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***Official THE PASSION OF THE CHRIST Discussion Thread (including THE PASSION RECUT)


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#1 of 1014 OFFLINE   Michael Reuben

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Posted February 24 2004 - 09:07 AM

This thread is now designated the Official Discussion Thread for "The Passion of the Christ". Please post all comments, links to outside reviews, film and box office discussion items to this thread.

All HTF member film reviews of "The Passion of the Christ" should be posted to the Official Review Thread.

Please exercise discretion in this thread. If everyone focuses on the film itself, we should be able to avoid the problems that resulted in the closure of previous threads. The moderation of this thread will be more active than usual to ensure that it remains on track.

Also, both this thread and the Official Review Thread are intended for comments by people who have actually seen the film. While we recognize that many people may have opinions about the film without having seen it, Home Theater Forum is not the venue for those comments.


Thank you for your consideration in this matter.

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#2 of 1014 OFFLINE   Tino

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Posted February 24 2004 - 11:09 AM

Well it's about time!Posted Image

I'll be seeing this tomorrow at 10AM.

Can't wait to get back in here and discuss it.

I sure hope everyone remains civil and this thread doesn't degenerate with uneccesary comments like the last one.
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#3 of 1014 OFFLINE   Nick Sievers

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Posted February 24 2004 - 11:34 AM

I'll be watching it in a few hours. I don't know how long discussion will stay civil because we have a film with a huge amount of controversy based on religion.
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#4 of 1014 OFFLINE   Robert Anthony

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Posted February 24 2004 - 11:41 AM

Quote:
"A film so narrowly focused as to be inaccessible for all but the devout." -- Kenneth Turan, Los Angeles Times

"The Passion of the Christ is powerfully moving and fanatically obtuse in equal doses" -- Peter Travers, Rolling Stone

"Mel Gibson shows once again that he's skilled at depicting violence. But you'd be hard pressed to find evidence of 'tolerance, love and forgiveness' that the producer-director-co-writer insists he's trying to communicate." -- Gene Seymour, Newsday

"The Passion of the Christ is so relentlessly focused on the savagery of Jesus' final hours that this film seems to arise less from love than from wrath, and to succeed more in assaulting the spirit than in uplifting it." -- A.O. Scott, New York Times

"This is the most powerful, important and by far the most graphic interpretation of Christ's final hours ever put on film." -- Richard Roeper, Ebert and Roeper

"An impressive, ultra-violent -- and deeply troubling -- take on Jesus' final hours." -- Lou Lumenick, New York Post

"This graphic depiction of the crucifixion of Christ misses any spiritual meaning to this seismic event." -- Kirk Honeycutt, The Hollywood Reporter

"I was moved by the depth of feeling, by the skill of the actors and technicians, by their desire to see this project through no matter what." -- Roger Ebert, Chicago Sun Times

"The movie Gibson has made from his personal obsessions is a sickening death trip, a grimly unilluminating procession of treachery, beatings, blood, and agony." -- David Denby, The New Yorker

"[Gibson] has made a serious, handsome, excruciating film that radiates total commitment." -- Richard Corliss, Time


Interesting array of quotes on this thing, both positive AND negative. I'll probably see it, but my interest is waning--not JUST because of the above quotes, but because of this...

According to everything I've seen and read about this film--the only thing really setting it apart from the myriad other adaptations of this same story, is this:

This is bloodier.

That's basically it. I'm going back and forth over this. Normally I don't check critics and reviews for more than an idea of what to expect and what might be happening on the screen...but in this instance, it's a story i've heard about 3 million times already. A story drilled into my head, detailed and in depth, since I've been six. It's ubiquitous--everyone knows what happened, everyone knows how the story goes, we wear it on 16k Gold around our necks, yunno? I have an idea how this movie is going to unfold, and there will be no twists, no surprises.

So what's the hook? The pure craft--and the violence. This will apparently be the most beautifully shot, and most blatantly violent depiction of the Passion. And even people who PRAISE the film can't seem to get away from the fact that this movie is shockingly violent, and most, if not ALL of it's power, comes from this violence done to this character. It's a movie that draws almost all of it's strength from abusing the main character, apparently. I'm hoping this isn't the case.

And it's not that I'm squeamish, or afraid of violence--or even afraid of religion and biblical tales--it's just that if all this movie really has to offer, to set it aside from the other versions of this story that have come down the pipe over the years, is that it's unflinchingly violent--then what's my real motivation to go see this?

It just seems mildly sadistic to me. I'm not going to learn anything new, and I doubt I'm going to appreciate the gorefest simply for it's artistic merit.

I'm hoping to hear from you guys soon, to let me know if I'm missing out, or if there's anything more to this particular retelling of the tale besides watching a man get blamed, sentenced, abused, tortured and then killed, without any surrounding context or background.

I'm still interested--but it's waning fast.

#5 of 1014 OFFLINE   JonZ

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Posted February 24 2004 - 11:43 AM

I cant see it until sunday Posted Image

For those interested,Orielly Factor has a in depth interview with Mel Gibson tonight(Tues Feb24)

#6 of 1014 OFFLINE   Tino

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Posted February 24 2004 - 11:46 AM

I'm sure the moderators will make sure it remains civil, as the guidelines proclaim. I especially like this guideline:

Quote:
Both this thread and the official review thread are intended for comments by people who have actually seen the film.

...which I will be one in about 14 hours.Posted Image
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#7 of 1014 OFFLINE   Darko

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Posted February 24 2004 - 12:28 PM

So, why are you all posting comments without having seen the filmPosted Image Posted Image
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#8 of 1014 OFFLINE   Chuck Stephens

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Posted February 24 2004 - 01:00 PM

Well, I haven't seen the movie yet but the theater that I work at has already sold $20,000 worth of advance tickets. This is unheard of and was enough for the local news to do a report on it last night. I personally am not looking forward to this weekend because this means that it's gonna be extremely busy and probably not very fun for theater employees. I've already heard the old "herd 'em in and herd 'em out" line from one of our managers to a few of our ushers in preparation for this weekend. So for those of you going in the next few days my advice is to get to your theaters early because you're gonna be standing in line.Posted Image

#9 of 1014 OFFLINE   Kevin Grey

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Posted February 24 2004 - 01:34 PM

So what's the hook? The pure craft--and the violence. This will apparently be the most beautifully shot, and most blatantly violent depiction of the Passion. And even people who PRAISE the film can't seem to get away from the fact that this movie is shockingly violent, and most, if not ALL of it's power, comes from this violence done to this character. It's a movie that draws almost all of it's strength from abusing the main character, apparently. I'm hoping this isn't the case.


But that does seem to be Gibson's intention for the film: for people to have some understanding of the depth of his sacrifice by portraying the excruciating pain he went through. The violence seems to clearly be linked to the focus even though it will likely make most extremely uncomfortable. That has seemed to be his singular vision throughout the project.

#10 of 1014 OFFLINE   Derek Miner

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Posted February 24 2004 - 02:31 PM

I work in a theater showing this, and I screened the film last night.

Quote:
It's a movie that draws almost all of it's strength from abusing the main character, apparently. I'm hoping this isn't the case.

To me, this seemed to be the case.

Quote:
But that does seem to be Gibson's intention for the film: for people to have some understanding of the depth of his sacrifice by portraying the excruciating pain he went through.

I will completely agree that Gibson has accomplished just what you suggest, however, I will argue that this does not make for a compelling film in itself.

My feeling about "The Passion of the Christ" is that it only tells part of a story. The film is almost exclusively concerned with the arrest, condemnation, torture and crucifixion. Those who are looking for a religious experience that will build on their faith will be rewarded - and the film comes by this completely honestly. But the film lacks context for other viewers. The backstory is all pre-supposed and that made me feel like the first two acts of a three act story were missing.
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#11 of 1014 OFFLINE   Kevin Grey

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Posted February 24 2004 - 02:47 PM

My feeling about "The Passion of the Christ" is that it only tells part of a story. The film is almost exclusively concerned with the arrest, condemnation, torture and crucifixion. Those who are looking for a religious experience that will build on their faith will be rewarded - and the film comes by this completely honestly. But the film lacks context for other viewers. The backstory is all pre-supposed and that made me feel like two acts of a three act story already happened.


This is one of the reasons that I think the movie will ultimately be less controversial than many had initially thought- Gibson doesn't seem to be trying to make any major statements or profound revelations. Its presented in a very matter of fact way so that, even if you don't belive in the spiritual side, there is a certain power that comes from witnessing someone endure so much torment just on the human level. As you said, any spiritual feelings are likely to be a direct result of what you bring into the theater with you. I don't think Gibson is trying to convert anyone here.

I will completely agree that Gibson has accomplished just what you suggest, however, I will argue that this does not make for a compelling film in itself.


Very true. There really isn't any story or plot here, at least in the conventional sense.

#12 of 1014 OFFLINE   Adam Lenhardt

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Posted February 24 2004 - 02:56 PM

I was hoping to see this tommarrow, but I've got a meeting, and then I'm locked into community service through the weekend. Hopefully I'll find a chance to squeeze this in. The press has been wildly split on the movie and it's implications.

This is at the top of my list. Thanks for the early heads-up, Derek. I look foward to reading reaction until I get a chance to see this myself.


#13 of 1014 OFFLINE   Quentin

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Posted February 24 2004 - 03:02 PM

I saw it over the weekend. As I'm sure Scott did...but, I haven't seen him posting too much. He's eagerly anticipating "Dawn of the Dead". Posted Image

I can't say I thought much of it. As blunt as a jackhammer, as shallow as a puddle. I purposefully chose not to bring in any of my religious pre-conceptions...maybe that hurt me. But, objectively - just as a film - it has little to offer other than a crap load of violence that goes so over the top as to make its point bluntly, then barrel past that into numbing pandering.

But, the cinematography is beautiful.

#14 of 1014 OFFLINE   Ernest Rister

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Posted February 24 2004 - 03:21 PM

"...But the film lacks context for other viewers."

Sort of like The Phantom Menace. Posted Image

#15 of 1014 OFFLINE   Patrick Sun

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Posted February 24 2004 - 03:35 PM

Well, the film covers roughly the last 12 hours of Christ, so that's the focus. Perhaps Gibson has too much faith in the viewers by assuming that the viewers can provide the context themselves as to how Christ comes to this point of his existence.
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#16 of 1014 OFFLINE   Robert Spalding

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Posted February 24 2004 - 03:40 PM

I will be seeing it this weekend. I believe it is paramount that it be violent to show exactly how it happended. It's too bad that non-believers think this part of the story (true, its a very small part of the story) has to be nin-violent. Read the Gospel...this is what really happend

#17 of 1014 OFFLINE   Julian Lalor

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Posted February 24 2004 - 03:53 PM

I don't think anyone is saying it shouldn't be violent; the problem is the level of violence which many critics are reporting as overwhwelming the movie to the point where it actually repels people and makes its message appear to be a harsh, wrathful and unforgiving one.

#18 of 1014 OFFLINE   MatS

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Posted February 24 2004 - 03:55 PM

this is that new Mel Brooks movie, right?!

#19 of 1014 OFFLINE   Ernest Rister

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Posted February 24 2004 - 04:14 PM

In all seriousness, I think the film is a brother to Saving Private Ryan in that it employs shocking gore and violence to bring the full impact of the event to modern viewers. Like Ryan, it is shockingly violent, but it is not, I believe, cynically violent -- this isn't a case of gore used to sell tickets a'la a modern horror film like the remake of Texas Chainsaw Massacre. The creative team is in search of truth, and attempts to show audiences what those last 12 hours might have actually been like. From the authentic dialects and languages to the costume designs and period sets and art direction, the attempt here is to provide as "realistic" a portrayal of Christ's crucifixon as possible.

I'm confused by reviews written by critics who raved about the sophisticated use of extreme violence in Saving Private Ryan but who are now trashing the violence in The Passion. Gibson is using Spielberg's strategy. Just as people walked out of Ryan feeling as if they had just experienced the Normandy landings, the goal here was to make audiences feel as if they had just witnessed the Crucifixion of Christ.

That's the entire point of the movie, to bring the sacrifice home to the individual heart in a way never before seen. Does the use of violence cause the film to fail in that goal? Well, there were those thought the use of extreme gore in Saving Private Ryan obliterated the points *that* film was trying to make. At the end of the day, we are going to have to form our own individual opinions, but from where I sit, what Gibson was trying to do is readily apparent.

Of course it is going to be hard to watch. Of course it is going to be agonzing. Of course it is going to be a punishing experience for everyone to sit through. It is not a film that you should take lightly, and do not be surprised to see people heading for the exits with their hands over their eyes. Same thing happened with Ryan.

I've only seen pieces of the film, and like many film buffs, I have followed the film's path to tomorrow's release date with great interest. But from what I've seen and from what I've heard from Gibson's own mouth, what he was trying to do seems crystal clear to me. Remember the whole "It is as it was" controversey? That's exactly what the film is trying to do -- make you feel like you're witness to the martyrdom of Christ, the most seismic event in all of modern human history.

#20 of 1014 OFFLINE   Robert Anthony

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Posted February 24 2004 - 04:15 PM

"It's too bad that non-believers think this part of the story (true, its a very small part of the story) has to be non-violent. Read the Gospel...this is what really happened"

well, it's not that I'm a non-believer: I was born and raised Catholic. And I'm not even looking at it from the religious aspect. The thing is--I know how it really happened, I've been told. If I'm going to spend money on this as a movie, if I'm going to appreciate it as a film, it's gotta offer me something more than a purely visceral representation of a violent act. And I'm worried, from reading both the positive AND the negative reviews, that the above is EXACTLY the extent of what I'm going to get. I'm not needing a movie to spell out for me exactly how brutally he was beaten and tortured, and ONLY do that. Ernest mentions "Saving Private Ryan" and mentions the landing at Normandy and the battle at the end. But from what I'm reading, this would be like starting the movie--and then ENDING the movie, at the battle of Normandy. There should be more to it. Early trailers had me thinking that would be the case. Sure, there'd be a focus--a fairly large focus--on the brutality itself, but I was expecting something else to offset it, to give the storytelling something to contrast with, something to add depth. Because like I said--this is a story I'm already VERY familiar with, a story I grew up with, violent imagery and all. I want to know there's something unique in the telling of this story aside from just "Lots of flesh flies off when they whip him." I don't want the hook to simply be "This is the bloody Jesus movie."

I'm not especially sure that I want to pay money to see that. I've heard this thing described as the final part of a trilogy that's never been filmed, an exercise in sadism rivaling "I Spit on your Grave" and a forceful, powerful treatise on the heroism of Jesus. Maybe it's all these things. I know it's just about the last 12 hours of Jesus, but I guess I was hoping someone could tell me if there's more to this movie than simply watching him suffer and die. If there's anything Gibson added, any subtext, any reference to the reason he's being put through all this, any attempt at characterization beyond "The Martyr Suffering."

Because that movie--AS A MOVIE--sounds kind of one sided.

I'm not closed minded, I'm just in here looking to see opinions that describe their reaction to the movie and their analysis on what Gibson brought to the table.

Thanks again.


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