Do we need another Jesus movie?

Probably not, but we’re getting one anyway. Here’s the trailer for Son of God, due out this month:

Apart from some snazzy modern special effects, this looks depressingly by-the-numbers, right down to the very Caucasian-looking Jesus.

My favorite film versions of the story of Jesus are still Franco Zeffirelli’s 1977 miniseries Jesus of Nazareth and Martin Scorsese’s Last Temptation of Christ. Neither are without their flaws, but the former, in my opinion, is the best straight-ahead film version, while the latter takes the most interesting risks with the story. Maybe it helps that both are based on solid books–Zeffirelli’s on Anthony Burgess’s novelization of the gospel story (Burgess also helped write the screenplay), and Scorcese’s on, of course, Nikos Kazantzakis’s novel.

It’s too bad (though maybe not surprising) that the story of Jesus hasn’t inspired filmmakers to do much more than create period costume dramas of varying quality.

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7 thoughts on “Do we need another Jesus movie?

  1. Caucasian this Jesus may be, but he easily gives the most emotionally fluid and empathetic portrait of Jesus I’ve seen in a long time. I feel the pathos behind his every word.

  2. “It’s too bad (though maybe not surprising) that the story of Jesus hasn’t inspired filmmakers to do much more than create period costume dramas of varying quality.”

    Which is why it’s up to science-fiction filmmakers to smuggle religion, especially Christ-figures, into their stories.

  3. I like the Zeffirelli Jesus too but my favorite is still the Jeremy Sisto version, maybe because it was the first Jesus movie I saw after becoming a Christian. I haven’t ever seen the BBC’s The Passion but it got good reviews from scholars. I think people might feel inhibited about making a more original Jesus movie because of the backlash from religious conservatives … the movie “Jesus” was given an edit for Americans, and I remember the protests when “The Last Temptation” came out. Matt’s Bible Films Blog has posts about some more obscure versions …. http://biblefilms.blogspot.com/

  4. Someone on Twitter mentioned the Jeremy Sisto version too, so maybe I’ll have to check that out.

    I also have have a soft spot for the old-school Hollywood vibe of “The Greatest Story Ever Told.”

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