Confession: I LIKED Passion of the Christ
The post I did the other day on Christianity, torture, and crucifixion got me thinking about Mel Gibson's snuff film, The Passion of the Christ.
My wife made me go with her to watch it when it was released a few years back. I wasn't keen, but I wasn't too unhappy. I was curious, and I went in with low expectations (Low expectations are key; with low enough expectations, you can go into the crappy Matthew Broderick Godzilla movie and come out not satisfied).
And it turned out that I quite liked it. Why?
First, there were no trailers or ads. I hate those, there were none, so I was happy. Production values were decent, so that's a plus, too.
But more importantly, by treating it not as a serious spiritual experience1 but as a dark comedy, I had a great time.
For instance, for those of you who haven't seen The Passion but have seen the Simpsons episode where Ned starts making hyper-realistic biblical films, it's EXACTLY like that. Completely hyperviolent. The devil is covered in hyper-creepy-crawly things. It's great fun.
When Pontius Pilate offered Barabas to the mob to try to get them to pardon Jesus and they all chose to kill Jesus anyway, he had this wonderful "what the hell are you idiots smoking?" look on his face that was comedy gold. Not as good as Biggus Dickus, but still good.
It was funny in a cute way when Jesus was having a flashback to making a tall modern table. His mom was so confused.
When the Roman soldiers where nailing Jesus to the cross, one soldier complained that the other was doing a crappy job, gave him the boot and took over. (Sounds like my mom.) Still funny.
And of course, the torture was fun, too.
I'm messed up. But it was great. I laughed out loud several times. The rest of the audience probably thought I was nuts.
And, because it was mainly a snuff film, despite the subject matter, there was hardly any religious content.
I would not protest too much if I had to see it again.
1 Some of my Alpha Course group members were discussing it and saying how "spiritually uplifting" it was. I'm messed up for thinking torture is funny, but they're even more messed up than me!