuff? Or added stuff in that wasn’t supposed to be there?
That’s how I felt after watching “Son of God.”
The cinematography was good. You can tell care was taken to make costumes look authentic. Despite British accents, the actors who played the disciples looked the part.
Still, when a story as powerful and sacred as the Gospel is told on the movie screen, it should be accurate and it should move you.
Unfortunately, “Son of God” had no passion and some gaping holes.
Aside from that, there is another big problem with this movie—the character of Jesus.
The real Jesus Christ was not weak like he is depicted in this version of the Gospel story. This Jesus is not what I was expecting. He’s spacey. He’s not authoritative. He’s more like a buddy than God’s son and it just doesn’t feel right. Whether he’s turning the tables of the money changers or speaking to his disciples, he is hesitant.
There’s an element of strength and wisdom that’s missing throughout the film. For example, Jesus regularly acts surprised at events we know he knew about: when he shared that “one of you will betray me” at the Last Supper, and when Judas whispers in his ear in the betrayal scene. A look of shock passed over his face when he realized he would have to die.
It’s not the same Jesus we see depicted in Orthodox icons—filled with mercy and power. This is more of touchy-feely, almost cartoonish Jesus. I just couldn’t connect.
Add that to the fact that words are changed and scenes are missing key historical parts. So many changes were made, there’s no way to include them all in this review. Some might argue that it doesn’t matter—that it’s a story about the love of Jesus. But it does matter, because the Gospel story is everything. Leaving things out or changing them dilutes true meaning and doesn’t send the right message about who the Son of God really is and how the Gospel was truly written.
Mary, the Mother of God is not portrayed as wise and holy; she is just a wounded and loving mother who doesn’t want her son to die. That is only one aspect of who the Theotokos is. This is not what makes her such a special and holy woman.
In the Nativity scene—Joseph and Mary are shocked by the wise men bowing in front of the newly born son of God. Why would they be shocked when the Angel Gabriel had already announced to Mary that she would give birth to Christ?
“Do not be afraid, Mary, for you have found favor with God. And behold, you will conceive in your womb and bring forth a Son, and shall call His name Jesus. He will be great, and will be called the Son of the Highest; and the Lord God will give Him the throne of His father David. And He will reign over the house of Jacob forever, and of His kingdom there will be no end.” Luke 1:29-33
The movie ends with the song Mary Did you know? Yes, she knew. Remember, the angel told her?
Yes, it’s raked in 36 million in the box office already. And no one can deny that the world desperately needs to be reminded of the Jesus story right now. But, this really isn’t the story of Jesus. It’s something else, and it’s a different Jesus than we as Orthodox Christians know.
In the movie, when Jesus convinces Peter to come with him to “Change the World” (which he actually didn’t say in the Gospel), it’s more like a political statement than something from the mouth of God.
And it didn’t get my vote.