To celebrate Easter, Adam and I went to see that one movie (you know, the one featuring a misunderstood man who gets beat senseless and then cruficied on a cross?) And let me tell you...
"Hidalgo" was the best movie I've seen all year!
No, I finally saw "The Passion of the Christ" and somehow, it managed to do the impossible: take out every interesting element about the story of Jesus Christ's crucifixion.
Ugh. How can a filmmaker screw up so badly? This is a story that is clearly (and ridiculously) packed with the conflicts of moral ambiguity, but Mel Gibson white-washes it to the simpistic level of "good-n-evil."
Did you know that, according to this movie, there was at no point when Jesus struggled over his decision to have the shit kicked out of him? Yep. He just went out and did it. Forget the whole fact that this event was important solely because Christ resisted temptation and actively chose to have it happen to him. Yeah. Forget that.
Because, according to this movie, do you know what "temptation" is? It's a weird, albino-ish devil with no eyebrows lurking around crowds and holding up a baby that looks like Billy Barty. Oooo, what temptation! Here's a comparable scene:
GOD: "Jesus, I got this taco for you. It's made out of sardines and turds, but I want you to eat it."
JESUS: "Okay. Yeah. I guess."
DEVIL: "Um, Jesus?" (clears throat)
JESUS: "Yes, Devil?"
DEVIL: "You could have that taco or you could have my taco. It's an albino taco that lurks around crowds and holds up a baby that looks like Billy Barty."
JESUS: "You drive a hard bargain, Satan."
Of course, if you have Jesus face actual temptation, then you risk making him look human (WHICH HE CLEARLY WAS NOT!) and angering people (case in point: "Last Temptation of Christ"). But I understand. That whole "entire concept hinges on it" thing isn't really necessary, is it?
This erasing of moral ambiguity isn't limited to Christ, however. If Jesus is strictly good, then the film's Jews are of the evil-cartoon variety limited to "Big Boy" Caprice's gang of goons in "Dick Tracy." Seriously. I half-expected Flat-top and Pruneface to pull out whips during the lashings sequence. Througout the entire film, the Jews' various efforts to crucify Jesus are portrayed as "just plain evil" behavior (as opposed to, say, their feeling threatened that some guy came along and told them that his spritiual beliefs were better than theirs).
And, of course... Judas - arguably, one of the most fascinating figures in the Bible - has the plot agency of an "evil henchman."
Judas as "stool pigeon." Jesus as Rambo. Jews as Darth Vader.
Finally, at the end of the film, Gibson partakes in an act of "critical self-protection" that I thought was only limited to University workshop classes. In this scene, two men are crucified with Christ. On his left, a man who confessses his sins and professes his belief in Christ-as-savior after witnessing his humanly-impossible suffering. On his right, a man who finds it all very difficult to believe and scoffs. The guy on his left is invited to heaven. The guy on his right... has his eye gouged out by a crow.
And me - arms folded in the theatre, finding myself unmoved by 2 hours of gore, actors-as-props, and uncomplicated moral dilemmas - anticipated Mel Gibson waiting outside the theatre with a crow resting on his forearm.
A CRITICAL SELF-PROTECTION OF MY OWN: I hope, hope, hope that no one sees my irreverence towards this film as an overall irreverence towards Christianity itself. Not because I'm necesarrily afraid of "offending YOU" - it's just that I am so completely bored to bloody tears by polemically-liberal and "progressive" humor that I want to distance myself from it as much as possible. I've stated this in past blogs. And dammit, I'll state it again.
P.S. I like the fact that I'm more concerned about people misperceiving my viewpoints on comedy rather than my viewpoints on spirituality. This is why I want to write jokes for "Planet's Funniest Animals" and why I didn't join the priesthood.
Um, my birthday's on Monday.