Wednesday, August 13, 2014

God's Not Dead - Review

A philosophy instructor (Kevin Sorbo) forcibly has his new freshman class to agree with his skeptic principles, by requesting that they all write "God Is Dead" on a piece of paper and sign their name. All of the lambs do it except for one kid (Shane Harper), who then has to prove the existence of God at the end of the each lecture in a mock trial format. If GOD'S NOT DEAD had just stick to this simple conflict, it would still be a dreadful piece of religious filth but at least easy to comprehend. Instead, director Harold Cronk and his fellow deplorable creators unleash the absolute worst use of hyperlink cinema. Subplots involving an Chinese student and a Muslim girl are followed solely so they can be indoctrinated into the Jesus flock, but not until they tell Buddha and Allah to go fly a kite and be physically and emotionally abused by their respective fathers. Two supporting female characters are treated as walking pariahs, scorned by evil, snooty upper class males for being carriers of diseases, namely "cancer" and Catholicism. There's a dementia-stricken mother whose sole purpose of cinematic existence is to have a speech about moral comfort at the end. And lastly, you have to sit through a farcical plot line where a pastor can't hang out with an African missionary (?) because cars "magically" stall on him and he doesn't believe in mechanics, trains, or buses. All of these subordinate tales go absolute nowhere and pretty much serve no purpose to the main narrative, that of a conceited mouth-breather and his battle with a predatory professor. A professor who is an atheist, sleeps with his female students, and commits several acts of unchecked harassment. Why not have Sorbo twirl his goatee while you are at, you putrid propagandists?

But GOD'S NOT DEAD gets even more appalling than perpetuating stereotypes of higher education and naming the sole black kid "G-Dogg". It's a ultra-shoddy $2 million product, full of insipid cinematography and flat lighting. The makers couldn't even do something as simple as break a real car window or give a kid an iPhone/Nintendo handheld to play with. The editing scheme is treated the exact same way as a third-rate live television broadcast; scenes instantaneously stop in their tracks mid-speech, cut to a pointless clip, then cut back to resume the discussion. Cronk has no directorial skills whatsoever, littering the picture with nil energy and strange visual logic. For example of the latter, before the final debate, our "hero" takes an elevator ride to the second floor to get to class, solely so Sorbo can psyche him out one last time. Speaking of the debate, the film never delivers any actual evidence to back up its evangelical thesis, instead throwing out a ton of random information and quotes at the audience, hoping and praying that none of the viewers actually see through the intelligent design smoke. The final argument of the fight, however, takes the cake, as the Christian douchebag spouts an unbelievably juvenile question that immediately destroys the smug pillar he stands on. Just when you think the pain has finally stop, GOD'S NOT DEAD concludes by going the Soupy Sales route, breaking the fourth wall and advocating the practice of text spam. To hell with you, you heinous atrocity!


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