For those not familiar with the Legacy Theater and its movies, the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints put out a new movie every 2 years or so. These movies are usually pretty close to Hollywood caliber productions, if not that good, they are definitely as good as some award winning independent films.
The most recent production by the Church is a film about the life of Joseph Smith, Jr. who became the Prophet of this dispensation. He restored God’s church here on earth again and reestablished his gospel in our day.
While I left the theater with a greater love and understanding of the Prophet Joseph Smith. And while my testimony of the gospel and of the Church were strengthened by this movie. I was greatly disappointed.
I have heard several comments on how they like how Joseph Smith was protrayed in this movie. It seems the more people can relate to this portrayal. Me personally, I think that people like that this guy is actually an LDS actor, instead of previous actors.
For me, this portrayal, although more real in that Joseph Smith came across as not being an elitist, was worse than previous portrayals. This Joseph Smith did not present himself as being a leader or as being a man of God. Instead he seemed more like an average Joe who wasn’t sure what was going on. It just didn’t work for me.
I was also bothered by the fact that every little story that I had ever heard about Joseph Smith seemed to be in this movie. It starts from the time that Joseph was a boy and had to have his leg operated on (7 years old) until his death (38 years old). It just seemed that they skimmed over way to much in his adult life to show us who he was as a kid.
While these images may have added to the humanity of Joseph, I felt that they were just a little too much. Show the great things that he did. Show the great suffering that he went through. While some of this was done, it just seemed to another little epithet and not the theme of the movie.
I could mention other issues I had with the movie, but the important thing for me is that I did grow from this movie. My testimony of the Prophet Joseph Smith was increased. My testimony of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints was increased. And more importantly my testimony in Jesus Christ was strengethened.
After about half-way through the movie I was less bothered by the way that it was produced and I was able to get into the story. It was very powerfully done and perhaps even too well done, in that you were shocked at the torture that Joseph Smith went through.
Despite my criticisms I would honestly recommend than everyone see this movie. I am glad that I saw it. However, I am not sure that I am going to get in line to see it again.