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God's Not Dead: A Light in the Darkness (2018)
Directed by: Michael Mason
Starring: David A.R. White, John Corbett, Shane Harper
Running Time: 1h 45m
TMM Score: 1 star out of 5
WEAKNESSES: Pacing, Characters, Acting, Visual FX
Pastor Dave, from the previous "God's Not Dead" films, has attracted a lot of attention for his actions in the previous films. Student protests are frequently seen around St. James Church but Dave is dedicated to seeing his father's church continue its work for God into the future.
When one protest goes too far and burns down the church, killing one of Dave's friends, the University, with which the church is associated, decides to seize the church by eminent domain, and tear it down.
But, not without a fight from Dave and his brother, a lawyer in Chicago. It seems neither side will stop until the other is humiliated and destroyed.
I'm not going to spend a ton of time in this review describing all of the ways this movie is bad because I have already reviewed the first one and this one is bad in most of the same ways; bad acting, bad writing, bad pacing, bad pacing, uninspired directing, and awkward staging. Also, don't forget the terrible terrible visual effects.
The Comparatively Good
It's hard for me to want to describe anything in this film as good because it is bad on almost every level but I think I have to. In the past, the God's Not Dead franchise has been so morally corrupt that this film is, by contrast, a much more Christian film.
The previous two entries have focused on the ways that Christians are unfairly treated by atheists and secular government. What makes them so heinous is that they are essentially propaganda and fear mongering pieces of work.
This is the one area where the 3rd installment sort of stands out. In this film, the person who goes in a journey is Pastor Dave. He starts at a place of anger and hurt and moves to a place of being willing to sacrifice his church to the university for the sake of peace amongst the students and board.
This was a pretty unexpected turn. If this movie had gone the way the other ones had, they would have continued with a lawsuit and eventually won, preserving St. James Church for years to come, much to the chagrin and embarrassment of the University as a good portion of their student body becomes Christians.
Having the pastor grow to be able to turn the other cheek even when his friend was accidentally killed and even having him learn this lesson from his non-Christian family and friends rather than having him teach all the non-Christians a lesson really gave this film the distinction of being the most kind and Christian film in the series.
Don't get me wrong. This movie is terrible. My willingness to acknowledge its one positive quality should not be misconstrued as a recommendation. Saying this is the most Christian of the 3 films is not saying much.
It is still barely more than a Christian Propaganda film and definitely NOT a good film. There is no reason to see this film when movies like "The Mission," (which tackles the same subject matter) do it better in every conceivable way.
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