When it comes to Christian movies at the box office, it is either a major hit or an epic fail. Unfortunately, the trend for Christian movies has been the latter. Most of the reason comes from what is considered “quality entertainment” and what people supposedly want to see. Do people want to watch an entertaining movie, or do they want a message?
Enter Pure Flix Entertainment, a Christian film studio headed by David A.R. White and Andrea Logan White. It is a company with a very strong conviction which is best shown on their “about” page.
“Pure Flix is a Christian movie studio that produces, distributes, and acquires Christ
centered movies for the sole purpose of changing our culture for Christ, one heart at
a time. Our mission since day one has remained the same and we continue to strive
to make a difference for His name.”
This year alone has been loaded with more Christian films then any year for the longest time. Along with Final: The Rapture, Son of God, Noah, and Heaven is for Real, there is no other year from the past decade or so that had this many Christian films at the box office. Unfortunately, most of the films have received 50/50 reviews. Is God’s Not Dead one of them?
First, God’s Not Dead is the first box office film by Pure Flix Entertainment. This doesn’t mean the company doesn’t have any experience in film making. Prior to God’s Not Dead, Pure Flix has created numerous straight-to-DVD or bluray films such as Meant To Be, Brother White, Marriage Retreat, The Apostle Peter and the Last Supper, and The Encounter (My personal favorite!). What’s amazing about Pure Flix films is their uncanny ability to produce a quality product with whatever budget they have. God’s Not Dead has a bigger budget compared to their other films, and they delivered.
God’s Not Dead is about a college student, Josh Wheaton (Shane Harper), who signs up for his first year in college. One of his classes is philosophy with Professor Radisson (Kevin Sorbo). When attending the first class, Professor Radisson brings up his statement that God doesn’t exist and if everyone wants a good grade, which counts for 30% of the class, everyone must write “God’s Dead” on a piece of paper and hand it in. Josh, a devout Christian, is unable to. Radisson and Josh have a dialogue which results in three days in which both of them will debate each other. Radisson is on the side that God is dead while Josh sides with God. The class will be the judge on who’s argument is more definitive.
God’s Not Dead‘s plot is actually based on numerous cases in which Christians were taken to court for their faith, especially if the government or places of higher education were involved. However, God’s Not Dead‘s plot can be considered similar to the plot of two other Christian films already made. What stands out about God’s Not Dead is the plot’s execution.
Characters are well-played in God’s Not Dead too. Shane Harper does a great job as a college student – who supposedly knows little – to defend God. Kevin Sorbo makes an excellent atheistic professor while Dean Cain portrays a former Christian who turned to the cares of the world over God.(Note: Notice that both Hercules and Superman are atheist/agnostic in this film?) It was also cool David A.R. White portrayed a pastor who has remained loyal to God, but is having an episode of doubt, which is common with every Christian during their walk in Christ. All in all, the acting is actually one of the high points of the film, something that has been lacking in most Christian films for the longest time. And having the Newsboys, Willie, and Kory Robertson make special appearances is excellent for fan service.
Despite some directional and execution issues, God’s Not Dead also does an excellent job with the message and the insight. The film’s primary purpose is to deliver a message to those who watch it, along with entertaining the masses. Unfortunately, most will either enjoy the film because of the message or many will avoid and criticize because of that very message the movie is trying to express. This writer personally believes this is one of the best movies Pure Flix Entertainment has made. However, this writer understands that may not mean anything to at least 50% of the people.
As I write this article, numerous Hollywood critics and atheists are aggressively angered by God’s Not Dead, as reported by The Inquisitr. Still, the fact that the majority, who seen God’s Not Dead, are flooding Fandango, MSN, and Moviefone with exceptional ratings and reviews shows that the people who want to see it, are more than satisfied.