GOD'S NOT DEAD 2 (2016)
Harold Cronk’s film based on a screenplay by Cary Solomon & Chuck Konzelman is a follow-up of sorts to the original film GOD’S NOT DEAD from 2014. Though some of the characters from the original film are involved in the proceedings here, this is an entirely new story that stands on its own without relying on the previous plot. Though I felt this film was superior to the original one, that is not saying much since I’d panned the previous effort. Though this is not sophisticated filmmaking and is designed to play to the choir, there is a certain truth to what the story is saying, in that one places oneself in danger particularly when standing up for one’s beliefs where religion, politics or sex are concerned. This entire film hinges on a perfectly innocent answer that a teacher responds to an inquiring student and grossly snowballs out of control. Though this sort of thing does occasionally happen I don’t believe it’s as prevalent as this film would have us believe or for the reasons as presented here. Yes, Christians are discriminated against in the United States but this picture is designed to fire up the crowd that it’s intended for in a rather false way. The production values are top notch but the characters are rather broadly drawn with the good guys on one side and the evil pagans on the other. Frankly I wasn’t surprised to hear hissing in the audience when the evil prosecuting attorney played by Ray Wise takes center stage attacking all that Christians and Americans for that matter hold dear. The actors perform in a rather generic manner though I rather enjoyed Melissa Joan Hart and found David A.R. White to be the most authentically drawn of all the characters as Pastor Dave. This isn’t a great film but as I previously stated is miles above the previous one in quality of story and execution.