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Peter T Chattaway

Son of God

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Clearly, all Joss Whedon needs to do is cobble a couple episodes of Firefly into a theatrical release and BOOM! Box Office Gold. wink.png

Edited by Thom Wade

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As somebody who just got into the comedy of Sid Caesar's landmark "Your Show of Shows", I'm reminded that they set the precedent ("Ten From Your Show of Shows", released in early 70s). 

 

Shortly after that, Monty Python did "And Now For Something Completely Different", a best-of their "Flying Circus".

 

So TV to theatrical was not uncommon at one time.  Son of God found a way to make it work for today.

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Ugh. There's going to be a Google Hangout tonight featuring some of the filmmakers... and the 'Why I Hate Religion But Love Jesus' guy.

 

It starts at 6pmPST/9pmEST tonight and you can watch it here:

 


Nick Alexander wrote:

: As somebody who just got into the comedy of Sid Caesar's landmark "Your Show of Shows", I'm reminded that they set the precedent ("Ten From Your Show of Shows", released in early 70s). 

: Shortly after that, Monty Python did "And Now For Something Completely Different", a best-of their "Flying Circus".

 

The Python thing was a complete re-filming of the sketches (with the possible exception of the animated bits, I guess, and maybe with the exception of some of the outdoor bits, which tended to be shot on film anyway even for TV).

 

Was the Sid Caesar thing actually a re-edit of early-1950s broadcasts? Or did they re-stage the sketches, like the Pythons did?

 

Either way, yeah, these examples both hail from the early 1970s, well before the rise of the VCR.

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The Caesar collection was the very same ten sketches that had aired on Your Show of Shows, as much of the comedy was played before a live studio audience, and in one sequence in particular "This Is Your Story", it shot some of the sketch in the audience itself. 

 

I mentioned "As Now For Something Completely Different", and while I knew these were re-filmed, they were done so precisely to introduce the Pythons to the American market.  But other than that the sketches were pretty much the same ones they had filmed only a few years before.

 

A different time.

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BethR   

I watched about half of the TV series, so I was planning to skip this movie version, but my father wanted to see it. I don't have much to add that hasn't been said better by others, except that I found myself wishing I were re-watching Henry Ian Cusick in The Gospel of John, for about the same length of time--125 min vs. 138 for Son of God--& actual 100% gospel (whatever PTC thinks of it). Dad and I both commented that some scenes seem to have been aimed at an audience already familiar with the Bible, so that they would understand the subtext, while other elements were overexplained to the point of tedium.

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I expected this film to drop quite a bit in its second weekend -- movies where churches book theaters on opening weekend usually do experience large second-weekend drops, right? But Len Klady's reason for the drop, as explained in the linked article, has me scratching my head:

 

Son of God had a big ol’ drop, as the religious right seemed to line up against the film and filmmakers. It will still be plenty profitable.

 

Has there been some sort of backlash against the film among its core audience? A few commenters below my review took shots at the film for not being faithful to scripture. They seem particularly put off by my lauding of the raising of Lazarus in the film, and they point out that the moment is off-the-mark in terms of strictly sticking to the the Bible's description of that event.

 

I chalked that up to the usual backlash from a certain segment of the targeted audience, not a small representation of a larger trend. Maybe I'm wrong. Maybe they speak for a much larger portion of the film's audience.  

Edited by Christian

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That's a bizarre quote from Klady. I wonder if he's mistakenly confusing this film with Noah (and the controversy around *that* film).

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That's possible.

 

An aside, I was at my parents' place over the weekend, and they were watching The Bible on the History Channel. I was convinced it wasn't related to the miniseries from which Son of God was created/cut/taken -- I figured it was some other History Channel special about the Bible -- because I didn't recognize any of the actors for several minutes. John the Baptist looked unfamiliar, too. But then Jesus showed up, and then I saw Pilate, and then I saw John's baptism of Jesus and only then remembered that same actor playing John the Baptist was shown in a brief flashback in Son of God baptizing Jesus.

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SDG   

My two-minute Reel Faith review. (I also did a two-minute for Noah, but this will not be a thing. For most movies, my producer will insist on 60 seconds.) 

 

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=AaiX6ySl-aw&index=3&list=PLPu38Ui5dTDINmv5o5eF6Y0GAlkTBqoeP

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Watching the bonus features on the Blu-Ray. Who's the first person who appears in the first featurette, following Burnett and Downey? Joel Osteen. Sigh. And then, several minutes later, we get Della Reese and her soundbite about listening to the Christ within you.

 

I also cannot help but note the irony of the fact that this disc includes a bonus feature (which I have not yet seen) on "introducing your child to a relationship with Jesus" -- but the film is rated PG-13 in the States and 14-A in Canada. (For theatrical releases, each Canadian province assigns its own rating, but there's just one rating for the video release. And the 14-A rating is enforced up here, unlike the PG-13 rating.)

 

Possibly the most amazing thing about this featurette is how the director talks about "accuracy" and getting as "close to the text" as possible -- even though this movie most definitely does *not* stick to the text -- and how Burnett insists that the violence in this film (in the crucifixion scene, specifically) is not "gratuitous", even though much of it, yeah, kind of *is* gratuitous (Pilate slashing the chest of his swordplay partner, etc.; and let's not forget the gratuitousness of the violence elsewhere in the source mini-series, e.g. the angels and their martial arts in Sodom).

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Because I'm that kind of person, I've started working on a spreadsheet that compares the duration of scenes in Son of God with their equivalents in The Bible. So far I've made it through the first half-hour of the movie.

 

The first few minutes are especially tricky because they include a montage or two, and also because they take cross-cut sequences from the mini-series and smooth them out into simple linear scenes (by removing the *other* scenes that were cross-cut with the included scenes; you see this with the Magi going to Bethlehem, which is no longer cross-cut with Herod yelling at his advisers, and with Jesus giving Peter a big catch of fish, which is no longer cross-cut with the imprisonment and execution of John the Baptist).

 

But once we settle into the rest of the movie, which presents various scenes from the mini-series in more-or-less the order that they appear in the mini-series, it's surprising (to me, at least) to see just how thoroughly re-edited those scenes are. The pacing is subtly different -- scenes are tightened up over here and loosened up a bit over there -- and occasionally the movie's editor uses different angles for certain shots or cuts from one shot to the next at a different point than the mini-series' editor did.

 

Seriously, watching the two versions of any given scene side-by-side is slightly disorienting, because no matter how closely you line them up at any given point, they'll be out of alignment one way or the other within seconds.

 

Thankfully, I wasn't planning on *recording* every difference shot-wise or whatever. I'm basically just measuring the lengths of different scenes, scene-by-scene. It's an interesting exercise.

 

In case anyone is interested, the spreadsheet includes columns for [1] the titles of individual scenes, [2] the timecode for the start and stop of each scene in The Bible, [3] the length of each scene in The Bible, [4] the timecode for the start and stop of each scene in Son of God, [5] the length of each scene in Son of God, and [6] the scripture reference, if any.

 

I'm doing it in a spreadsheet format so that anyone can click on either of the timecode columns and re-order the scenes so that they appear in the order that they do in The Bible or in the order that they do in Son of God.

 

At present, I *am* keeping track of scenes that are unique to Son of God, but *not* of scenes that are unique to The Bible.

 

Oh, and apart from the fact that the John-on-Patmos footage from the end of Episode 10 is used here to bookend the entire movie (the idea being that the ministry of Jesus -- taken from Episodes 6 through 10 -- is a memory narrated by the elder John), I think the most significant restructuring concerns the character of Pilate, whose scenes are presented in a rather different order.

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Just a quick note to say that I finished the spreadsheet last night -- or at least, I finished charting the overlaps between the film and the mini-series. The column for the scripture references is still blank at this point. But if anyone wants to see the spreadsheet in its current state, please let me know!

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Finally catching up with this.  It's on Netflix.  So far, only watched half of it, up to the beginning of the Last Supper (will watch this on Friday).

Peter, I would like that spreadsheet, if you have it.

Anyway, I never saw this film, nor the miniseries.  So it's kinda hard to put myself in the position of disliking it for rehashing previously done material (didn't David Lynch do the same thing, save for the fact that Mulholland Drive never aired?  And since I seem to be the only person on the planet who hates MD, oh well).

I think SoG works in small segments.  I think they do a marvelous job a story at a time; they really over-directed the whole thing.  But it gets a little hard to watch after awhile.

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Oh, did I not get around to posting the spreadsheet here? I wrote a blog post here that includes a link to the spreadsheet, which is still available via Dropbox.

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