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‘It’s Kind of Epic’: How RESURRECTION Differs From Standard Jesus Projects

Discovery+/YouTube

‘It’s Kind of Epic’: How RESURRECTION Differs From Standard Jesus Projects

By Movieguide® Staff

Creative couple Roma Downey and her husband Mark Burnett are behind highly successful faith-based content that brings the Bible to the big and small screens. Recently, the duo released RESURRECTION, which tells the story of Jesus’ life and death. 

Burnett and Downey sat down with Relevant Magazine to discuss their unique project.

“It really plays out as a thriller,” Burnett says of the project, available now on Discovery+. “What’s going on during those three days, and then the 40 days afterwards. Some of the great moments are the opening of the tomb by the angel, how terrified those temple gods were, how Caiaphas bribed the guards to lie and say that the disciples stole the body, in fact it didn’t resurrect. And then Pentecost with the great flames coming down and speaking tongues. It’s something that’s not been seen in movies that often.”

For Downey, this isn’t a typical “Jesus” project.

“Maybe because people like to see a lot of Jesus on the screen. This period of time before he resurrects where we’re waiting on Him, it’s like having a movie and your star doesn’t show up for a while. Because He is after all the star of the film, He’s the star of our lives. It’s the greatest story ever told, but there were many, many challenges along the way to make a movie like this. Period drama in general brings its own particular set of challenges to create that authentic world,” Downey said.

“Because we really wanted to build a world that would invite the audience to step back in time as if you’d pulled the curtain back into the first century. And how this drama plays out in Jerusalem at a time when the Roman regime was so oppressive, so cruel. But the movie plays out in a very exciting way. And Mark and I are just so thrilled that this particular Easter because this has been such an incredibly challenging year for all of us. I certainly know that we are all hungry for stories of hope. The resurrection story is only the greatest story of hope that there is,” she continued.

An essential part of RESURRECTION’s production was expressing the truths of the Bible to a broad audience. 

“The real test here is would someone who’s never read the Bible, someone has never been churched and doesn’t really care about this, watch this movie and be so drawn in seeing themselves in the disciples, seeing the fear of those disciples, the terror that their leader, Jesus, just got murdered brutally?” Burnett said. 

Burnett also notes that the movie contains great visualizations of epic moments from the biblical account of the Christ’s resurrection.

“There are epic moments, which would involve special effects, and there are poignant moments. From the epic moments, I think seeing the angel come down from the heavens to open the tomb. The temple guards are terrified, and it’s amazing as he rolls back that stone. And we see a shot from Jesus’ point of view, looking out the tomb as the angel appears to him. It’s kind of epic,” Burnett said.

He continued: “For a poignant point of view, this moment where Peter has to face the mother of Jesus, Mary Magdalene, and John who were at the cross, knowing he wasn’t. And his utter shame and horror to face them. You can think of any time you may have had to admit like, ‘Yeah, I am ashamed of myself. I let myself down there.’ What awful moment. Imagine letting down Jesus, after three years of following him. The poignancy of that is amazing.”

A portion of Movieguide®’s review reads

RESURRECTION is an entertaining movie version of the Resurrection of Jesus Christ, streaming on Discovery+. The movie starts with a visualization of Roman power in Jerusalem. Quickly, it moves to Jesus’ arrest, Caiaphas asking Jesus if He’s the Messiah, and Jesus responding, “I am.” Jesus is crucified, Peter denies Jesus, and the apostles wonder what to do next. After three days, Mary Magdalen goes to the tomb and finds it empty. Mary reports to the apostles she’s actually seen Jesus alive, but they don’t believe her. They soon discover the truth for themselves.

MOVIEGUIDE® commends the filmmakers of RESURRECTION for making a fresh version of the Passion and the Resurrection. They’ve done a good job of making it entertaining and exciting, while keeping close to the Gospel story. There could be criticism of what they left out or the way they portray the apostles. However, any time you make a movie from a historical document, you have to make tough choices to make the story entertaining. MOVIEGUIDE® recommends RESURRECTION for its biblically faithful, dramatic presentation of the greatest story ever told.

Movieguide® previously reported

When fear and uncertainty are commonplace responses to the world, Downey noted that the resurrection replaces that with courage.

“The hope and promise of this resurrection is that we don’t have to be afraid,” Downey said. “I can’t help but think that during this time of COVID, when we were locked down, and we were all kind of hiding in our houses, and our houses almost became like, tombs, and we were buried in our own tombs. And now we’re just praying for the symbolism of resurrection in our own lives.”

She continued: “It’s always our hope that believers will come and see the movie on Discovery+, but there’s also the opportunity, maybe the people that don’t know anything about Jesus, that don’t know anything about the story will come and just tuned in, because it’s a good movie. We’re just praying for hearts to be transformed this Easter.”