I remember when I saw the preview for this movie. I was enamored. For one, it has Kevin Sorbo in it. In case any of you don’t remember his roll in Hercules: The Legendary Journey, here’s a link to some of the “acting” in it. So yeah, the preview for this movie looked so unbelievably dumb, and let me tell you – the movie did not disappoint. This was one of the dumbest and most enjoyably terrible Christian propaganda films I have ever seen. This has been a year with a surprisingly large amount of those movies. Noah, The Son of God, Heaven’s For Real (one of the most hilarious movies I have ever seen, in how bad it is) and this one. They’ve all be universally bad, but this one takes the cake. Let’s get started.
The story of this film is that the good Christian boy, Josh Wheaton (gee, that sounds like that other name…) is getting into college. He’s all filled with God’s love and on a mission to spread it to the world. However, he enters a philosophy course, and the man who is the information guide person sees the cross on his neck and warns him of the professor of that class. First day, the EVIL atheist professor, Rattison (Another name that sure does sound familiar) walks into class and proceeds to start spouting what Christians see as atheist propaganda, a quote by Friedrich Nietzsche – God is dead. Like most things in this movie, they have NO idea what they are talking about. Rattison has the students write the quote, for their day’s assignment. Our good boy Josh can’t do it, thus beginning the confrontational relationship between the two. It culminates in a debate between them where they debate the validity of God.
So, first things first – on a technical level, everything in this movie is wrong. The director clearly knew what goes into a film, but not how to make the elements himself. The shots of this movie are terrible, with awkward cuts and boring scenery. Not one chance is taken with the cinematography, which would be fine if it were actually good. This movie has no idea how to light and set up a good shot, and it shows.
Then there is the story. Oh my god, it’s the worst. I’ve watched Christian propaganda films before, but they pale in comparison to this. This movie had not just the main plot with Josh and the Professor. There were also subplots, much in the same vein as Magnolia. These subplots come right the hell out of nowhere and try to meet up at the end in a kind of pseudo-Magnolia or Next (if you know your Michael Crichton) esque style. It doesn’t work. They all meet up at this AWFUL christian rock thing that is the song from the trailer “God’s Not Dead, He’s Surely Alive.” Oh, and another thing about the subplots is that they are all REALLY forcing a message about various things that the director believed needed to be shoe-horned in to the film. And if you cut any of the subplots out of the movie, absolutely nothing would change. They are that pointless.
The music was 110% forgettable. For real, this movie didn’t try anything in that department. Not surprising, given the rather modest $2 million budget. The song at the end of the film is one of the most hilarious pieces of bad Christian rock that brings to mind a great quote by Hank Hill, “You guys aren’t making Christianity better, you’re just making rock worse!”
But the icing on the cake of this film is the acting. Josh Wheaton is as boring as plain vanilla ice cream. For real, this guy is such a stereotypical good-Christian boy that I half-expected there to be wings coming off of him by the end of the film. Some of the sub-plot characters, including this evil atheist business man who is hassling this old woman are just awesome. But the best part, the singularly awesome part of this movie is Kevin Sorbo. Oh my god, it was too much. I swear, this guy laid the evil on so thick that I kept expecting him to be twirling his goatee by the end of the film. And that’s another thing – he had an evil Spock goatee! I love it! This guy was so over-the-top that I never stopped enjoying his performance. Seeing Sorbo try and pimp the movie out on Fox News made it that much better.
Something I want to mention is how unbelievably insulting it is that they misuse Friedrich Nietzsche’s quote “God is Dead.” He wasn’t talking about a literal God and saying that he was literally dead. Nietzsche was saying that religion’s role in the world was coming to an end. But I forget how stupid the audience for this movie is. Expecting them to get a philosophical concept, or portray it right in this movie, is asking too much.
This movie is amazing. Not only does this film go out of the way to beat you over the head with its message, in a way that’s worse than Avatar, but it even closes out with a bunch of recent stories in the news about how various Christian groups have argued that their First Amendment rights have been infringed upon. Just in case you missed how evil us atheists are. There was absolutely NOTHING subtle in this movie. Avatar may have beat us over the head with a 2X4 with it’s message. This movie is a jack-hammer with a wrecking ball, in case you don’t get it. Oh, and the movie ends with a the rom-com cliche of someone going to profess their love to someone. Only, instead of it being a person, it’s Jesus. I’ll give you five guesses who it is.
I have to give this movie two different final verdicts. On the one hand, it’s so awful that it should be looked down upon, but on the other, I had so much fun watching it! It was a movie that was made to tell the stereotypical audience exactly what they want to hear, so if you are in that crowd, I guess you’ll find what you want. For the rest of it, enjoy how stupid it is.
Final Verdict –
2 out of 10
8 out of 10