With the release of Mark Burnett and Roma Downey’s “Son of God” on DVD viewers and catechists will be able to add a fresh version of the complete life of Christ to their movie collection.
I interviewed the couple, who are married and are active Catholics, and reviewed the film on my online program “The INNdustry with Sister Rose” in the INNetwork when the film opened in February.
And last week I had the chance to be present at the press day with Roma Downey in view of the release of the film on DVD and Blu-ray, tomorrow on June 3, 2014.
Roma told journalists the story of how the idea for “The Bible” miniseries came about, “a whisper in my heart that would not go away” and how they shot extra footage while making the television series in view of a film about the life of Jesus. It was obvious at the press day, as it is on the DVD extras, that while the film has broad appeal, the DVD is directed at Christians, inviting us to learn more about the Bible, and to grow in relationship with Jesus. In other words, it’s a tool for evangelization.
Roma said that the DVD had the dubbed Spanish version as well so I was expecting to be able to choose either version when the menu came up. But it’s better than that.
All you have to do is click on “Setup” and choose English or Spanish and the film plays with the appropriate soundtrack. The film was originally done in English but if you choose Spanish, know that the lip synch is almost perfect. You can also choose English or Spanish subtitles for either version. These options offer bi-lingual families and groups the opportunity to experience the film together and follow up with reflection, study, and conversation.
As for the extras, there are interviews with the filmmakers, some of the cast and even the award-winning composer Hans Zimmer. Eduardo Verástegui, a Mexican actor who starred in the film “Bella” (2006) narrates the Spanish language commentary on the film in several “acts” highlighting aspects of the film as well as his own testimony of faith. There are comments by Archbishop Jose Gomez of Los Angeles, Cardinal Donald Wuerl of Washington, DC in both the English and Spanish versions as well as from leaders of other Christian denominations such as Rick Warren and Joel Osteen.
While there is beautiful footage of the film being made, the tone of the commentaries on the extras is directed at faith formation.
Click here for a complete text-with-movie clips study guide for Catholics or click here for the text only of the study guide for Catholics by Msgr. J. Brian Bransfield of the USCCB. Outreach offers a complete kit for Christian churches that may offer ideas for use in catechesis and includes the DVD.
Amazon is offering the DVD and Blu-ray separately but the package I received contained both. You can also watch the film instantly on Amazon.
Roma Downey also said that the story (New Testament) “A.D.” will air at Easter 2015 on NBC and the feature film “Ben Hur” is in the pipeline.