Pilkerton's Prognostications

This blog contains some of my past articles for the school newspaper and other musings I feel like posting. Beware liberals!

Wednesday, February 08, 2006

'Passion' is long, bloody, biased


Well, friends, I had to do it, I had to see the new Jesus movie. I am the proud owner of a couple of novelty shirts depicting the man as my homeboy, so why not spend a few hours learning a bit more about my man of Nazareth.
Now I have no beef with Jesus at all and I don't intend this article to be a theological debate. I am sort of in that gray area with religion that I imagine most people are in. I believe there is something, but I am light-years away from figuring out what that something is. Hell, I think The Force is the most appealing religion out there. What I am trying to say is that I didn't enter the theater with any bias at all; I really had gone to simply see what the fuss was about. I had originally thought the movie was going to be some Gladiator-esque epic period piece but I was sorely mistaken.
Being the frugal man that I am, I attended the matinee showing only to find out it was the wrong thing to do. My girlfriend and I found ourselves surrounded by elderly religious zealots. These old folks were out in full force, but I guess that makes sense because, for them, the 1:30 p.m. showing is the dinner show. Once the movie began a hush fell over the eager crowd, only broken by the occasional groan from the nearcorpse to my left.
Now, I'm sure if some of you have seen one or two of the interviews of director (and ex-zany-cop), Mel Gibson, over the past couple of weeks you've noticed that sometime over the past few years he's gone completely and utterly insane. Gibson has become a crusader for Catholicism and this movie was, consequently, an advertisement for the Catholic faith. There have been critics of this film that call it anti-Semitic and, since I have no real knowledge in the actual scriptures, it sure looked that way. Gibson states that this movie is taken completely from the gospels, but the Jewish high council is definitely made to look like the enemy in the film. Even Satan took a back-seat to the overzealous council when it came to the trial of Jesus.
What amazed me was the length of this film. The movie was over two hours long, but only seemed like 42 hours. The scenes were incredibly repetitive -- when Jesus was made to carry his cross, the sequence consisted of him carrying it, then falling, getting lashed, getting up, carrying it, falling, and getting lashed. This went on for what seemed like days. The graphic beatings of Jesus were even a bit much for my hardened stomach to take, but the blood ended up being the most interesting part of the film.
I am really unsure of what to make of this movie, I really wanted it to be a decent historical film, but I felt it was so biased I had no choice but to dislike it. I guess the peripherals -- Gibson's fanatical faith, the media coverage and the hordes of weird religious freaks -- were enough to skew my perspective before setting foot inside the theater. It is really too bad this movie was such a letdown because this period of history is so full of historical significance that the film had the chance to really be great. I know it's foolish to think one could make a movie about Jesus without putting a spin on the religious aspect of it for one side or another, but this film just didn't do it for me. The movie itself seemed flat and thin on dialogue. The cinematography was poor, the acting was excellent, and the special effects were decent until the earthquake at the end, which looked like a ride at Universal Studios.
Overall, this movie really left a bad taste in my mouth, I felt like I was in Sunday school again with people trying to force their beliefs down my throat. Glancing around at all of the blank, blindly religious faces in the crowd I was a bit unsettled and I feared rigor mortis had set in for half the crowd. I guess if you're religious or just curious you should see the movie, but remember you're just putting money in the pocket of a madman if you do so. Well, goodbye and godbless; and remember, I subjected myself to this movie to save you.


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