It was, officially, the most mediocre movie I have ever seen. But I had some thoughts while watching it.
I did not find any anti-semitism in the flick, but then I wasn't expecting any.
I was very, very amused to see that Christ was portrayed as, literally, a run-of-the-mill magician. He didn't do anything that made him Christ-like aside from be nailed to a cross. It could have been Apuelius or Apollonius getting nailed to that cross, though, and the story could have been the same. It was a strange protrayal for someone trying to get a Christian message across.
The flashback sequences bugged me, but I also found one hilarious. There was one where he's flashing back to where he's making a table, and Mary laughs at his efforts, and I couldn't help but think of the comedy skit where they bring out some of Christ's carpentry creations and say, "Look, this is why he became a rabbi. He simply couldn't do carpentry. We think this is supposed to be a chair, but it's hard to tell. He was just bad." But the joke they told at that point was the worst.
It was much less bloody than I expected, but Christ still took his beatings almost with indifference. Yeah, he sure looks like he's in pain, but he sure never vocalizes it. It's like he was something more than human, in that he never cried out in pain. WTF? I thought we were supposed to care becase he was human? And here I am thinking they need to hit the son of God harder because he's not screaming yet. Not the way to win sympathy.
The effects were pretty "okay" as well. I didn't see anything really good. His use of minitures and bad CGI is unprecidented in modern cinema, though, and maybe he could have gotten an Oscar for mediocrity of effects.
I was pleased that the two hour movie seemed to go by very quickly, though. I think that's why I call it mediocre. I wasn't staring at it bored for as long as I could have been.
I think that if you're interested in a portrayal of the life, death and ressurection of Christ, you could get about the same quality movie from a hundred other sources. I hear that the Church of Mormon will send you one for free, if you ask. That might be a better deal. We borrowed our copy from the library, so no cash flow back to Mel from us.
And this movie wouldn't convert anyone. Not a single soul. It simply doesn't tell the story effectively. There's no sense that the guy on screen is dying for your sins. There's no feeling of justice or right (or even wrong). You would have to actually know the story to be able to figure out what the hell is going on at the end (pun not intended).
This movie did not deserve an Oscar for anything, I'm sorry to say. Mel can bitch and moan and complain, but there was no major achievement made with this movie. No one stood out. The storyline isn't original, that's for sure, and the effects just aren't very good.
My final statement though is the one I thought throughout the whole movie: "WTF is Mel doing? He has all that Monica Bellucci, and he's not using it!" It's a crime to put that woman in baggy clothes that cover her body.
I give it two and a half nails out of five wounds.