Monday, March 31, 2014
Movie Review: God's NOT Dead
“And to the angel of the church in Smyrna write,
‘These things says the First and the Last, who was dead, and came to life: “I know your works, tribulation, and poverty (but you are rich); and I know the blasphemy of those who say they are Jews and are not, but are a synagogue of Satan. Do not fear any of those things which you are about to suffer. Indeed, the devil is about to throw some of you into prison, that you may be tested, and you will have tribulation ten days. Be faithful until death, and I will give you the crown of life.
“He who has an ear, let him hear what the Spirit says to the churches. He who overcomes shall not be hurt by the second death.”
Revelation 2:8-11 [Emphasis Added]
Yesterday, we saw God's Not Dead. Two hours earlier, Pastor Danny preached on the Church at Smyrna (the quote from Revelation above). Only God could line those two up.
God's Not Dead has something for everyone. Non-believers get the full gospel message (twice!). The film has FANTASTIC apologetics (including *Hallelujah* Genesis!!!). At it's core, however, God's Not Dead is a triumphant examination of perseverance in the face of persecution.
Based on several true stories, the plot centers around Josh Wheaton, a first-semester LSU freshman who grew up in the Church. On the first day, Josh is attacked by Professor Radisson, a conventional anti-Christian totalitarian. Josh is forced to defend the existence of God in front of the class. To do so, Josh embarks in a challenging, faith-deepening, study of apologetics. Simultaneously, the story integrates several sub-plots, all of which center on persecution.
Every faithful Christian suffers. Josh loses his "Christian" girlfriend who, in a display of courage worthy of Caiphas, fears for her academic standing. Aiesha, an Islamic girl who secretly comes to faith in Christ, is beaten and thrown out of the house by her father. Mina is emotionally abused by the same Professor Radisson that threatens Josh. But everyone who perseveres triumphs (eventually).
One noteworthy scene was the cameo by Willie Robertson. Having been ambushed by some progressive blogger chick, Robertson responds with grace and kindness. We've never watched Duck Dynasty, but we hasten to add that Willie Robertson's wife is smoking hot; Proverbs 31 indeed!!!
The film's biggest drawback is character development, especially for the villains. While the totalitarian professor and the Islamic father were well done, others came across as one-dimensional caricatures. The progressive blogger chick was the worst. We can't shake the feeling the writers have never met a progressive blogger chick, otherwise the character would have been less idealistic and more of an entitled narcissist. Chicks like that are a dime-a-dozen in East Austin, and a more realistic portrayal would have made the character more believable and less likable.
God's Not Dead is the second rock solid Biblical film this month. It is a rousing defense of the faith that inspires believers to endure temporary trials. It's the best movie we've seen in a long time.