Spoiler alert: He will come again in glory to judge the living and the dead, and his kingdom will have no end. Digested from the History Channel's seven-hour miniseries The Bible (2013), this big-screen life of Christ embraces many of the dramatic inventions that have accumulated over a hundred years of biblical movies: the political tension between peace-loving Jesus and rabble-rousing Barabbas, the conflation of Mary Magdelene with the adulteress about to be stoned in the Gospel of John. Portuguese actor Diogo Morgado delivers a standard white European Jesus, and British actor Greg Hicks seems to have been cast as Pilate for his resemblance to Simon Cowell. (The TV version was roundly mocked for its scene of Jesus being tempted in the desert by an Obama-like devil, which didn't make the cut here.) Aimed at a devotional middle-American audience, this never risks the sort of individual perspective necessary to bring the story to life onscreen, for good or ill; watching it is like reading a children's Bible in a doctor's waiting room. Christopher Spencer directed.
By J.R. Jones