Wednesday, January 14, 2015
Movie Review: God's Not Dead
Recommended For: 10 to Adult
Rating: PG (for thematic material, brief violence and an accident scene)
A story of intersecting lives, each on a different path but all on the same journey - an atheist Philosophy professor, a converted Muslim, a callous businessman, a desperate reporter, an anxious pastor and an abused girlfriend - weaving together in a journey of faith, denial, doubt, and trust leading to a decision that will change all their lives. College philosophy professor Mr. Radisson's curriculum is challenged by his new student, Josh, who believes God exists.
I've been half-wanting to watch this movie for a while. I first heard it was cheesy, then had a few friends text my mom saying God's not dead. They said the movie was worth seeing. Then, a week ago, when me and fifty-one of my "closest friends" were on a bus to Washington, D. C., for Barry Loudermilk's swearing-in, we watched God's Not Dead. My general opinion was that it was good, although I didn't love it. I'm glad I watched it, but it's not a movie I would want to watch again and again (unlike Captain America 2). One thing that detracted from the enjoyment of the movie was that the people that wrote it were obviously Arminian, whereas I'm Reformed. Their "free-will" stuff bothered me. But it was only in one small part where it became clear the writers felt that way. There wasn't anything really wrong with this movie, it just didn't stand out as great. I would probably rate this movie an over-all four stars.
Again, nothing really stood out. All the technical aspects seemed overall good, just not great. And then there were the famous people that couldn't act (thankfully they weren't in much of the movie. They weren't there to act). I think that they should've had a scene with Josh's parents talking to Josh about what he should do about the professor's challenge. I wouldn't say this unless Josh hadn't mentioned how his parents felt, but he did, so... SPOILERS One thing my sister pointed out later was that when the main character, Josh, loses his girlfriend, he doesn't really seem that upset. He's just like, "ok, if that's how you feel," and they've been going together for five years and planning their future together and everything. END SPOILERS And now that I think about it, they could've spent a little more time on what he had to lose if he lost the challenge. I mean, it was just like "he could lose his major, which would mean say goodbye to his career" and I just didn't really connect with Josh's internal conflict. Maybe it had something to do with I knew what he was going to choose to do, but that's never held me back before.
The setting was not really much of anything. It's set in a town and a college near it. For what I saw, it seemed pretty much accurate. (I mean, it was set in an unnamed town with a college in it that was probably a nearby town they picked to film in. It wasn't that spectacular at all.) But it really didn't need a spectacular setting (unlike some movies and books I could mention: Lord of the Rings, for instance...) Overall, the setting was good.
The plot was of a young college student defending his faith to a very cynical and demanding professor and a few other people's lives as they tie in. Again, nothing spectacular, but it was well-done. The arguments were well-put and well-written (although there were a few times I wanted to butt in with some fact I knew that Josh didn't and would've helped his argument). It was well-done, and a good plot especially for new Christians, ones who don't know how to defend their faith, atheists, and agnostics.
Character Development: 4.5/5
There wasn't exactly anything bad about the characters or anything, I just don't feel like they were as good as they could have been. They didn't really stand out that much. I did like the Muslim girl. And Josh. The pastor was okay. He wasn't anything that stood out.
Basically, you should watch this movie, but don't expect it to be awesome. It's way better done than most Christian films, but it isn't quite up to par as most Hollywood movies. Expect good, but not the best. And don't show it to young children, especially not without parental previewing first.