God may not be dead but this franchise certainly should be.
I’m going to be generous and ignore the fact that this films main lead (allegedly a devout and practicing Christian in real life) is best known for playing a Teenage Witch in a TV show that finished in 2003, but that’s the only break this film is going to catch.
I mean, I was going to skip this film completely, I was aware of it naturally, but these sort of films exist in their own little bubble which I respect and avoid. (After all, the greatest film about Jesus was made in 1987 and called Robocop)
But then it decided to be a real film and come into my cinema. So now it’s going to be treated like a proper grown-up film and gt a proper grown-up review.
It’s a subtle as a sledgehammer wrapped in lead which is then covered in lemon and painted neon. Every Christian is a saint with no character flaw or weakness, which makes them completely uninteresting as characters. Every atheist is about a second away from realizing their true vocation of tying virgins to railway lines.
The rest of the acting, set, camerawork, music and overall tone is that of a mid to low budget afternoon soap. And apparently no-body had the heart to tell Ray Wise that he wasn’t playing The Devil on some bizarre feature length episode of Reaper.
I am prepared to state under oath that Ernie Hudson was never in this film.
This is on top of numerous sub-plots and characters that appear from and go no-where. Stripping them out would have shortened the run-time from a bloated two hours to a leaner ninety minutes. And the one sub-plot that interested me, about a Chinese man (who’s name I never caught) who discovered God, was disowned by his family and then decided to become a preacher in China (which would make for an awesome spin off except this move would be terrified of doing anything that interesting) is covered in about 3 minutes.
The central conflict makes no sense. Joan-Harts character is asked a question, she responds in a straightforward manner that no-body could object to and immediately she’s thrown into this circus that I didn’t believe in for a second.
Oh, did I mention that the central conflict makes no sense? No? Well it makes no sense and would never be allowed to get to court. But it did allow some Christian authors (none of whom will be troubling the academy) to proclaim that the Bible is historical fact. Which should be accepted as such but for those evil atheists!
And then add in every single courtroom cliche that you can think of. As well as a few that I thought had long since been retired.
My audience loved it. They loved every clunky moment, they laughed at every joke, when at the end the film when we were tole to text everyone we know that ‘Gods Not Dead.’ Half a dozen phones were whipped out.
Mine stayed safely in my pocket.
Made for 5 million (and looking like it was made for less than 1/5th of that) God’s Not Dead 2 has made over 20 million and will undoubtedly be inflicted upon as again.
My Score- FIRE