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Old 02-23-2004, 01:07 AM   #1
priceyfatprude
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The Passion of the Christ - possible spoilers

From an email from my mother, the former Preacher's Daughter. Just thought I'd share. It's a review of the movie, so if you haven't seen it yet & are planning to, you might want to come back to this thread after seeing it.

* * * * * * * * * * * * * * *

This was written by Jody Dean who is a member of Richland Hills Church of Christ and is a Dallas TV anchor.

There've been a ton of emails and forwards floating around recently from those who've had the privilege of seeing Mel Gibson's "The Passion of the Christ" prior to its actual release. I thought I'd give you my reaction after seeing it last night.

The screening was on the first night of "Elevate!", a weekend-long seminar for young people at Prestonwood Baptist Church in Plano. There were about 2,000 people there, and the movie was shown after several speakers had taken the podium. It started around 9 and finished around 11...so I reckon the film is about two hours in length. Frankly, I lost complete track of time - so I can't be sure.

I want you to know that I started in broadcasting when I was 13-years-old. I've been in the business of writing, performing, production, and broadcasting for a long time. I've been a part of movies, radio, television, stage and other productions - so I know how things are done. I know about soundtracks and special effects and make-up and screenplays. I think I've seen just about every kind of movie or TV show ever made - from extremely inspirational to extremely gory. I read a lot, too - and have covered stories and scenes that still make me wince. I also have a vivid imagination, and have the ability to picture things as they must have happened - or to anticipate things as they will be portrayed. I've also seen an enormous amount of footage from Gibson's film, so I thought I knew what was coming.

But there is nothing in my existence - nothing I could have read,
seen, heard, thought, or known - that could have prepared me for what I saw on screen last night.

This is not a movie that anyone will "like". I don't think it's a
movie anyone will "love". It certainly doesn't "entertain". There isn't even the sense that one has just watched a movie. What it is, is an experience - on a level of primary emotion that is scarcely comprehensible. Every shred of human preconception or predisposition is utterly stripped away. No one will eat popcorn during this film. Some may not eat for days after they've seen
it. Quite honestly, I wanted to vomit. It hits that hard.

I can see why some people are worried about how the film portrays the Jews. They should be worried. No, it's not anti-Semitic. What it is, is entirely shattering. There are no "winners". No one comes off looking "good" - except Jesus. Even His own mother hesitates. As depicted, the Jewish leaders of Jesus' day merely do what any of us would have done - and still do. They protected their perceived "place" - their sense of safety and security, and the satisfaction of their own "rightness".. But everyone falters. Caiphus judges. Peter denies. Judas betrays. Simon the Cyrene balks. Mark runs away. Pilate equivocates. The crowd mocks. The soldiers laugh. Longinus still stabs with his pilus. The centurion still carries out his orders. And as Jesus fixes them all with a glance, they still turn away. The Jews, the Romans, Jesus' friends - they all fall. Everyone, except the
Principal Figure. Heaven sheds a single, mighty tear - and as blood and water spew from His side, the complacency of all creation is eternally shattered.


The film grabs you in the first five seconds and never lets go. The
brutality, humiliation, and gore is almost inconceivable - and still
probably doesn't go far enough. The scourging alone seems to never end, and you cringe at the sound and splatter of every blow - no matter how steely your nerves. Even those who have known combat or prison will have trouble, no matter their experience - because this Man was not conscripted. He went
willingly, laying down His entirety for all. It is one thing for a
soldier to die for his countrymen. It's something else entirely to think of even a common man dying for those who hate and wish to kill him. But this is no common man. This is the King of the Universe. The idea that anyone could or would have gone through such punishment is unthinkable - but this Man was
completely innocent, completely holy - and paying the price for
others. He screams as He is laid upon the cross, "Father, they don't know. They don't know..."

What Gibson has done is to use all of his considerable skill to
portray the most dramatic moment of the most dramatic events since the dawn of time. There is no escape. It's a punch to the gut that puts you on the canvas, and you don't get up. You are simply confronted by the horror of what was done - what had to be done - and why. Throughout the entire film, I found myself apologizing.

What you've heard about how audiences have reacted is true. There was no sound after the film's conclusion. No noise at all. No one got up. No one moved. The only sound one could hear was sobbing. In all my years of public life, I have never heard anything like that.

I told many of you that Gibson had reportedly re-shot the ending to include more "hope" through the Resurrection? That's not true. The Resurrection scene is perhaps the shortest in the entire movie - and yet it packs a punch that can't be quantified. It is perfect. There is no way to negotiate the meaning out of it. It simply asks, "Now, what will you do?"

I'll leave the details to you, in the hope that you will see the
film - but one thing above all stands out, and I have to tell you about it. It comes from the end of Jesus' temptations in the wilderness - where the Bible says Satan left him "until a more opportune time". I imagine Satan never quit tempting Christ, but this film captures beyond words the most opportune time. At every step of the way, Satan is there at Jesus' side - imploring
Him to quit, reasoning with Him to give up, and seducing Him to
surrender.

For the first time, one gets a heart-stopping idea of the sense of
madness that must have enveloped Jesus - a sense of the evil that was at His very elbow. The physical punishment is relentless - but it's the sense of psychological torture that is most overwhelming. He should have quit. He should have opened His mouth. He should have called 10,000 angels. No one would have blamed Him. What we deserve is obvious. But He couldn't do that. He wouldn't do that. He didn't do that. He doesn't do that. It was not and is not His character. He was obedient, all the way to the cross - and you feel the real meaning of that phrase in a place the human heart usually doesn't dare to go. You understand that we are called to that same level of obedience. With Jesus' humanity so irresistibly on display, you understand
that we have no excuse.. There is no place to hide. The truth is this: Is it just a "movie"? In a way, yes. But it goes far beyond that, in a fashion I've never felt - in any forum. We may think we
"know". We know nothing. We've gone 2,000 years - used to the idea of a pleasant story, and a sanitized Christ. We expect the ending, because we've heard it so many times. God forgive us. This film tears that all away. It's is as close as any of us will ever get to knowing, until we fully know. Paul understood. "Be urgent, in and out of season."

Luke wrote that Jesus reveals Himself in the breaking of the bread. Exactly.. "The Passion Of The Christ" shows that Bread being broken.

* * * * * * * * * * * * * *

Whew! If you got through all that, I applaud you.
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Old 02-23-2004, 10:22 AM   #2
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Wow. I have to wait until the end of next month when its released in the UK. Has anyone seen it yet, I'd be interested to know what peoples thoughts are...
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Old 02-23-2004, 03:25 PM   #3
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I haven't seen it, but I did see excerpts from an interview with Gibson that had some trailers. Looked very brutal. I imagine it will be hard to watch for anyone, just from the human perspective. I can't imagine what it would be like for someone who is devout to watch the last hours of Christ in such an explicit and brutal depiction ... I wonder if it would be like watching a depiction of your own family being brutalized and then killed.

I know that's probably a superficial comparison but ...? I don't know, what do you think Chuckie? I think I would be almost afraid to see it if I were a believer.
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Old 02-24-2004, 10:34 AM   #4
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Any depiction of the cross gives me a lump in my throat, and I'm certain I'll find this difficult to watch. But I am very curious to see how its depicted, and excited about what effect it may have on people.
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Old 02-25-2004, 07:49 PM   #5
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I couldn't move. I couldn't do anything. After the movie itself was over, I just couldn't do anything...breathing even hurt. I don't even know how to talk about it. The movie is so much more than technicians and cinemetography and acting. I don't even know how to process it.

How the hell were the critics even able to get a sentence out edgewise after it?
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Old 02-25-2004, 10:08 PM   #6
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HEART ATTACK DURING 'PASSION OF CHRIST'; WOMAN PRONOUNCED DEAD AFTER VIEWING FILM IN KANSAS
Wed Feb 25 2004 16:09:33 ET

KAKE TV in Wichita, Kansas set to report a woman, in her 50s, suffered a heart attack during a morning screening of Mel Gibson's controversial film PASSION OF THE CHRIST.

"She later died at the hospital," a station source tells the DRUDGE REPORT.

Scheduled to be lead story on the station's 5 PM news. "She went into seizure during one of the film's most dramatic moments," a station source explains.

The woman attended a 9:30am screening, first public viewing at Warren East Theaters in Wichita...

Developing...
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Old 02-26-2004, 01:01 AM   #7
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what possible benefit could there be watching a man being tortured and killed?
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Old 02-26-2004, 01:10 AM   #8
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it's the next logical step after braveheart.
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Old 02-26-2004, 01:16 AM   #9
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FREEEEDDOOOOOMMMMMM!!
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Old 02-26-2004, 01:41 AM   #10
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Quote:
Originally posted by masterofNone
it's the next logical step after braveheart.
true.
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Old 02-26-2004, 02:28 AM   #11
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*thinking of how to respond*
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Old 02-26-2004, 02:29 AM   #12
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*as opposed to retorting*
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Old 02-26-2004, 03:43 AM   #13
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Quote:
Originally posted by malina
what possible benefit could there be watching a man being tortured and killed?
This is why I don't think I could see it. They never let me watch scary movies as a kid, so I don't watch them now. When NYC tells her story of 9/11 & the horrible things she saw, she says, "Earmuffs" and I plug my ears, gladly.

But curiosity might just get the best of me. Curiosity killed the cat. Satisfaction brought him back.
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Old 02-26-2004, 05:58 AM   #14
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This is where I address everyone's fears.

Ebert expresses a lot of what I feel very well. Very well...and I'm not even Catholic (nor have I ever been).

On anti-Semitism: I realize that in some circles of the world, this is still a very real issue. Thus concerns should certianly be addressed depending on who this movie is being released to. However, in an American setting...maybe I'm just a very ignorant little evangelical girl, but I would hope...hope that the rest of the US would give me enough credit to know who really killed Jesus. Yes, I do believe it was Judas by betraying Him. I believe it was the Jews when they said, "Give us Barabas." I also believe it was the Romans who physically put him to death. Moreso than that though, this story, ABOVE ALL OTHER STORIES, transends time. Isaiah 53:5 "But he was pierced for our transgressions, he was crushed for our iniquities; the punishment that brought us peace was upon him, and by his wounds we are healed." There is no one singled out in scripture. That, if I might be so bold, holds us all to Christ's death. He bore the burden of all of our sins. So yes, it was me who betrayed Jesus. It was me who denied Jesus. I was me who shouted, "Crucify him!" It was me. I'm not selfish enough to believe it was a peoplegroup...because that would defeat the damn purpose.

On the gore: The truth is, people wouldn't be so quick to give this an NC-17 rating (which there was much talk of) if all of this violence was spread over a number of people rather than just one person. This movie was as gory as Gladiator, Saving Private Ryan, Last of the Mohicans and a NUMBER of other movies--including, yes, Braveheart. If people didn't walk away from any of those movies without feeling "punished for who knows what sins," as David Ansen so lovingly put it, they're sorely misguided. I sat through each of those movies with my hands over my eyes and stomach and walked away feeling sorely beat up...for the value of entertainment even! I'll be honest, this movie is not entertaining...it goes so far beyond that, which is why people are so afraid of the gore. It's like alcohol: the more concentrated the alcohol, the worse off it is for your body when you ingest it. There was a focus to one man in this movie. Focus and a clear goal is scary. It pinpoints something (especially in the case of "The Passion") that makes people shift in their seats.

On the Interpretation: If you were to sit me down and ask me what the intrinsic value of this movie is, it is to show the litteral "Passion" of Christ (Ebert explains this word further which will hopefully enlighten you if you should read all of what I say before reading his article). Of His loving sacrifice, although albeit, it's hard to understand the love in a few mere flashbacks. Jesus teachings took a back seat in this movie because this movie wasn't about Jesus teachings. It was about Jesus sacrifice, which is just the tip of the very core of Christianity. It had a moment of His ressurection (which is the core of Christianity itself) which, even though it pisses many people off that the ressurection is a mere minute of the ENTIRE movie--THAT WAS NOT Gibson's INTENTION. Although that mere moment sparked that utter faith that I have in the depths of my being...brought that "inside joke" half-smile to my face, because the truth is, the sacrifice is what brought about the ressurection. You could not have one without the other.

I will be honest, this is an interpretation. You want the truth, you read the Book, you decide for yourself what you believe. I can point out several contradictions between the book and the movie...I've read the thing five times in my life, if not more. There is freedom in knowing the truth, because it gives you a better grasp on how to take an interpretation with a grain of salt.

On Andy Rooney: This guy's about to croak any day now. I hope he really heard from God. Either way, I'll send one up for him after he croaks that God will have mercy on his soul for being such a cold-hearted jerk in this life.



PS. The baby in her arms was symbolism for family. I just got that. Guh.
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Old 03-03-2004, 09:03 PM   #15
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Jesus Demands Creative Control Over Next Movie

HOLLYWOOD, CA—After watching Mel Gibson's The Passion Of The Christ Monday, Our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ announced that He will demand creative control over the next film based on His life.

"I never should have given Mel Gibson so much license," said Christ, the Son of God. "I don't like to criticize a member of the flock, but that close-up of the nails being pounded into My wrists—that was just bad."

Our Lord did not limit His criticisms to Gibson's Passion; He expressed frustration with historical inaccuracies in numerous film adaptations of His life.

"There have been a lot of films based on My life, and pretty much all of them have gotten it wrong," Christ said. "Just look at Godspell—what the heck was going on there? It's time I reclaim My image."

Christ said He considered returning to the physical world to make an accurate film depiction of His life for years, but seeing The Passion prompted Him to finally descend from heaven, meet with His agent Ronald Thatcher, and demand that He be attached as a producer on any future projects.

"Ron has a history of telling Me that the filmmakers 'totally understand' the Word Of God, and that the project is going to be 'fabulous,'" Christ said. "But when it comes out, it's all wrong, and Ron claims everything fell apart in post-production. At that point, there's nothing left for Me to do but say, 'Okay, fine. I forgive you all.' Well, next time, I'll be shepherding the project through from casting to final edit to marketing."

Describing one of His biggest complaints, Christ said that no film about His life has ever "made the apostles pop."

"In The Greatest Story Ever Told, the 12 are basically interchangeable," Christ said. "Directors get the piety, but they don't bring out the personalities behind the agape love. Some of those guys were real cut-ups, you know. Simon Peter could make you laugh until you cried tears of blood."

In order to bring these and other truths to light, Christ teamed up with screenwriter Ron Bass, who wrote both Snow Falling On Cedars and My Best Friend's Wedding. The two have been co-writing a high-concept script, temporarily called Untitled Jesus Project.

"We're still hammering out the treatment, but I'm really excited about where it's headed," Christ said. "It really beefs up My relationship with John the Baptist, something all of the other movies missed. They always put in the beheading, but they leave out the quiet moments when John and I would hang out, eat locusts and honey, and talk about the redemption of Man. I think our friendship will really resonate with a lot of viewers."

Christ said He is also working on a heist film based loosely on the loaves-and-the-fishes incident, but that the project is currently stuck in development.

"I tend to have problems pitching to studio executives," Christ said. "Last week, I appeared in a vision before a D-girl at Sony, and I said, 'Be not afraid, for I am Jesus—I have written a treatment and Matthew McConaughey is interested in the role of Herod.' Apparently, she was a little freaked-out by the vision and she ended up passing on the idea. Ron said that next time I should just schedule a lunch meeting like everyone else."

Returning to film adaptations about His life and Word, Christ said some inaccuracies can be traced back to the source material, the New Testament.

"Remember, at the time the Good Book was written, I was running around saving souls like a madman," Christ said. "I couldn't focus on a writing project, too. I basically gave My team of writers the broad strokes and hoped inspiration would fill in the cracks. Now, I'm not saying the New Testament isn't good—it is. It's great! But by the time I got around to reading the galleys, the monks had already finished the first printing."

The Lord Jesus did have positive things to say about Martin Scorsese's The Last Temptation Of Christ.

"Not only is Marty a fantastic director, but the story isn't the same old, same old," Jesus said. "It's like The Gospel of Mark filtered through an episode of The Twilight Zone. I love it. My one problem is with the casting of Willem Dafoe. He's good, but I think John Turturro would have made a better Me."

In spite of His love for Scorsese, Christ said He has no plans to simply make "the next Last Temptation."

"My movie about My life will be the greatest movie ever shown," Christ said. "It should be the last Word on Me. No more animated versions, no more musicals, and no more movies where the scourging scene is so violent, you could put it in Fangoria. I mean, yes, being crucified is very painful. But I can't see devoting more than, say, three minutes of film to it."

Jesus added: "My version will have it all: drama, laughter, a spiritual message, and a couple of twists that will surprise even the most devout. The best part is that it'll be 100 percent accurate."

Continued Christ: "Even with the top-notch screenplay Ron and I are writing, I'll still need a great director to make the script shine. Unfortunately, Gore Verbinski is already committed to Pirates Of The Caribbean 2. If only he'd see that this movie is truly the career path for the righteous, I'd be able to get a firm commitment from Johnny Depp, too. Let us pray."

--from The Onion
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