Thursday, February 26, 2004

"The Passion of the Christ." Will I see it? Do I want to see it? Is it worth seeing?

There's a barbed review in this week's Pitch that accuses the movie of gratuitous gore, vacuous characterization and not a little anti-Semitism. But somehow these things don't bother me as much as my being forced to revise my mental image of Mel Gibson.

"Mad Max" was a touchstone of my childhood. I've always considered Gibson one of Hollywood's most accessible, authentic personalities. So if I see "Passion" and the film is indeed anti-Semitic, that's one less actor I can respect. I can live with the gore; no doubt Jesus' crucifixion was gory indeed. It's not the historical or scriptural accuracy of "Passion" that's in the balance: it's Mel Gibson. If I discover that the Road Warrior is a Jesus freak, that's it.

Then there's the inevitable religious nut factor. Apparently at least one person has already had to be dragged from the theater in the throes of some sort of Christly seizure. You know, you pay $8 to see a movie and this is the last thing you want to see. There should be a "no stigmata" placard on the wall right next to the "no smoking" sign. And I don't want to hear anyone "speaking in tongues," either. (And I thought those guys jabbering about "The Return of the King" trailer when I went to see "The Matrix Revolutions" were annoying . . .)