Producers Roma Downey and Mark Burnett had such success with their History channel series The Bible, why not turn their attention to the big screen and bring the world a religious story? That is exactly what they did and now we have Son of God. It is as one would suspect -- the story of Jesus and how he went from son of Mary to prophet to miracle worker to political threat to the human embodiment of God that lies at the heart of an entire religion.
Reprising the role he played in the miniseries is Diogo Morgado, who has had a nickname thrown at him which he should wholeheartedly embrace and that is “Hot Jesus.”
Yes, he’s easy on the eyes and he carries a charisma that is more than required of an actor who is playing somebody who would go from relative unknown to someone who had legions of followers.
As teased in the Son of God trailer, this film has true cinematic aspirations. Its scope is massive, although ironically smaller than that of Downey and Burnett’s The Bible. It unfortunately still feels like a television movie. The way the scenes are cut together by director Christopher Spencer recalls a made-for-small-screen movie, even if the production design and especially the score, feel as large as the silver screen. We feel as if there’s a fade to black at the end of... pretty much every scene!
But it is hard to argue with the compelling story at the heart of Son of God. It is not solely a story that religious folks would enjoy. It should resonate with anyone who has any kind of interest in ancient history. Jesus came along at a crossroads that found a Jewish people struggling to keep their identity while a Roman Empire was seeking to assert its authority. Unfortunately for Jesus, he got caught in the middle. And as stories go, that is compelling, and evokes compassion no matter what your religious identity.
All of Jesus’ closest followers are represented in character form for the sake of telling the Jesus story, even if filmmakers don’t overtly introduce them. You know the moment you see (and hear his opinions) who Judas is and Mary Magdalene is one of the few initial female followers -- yet it is never explained who she is or where she came from.
Our Son of God review finds that filmmakers’ hearts are in the right place, even if the actual moviemaking skills are not quite up to match the weight of the story that they are telling. But, we have to say that "Hot Jesus" -- Portuguese actor Morgado -- he is a find. We look forward to seeing him much more in the future.
Want to see another powerful tale on Jesus' journey? Watch The Passion of the Christ online.