Monday, November 30, 2009

I have no thought at all about my own reward, I really didn't come here on my own accord. Just don't say I'm damned for all time

Hello I am the movie encyclopedia and if no one else will see it I will.

I was a little worried the first time I saw this movie. I grew up in a Christian household and still hold pretty strong Christian values. So when I heard that musical great Andrew Lloyd Webber created a musical on Jesus' last week essentially and more importantly the story of Judas Iscariot I was even more worried. When I heard it was called Jesus Christ Superstar I wrote it off as blashphemous crap. But eventually my inner theatre geek came out and I sat down to watch this rock opera of biblical proportions. After watching the film I realized a few things. One Carl Anderson is probably one of the greatest singers of all time. Two that Judas really WAS never explained all that well in the bible. And three this is one of the best musical films I have ever seen in my life.

The story of Superstar is pretty simple in explanation: Judas Iscariot is worried that he's letting the whole Messiah thing go to his head and that people are too worried about the heaven/messiah thing than actually helping out people and doing miracles like before. Meanwhile Mary Magdeline struggles with the idea that she may be in love with Jesus and doesnt know if he is the Messiah or not. Eventually Judas, after being coaxed a little by the Pharasees who wanted Jesus dead big time, betrays Jesus and Jesus is arrested after going up to the mountains and saying that he is getting pretty tired of all the drama. After he is arrested Pilate doesn't want anything to do with him and really doesn't think he's much harm. So he sends him to Herod who sends him back to Pilate and after the crowd demands it, he crucifies Jesus. Jesus rises from the dead three days later. Its basically the Gospel story but with a bit of a twist.

The music in Superstar is amazing and is only augmented by the people they get to play their respective characters. Carl Anderson as Judas is amazing and powerful. Instead of telling you I will show you.

And here is Ted Neely as the Big Man Himself

and Yvonne Elliman as Mary Magdaline

The story, the music, the production values, everything is great and this has always been one of my favorite musicals of all time. Is it blasphemous? It all depends on your outlook of this movie. To me it gives a good other perspective that the Bible didnt really adress all that much. In fact I think it helps people get interested in the Bible. I have actually SEEN that happen so I think this a very effective film. Always have been and always will be one of my favorites.


1 comment:

  1. I'm watching this right now in Gospels class. I still think it deals with the question the gospels pose, "What is the identity of this person called Jesus? and how are we to respond to him?" much better than The Passion of the Christ. All the characters struggle with this question and puts the viewer into the same position of questioning their response/understanding. The Passion borders too much (for me) on our fascination with blood/violence/torture viz a viz Saw...same viewer instinct. Take the flogging scene. In The Passion it drags on for a long segment and builds emotional impact through some of the goriest, brutal, flesh ripping scenes filmed. In Superstar it lasts for the length of the 39 lashes and builds its emotional impact through the rising intensity of the musical score. I don't feel debased after the scene in Superstar like I do in The Passion. But maybe that's what Gibson is going for...our identification of the guilt we carry for our sin and the humility we then feel to know what Christ went though to wash us of that guilt. It just feels too heavyhanded to me. Too much passion in suffering and not enough passion in the choice of redemptive action. So how do we identify Christ? That is the question of Superstar, all done to a great rock score with biting, witty lyrics. I love it.