Icon Entertainment/Warner Home Video .
R4 . COLOR . 120 mins .
MA15+ . PAL
"He that comes to God must believe that he IS" - Hebrews 11:6.
As much as the world can debate about the existence of God and his son Jesus, it is with the above statement that the bible itself predicates any further understanding of what the rest of the scripture has to say about humanity. How can you believe in the truth about anybody if you don't believe they exist in the first place? How can you believe in someone you've never seen or heard by the writings of others you've never seen or heard? By faith?
In old testament times, the people of Israel would need to bring an unblemished offering, usually a lamb, to be sacrificed at the altar for the cleansing of theirs sins. Over 1500 years of animal sacrifice could do nothing to redeem man from it's sinful state so God sent his son Jesus to redeem the world once and for all from sin. Jesus became the Lamb of God, a sinless and perfect man, sacrificed on the alter to redeem ALL mankind from sin.
The Passion of the Christ is a 2 hour depiction of the last hours of the life of Jesus Christ beginning in the Garden of Gethsemane. Jesus (James Caviezel) is praying while three of his disciples stay watch, as best they can with eyes wide shut. After Judas sells out to the Priests out to crucify Him, Jesus is arrested and brought into the Temple for trial where he is found guilty of blasphemy. Once the first hour is out of the way, the shedding of blood begins and we see just what one man went through because of the love he had for the world. As much as many believers out there continue to depict him as a man on a cross, the Passions ends with his resurrection; the triumph and completion the work he was sent to do.
Mel Gibson has taken his faith in God and produced a passion of his own; in turn creating one of the worlds greatest evangelical tools of our time. Box office figures alone have confirmed the pulling power of this gospel message as well as countless testimonies both during the production of the movie and its screenings world wide.
"All men you hear the truth hear my voice."
Much has been said about the amount of unecessary gore portrayed within the film's most traumatic moments but there has been too much 'pretty' Jesus' portrayed over time that Gibson has tried to stay true to the scripture and all it's horrific details of the crucifixion. As powerful as these moments are, one of the most incomprehensible scenes occurs when Jesus is brought before the people by Pontius Pilate. Pilate can't bare to condemn a man who he knows is innocent so asks the crowd for an exchange with the convicted murderer in Barabbas. The crowd responds unanimously to crucify Jesus and set Barabbas free. The look on the face of Pilate and his lead Roman Officer is utter dismay at the contempt for Jesus.
The use of timely flashbacks help propel the movie along at a consistent pace, taking the audience through his final hours. This is not a movie about the life of Jesus, nor his preaching and his teachings, but about his death; going against much of what traditional Christendom were expecting but fulfilling a lot of what the current generation of christians believe about Gods ultimate sacrifice.
Agasp at the crowd.
With beautiful cinematography from Caleb Deschanel, having worked previously with Gibson on The Patriot, the imagery on DVD is beautifully preserved from what the giant cinema screen portrayed. At times, it felt like even more detail was present, or possibly noticed in this case, than during it's theatrical release.
The film has a consistent semi-sepia hue to it with an emphasis on highlighting the scarlet red blood. In the opening hour of the movie, the night scenes have a great level of shadow detail. The dust-filled air of the temple gathering captures the environment perfectly; a testament to the cinematography. There is also some very slight use of CG evident, most likely noticeable to those who know what they're looking for.
This is an exceptional transfer.
On the audio side we are presented with 2 exceptional soundtracks that will please parties of both the pro-Dolby Digital and pro-dts camps. Both soundtracks bring the ambience and drama of each scene to the fore with a clarity you've come to expect from a blockbuster film.
Caiaphus - The High Priest.
The score by John Debney is exceptional and well represented here in all it's 5.1 glory. It truly adds another dimension to the film and heightens the drama much the same way James Horner did with Gibsons braveheart, but probably even more so given the nature of the material here.
Included as a third audio track is a descriptive audio text detailing each and every move, emotion and more of the ensuing drama. Whilst comparable to the visually impaired soundtracks found on other DVDs, this track could also be used for educational purposes.
Another perfect example.
Sadly, this movie only release is lacking in the extras department. There is obviously potential for an exceptional edition of the movie to come, this is the release we have at the moment, complete with animated menus.
Whilst this is not a forum for discussion of religion and ones beliefs, the Passion of the Christ is an experience not to be missed by both believers and non believers. What you get out of the experience will depend on what you allow to receive. Pre-conceived notions and beliefs will deter any appreciation of the message been told here.
There is no doubt the Passion of the Christ will be a movie to stand the test of time and will surely be the beginning of more biblical movies to come if trends in Hollywood are anything to go by. For the small budget this movie was made on, paid for by Gibson himself, and the huge profit redeemed, it shows what a great story and respect for the treatment can do.