[TAN] Once more, with Passion...

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Johan Gustafsson

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Apr 9, 2004, 11:38:37 AM4/9/04
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Went to see The Passion of Ayn Ra- *hrm* the Christ the other day. The
local devouts had a couple of tables outside the theater, hawking the
movie merchandise. I had a pleasant chat with one of them, a nice,
pretty girl who unfortunately didn't know much of the Bible. Ah, well.

The movie itself was... pretty. Excellent cinematography, good music.
Apart from that... I made some mental notes, which unfortunately may be
out of order, but here they are anyway.

* So that's Jesus. He looks just like the pictures!

* Satan looks cool. Seriously, she's got a Dark Lord of the Sith thing
going on there. I wouldn't mind selling my soul to that one.

* Judas receives the money in slow-motion. Perhaps Mel will show
restraint and limit the use of slo-mo so that it won't bore me out of my
skull? Please?

* Satan taunts Jesus a bit, and then she shits out a live snake. This is
why I don't eat Mexican food.

* John finds the Marys and delivers the bad news, but what do I care,
because here's Monica Bellucci! Sweet mother of harlots! She's as
stunning as ever, even in all-covered-up-mode.

* The Jews were before their time, although it took them a while to
replace the chains with elastic lines, and use taller bridges.

* Judas is spooked - by a graydwarf! Doesn't he know that they're only
dangerous if you're afraid of them? Tvi vale!

* Jesus is brough before the priests. What shall they do with this
uppity Jew? Opinions diverge, but then Jesus pulls a Kristina
Gyllenstierna and condemns himself. Real clever.

* Around here is a flashback scene, and let's give Mel some credit; it's
good. Jesus does some carpentry under the loving eyes of his mother. A
bit of levity, a bit of humanity is allowed to shine through. Nice.

* Freaky demon children scare poor Judas. Hell, they're not even that
freaky, just goofy. Children can be effective scare-tools in movies, but
Mel doesn't know how. He should have learned from the masters. Come and
play with us, Judas! Forever, and ever, and ever!

* Satan! Yay!

* Boy howdy, that's a dead camel.

* We get to meet Pilate, and he proves to be one of the better
characters in this movie. He has no desire to kill Jesus, he just wants
peace and order. But events conspire to put blood on his hands. His wife
is also concerned, and she "bonds" with Mary later on.

* Mary, Mary and John are in the crowd. John just Stands There.

* Jesus gets passed on to Herod. Boy, Mel sure don't like those
homosexuals, does he? It's strange that the Herod scene from "Jesus
Christ Superstar" almost seems dignified compared to this one. The
lowest point of the movie so far.

* A spanking, a spanking!

* When the Romans get going on Jesus I started counting the lashes: "One
for Coiren, two for Galina, three for Katerine, four for Erian..." I ran
out of names at 15; Rich Boye I ain't.

* A particularly nasty whip tears off a chunk of Jesus-meat, exposing a
couple of ribs. See, I'm starting to think the Romans weren't nice
people. Mary, Mary and John
are among the onlookers. John just Stands There.

* Satan! Yay!

* What's the point of Useless John? He just stands there, looking like a
poor man's Orlando Bloom. Give him a line or something.

* Jesus has another flashback staring at a foot. This one is of Jesus
washing the feet of Useless John. Not nearly as good as the previous
one. Jesus gets to spout some pious platitudes, and we're back to the
flogging. Thank God; it's only been like half an hour of that. Wouldn't
want to miss the swipes at the belly, right?

* Satan! Yay! And now she has a kid. The Anti-Christ? Setting up the
sequel?

* The Romans slap the Crown of Swo- *hrm* Thorns on the head of Jesus,
and then Pilate displays him. The crowd wants more, so Pilate washes his
hands, causing a new flashback, this one... I can't remember it, except
that it was bad.

* Description of the following half-hour. Jesus drags his cross. Jesus
falls. Romans beat him. Jesus sees one of the Marys, stands up and
continues. Repeat ad nauseum.

* Okay, another good one. Mary sees Jesus fall, she runs to him, while
in a flashback she sees the child Jesus fall and her running to him.
This is quite possibly the most emotional scene in the movie. Very good.

* Another flashback. Jesus draws the Line of Doom in the sand, and the
priests play a game of boule. It's not until Mary Magdalene crawls into
the frame that I realize what story this is. I guess the law of
character economics apply here too. Neat idea, but someone unfamiliar
with this story is just going to scratch his head. It wouldn't have
killed you to give them a line or two, Mel.

* Jesus falls again, and the Romans press poor Simon into carrying the
cross. Can't they just have him carrying the crossbar like the others?

* Satan! Yay!

* Jesus falls again, and now some woman brings him a drink. I'm getting
so tired of this whole sequence. When are they going to get to the
fireworks factory!?

* Well, we've finally arrived. Some Sermon on the Mount flashbacks with
standard hippie dialogue. Again, good idea, but too little, too late.

* The crucifiction is depicted in loving detail. Jesus then, as is the
custom, gets to deliver his final words, all of them. I was hoping
they'd only use "Father, why have you abandoned me?" as it is the only
ones worthy of inclusion.

* Jesus replaces himself as Mary's son with... Useless John. No wonder
she cries.

* Jesus dies. Big Fucking Effects!

* Satan! Yay! And she screams. Hey, you're still the coolest character
in this movie, Satan!

* From an outsiders perspective: what's the point here? Jesus talks
about love a lot, then goes and kills himself using Roman Justice. He
claims he sacrifices himself for his followers, but what does his death
do, exactly, besides shaking up Jerusalem? Why is his death necessary?

* The Shroud of Tur- *hrm* Jesus deflates. Hey, it's Obi-Wan Christ! Oh
wait, he stands right there, and now he has holes in his hands. Uh,
yeah.


Alas, the movie could have been much, much better. With better use of
flashbacks Mel could have inter-cut the final hours of Jesus' life with
the path that led him there, not just the brief snippets we get. He
could have provided a better contrast with the grand entry of Jesus into
Jerusalem and his pitiful exit. He could also, for example, have kept
the fact that Jesus wasn't just stoic about his fate, but actually
sought death secret until the end. As it is, this movie is for those who
are already in the know - the know being that of hard-core catholics.

Still, it was pretty.


--
Johan Gustafsson *** j...@e-bostad.net

Are you a bad enough dude to rescue the President?

Brian Trosko

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Apr 9, 2004, 12:00:23 PM4/9/04
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Johan Gustafsson <j...@e-bostad.net> wrote:

> * From an outsiders perspective: what's the point here? Jesus talks
> about love a lot, then goes and kills himself using Roman Justice. He
> claims he sacrifices himself for his followers, but what does his death
> do, exactly, besides shaking up Jerusalem? Why is his death necessary?

Because God needed to sacrifice Himself to Himself to allow Him to change
a rule He came up with in the first place.

Mark Loy

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Apr 9, 2004, 2:03:46 PM4/9/04
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In article <MPG.1ae0e1d82...@News.individual.DE>, Johan
Gustafsson <j...@e-bostad.net> wrote:

<snip some truly excellent comments/observations>


> Alas, the movie could have been much, much better. With better use of
> flashbacks Mel could have inter-cut the final hours of Jesus' life with
> the path that led him there, not just the brief snippets we get. He
> could have provided a better contrast with the grand entry of Jesus into
> Jerusalem and his pitiful exit. He could also, for example, have kept
> the fact that Jesus wasn't just stoic about his fate, but actually
> sought death secret until the end. As it is, this movie is for those who
> are already in the know - the know being that of hard-core catholics.
>
> Still, it was pretty.

Pretty, yeah for the parts you mentioned that concerned the big guy's
humanity and his relationship with his mother. But most of it was only
pretty if you find staring at ground round at your local butchershop
lovely.

I think the recent South Park said it best...

"That wasn't a movie...it was a two hour snuff flick!"


ML

Johan Gustafsson

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Apr 9, 2004, 1:47:20 PM4/9/04
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Doesn't everyone?

Seriously, though, once I got tired of staring at Jesus in his meatsuit,
I started observing the surroundings, the edits, camera angles, etc.
Sure, slo-mo was overdone, but apart from that it looked very
competently done, at least to this layman.

But yeah, at the core it's a man turning into meatsauce.

> I think the recent South Park said it best...
>
> "That wasn't a movie...it was a two hour snuff flick!"

Heh. I can't even begin to tell you how funny I find the evangelical
embrace of this movie. In a heartbeat they have destroyed all the
credibility they ever possessed in the cinematic violence debate.

Brian Trosko

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Apr 9, 2004, 8:19:34 PM4/9/04
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Johan Gustafsson <j...@e-bostad.net> wrote:

> Heh. I can't even begin to tell you how funny I find the evangelical
> embrace of this movie. In a heartbeat they have destroyed all the
> credibility they ever possessed in the cinematic violence debate.

On the same note, I like how the Egyptian authorities have okayed showing
the movie, even though they generally prohibit depictions of prophets,
"because it witholds from Jews their claims that they are innocent of the
Christ's blood."

Now that's comedy.

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