Revival: The Gospel Of Soul
Director: Danny Green
Writers: Harry Lennix and Holly Carter
Starring: Mali Music, Dawnn Lewis, Roland Buck III, Anthony Azizi, Paula Newsome, Chaka Khan, T’Keyah Crystal Keymah, Wend Raquel Robinson, Harry Lennix, Michelle Williams
Theater release: December 2018
DVD release: TriCoast Entertainment will release REVIVAL onto various digital & DVD platforms March 3 (Amazon, iTunes, FLIXFLING, Vimeo on Demand, Vudu, FANDANGO, Google Play), Walmart, Target and Best Buy. **For more information, please visit: https://revivalthemovie.com/
I was given the opportunity to review the movie Revival right before the release to DVD. This movie was originally released through the theaters in December 2018, though I have never heard of it until now.
It is the work of Harry Lennix, who has been an actor since 1989 in many different movies and television shows.
Revival is a musical retelling of the gospel story of Jesus. The format of the movie is very different from any movie I have seen in the past. It is partially done on stage and primarily done on locations or with CGI graphics.
Without giving the entire story away, Harry Lennix as Pontius Pilate comes out on a stage talking about meeting someone who will change your life. He says that with meeting this person you will have a revival.
Harry Lennix as Pontius Pilate
Most of this story is seen as flashbacks as told through the eyes of the two walking on the road to Emmaus talking to Jesus. It flashes to scenes of the life of Jesus doing various acts that are recorded in the Bible. It does show the crucifixion and resurrection of Jesus in the end. I really enjoyed this connection in the story as seen as a testimony of who Jesus was and is.
While the story does stay true to the gospels for the most part, there are some deviations. One is that the person who appeared in the movie to be the head priest, either Sadducee or Pharisee was a woman. The name of the character is Reba, played by T’Keyah Crystal Keymah. In ancient Jewish culture this would never have been allowed.
T’Keyah Crystal Keymah as Reba
Another is that the disciples use about three to four curse words in their speaking in one scene. It is the only cursing in the entire movie. It is a scene where the disciples are discussing whether Jesus is the real thing or not and whether they will continue to follow Him or not. The arguments that they had may or may not have occurred and the language may or may not have occurred, but I do not feel it needed to be in the movie. It did not add to the story line anything of value.
The other scene that appeared to deviate some was when Jesus was being tempted by the devil. The devil appears as a woman trying to seduce Him to bow down to him/her. Again this does take some liberty as the bible does not portray the devil as a woman in any spot.
The cast in this movie is a list of many accomplished singers who also do an excellent job at acting. It does include a diverse group of actors of various nationalities, although the majority may have been of African-American descent. Jesus, played by Mali Music, does an excellent job. The music is wonderful and the songs go along with the story line and do not detract from the story.
Mali Music as Jesus
The costumes of the story were very interesting. In most scenes Jesus and the disciples were dressed in traditional ancient Jewish clothing of robes. However, there are several scenes in which they are dressed in modern clothes, including suits and ties. There does not appear to be any rhyme or reason for the change in clothing, while the setting is still in ancient Israel. There is also one scene with the disciples that they are in modern clothing, sitting around a modern table, with a modern building next to them.
There are a couple of scenes in which woman are portrayed as scantily dressed, although not revealing anything directly vulgar. It does a great job at portraying what those women may have been like in real life.
One thing that did amaze me was the seamless use of CGI graphics and live video. Most of the movie appeared real. The only scene that was fake looking was the scene of Peter walking on the water with Jesus. It is seen on a stage with people holding blue sheets waving them like waves upon the water. This was definitely a stage scene and not a live, real scene. I think that this could have been done better, though it did show what was occurring.
Chaka Khan as Herodius
Probably the best point of this movie is that meeting Jesus will cause a revival. He will change the lives of everyone who comes in contact with Him.
Although I cannot highly recommend this movie, I do recommend it. It is not the best telling of the gospel of Jesus, but it is a long ways from the worst that I have seen. If you get the opportunity to see this movie, do so. It will help open your eyes in a new way to what may have occurred in the scenes in the Bible. However, do be aware there is some language and sensual scenes.
(disclaimer: all pictures used are used with permission)