Jump to content
Sign in to follow this  
Peter T Chattaway

Son of God

Recommended Posts

J.A.A. Purves wrote:
: But I'd argue that the endorsements of ideologues like Glenn Beck actually have a negative effect. Gimme Shelter actually looks like it has the potential to be a good film. But, to know that Gimme Shelter's director is actually going on the Glenn Beck Show to plug for his film leads me to suspect the worst.

 

Does hosting an interview necessarily equal "endorsement"? More to the point, is there anything wrong with a filmmaker talking up his film in any forum that will have him? (I'm a little more worried by the endorsements posted to the film's website, none of which are from Beck.)

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

The latest "exclusive interview" with Christian leaders of various sorts features Della Reese, the former Touched by an Angel co-star of Son of God producer/co-star Roma Downey:

 

 

Reese makes a comment in here about the lesson of this story being: "All we have to do is keep our mind on the Christ inside of us." And this got me thinking about how there were reports, back in the '90s, that Reese was more of a New Ager than a Christian, theologically speaking at any rate.

 

As I started Googling that, I discovered that Reese is not only a former co-star of Downey's but has officiated at Downey's last two weddings (to David Anspaugh, director of Hoosiers and Rudy, in 1995, and to Mark Burnett, her Son of God co-producer, in 2007).

 

Anyway, I'm wondering if anyone here has any insight into Reese's theological orientation, and what people make of Reese being included alongside all the evangelical and Catholic leaders who have been featured in most of the other "exclusive interviews".

Edited by Peter T Chattaway

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

It shouldn’t be much of a surprise.  While the label “New Age” is an abomination in Evangelical circles, substance and content-wise, the road from Evangelicalism to Pop Psychology to New Age has been taken by some, and it will remain open as long as some churches keep teaching the fluff that they teach.  (A little while ago, the pastor of my church, who is generally theologically conservative when he ventures into theology at all, highly recommended a book by Laura Schlesinger to the congregation.)

The road from Mark Driscoll teaching Jesus is the one in whom we can find our own personal self-worth, acceptance, security, value, identity, etc. ... to Craig Groeschel teaching that sin is really just caused by false beliefs and by not knowing how much God really loves for who you really are ... to Joel Osteen teaching that Jesus will perfect in you your own self-worth, self-image, and self-actualization ... to what is called New Age is a very easy road to follow.

David F. Wells writes in No Place for Truth, 1993, pgs. 142-143, 154, 156:

... The subjective obsession that also confronts us in religious dress (as is often the case in evangelicalism) sometimes appears in dress that is quite irreligious.  Whatever the garb, however, it exhibits the same underlying mentality, the same habits of mind, the same assumption that reality can be accessed only through the self (and by intuition rather than by thought), the same belief that we can attain virtually unlimited personal progress if only we can tap into our own hidden resources ...

The ease with which the subjective consciousness can be perverted or, perhaps, diverted is well illustrated for us by Jung.  He has recounted how he had to struggle with the fate of his father, a pastor whose Christian faith collided so painfully with the modern world that he had, several times, to be placed in the lunatic asylum.  It was a fate the younger Jung earnestly wished to escape, and in a dream one day he found the way.  The solution was to look for God within the self, where sufficient adaptations to the modern world would already have taken place ...

So when Jung made his discovery, the found something that has in fact become characteristic of the whole modern period.  It was for his a discovery so startling that he identified it as the first instance of personal revelation.  The truth of the matter, quite obviously, was a little different from that.  But what Jung discovered then, evangelicals in droves are apparently discovering now for themselves, with or without the drama of a supposed personal revelation.  The difference is that Jung in his clear-eyed way opposed his “subterranean God” to “Jesus,” whereas many evangelicals are now naively identifying them.  Jesus is the “subterranean God”; his contours and attributes are defined by the inner experience of his breathless new followers ...

 

Also:

Does hosting an interview necessarily equal "endorsement"? More to the point, is there anything wrong with a filmmaker talking up his film in any forum that will have him? (I'm a little more worried by the endorsements posted to the film's website, none of which are from Beck.)

This is where politics throws a wrench in. What "hosting an interview" normally would mean is much different when Glenn Beck is the one doing the hosting. There is nothing wrong with promoting your own film in any forum that will have you, unless a forum has a very noticeable reputation for promoting a very specific political agenda, and any association with them means they will be trying to use you and your film for their political agenda.

(For example, a director allowing himself to be interviewed by Ted Baehr would mean something more than a director allowing himself to be interviewed by almost any other film news website.)

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I had a brief interview with Mark Burnett and Roma Downey about working together on this project:

 

 

The opportunity to work together reinforced to the couple that their special skills complemented one another. Burnett praised his wife for acting as a role model and “mentor” to those on the set with less experience. For his own part, the producer said he felt more comfortable with the sheer scope of such a project, managing the logistical challenges of securing and enabling the talent to help realize the project he and Downey had visualized

 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

So has anyone said just how many multiplexes are actually being taken over?  I'd be willing to bet there is more talk there and walk.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Darrel Manson wrote:
: I'd be willing to bet there is more talk there and walk.

Quite possibly -- though the talking is surely designed to encourage more walking.

Incidentally, after I wrote that post, I came across the press release that sparked the news article I was commenting on -- and in that press release, there's a list of businessmen who have donated money to ensure that some of these "take-overs" take place. To my sort-of surprise, one of the businessmen listed there is one of the owners of the Vancouver Canucks (he is also the man who founded the Canucks Autism Network, for which I will forever be grateful). Does this mean one of my local *Canadian* theatres might be taken over, too?

You can sign up to "take over a theatre" -- or even "a market" -- here.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

FWIW, my interview with Darwin Shaw, who plays Peter in this movie and has previously played both the first Adam and the new Adam (i.e. Jesus) in other productions. I also got him to make a brief comment about his significant spot in James Bond movie history.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
SDG   

Peter Chattaway (National Catholic Register): 
 

Son of God does include a few minutes of new footage, and it moves some scenes around, but those who have already seen the miniseries will find the film feels pretty familiar. If anything, one of the most striking things about this film is what it leaves out.

 
Ken Morefield (Christianity Today)
 

If anything, seeing this film at the theater hurts rather than helps its production values, because the footage was edited, paced, and designed to be seen as a television program. More than one scene cut in the film looked and felt like a mini-climax designed to lead into a commercial break.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Did anyone else who saw this movie think the raising-of-Lazarus moment stood out? I led me review with that; it's the only time I found Son of God startling, even terrifying (in a good way). It's also tonally different from the rest of the movie, albeit all too briefly. The moment ends quickly. But I loved that moment, and wanted the entire movie to make me feel the way that moment made me feel.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Wow. Just tweeted but will add here that I'm listening to Washington Post critic Ann Hornaday on "The Tony Kornheiser Show" right now -- she has a regular Friday segment on the show -- and in discussing this film, she said, "I'm a Christian. I go to church every Sunday."

 

I did not know that about Ann.

 

And then she killed this movie.

Edited by Christian

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Rushmore   

Peter, a question about your review. You say "this film may mark the first time since the rise of home video that filmmakers have repackaged a TV show for the big screen and asked an audience to pay to see it all over again." But didn't this also happen with The Trip in 2011?

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Peter, a question about your review. You say "this film may mark the first time since the rise of home video that filmmakers have repackaged a TV show for the big screen and asked an audience to pay to see it all over again." But didn't this also happen with The Trip in 2011?

And with Mysteries of Lisbon, too.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Rushmore wrote:

: Peter, a question about your review. You say "this film may mark the first time since the rise of home video that filmmakers have repackaged a TV show for the big screen and asked an audience to pay to see it all over again." But didn't this also happen with The Trip in 2011?

 

Different audiences. Though if it turns out the feature version of The Trip got a theatrical release in the UK too, then I'll just say I was thinking specifically of the North American context.

 

FWIW, here is how I addressed the question at greater length back in November:

 

It is not uncommon for TV shows made in one country to get theatrical releases in another; think of how some of Ingmar Bergman’s films, such as Scenes from a Marriage (1973) and its sequel Saraband (2003), were produced for Swedish television and released in American theatres, or of how Steven Spielberg’s classic TV-movie Duel (1971) got a theatrical release in Europe.

 

And it is not uncommon for popular TV shows to have big-screen follow-ups, from the Star Trek and X-Files movies to High School Musical 3 (2008).

 

But when was the last time a North American TV show got repackaged for North American theatres? Outside of festival screenings and similar one-shot presentations, when was the last time a studio asked people who had already seen a show on TV to pay for the privilege of seeing it all over again on the big screen?

 

The first examples that come to mind — Moses the Lawgiver (1974) and Battlestar Galactica (1978) — date to the 1970s, before the rise of home video. And that makes a certain kind of sense: Back then, if you missed a show on TV, you had to wait for a re-run or for some other official studio release to see it again. But the introduction of the VCR, followed by the DVD player and TiVo etc., changed all that. . . .

Edited by Peter T Chattaway

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Son of God is estimated to make $25-28 million this weekend, easily the second-best opening for a biblical movie or a movie aimed specifically at Christian audiences. (The best such opening, of course, was for The Passion of the Christ, which took a whopping $83 million in its first weekend.) Prior to this, the second-best opening for a biblical movie may have been the $14.5 million that The Prince of Egypt opened to in 1998, and the second-best opening for a movie aimed specifically at Christian audiences may have been the $9.1 million that Courageous opened to in 2011.

 

Box Office Mojo doesn't have week-to-week figures from before 1980, and it doesn't have international figures for some time after that, but here are the stats they do have for the Bible movies released since then:

1985 -- KING DAVID -- opened $2.2mil, grossed $5.1mil d
omestic
1988 -- THE LAST TEMPTATION OF CHRIST -- opened $0.4mil, grossed $8.4mil domestic
1998 -- THE PRINCE OF EGYPT -- opened $14.5mil, grossed $101.4mil domestic + $117.2mil overseas = $218.6mil worldwide
2004 -- THE PASSION OF THE CHRIST -- opened $83.8mil, grossed $370.8mil domestic + $241.1mil overseas = $611.9mil worldwide
2006 -- THE NATIVITY STORY -- opened $7.8mil, grossed $37.6mil domestic + $8.8mil overseas = $46.4mil worldwide

 

In case anyone is wondering, The Robe grossed $36 million domestic starting in 1953, The Ten Commandments grossed $65.5 million domestic starting in 1956, Ben-Hur grossed $74 million starting in 1959... and back then, opening weekends were not the big deal that they are today.

Edited by Peter T Chattaway

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I always find such comparisons as pretty skewed since ticket prices have inflated so much. Pity no one ever counts butts in the seats.  (But then studios couldn't trumpet how great the gross was in comparison to the past)

Edited by Darrel Manson

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Mike_tn   


1985 -- KING DAVID -- opened $2.2mil, grossed $5.1mil domestic
1988 -- THE LAST TEMPTATION OF CHRIST -- opened $0.4mil, grossed $8.4mil domestic
1998 -- THE PRINCE OF EGYPT -- opened $14.5mil, grossed $101.4mil domestic + $117.2mil overseas = $218.6mil worldwide
2004 -- THE PASSION OF THE CHRIST -- opened $83.8mil, grossed $370.8mil domestic + $241.1mil overseas = $611.9mil worldwide
2006 -- THE NATIVITY STORY -- opened $7.8mil, grossed $37.6mil domestic + $8.8mil overseas = $46.4mil worldwide

 

In case anyone is wondering, The Robe grossed $36 million domestic starting in 1953, The Ten Commandments grossed $65.5 million domestic starting in 1956, Ben-Hur grossed $74 million starting in 1959... and back then, opening weekends were not the big deal that they are today.

 

I always find such comparisons as pretty skewed since ticket prices have inflated so much. Pity no one ever counts butts in the seats.  (But then studios couldn't trumpet how great the gross was in comparison to the past)

 

Corrected for 2014 dollars using CPI inflation calculator on Bureau Of Labor Statistics site, http://www.bls.gov/data/Inflation_Calculator.htm

 

1985 -- KING DAVID -- opened $4.78 mil, grossed $11.09 mil domestic
1988 -- THE LAST TEMPTATION OF CHRIST -- opened $0.79 mil, grossed $16.61mil domestic
1998 -- THE PRINCE OF EGYPT -- opened $20.81mil, grossed $145.52 mil domestic + $168.19 mil overseas = $313.71 mil worldwide
2004 -- THE PASSION OF THE CHRIST -- opened $103.77 mil, grossed $459.16 mil domestic + $298.56 mil overseas = $757.72 mil worldwide
2006 -- THE NATIVITY STORY -- opened $9.05 mil, grossed $43.63 mil domestic + $10.21 mil overseas = $53.84 mil worldwide

 
In case anyone is wondering, The Robe grossed $315.39 million domestic starting in 1953, The Ten Commandments grossed $563.29 million domestic starting in 1956, Ben-Hur grossed $594.84 million starting in 1959... and back then, opening weekends were not the big deal that they are today.

 

 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Darrel Manson wrote:
: I always find such comparisons as pretty skewed since ticket prices have inflated so much. Pity no one ever counts butts in the seats.  (But then studios couldn't trumpet how great the gross was in comparison to the past)

 

But by the same token, moviegoing is a very different experience now than it was in the past. We don't see newsreels etc. in the theatres any more. We stay home and watch television a lot more, and we buy or rent many of these films on DVD and Blu-Ray so that we can watch them over and over at our leisure (whereas in the past, you had to pay every single time you saw a film, in the theatre). Counting butts in theatre seats meant something very different back then than it means today.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Here's an interesting discussion at The Dissolve regarding Son of God and Jesus on film:

 

That seems to me like the great contradiction of attempting to make a movie about Jesus: Make him too godlike, and he becomes distant and unknowable. Make him too much a man, and he starts to seem too earthly to be divine. And make him kind of annoying—as Son Of God does—and he doesn’t seem like someone anyone would want to follow. 

 

Keith Phipps and Tasha Robinson share that they were both raised Baptist.

Edited by Joel Mayward

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Create an account or sign in to comment

You need to be a member in order to leave a comment

Create an account

Sign up for a new account in our community. It's easy!

Register a new account

Sign in

Already have an account? Sign in here.

Sign In Now
Sign in to follow this  

×