The film was good quality. There were definitely some points that did not line up with the gospels and there were other points that were highlighted that I really appreciated.
Through out the film, Jesus is surrounded by followers, primarily His disciples. I really liked that a female was included in the group of disciples. It was quite a while before she is even identified by name, though.
Later, after Christ is crucified, she is the only one who goes to the tomb, as opposed to the Biblical account that states at least two women go.
The scene when Jesus over turns the money changers tables in the temple, excluded him going to the temple twice and in between making a rope or whip, which he returns with later. In the film, he enters and after a few minutes, he gets upset and over turns the tables. No rope or whip making. There are other missing pieces (and people) like that.
I was not expecting this film to be the Bible, so discrepancies like this did not bother me. If Jesus had been presented as something other than himself, I would have taken issue. The film does a good job of impressing the fact that Christ was/is the Son of God, Messiah, himself.
One of the most moving scenes happens when Christ gives the speech about two men praying, one being a Pharisee and one being a tax collector. He shares that the pharisee is praising God he is not like the other man but the tax collector is praying in humility, admitting he is a sinner. The film portrays Jesus saying these words as he is passing by tax collectors who are Jewish, collecting tax payments from their own people, on behalf of the government. It is made clear that they are pretty much hated for their race/religion by others and for their occupation by their own people. The disciple, Matthew is one of them, collecting payments. Jesus makes eye contact with him as he is reciting the prayer of the tax collector in his parable. You can see the realization in Matthew's eyes that Jesus is seeing right into his own sinful heart. Tears begin streaming down his face as he recites the same prayed words Jesus is quoting of the 'tax collector'. It was a stunning moment.
Roma Downy is gorgeous but looked way too young to be playing adult Jesus's mother, Mary. The film does so well in so many ares, it made the cheap choices stand out all the more. Mary, is consistently wearing the traditional shades of blue clothing. She is the only one I noticed ever wearing blue. I didn't like how the supernatural moments make Jesus look almost dreamy, as if him walking on water could have possibly been imagined. The worst were the holes in his hands and the shot of seeing through them. Eyeroll. The film was too good to lower itself to that level of cheese. Seriously.
Pontius Pilate and the Jewish Pharisees/religious leaders were represented fairly. More human that I have seen in other films. They weren't just 'bad guys'...but people driven by their own agenda and self-concerns. Pontius is portrayed as a political leader who is trying to maintain his government position as the religious leaders are trying to maintain their religious positions. There are various forces at play here, political, religious and cultural. I appreciated them being presented this way instead of flat, stereotypical 'monsters'.
All the disciples were also played as real human men. They did seem to cry a lot but I imagine if everything I had ever hoped for and wrestled with concerning my religious faith and my God, was finally coming true, in the form of flesh standing before me--I think I might get a bit emotionally over-whelmed too. The actors were wonderful. I was perplexed though, if it was the style at the time, why Jesus was the only one with long hair?
The opening scenes are from the original History channel Bible series and impress upon the viewer that Jesus is God and He was always there in all of those moments, from the beginning of creation, with Abraham and Moses and everything in between and leading up to his own birth here on earth. The scenes looked fantastic and make me want to watch the series now.
Over all, I really respected what the creators did here. The message was straight forward, that Jesus, the Messiah, is the son of God. I don't think they strayed from that, even with the Biblical exclusions they did give in to.
Phil 1:18 (NIV) But what does it matter? The important thing is that in every way, whether from false motives or true, Christ is preached. And because of this I rejoice.