March 22, 2007


So, when I saw Mel Gibson's The Passion of the Christ I was, to put it lightly, repulsed. How could a man so clearly devout to God and Jesus turn his film about said people into a grotesque unspiritual affair. I can grant him the desire to wish to portray Jesus' crusifiction as realistic and bloody as the Bible presents it, and I don't usually have a problem with violence. My problem with it was that for a movie about God, Jesus and faith, there was no spirit. It just felt like I was watching a man get filetted to death and nothing more. That's not something I want to see.

So it was with curiosity that I approached Martin Scorsese's controversial 1988 film The Last Temptation of Christ. Taking a much broader canvas, a much more biopic-friendly (if you will) glance at a hypotheticised life of Jesus. Last Temptation if you're unaware, strips the myth of Jesus and recasts him as a mere human. A man who has fears, desires and intimate thoughts. It was this very idea - that Jesus wasn't entirely omnipitent and sin-free and had sexual desires - that lead to countrywide (in the USA anyway, who knows what happened elsewhere) protests and calls for the film to be banned. But isn't that a bit silly and hypocritical? How come these audiences (y'all know who they are) could protest a movie that sympathises with Jesus and asks audiences to follow him on a spiritual journey of discovery (that eventually ends with Jesus realising that the way of the devil is no way at all) yet Hardcore Smut Porn Passion of the Christ pulls in some of the biggest box office of all time?

It's not my place to guess what was going through the minds of these people (apparently, some of the groups that spearheaded the campaign against the film have since revoked it and claimed it as a testement to their religion), but I can't help but imagine they were the same people who have tried to get so many films banned without even seeing it.

What I saw, and I am coming from a completely unbiased point of view - I'm neither for or against religion althought I do have my own beliefs - was a masterful recreation of a time and place and a man who would go on to change the world (whether he was really a messiah or not is not the point). It shows a man struggling with his demons (literal demons. Satan is right there), yet who comes out the other side of his life redeemed and, yes, "accomplished". To me, there is more spirit and faith in The Last Tempation of Christ's notorious fantasy sequence (in which Jesus flashes to a life of marriage and fatherhood with Mary Magdalene), than there was the entirety of The Passion of the Christ.

Whether you're religious or not isn't the matter with Scorsese's film (for which he received a Best Director Oscar nomination). Just think of it as the story of man who fought his demons for the (some would say) better of mankind. The film is visually truimphant, as is Peter Gabriel's haunting and stunning music. The Last Temptation of Christ is a grand operatic exercise in storytelling of the highest order. Leave your beliefs at the door and let the film wash over you. You'll be better for it. A

This was just another "review" by me where I typed out random thoughts without cohesion or sense. Oh well. Dems da breaks, as they say.

^idiots in '88^


Paxton Hernandez said...

Gotta love the final comment below the final photo. *Idiots in 1988*


adam k. said...

If Jesus was just a regular person, then that means he can't magically save everyone from their excessive sinning. That's why people take issue.

BTW, Glenn, you can watch Superstar: The Karen Carpenter Story on Google Video. I added a link in my Superstar post. It didn't take long at all to load, so you should be able to see it.

It's SO brilliant.

Kamikaze Camel said...

Well, I guess my belief is that I am more inclined to believe there was a Jesus like the one in Temptation than an omnipitent one who had no connection to being human other than being in a man's body.

I am also inclined to agree that a man that had a connection to being human was capable of much more because he was like us. If he thought and felt like us and knew what we as mere humans were capable of then surely his passion to sacrifice himself and redeem us for our sins would be much greater, non?

...that's what I think anyway.

...but then again, I don't necessarily believe in all this stuff so it may be moot point, I'm not sure.

adam k. said...

I'm not disagreeing with you, I'm just saying what I think is the thought process of crazy Christians.

See Superstar!

Kamikaze Camel said...

Right. Okay then.

(It's downloaded as I type. I have to head out in a tic but I'll watch it when I get home)

Ali said...

I love this movie, and I think Marty should have won for it. It would probably make my top twenty.