Thursday , May 23 2024
Why are Christian films always so hard to watch?

Blu-ray Review: The Lion of Judah (2011)

Can somebody please explain to me why all of the awful goody-two-shoes movies made for Christian audiences are always much harder to watch than the so-called “evil” ones? Is it some kind of endurance test? If you can suffer through this ineptly-made monstrosity, then you’ll have earned a right to enter the Kingdom of Heaven? Frankly, I think it’s because most Christian filmmakers aren’t really filmmakers at all — and only land the job of creating these motion picture tributes to Jehovah because their backers can’t afford to pay professionals (and because most “professionals” don’t want to be associated with such features). But that’s just my opinion.

Let’s look at it this way: The Passion of the Christ was a real movie, filmed with skilled, contemporary actors, and helmed by a devout believer named Mel Gibson (who later went nuts, but that’s beside the fact). The Lion of Judah, on the other hand, is an animated crapfest attributed to a first-time director named Deryck Broom — and stars the voices of Ernest Borgnine, Michael Madsen (!), gospel singer Sandi Patty, Clint Eastwood’s illegitimate son Scott, Omar Benson Miller (who is cast as a pig — thank you, Christians), and Indian actor Anupam Kher.

The story here (not that you should care, because the movie is dreadful) finds a group of barnyard animals embarking on a journey to Jerusalem to save Judah (Georgina Cordova) — a lamb who thinks he’s a lion — from being slaughtered on the alter after that Jesus fellow is crucified. In fact, these are the same stable creatures (who are in no way patterend after other, more popular animated characters, I should point out) who were witnesses to the birth of Christ thirty-some years prior. As to how they have survived that long is beyond my understanding — and is a question best left to God, er, I mean the writers. Frankly, the whole movie is pretty rutted — even by Christian movie standards. The message is (painfully) clear, but is handled in such a way that the lack of experience on behalf of its makers is all-too apparent.

Put simply, The Lion of Judah is an appalling film, chockfull of sickly-sweet Christian tunes and a soundtrack that tries way too hard to be “hip.” The voice acting is mostly sub-par (Borgnine and Madsen are, obviously, the best of the lot), and the computer-generated animation is so poor, that it would be hard-pressed to find itself used in a bargain bin PC game at Walmart. Warner Bros. Home Entertainment brings us this travesty in a 3D/2D Blu-ray with a decent transfer (for such crappy animation, that is) and equally fair audio. Optional English (SDH), French and Spanish subtitles are included, and there’s a single 24-minute behind-the-scenes featurette tacked on as an extra.

In short: the only uplifting experience you’re likely to encounter whilst watching The Lion of Judah is when you lift the disc up in the air for target practice.

About Luigi Bastardo

Luigi Bastardo is the alter-ego of a feller who loves an eclectic variety of classic (and sometimes not-so-classic) film and television. He currently lives in Northern California with four cats named Groucho, Harpo, Chico, and Margaret. Seriously.

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