With moviegoers wanting to see what the fuss is all about, Mel Gibson’s new film has fulfilled its expectation of being a “must see” movie.
“The Passion of the Christ” has become a box office hit in the United States, bringing in more than $76 million in its debut.
The film, which opened in theaters Feb. 25, is Gibson’s interpretation of the last 12 hours of Jesus Christ’s life based on Gospel narratives using Hebrew, Latin and Aramaic dialogues with English subtitles.
In retelling the crucifixion of the Messiah, Gibson treads what has turned out to be thin ice in depicting Jesus of Nazareth’s accusers and his gory, R-rated death.
The Anti-Defamation League, a grouped launched in 1913 in response to rampant anti-Semitism and discrimination against Jews, want to make sure Gibson’s film does not send the wrong message.
“We cannot predict what impact Mel Gibson’s film will have on audiences,” said Abraham H. Foxman, national director of ADL. “But it is troubling that so many Americans already accept the notion of Jewish guilt. We are concerned that Mr. Gibson’s film will not only reinforce those views, but could exacerbate the problem by convincing even more people that his version of the story of the Crucifixion is Gospel truth.”
While a majority of the controversy surrounding this film comes from views within the Jewish community, Christians also have voiced their concerns.
“It’s about Christ and I want to see exactly how [Gibson] depicts him,” said Jameka Rogers, 18, a freshman general education student from Vero Beach.
Still, others who have seen the film said the movie was an accurate depiction.
“I think Mel Gibson did a good job interpreting the Gospels truthfully,” said 54-year-old Christian moviegoer Bonnie Dietz.
“I hope it wakes up the pew warmers,” said Dietz, a resident of Lanark Village.
Wanting to ensure that people understand the documented facts about the life and death of Jesus Christ before going to see the movie, members of Unity Baptist Church passed out fliers on campus and invited people to “come explore the evidence” and see “where history left off and Hollywood took over.”
“We were using the interest in ‘The Passion’ as an evangelism tool,” said Reggie Hutchins, the church’s minister.
Still, some said even if people are knowledgeable about the crucifixion of Christ it comes down to personal preferences.
“It’s a movie,” said Christy Bailey, a 20-year-old sophomore business student from Destin.
“If you don’t like it, don’t watch it.”
contact timothy shields at firstname.lastname@example.org.