First, "The Passion of the Christ" was anti-Semitic. Critics were horrified that Mel Gibson placed the blame of Jesus' death on Romans and Jews in a population of Romans and Jews. Because a few high Jewish priests called for Jesus' crucifixion, we must interpret that as all Jews being responsible for Jesus' death. They will be resented. They will be hated. Never mind that Christians have been too busy making several trips to see a film they love; praising it on every level, we expected them to soon lash out against the Jews.
When that argument started to fade, critics found something else to attack "The Passion" for; it's violence. Yes, these are the same critics who praised gore-fests like "Kill Bill" (which I loved) and "Saving Private Ryan" (another classic). But it's all different now. Now critics don't like violence. They say "The Passion" is too gory. The people who make a living seeing R-rated movies (and liking many of them) found themselves in an uncomfortable position while watching Mel Gibson's fantastic film. So fantastic the film is that critics are able to say it's too graphic when in reality it's all paint and makeup.
A.O. Scott of the New York Times complained, "The Passion of the Christ is so relentlessly focused on the savagery of Jesus' final hours that this film seems to arise less from love than from wrath…" Scott must have missed all the lines where Jesus was asking his Father for his torturers' forgiveness. He must have missed all the flashbacks where Jesus was preaching to his followers that you must love even your enemies. He must have not realized that Jesus showed no resentment to his persecutors. How does 'wrath' overcome 'love' in this one?
Steve Rhodes asks, "With a pervasive NC-17 level of gore, its simplistic and relentlessly pedantic but effective with its single theme that Christ suffered. But where is its spirituality?" The spirituality lies in the fact that Christ was willing to endure "NC-17 levels of gore" for our sins. The spirituality lies in all the sermons and lessons Jesus taught. The spirituality is where the sugar is supposed to be, but Gibson refused to water his movie down. He didn't sweeten it. He told it the way it happened. Steven Spielberg did the same thing with a little film he made called "Saving Private Ryan," which Mr. Rhodes gave a perfect score.
Glenn Whipp of The Los Angeles Daily News writes, "It's as if Gibson is measuring God's love by the amount of blood he shows on the screen." That's the point! The 'Passion' means just that. The pain and suffering of the Christ. Jesus loved us and was willing to lose blood for us. Why is that such a bad thing? Why is it wrong for us to watch it the way it really happened?
Other comments from various critics:
"Unrelentingly anti-Semitic, excessively grotesque and overly narrow in its scope" No it's not. Jesus glorifies the role of some Jewish characters. A Roman calls a man, "Jew," and most if not all of the supporters of Jesus including himself were Jewish. Is it possible to make a film about Jesus' crucifixion without it being labeled anti-Semitic? Ask a liberal and he'll tell say sure as long as you don't follow the scriptures.
"For moviegoers who don’t share Mel Gibson’s religious agenda, it’s nothing but an unpleasant experience." I actually liked the film the most for its qualities that have nothing to do with a "religious agenda." It was superbly executed and James Caviezel was amazing. It is because Caviezel was so convincing that people were unnerved by his portrayal of a suffering man. Gibson proved he's a masterful filmmaker and his movie can be appreciated by people of all faiths. His use of Satan and the demonic children will perfectly suit horror fans and the style of the entire production if nothing else will be admired by secularists.
And here's basically what most of the liberal press have to say regarding the emotion of the film: "Irrespective of your religious beliefs, Mel Gibson’s brutal depiction of the most renowned story of sacrifice and love is distressing to the very core."
But is the film really distressing? I found it uplifting. I found it inspiring. This is the type of film I can't wait to own when it comes out on DVD. I'll save it for when I feel depressed, lonely or unhappy; moods we all find ourselves in from time to time. I'll use the film to remind myself no matter how bad life can seem sometimes, it's never as bad as it was for Jesus. To hear his message of love is what we need to hear more of. If he can still love his enemies after what they did to him, we should be able to love ours. This is not just a Christian message, but one everyone can adopt and benefit from. You don't need to be a Believer to appreciate and implement Jesus' basic teachings.
It's not just the movie critics who are wrongfully bashing the film and Mr. Gibson, liberals (the other liberals, not movie-critic liberals) have been nasty toward the film, calling it "overly violent" and "exploitive." Forum members at several online message boards have been calling Gibson's production a "snuff" film. Amazing that but a few weeks ago these same liberals excused Janet Jackson's it's-just-a-boob stunt but are appalled at the violent nature of Mel Gibson's excellent film.
I've searched the internet to see if there's a correlation between someone's ideology and their opinion of the film. Conservatives overwhelmingly loved "The Passion" while liberals varied from great-to-grotesque. How ironic that the liberals are the ones finding something to be too graphic. One source for liberal thought is the Democratic Underground. One member questions how much Gibson will profit in the name of Jesus.
"I would be able to see some charity in it if this film weren't so completely focused on the physical torture of another human being. That is sadism and not a worthy cause in my opinion. Too bad he didn't make a movie about the life of Jesus instead of the gory death."
Not a worthy cause? Because the cross has become a piece of jewelry, Gibson felt compelled to remind people how Christians have taken to their faith. Jesus died for our sins and suffered immensely for it. That's what the film is about. Not his "gory death" but the price he was willing to pay out of love.
Then some fool who goes by Moonbeam_Starlight added this to the discussion:
"Someone said 'How is spending 6, 7, 8, or 9 bucks to see Jesus beaten, tortured, and killed any different from the people who stood around in mobs and watched it happen originally?' Food for thought.…"
Because the mobs who watched it happened wanted it to happen. They despised Jesus and were happy to watch him suffer. We as moviegoers pay money so we can appreciate what Jesus did and understand how it really happened.
Nobody (the guy's name) wonders:
"What is Mel Gibson going to do with the money he makes?"
Many liberals have asked this question and many have accused Gibson of profiting in the name of his Savior. Let me remind you that Gibson never expected this film to explode the way it did. He tried to get financial backers and a mainstream distributor to help him with the production but was turned down at every request. The Hollywood bighead types were afraid this was going to be a career-killer for Gibson and wanted nothing to do with him, so he had to put up $25 million of his own money. He deserves every penny he will reap from the film's success.
The truth is that the critics of "The Passion" aren't mad because it's violent -- they love "Kill Bill" and "Texas Chainsaw Massacre," -- they're mad because the violence isn't just slapstick or comical, but real and powerful. Liberal moviegoers can only watch violence when it's meant to be funny. If it's teaching us a lesson, it's all of a sudden exploitive. If it's graphic for a reason, it's now pervasive…or pornographic.
I usually side with liberals when it comes to entertainment and the freedom to express yourself. But liberals are wrong on this issue They defend graphic mediums of entertainment such as rap music (which I like) and attack people like Bill O'Reilly for opposing it.
Yet when it comes to promoting something wholesome, liberals cower. They hate the idea of anything that's religious becoming popular. They fear Christianity will become a major influence in American society and because of those fears they have never been more backwards. Anyone who was shocked over "The Passion" but said the country overreacted to Justin Timberlake's and Janet Jackson's Superbowl antics needs to reevaluate their morals.