Let me begin by saying, if it isn’t already obvious, that I write this as a believer. I also write this as someone that is more than just a little familiar with the Biblical story of the Son of God. I enjoyed the film and found it to be quite powerful. It is more in the tear-jerker category than I had expected. The emotional impact that the Passion sequence had on me was more than I had expected. Overall, I would recommend this film for high school students and up. With parents, middle schoolers would possibly be okay with the intensity of the crucifixion. I think it makes a difference if the viewer cares about what is happening to the Jesus figure. The film is not as gory as “Passion of Christ,” but it is quite intense and the violence against Jesus is graphic enough.
Some specific bones that need to be picked:
History Channel — why? Why?! Why do you sometimes stick to the Biblical narrative and other times not, even when it would have no effect on the run time. This is why I cannot “highly” recommend this movie. I am sure that it is fine for some measure of evangelism. Giving a video version is desirable for those that hate to read, yet still want to know who this Jesus is. I am not sure that the level of the special effects is quite enough to draw in those that are totally “unchurched.” Yet, those that saw the movie with me, and are also active Christians, had the diminishing experience of knowing the story already. The plot line is known–the guy dies at the end, except it is not the end. It is not the end for him or for the story.
If you want to talk with me about aspects of the film after you have seen it, comment on this post.
[To avoid spoilers at this point in time.]
There are a number of non-historical and untraditional things that the History Channel does with the story. A few embellishments are done really well, a few are careless.