Every year, movies and series are released, and cast members show off their talents. Writers and directors showcase their creativity. Films and series 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 entertainment creators and players who have the ability to bring revolution to Christian entertainment.
Staff Choice Movie of the Year: The World We Make
Runners-Up: The Least of These: The Graham Staines Story, Heavenly Deposit
Reader’s Choice Movie of the Year: The World We Make
Runners-Up: Overcomer, Breakthrough, Unplanned
Staff Choice Season of the Year: The Chosen, Season 1
Staff Choice Actor of the Year: Jonathan Roumie
Runners-Up: Shahar Isaac, Paras Patel, Erick Avari, Caleb Castille, Kevin Sizemore, Sharman Joshi
Staff Choice Actress of the Year: Elizabeth “Liz” Tabish
Runners-Up: Lara Silva, Rose Reid, Ashley Bratcher
Staff Choice Director of the Year: Dallas Jenkins
Runners-Up: Brian Baugh, Aneesh Daniel
Staff Choice Writers of the Year: Ryan Swanson and Tyler Thompson
Runners-Up: Chris Dowling, George D. Escobar, Rose Reid, Andrew E. Matthews
Staff Choice Soundtrack of the Year: The Chosen, Season 1
Runners-Up: The World We Make, The Least of These: The Graham Staines Story
After Jesus chose a majority of His followers, He began to slowly but surely reveal His nature to the world through public miracles and teachings. Though He mostly ministered in obscurity, His work drew the attention of multiple different spheres of influence: common people, powerful politicians, and power-hungry religious leaders. However, Christ never discriminated in who He chose to follow Him as He broke down social and cultural barriers in order to proclaim His love for all humanity.
Production Quality (2.5 points) Much like the first half of Season 1, this season’s second half boasts a very high-quality production that both lives within its means and makes the most of what it has. Though camera work can be a bit shaky at times, much like the former half, there are virtually no other production flaws to note here. Video quality and audio quality are both flawless as the camera captures poignant scenes that feel like real life. Sets, locations, and props are incredibly authentic and demonstrate extreme care for historical accuracy and attention to detail. Perhaps the most impactful element of the production is the exquisite soundtrack that is creatively and artistically placed to enhance key moments and to draw the audience into the story’s emotional experiences. Further, editing is seamless and presents a well-crafted plot in a professional manner. In the end, Dallas Jenkins and his very talented creative team have once again showcased their God-given talents in a very responsible manner that has revolutionized Christian entertainment at a time when it was desperately needed.
Plot and Storyline Quality (3 points) However, there’s still more to say. It’s undeniable that the extreme humanity of The Chosen’s characters are what make the series more than a run-of-the-mill Bible drama. Tyler Thompson and the other writers clearly went great lengths, as prompted by the Holy Spirit, to not only ensure the accurate cultural profiles of the characters but to also make them very flawed and relatable to all audiences, which is something other Biblical productions have been allergic to. The Chosen doesn’t just show the viewers a collection of well-known miracles and stories: the lead-up and fallout of each important event is carefully crafted and woven together with other intriguing subplots. All of this is good enough without even mentioning the way some scenes are presented in artistic manners that are nearly flawless in their presentation. Dialogue and conversations between characters are very deep, meaningful, and even philosophical at times, which is something we rarely see in Christian entertainment. Basically, there are more positive qualities in this section than can be named, which has warranted a separate discussion on how the subplots interlock and interact. In the end, The Chosen creative team has transformed the development of series and characters in Christian entertainment, and there’s no going back from here.
Acting Quality (3 points) With virtually the same cast from episodes one through four plus others who add more life than there already was, the acting of episodes five through eight does not waver from its previously perfect score. In fact, many of the cast members build off of their roles and become even more comfortable in their characters. Emotions are right on target such that they can be felt by the viewers, and line delivery is basically perfect. This cast is so heavily talented that it’s posing a good problem for Box Office Revolution’s upcoming Actor and Actress of the Year Awards, which is a type of dilemma we have unfortunately never been faced with in our reviewing experience.
Continuity Quality (3 points) Continuity is where many Christian series completely drop the proverbial ball because the episode are often disconnected and self-contained. However, every episode of The Chosen that has been released so far are somehow able to be both self-consistent as well as connected to the bigger picture, which is an important component of a great series. One way the continuity is best demonstrated in through the use of flashbacks to cover both previously overlooked New Testament stories along with relevant Old Testament accounts, and this latter inclusion is one of the added bonuses of episodes five through eight. Finally, the ending of each episode is epic and demonstrates how much this creative knows what they’re doing and how much they have relied on God to get this project right.
The second half of The Chosen’s first season also receives two x-factor points for presenting the greatest stories of history in the ways they should have been portrayed all along as well as for being re-watchable and binge-able. There’s hardly anything we would want changed about The Chosen at this point except for an even bigger budget to do better things with since Jenkins and the rest have demonstrated an ability to responsibly steward the resources God’s given them. As a side note, we receive no compensation or reward for our reviews and advertising of this series, but we wholeheartedly support its full release and strongly encourage you to both watch Season 1 during this year’s holidays and to share it with as many people as you can. This is first time a season of a Christian series has been critically acclaimed and placed on the Box Office Revolution Hall of Fame. We believe The Chosen has a rare, God-given opportunity to change not only the Christian entertainment world but also Christian culture as a whole because it’s a fresh, high-quality look at well-known stories that are timelessly relevant for all people.
As Jochebed and her children hide from the Egyptian soldiers, she recounts the story of her people so far and the struggles they have gone through. She remembers Adam, Eve, Abel, Cain, Noah, Abram, Sarai, Jacob, Leah, and Rachel and how they went wrong and how God took care of them. Jochebed wrestles with the truth that God will take care of her and her family too, no matter what odds are facing her.
Production Quality (2.5 points)
It’s obvious that a good amount of time and resources were spent on this production. Cinematography is clearly professional and well-thought-out, including great camera work and crisp video quality. Sets and locations are also highly professional and enhance the film. Audio quality is good and the soundtrack is respectable and intriguing. The only minor issue to raise here is some small editing issues, including random cuts and transitions that confuse the audience. However, this is a very high quality production and we can’t wait to see what else Austin Ridge Bible Church produces in the future.
Plot and Storyline Quality (.5 point)
Unfortunately, this is where the positivity ends. As Jochebed constantly narrates through cryptic monologues, the plot skips all over Genesis without settling down on a coherent thought. To be titled after to first book of the Bible, there is actually very little true Biblical content and easily a fourth of the film relates to the book of Exodus. While the psychological elements are somewhat creative, there is no continuity and the overall feel of the storyline is overly artistic and embellished. Taking on such a large amount of content is ambitious but misguided. There is no way to understand the characters presented as they are largely silent; everything relies too much on Jochebed’s riddles and musings. Overall, this is a disappointingly wasted idea can could have gone somewhere but never found the path home.
Acting Quality (0 points)
The casting job falls into the trap many Biblical films fall into. Not only are there some issues with cultural authenticity (though not full British), but the cast members seem to be purposely acting mysterious. Their emotions are ethereal and abstract and line delivery is sometimes off. It’s difficult to put your finger on, but there are not many positive qualities to highlight here. A stronger cast would have made a difference for this film.
When you’re first starting out with movies, it’s essential to have quality production, which is what The Book of Genesis has. However, it’s not clear that Austin Ridge Bible Church knew what they were doing with this plot idea. There is an element of creativity here that could be drawn out by the right team, but this movie just doesn’t make the mark. When first writing a plot, it’s best to start out small and grow from there, not start out with a big idea that might not pan out. Maybe next time Austin Ridge Bible Church will find their way to the promised land, because they certainly have the potential to do so.