David and Goliath full movie review - "David and Goliath" is a big step backwards from the recent high quality of most faith-based films.
There have been several quality faith-based films over the past few years, such as the 2013 TV mini-series "The Bible" and its edited theatrical version, 2014's "Son of God".
Christian movies in particular have come a long way since well-meaning, but very low budget movies like the end times film "A Thief in the Night" (1972). Production values have grown significantly since the beginning of the third millennium A.D., starting with the big screen versions of the "Left Behind" novels and "The Passion of the Christ" (2004), which remains the highest-grossing R-rated movie of all time. Then there's "David and Goliath" (PG, 1:32), a huge step backwards for faith-based films.
Unlike earlier film portrayals of the life of King David, this film concentrates on just one episode in David's life. During the time of Saul, Israel's first king (Paul Hughes), the ongoing rivalry between the Israelites and the Philistines came to a head at the Valley of Elah. The Philistines were known as physically imposing and fearsome warriors; none more so than their legendary champion Goliath (Jerry Sokolosky), who, according to the Bible, was about 10 feet tall. As the two armies were arrayed for battle, every day Goliath would come into the valley between them and shout taunts at the Israelites.
The young shepherd boy, David (Miles Sloman), comes to visit his older brothers on the front lines and bring them food. While there, David hears Goliath's taunts and wonders why he's allowed to get away with this. Saul assembles his army and desperately calls for a volunteer to go out and fight the Philistine champion. The King offers great riches and the hand of his daughter (Makenna Guyler) to anyone will fight Goliath. None of Saul's soldiers will take up the King's challenge. This shocks young David who was already offended at Goliath's arrogance. David volunteers to fight the giant but no one believes this shepherd boy has the slightest chance of victory. After Saul's general tells the King that David's death might make the soldiers angry enough to attack the Philistines, Saul finally agrees to let the boy fight.
The film's script features a lot of repetitive conversations, precious little action and a variety of inconsistencies. An early scene shows soldiers on horseback fighting with swords so tentatively that they might as well be playing patty cake. We see Goliath fight opposing soldiers with swords, throw others to the ground and partially choke a few people, but there's no blood and no sense of danger ? even at the climactic moment when David finally confronts the giant. Throughout the movie, we hear the Israelites talking repeatedly about how this is to be their army's last stand, while the Philistines discuss how their opponents are no match for them. Yet, no one attacks. Goliath starts to sound like a broken record with banal and even comical chants like "I see you there, coward!" and "I hate your guts!" Then there are repeated discussions over who should fight the giant, a few scenes in which David asks to be the one to do it and several interactions in which people try to talk David out of it, often with people saying the same things in multiple conversations ? and then stating opposite points of view in others!
The script even contradicts the biblical account of the story. 1 Samuel 17 says that Goliath's challenges included the offer to let one Hebrew warrior represent Israel's whole army in a one-on-one winner-take-all fight, but in this movie, that idea only emerges late in the story. That chapter also tells us that David asked about the reward for fighting Goliath, but the film portrays him as uninterested in the reward (even after meeting the king's daughter, who, for some strange reason, is there on the front lines with her father). Instead, we only see David as a young man of unshakable faith who often piously perches himself on top of a rock, praying with his arms outstretched to the heavens, and, like everything else in this movie, much more often than required to make the point.
"David and Goliath" sets faith-based film back decades. Supposedly dramatic moments come off as comedic and there are uninspired jokes which don't. In one scene, the King and a soldier argue over whether the solider was volunteering to fight Goliath or had just raised his hand to scratch his nose. Goliath's voice is enhanced with an audio effect designed to make it sound more menacing, but it's doubtful that anything short of a complete revision of the script and recasting of the actors could accomplish that feat. The fearsome Philistines main military adviser comes off as a reject from a bad Monty Python sketch. The actor who plays the Philistine general conveys menace mainly by tilting his head upward and speaking his lines down towards everyone else, half the time with his turban sliding down over one eye. The film's description on IMDb.com refers to it as a "big budget epic", but the costumes are unrealistically clean and ill-fitting, the set is simply a plot of hilly land with lots of rocks and a few tents and the opposing armies number about 20 men on each side. And the only thing epic about the movie is its failure to inspire or even entertain. People of faith should be insulted by this film's assumption that they'll attend any poorly-made movie just to see people attempt to portray a Bible story on the big screen. Regardless of whether they're religious or not, moviegoers deserve better. "F"
Note: If you'd like to see a story specifically about the second king of Israel, you might want to check out "The Story of David" (1976), "King David" (1985) and "David" (1997), each of which have their fans and their critics, but are all superior to the pitiful 2015 attempt to tell this beloved Bible story.