Being the controversy-loving asshole that I am, I just couldnít let this movie pass without seeing it. Luckily, my wife got advance tickets through her church, so off we went this morning to the 9 oíclock show.
No matter who you are or what you believe, this movie is a must-see for everyone! Sure, I know, all the Atheists and Pagans and whatnot out there are saying ďI donít believe in Jesus, why the hell would I want to watch a stupid movie about him?Ē First off, you may not believe in the divinity or resurrection of Christ, but the existence and horrible death of a man from Galilee named Jesus is not a point you can argue. The fact that he was a real person who lived, impacted the world, and died in one of the most horrific ways imaginableÖTHAT is an indisputable historical fact! Iím not talking about anything that the Bible says, Iím talking about various historical records from unrelated sources. So, before you read any further, get that through your head. Jesus was a real live human being and the circumstances of his death are a matter of record; that is not up for debate (unless youíd like to argue with every historian on the planet).
Now that weíve gotten that out of the way, let me address the pissed off Jewish community. Ok, youíre pissed because the movie makes Jews look bad, right? Well, sorry, but as I just said, the circumstances of Jesusí death are a matter of historical record and most of those records were kept by either Jews or Romans. Iím really fucking sorry if it bothers you that your people killed a man in cold blood for the simple fact that he didnít follow your religion exactly as you wished. Well, not you, but your ancestors. How do you think we must feel? Atheists and Agnostics are constantly bringing up thinks like the Crusades and the Inquisition to throw in the faces of Christians. The early Christian Church did some pretty nasty things too, so itís not like youíre alone in that aspect. If you donít like the fact that the Jewish Pharisees of 2,000 years ago were complete power-trippiní fuckiní maniacs, thatís just too damn bad! The facts are the facts and you canít rewrite history just because it makes your people look bad, asshole! If that were an option, Iím sure the Catholic Church wouldíve gotten rid of all the details of their witch burnings and all the white people would eliminate all records of slavery in the U.S. But, thatís not an option and we all have to just live with the fact that our ancestors did some pretty fucked up shit! Youíre not fuckiní special and you donít get to bitch and cry about this movie because it happens to tell a true historical account of something youíd rather not acknowledge.
To all the Atheists who must be thinking that this movie would be a waste of time to see: Think again. Even if you think that Jesus was nothing but a nutcase who thought he was the son of a non-existent God, you cannot deny the fact that his life and death has had a more profound impact on the world than anyone else in all of history! Hell, even our fuckiní calendar system is based on him! Most of the laws that went into the founding of the various Western nations are based on his teachings! So, the fact is, even if you donít believe in Christ as the Son of God, Jesus the MAN was a great man who taught great things. His death was unjust and undeserved. It is a great benefit to everyone to learn about it.
Now, on to the movie itself. Fucking great job Mel Gibson did with this one! It kinda irked me that the whole damn thing was in Arabic, Hebrew, and Latin (because those were the languages spoken in the Middle East at that time), but once I got used to the subtitles it really was kinda cool. You got to hear the words spoken AS they were spoken during those events 2,000 years ago. So, yeah that was actually pretty cool.
Much of the movie had elements that actually didnít come from the Bible, but rather from other historical records of the persecution, trial, and execution of Jesus. For example, the fact that Pilot sentenced Jesus to be ďpunishedĒ (i.e., severely beaten) rather than having him crucified as the Pharisees demanded; however even after heíd been beaten to a bloody pulp, they still demanded that Jesus be crucified. I found this a very refreshing change from all those movie that stick to purely Biblical sources for their information. The Bible is, of course, full of information about these events, but even the four Gospels donít tell every event in explicit detail (nor were they intended to). Itís nice to see the added element of historical details rather than simply Biblical information.
Even with that added reality, Gibson did take quite a few liberties in adding things to the movie that were not part of ANY historical reference (including the Bible). For instance, the presence of Satan throughout the film, watching and sometimes even taunting Jesus. Yeah, I would imagine that Satan may well have watched the whole damn thing, but there is no record of that ever being stated. Also, the very end of the movie showed Jesus alive again as he walked from his tomb (having been resurrected after 3 days, as the Bible states). While this IS part of the Biblical account (and is, in fact, the single most important aspect of the whole thing from a Christian perspective), it must be noted in fairness that there is not proof of his resurrection. The best parts of the movie were the parts where you could say to yourself, ďHoly shit, man, this stuff REALLY happened!Ē For an Atheist or other non-Christian, that realistic aspect is lost when spiritual (and unprovable) things are introduced. Still, for a Christian-oriented film, one should expect such things to be thrown in. Iíd advise that a non-Christian shouldnít let those things spoil the sheer power of this movie.
The violent content in this movie was extraordinary. Even as jaded as I am by images of violence and terrible acts, I found myself literally cringing at the vivid images of torture and the knowledge that the things I was seeing actually happened to someone. The violent torturous scenes throughout the movie were very well-done and extremely realistic in appearance.
For parents worried that this movie may be too violent for your kids to see. Well, Iím in favor of allowing children to see anything they want to see, but I do understand your concerns. Let your kids see this and even if they donít believe in God, make sure they know that Jesus was a real person and that those gruesome things were really done to him. At the very least, it will teach them a valuable lesson about the extremes of religious intolerance in those days.
Bottom line: See this movie! Whether youíre a Christian, a Jew, or a die-hard Atheist, this movie is well worth your time and money. If for no other reason, you should see the things suffered by the single most influential man in history.
IESVS NAZARENUS REX IVDEORUM
QVI VIVIT ET REGNAT IN AETERNUM