21 May 2014

Quickie Movie Review: "King of Kings"

Rated: PG-13 for some violent content (US) / PG (Canada)
Starring: Jeffrey Hunter, Siobhan McKenna, and Hurd Hatfield

Released: October 11, 1961 (theaters)
The power...the passion...the greatness...the glory.  Jesus of Nazareth changed the face of history like no one else.  Who was He, though? What was the world like when He was born? What did He teach? Why was He crucified? This movie answers all those questions and more! Featuring an expansive cast--seven thousand extras in the Sermon on the Mount scene alone--this movie is based on the best-selling book of all time: the Bible.

My Review
Before Roma Downey and Mark Burnett's Son of God movie tugged at the heartstrings of moviegoers everywhere, this was how Hollywood did the life of Christ.  I have to admit, the scale was epic, and some of the scenes were remarkably well done.  On the other hand, the film focuses a bit too much on extra-biblical material, and the crucifixion scene wasn't as heart-wrenching as it should have been.  Still, for those who are curious about the history of Christian cinema, this is worth a look.  If you're looking for a well-made movie about Jesus that stays true to the Word, check out The Gospel of John, a film made about a decade ago that uses the Good News Translation of the fourth gospel as its script, and is compellingly well made.

Content Concerns

  • Sex: A young woman does a rather sultry belly dance routine.  It is said that a woman was caught in adultery. 3.5/5
  • Nudity: Shirtless men are seen in several scenes.  A young woman is seen in an off-the-shoulder outfit in one scene, and in a top that somewhat resembles Leia's metal bikini in Return of the Jedi in another. 3.5/5
  • Language: Occasional name-calling, i.e., "fool". 4/5
  • Violence: The crucifixion is only slightly bloody.  Jesus' flogging and John the Baptist's beheading are implied, but not shown.  However, several battle scenes shows spears thrust into men's bodies, which is bloody at times.  Another scene implies the murder of multiple infants. 3/5
  • Drugs: Wine is consumed on several occasions. 3.5/5
  • Frightening/Intense Scenes: As usual for these kinds of movies, the crucifixion scene may be too much for some kids.  The battles and infant killings could also be a problem for the young ones. 2/5
  • Other Negative Elements: Well, not exactly negative, but...the archaic language and hard words ("harangue", for example) may confuse many kids and even some adults, especially if they're not used to hearing or reading the King James Bible. 4/5

Score: 3.5/5

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