An Encounter With the Messiah (Movie Review)

Plot Summary

What if Jesus came in the modern day and ministered to everyday people and the circumstances they dealt with?  This is a different take on the story of Jesus that follows the lives of recast Biblical characters in a modern setting to show that Jesus can touch anyone and reach anyone, regardless of background or era.  He is still affecting people’s lives today.

 

Production Quality (1 point)

It’s really hard to understand how and why these sorts of productions are made.  When the budget is low, is it worth making a feature length film?  While video quality is mostly fine and the soundtrack is creative in this film, there are plenty of errors here.  Lighting and camera work are inconsistent and cheap, and the audio is sometimes too loud and disproportionate.  Flashbacks are black and white for no reason and sets, locations, and props are relatively cheap.  Finally, as usual, the editing is poor and allows the storyline to jump all over the place with no real continuity.  In the end, first-time productions are somewhat forgivable, but they’re still frustrating to watch.

Plot and Storyline Quality (.5 point)

Creating modern takes on Bible stories is always a problematic idea because parallels and paraphrases are usually forced to fit and cause awkwardness, which is also the case in An Encounter with the Messiah.  It’s a commendable and understandable idea that has a lot of potential, but it’s not executed correctly and is too hard to follow.  There are too many confusing transitions and disconnected subplots as the story speeds along to hit the high points.  There are also too many characters and tons of wasted time; thus, it’s difficult for the story to hold the attention as it is very flat and isolating.  The one redeeming quality is the interesting ending but it’s hard to get to and doesn’t do enough to redeem the other issues.  In the end, this is a nice idea, but not good enough.

Acting Quality (1 point)

Though this cast sometimes puts in effort, they are often half-hearted or overly dramatic.  Line delivery and emotional delivery are all over the place.  There is some good here, but not enough to make a difference in this film.

Conclusion

Films like An Encounter with the Messiah so easily slip through the cracks of Christian film, and it’s a shame when the creators seem to mean well.  But when potentially interesting ideas are not packaged properly, it sends the film down a completely different trajectory.  It’s hard to make your film stand apart when so many typical issues plague it.  But perhaps there will be second chances for film makers that have trouble getting started.

 

Final Rating: 2.5 out of 10 points

 

Advertisements

The Turnaround [2017] (Movie Review)

Plot Summary

After Marquise tragically loses both of his parents, he is raised by a family friend and tries to find his way through life.  His parents had always taught him the Christian faith and how to live, but he is confused about Christianity since he feels like God took them away from him.  He is tempted to get involved in drugs with a friend since he cannot seem to find stable income elsewhere.  But he is also in love with a pastor’s daughter, and the pastor sees great potential in Marquise and wants to disciple him.  Which path will Marquise ultimately choose?

 

Production Quality (1.5 points)

The Turnaround has a better production than you might expect, but it still commits some rookie errors.  Video quality and camera work are fine.  The audio quality is good except for the awkward soundtrack that sometimes overpowers the scenes.  Sets, locations, and props are average but demonstrate effort.  The biggest problem with this production, besides the useless time subtitles, is the extremely choppy editing that leaves the audience very disoriented and confused.  Scenes jump from one thing to the next with no warning, which hampers the experience.  Overall, this is an average production that has clear areas for improvement.

Plot and Storyline Quality (0 points)

As previously mentioned, the scenes cut back and forth so quickly and jump all over the place so much that the story is next to impossible to follow.  It is difficult to see how the characters and their situations relate to each other, except for some loose associations.   There is probably an interesting story in here somewhere if it were ordered and organized better.  In the aftermath of the confusion, characters are left under-developed due to empty and wanting dialogue.  There are too many unrelated subplots interspersed with random narration.  It feels like there were too many people writing these ideas and not enough people organizing them in a way that would help the audience appreciate them.  Essentially, this is a nice try but no success.

Acting Quality (2 points)

The acting is actually the strongest element of The Turnaround and keeps it from being in the complete basement of Christian entertainment.  The only real problem to point out with the acting is the fact that there are too many scenes that have people talking over each other.  Otherwise, emotions are mostly believable and line delivery is acceptable.

Conclusion

The Turnaround, though it has some good elements, is one of those films that will easily be forgotten due to otherwise avoidable errors.  We believe that the creators of this film meant well, but in order to make this sort of plot work, the characters have to be realistic and accessible by the audience.  The characters are what make audiences interested in the movie, so without them being properly developed, little interest is generated for the film.  Perhaps the creators will heed this advice in the future.

 

Final Rating: 3.5 out of 10 points