Most Christians are probably unaware that there are currently four God’s Not Dead Movies. This week, Pureflix announced that they are coming out with another installment in 2023, God’s Not Dead: Rise Up. This is in a massive effort to boost the Pureflix’s streaming service by providing original content.
Here’s what to expect in “God’s Not Dead: Rise Up”: When a favored incumbent suddenly suspends his candidacy for Congress, an embittered but brilliant campaign strategist is lured out of retirement and convinces Reverend Dave Hill to run for office. The race pits them both against formidable opponents from their past, each with plans to inexorably remove religion’s influence on public policy. Set against a backdrop of unprecedented political, civil and spiritual unrest, Dave struggles to answer an increasingly relevant question of our time: Is God dead in American politics?
David A.R. White, Dean Cain, Isaiah Washington, Ray Wise, Cory Oliver and Brad Heller are set to reprise their roles in the new “God’s Not Dead: Rise Up,” which will film later this year in South Carolina. Harold Cronk, who directed the original “God’s Not Dead” and the sequel, “God’s Not Dead 2”, will return to direct “God’s Not Dead: Rise Up.”
“It’s important to me to be involved in projects that will resonate with an audience for a long time after they’ve seen it and that’s exactly what the ‘God’s Not Dead’ franchise is about. It’s about calling people to use their talents and be of service in their communities in a way that is unique to them,” said Isaiah Washington, who played Rep. Daryl Smith in “God’s Not Dead: We The People” and will reprise the role for “God’s Not Dead: Rise Up.”
Six characters will reprise their roles begging the question of how many plots this movie will have. Additionally, the focus on pastor Dave, one of the least interesting characters in the franchise is a bold strategy, Cotton.
This story resembles the plight of Sean Feucht who launched an unsuccessful bid for Congress in 2020 after fighting persecution in the form of lockdowns. In a post-lockdown environment, the question I have is whether God’s Not Dead is willing to go there or not? So there is some real life precedent to go off of, making this premise not too ahead of its time.
Political dramas like Mr. Smith Goes To Washington (1939) or comedies, like The Campaign (2012), are not insurmountable stories to compete with, and it seems like Rev Dave’s character is going to fit the Mr. Smith mold. Recreating Mr. Smith Goes to Washington to fit the modern times would be the safest bet for producing a good movie.
The success of God’s Not Dead 1 did not lead to improvement in God’s Not Dead 2. GND2 is the worst legal drama I have ever seen. In every way this story, despite an ahead of its time premise, had exceedingly poor delivery. Does this same style of execution, by the same director, spell doom for Rise Up to be a good movie? Probably. But let the record show the potential exists, as previously explored.
I highly doubt that they are willing to “go there” with lockdowns, jab mandates, and Joe Biden’s vindictive attitude. It’s seems unlikely that they will delve deep into partisan politics that dictate the environments for elections. This franchise takes place in a red state and presumably a red district, so this movie I should focus on primary elections which matter more than the general, if this move wants to forward a message about Christians getting involved in politics.
But instead, the movie will have an opponent who wants to “kill God” in politics while running in Arkansas, assuming the franchise still takes place there. Rather than telling a story about politicians who don’t know what time it is, they will probably focus on rabid leftism. This isn’t unrealistic, but it’s one dimensional.
This movie should create a “Mr. Smith runs for office” storyline which explores the willingness of a Christian to take actions necessary or questionable to win in politics. The villain of this movie should be a Republican primary opponent who wants to negotiate with liberals, not “legislate morality.” This movie should be asking the audience, in the face of liberalism, Christ or Chaos?
Perhaps this ranting got you more interested to see if the fifth God’s Not Dead Movie will be the Fast Five of this franchise, because I laid out the bullet points for a good story.
Alas, Pureflix is marketed to a feminine audience who want “safe” content over provocative storytelling.