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March 23rd, 2005


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09:45 am - A passionate evening with Tina
The other night, I watched The Passion of the Christ with Tina. (And yes, I linked the DVD to Amazon through ADF's referral program, so if you buy it, ADF will get a cut of the cash!)

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.
Current Mood: amusedamused
Current Music: "Coconut Telegraph", -JB

(21 comments Leave a comment)

Comments:


[User Picture]
From:tlachtga
Date:March 23rd, 2005 03:32 pm (UTC)
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The two best movies about Jesus: The Last Temptation of Christ and Jesus of Nazareth, the 1970s miniseries directed by Franco Zeffirelli, the great Italian director.

Honest to god, I have no interest in Passion. It looks like a sado-masochistic religious exercize, and I got enough of that in Catholic school.
[User Picture]
From:chronarchy
Date:March 23rd, 2005 03:45 pm (UTC)
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Yeah, it does look like that. I was majorly surprised at the lack of blood, actually.

I haven't seen Last Temptation or the other, though I might get around to it eventually.
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From:druidevo
Date:March 23rd, 2005 04:09 pm (UTC)
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Personally I think Jesus Christ Superstar is a fairly good portrayal too.
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From:tlachtga
Date:March 23rd, 2005 04:29 pm (UTC)
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It's also the only Andrew Lloyd Webber musical I can sit through without gagging.
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From:rfunk
Date:March 23rd, 2005 05:30 pm (UTC)

Last Temptation

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I wanted to like Last Temptation, but I had a hard time getting into it. Maybe I was just too tired.

But the worst part of that one was that seeing the film ruined the soundtrack for me, since I had new visuals to go with the music I already loved.
[User Picture]
From:kittenpants
Date:March 23rd, 2005 07:59 pm (UTC)

Re: Last Temptation

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LOL same here. I loved using Peter Gabriel's Passion for getting my creative juices flowing when I was having artist's block. But now.... ugh. Damnit. Nothing but dusty men in a desert.
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From:rfunk
Date:March 23rd, 2005 08:34 pm (UTC)

Re: Last Temptation

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Luckily after a few years the dusty men have faded a bit from my memory, leaving only a scar in the music.
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From:weya
Date:March 23rd, 2005 03:32 pm (UTC)
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First off, lol at the 2.5 out of 5 nails comment.

Second, everyone Christian* I've talked to has raved about how moving the movie was for them. I think my mom spent 30 minutes telling me how much it touched her and then trying to convince me that my life was not complete until I saw this movie.** (Okay, slight exageration but she was strongly recommending it)

My MIL has gone on about how much it touched her. My son's occupational therapist (I strongly suspect she's "Born Again") has recommended it twice or thrice to me.

Thank you for posting a review from someone who wasn't already emotionally vested in (loving) the movie before actually watching it. Your review actually softened my stance against not watching it ... a little.


~~~~~~

* The italics are to denote emphasis on belief/devoutness.
** I've been refusing to see the movie because I just have no need (or desire) to watch a movie who's sole purpose is to graphically document the torture of a person, son of God or not. Plus there's that whole "must see the movie to be a good christian/person" angle that I'm bucking against, lol.
[User Picture]
From:chronarchy
Date:March 23rd, 2005 03:48 pm (UTC)
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Special thanks to anivair for inspiration on the nails comment :) I might also give it a broken Spear of Destiny, but that'd be a bit optimistic for this particular movie.

Yeah, I'm certainly not trying to convince anyone to watch it. I also submitted this review to Amazon.com. . . thought maybe they could use it. :)

I went in with an open mind, and I think I came out with one, too. Always a good sign.
(Deleted comment)
[User Picture]
From:chronarchy
Date:March 23rd, 2005 04:08 pm (UTC)
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Yes. I just really think this movie is really the definition of mediocre. I can't think of a better way to put it. It's not bad, and it's not good. There's certainly nothing special about it. It could have been a lot worse. Crazy, really.
From:shizukagozen
Date:March 23rd, 2005 04:50 pm (UTC)
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I still want to see it-- lets have a Passion theme party. We can dress up and whip each other.
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From:chronarchy
Date:March 23rd, 2005 08:19 pm (UTC)
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Ooh, I'm all for that!
From:malacat
Date:March 23rd, 2005 05:54 pm (UTC)

passion!

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I haven't seen the movie, don't really plan on it.

I have to say the Mormon's AV productions kick ass. I cannot really sing the praises high enough for the production value of the Mormon tour. We went to the one in Oakland, CA and it was super impressive.

Just my thoughts on that...
[User Picture]
From:chronarchy
Date:March 23rd, 2005 08:20 pm (UTC)

Re: passion!

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I'll hve to keep that in mind. Gotta check 'em out :)
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From:kittenpants
Date:March 23rd, 2005 08:02 pm (UTC)
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Well, just think, now you can add "Watched a snuff film" to your list of lifetime experiences.
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From:chronarchy
Date:March 23rd, 2005 08:19 pm (UTC)
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Always wanted to add that. And this was even legal!
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From:romandruid
Date:March 23rd, 2005 08:03 pm (UTC)
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I did not find any anti-semitism in the flick

Ah, but what about anti-Romanism? Has there ever been a movie out of Hollywood that isn't loaded with it?
[User Picture]
From:chronarchy
Date:March 23rd, 2005 08:11 pm (UTC)
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"People called Roman go the house?"
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From:rfunk
Date:March 23rd, 2005 08:37 pm (UTC)

Romanism

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From:nontacitare
Date:March 24th, 2005 05:37 am (UTC)
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I did find the movie anti-Semitic, especially when Mary Magdalene begged the Roman soldiers to save Jesus from the Jews. That seems like a bit of a revision to me.

But I agree with you about the violence and gore. It didn't live up to its hype (Vampire kids hunting Judas notwithstanding). And I was surprised that there was actually a spiritual message in the movie - the reason for Jesus' suffering according to Satan was to save humanity (he kept saying, "No one is strong enough to do what must be done;" "Give up, and you won't have to suffer anymore," etc.) I disagree with the theology, but at least it was there.

The only thing I really liked about the movie was that it was subtitled. It was fun recognizing when they were speaking Aramaic, Latin, or Hebrew, and seeing who spoke what to whom. (Both Jesus and Pilate spoke Latin and Aramaic, but when they were speaking alone with each other, it was in Latin. I like little touches like that.)
[User Picture]
From:chronarchy
Date:March 24th, 2005 02:06 pm (UTC)
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I'd have to re-read my gospels, as well as the other works this thing was based on, to tell whether that's a revision or not.

The problem I had with the message is that it wasn't clear. If you didn't already know the message, there's no way you would have been able to figure it out from the ramblings of Satan.

I was thinking about the subtitles, actually. I think subtitles make any acting believable. You don't hear the things that tip you off that the acting is bad. Proof can be found on daytime television. Watch a soap opera with the subtitles turned on and you'll see what I mean. :) Soaps are almost believable without the actors' voices.

And I, too, enjoyed picking out the various languages.

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