After much hype and anticipation, The Passion of the Christ topped as one of the must see movie this year. Since the movie was not screened here and the official DVD release is months ahead, we just have to bear bootlegged copies. Even churches gave viewing of the movie. With broadband available, I managed to download a copy. Not a clear copy but viewable.
I think the movie is brilliant. Viewing whole movie in Aramaic and Latin adds to the uniqueness of the movie although some fret about having to read subtitles. (Well at least the subtitles aren't crappy as we usually get here). Anyway, I think Aramaic is a beautiful language. Too bad it is not spoken as widely as it used to.
The set was magnificent, totally bringing the viewers back to Biblical Yerushalayim. There are also brilliant direction and editing in the movie coupled with excellent visual and sound effects. Some are not really noticable but thy made quite an impact on the movie for example the deafening ringging sound when Peter (Kaifa in Aramaic?) cuts off Malchus' ear. Another scene was while carrying the cross to Golgotha, a lady offered Jesus a piece of cloth to wipe his face and his face was imprinted onto the cloth with his blood creating some sort of effect similar to the Shroud of Turin. Not too obvious but brilliant. The soundtrack was also excellent and managed to bring biblical period to life.
Then came the characters. I have always thought Pontius Pilate was a ruthless Roman prefect. The film showed his more humane side. King Herod on the other hand was potrayed as a jovial almost gay like character. I would expect Herod to be more no-nonsense pharoah like dude. Somehow rather, satan was a disappointment having no marketing nor persuasive skills. Gibson should put a marketing guy as satan and let the viewer scream "no, don't listen to him" the same way they screamed "stop it" when the roman soldiers were scourging Yeshua. Perhaps a shape shifting satan... taking multiple personalities to persuade him to go to the dark side.
But I have to agree with The Resident, anyone who had been beaten to pulp like that would have died three times, let alone carry a cross to Golgotha.
All and all, its the sort of film that gets a variety of rating, from rotten tomatoes to staggering richter scales, from The real Passion of Jesus Christ to the Gospel according to St. Gibson.. It is all about each individual perception. In order to really rate the film you have to take out the religious and emotional context out of the film and treat it like a normal hollywood flick. Having said that, I would give it a good 4 out of 5 stars.
On a lighter note, checkout The Passion's blooper reel.