Every year, movies are released and cast members show off their talents. Writers and directors showcase their creativity. Films are separated into roughly three groups: the truly talented, the potentially great, and the others. At Box Office Revolution, we believe it is our prerogative to annually recognize those movie makers and players who have the ability to bring revolution to Christian entertainment.
Lee Strobel was an acclaimed newspaper reporter who had seemingly reached a new level in his career with his in-depth research pieces. Everything in his life seemed perfect, until his wife Leslie began talking to a Christian nurse who saved the life of their daughter and became a Christian herself. Lee’s staunch atheism was immediately challenged by his wife’s beliefs, even though she had become a better person as a result. Thus, Lee set out to disprove the faith of his wife by attacking the core tenets of Christianity and skeptically investigating the truth behind them. However, the deeper he went into his investigation, the less faith he had in atheism. He would eventually have to come to grips with what he really believed and make a decision that would change his life forever.
Production Quality (3 points)
After years of wandering in the proverbial wilderness, Jon Gunn and his team, aided by the new standards of PureFlix, have finally found the promised land. The Case for Christ is a flawless production in every aspect and is an example of what we should see in every film. Video quality, camera work, and audio quality are error free. The soundtrack is highly authentic and appropriate for the time. Sets, locations, and props are exquisite and demonstrate great care for historical accuracy. Finally, editing is excellent as montages are kept to a minimum and each scene transitions seamlessly. Basically, this is your textbook perfect production.
Plot and Storyline Quality (2.5 points)
What better plot to use than a real-life story that many audiences can relate to for multiple different reasons? Not only is this film about real people, but they are actually portrayed as real people through meaningful dialogue and realistic circumstances. This film could have easily descended into an information-saturated and message-heavy dump that tried too hard to push its point, but that is not the case here. Both the atheist and the Christian characters are portrayed extremely well and the highly relevant message is presented in such a way that it is both clearly understood and easily received without being pushed in your face. In the hands of a different writer, this idea could have gone south very easily. Yet it did not, and Brian Bird proves that with good content, he can go great things. The only nitpick to raise here is some slight choppiness, but it’s not a big deal. The bottom line is that this is an excellent plot and one well worth your time.
Acting Quality (3 points)
You can hardly ask for a better cast than this, as each member fits their character excellently. There are zero acting errors to point out as every performance is executed with near perfection. Emotions are highly believable and line delivery is on point. This rounds out an excellent film.
In conjunction with Brian Bird, Jon Gunn has finally discovered his true talent and has struck gold. He put previous disappointments behind him and found a way to become a great film maker. All we ask of film makers is to show steady and consistent improvement, and Jon Gunn has done just that. He was also afforded a great opportunity to tell the amazing true story of Lee Strobel and to have better funding due to the better decisions made by the PureFlix leadership. This film gives Jon Gunn, Brian Bird, and the rest a platform to build off of to do even greater things.
When Christian teacher Grace Wesley is sued by a student’s parents for daring to mention the name of Jesus in her classroom, she is confused as to what is even happening to her. Yet, inspired by the wisdom of her ailing father whom she takes care of, Grace refuses to back down and begins working with her union-appointed lawyer to fight back in court. With her faith under fire, Grace’s case draws the attention of many from the town of Hope Springs, including Pastor James White David Hill, who serves on the jury. As Grace’s beliefs are attacked and tested over and over again, she must dig deep to withstand the world’s onslaught so that Christianity is not snuffed out forever.
Production Quality (1.5 points)
In the new era of PureFlix, video quality and camera work are no longer in question. The sets, locations, and surroundings are respectable. The musical score is average. On the surface, God’s Not Dead 2 looks like a professional film, but there are many hidden issues therein. Of the high profile Christian movies we have reviewed, this is possibly the worst edited one to date. The many-subplots addiction from God’s Not Dead and Do You Believe? is back, and this time, they are more empty than ever. As will be discussed next, there long sections of this movie that consist of characters staring into space and attempting to sing. Essentially, this was just a lazy production effort that looks good on the outside but not on the inside.
Plot and Storyline Quality (0 points)
In this plot, Christian characters are very perfect in every way while atheist characters are hopelessly evil. What’s more, atheists are borderline ridiculed, giving an embarrassing feel to the film. Subplots jump all over the place, confusing the viewer. The premise and other plot happenings are unrealistic and cannot be reconciled with reality. The storyline is saturated with legal rhetoric that is either only half-true or isolating to the audience. Besides these glaringly obvious issues, the plot does not hold the attention and is very drab. There are many slow and melancholy scenes that seem to be designed only to pad the runtime. Large portions of the film are dedicated to advertising apologetic books and other Christian ‘celebrities’. While there is a lot of good information in these product placements, it flies over the audience’s heads and is not remembered. With all this wasted time, there is zero character development, therefore we cannot even appreciate the struggles that are portrayed. In addition, the dialogue is chock-full of swipes at atheists and ‘worldly’ people. The ending is very empty and anticlimactic (despite desperate attempts) and even includes an off-the-wall post-credits scene. Basically, David A. R. White and company just phoned this one in, hoping that the title name recognition would garner them some more cash.
Acting Quality (.5 point)
While this section is not all bad, there is a lot of monotone acting in this film. In another attempt to create buzz by trotting out C-grade ‘big name’ actors and actresses (in addition to the typical PureFlix clowns), this attempt basically flops. Most of the characters carry a Hallmark-ish look to them, with far too much makeup and costuming. Other cast members are just blank—even though they show potential, there’s no one to draw it out. In the end, there is really nothing new here.
In our experience, the world portrayed in this film has never existed. This is not to diminish the plights of some, but the realm PureFlix constructs in many of their films is over the top and outside of reality. Rather than preaching to the choir with a juvenile us-against-the-world narrative that further divides Christians and atheists, the money spent on these types of films would be better spent on films that actually strengthen the church as a whole and tastefully address how American Christian behavior can improve. No one will be saved as a result of God’s Not Dead 2. Christians will not be inspired to grow closer to God as a result of viewing this movie. I would never recommend this movie to a non-believer because the creators give no concern to opposing points of view. Since we as Christians have the truth, we have no need to force it down people’s throats with no regard for their feelings. Delegitimizing someone else’s beliefs has no place in the gospel message. Yet with an awkwardly placed post-credits scene, we are all but promised more of the same nonsense from PureFlix. This is not the direction Christian film needs to go in and now more than ever we need someone who will stand up and combat the image movies like this one project.