Thursday, March 23, 2006

Mel Gibson and the Passion Crowd


I've thought about blogging about the movie Apocalypto ever since I heard about it earlier in the year...

So when I read the Time article today I had to share some thoughts on this movie by Mel Gibson spoken completly in the Mayan languange of Yucatan, (with novice hispanic actors), tells the story of...well...you go to the films website and watch the preview or read the really dumb plot description of the movie and you tell me.

The Mel Gibson angle of this film is very interesting to me largely because this is Mel's follow up to The Passion of Jesus Christ. When Gregory Ellwood did his 2006 preview earlier this year on MSN he says: Disney is hoping a good percentage of the "Passion" audience comes out and catches Gibson's latest endeavor. Without any obvious religious tie-in, will enough of them bite for anyone to make their money back?

And at that point I thought...I don't think this movie will attract Mel Gibson's Passion audience as much as it would attract his Braveheart audience. Sure both The Passion of Jesus Christ and Apocalpto occur in past times in foreign places and in foriegn languages but how many conservative Christian families packed up to the theaters with the friends, families and bible study groups to watch the rated-R movie, Passion.

Where as these same families, friends and Bible studies probably will not venture out to see a very violent movie about Mayan civilization with a whole bunch of almost naked people running around.

The Time article by Tim Padgett says: After all, devout Christians willing to sit through Latin and Aramaic dialogue to see Christ crucified vastly outnumber Maya scholars. Gibson seems certain that the film's "kinetic energy" will make Maya language and culture "cool" enough to attract a crowd.

Now I'm not saying this film won't do well...verdict is still out there. But churches of the world, please don't promote this movie and encourage us to support Mel Gibson.

I read an interesting post on Looking Closer Journal (Jeffrey Overstreet) that talked about conservative Christians were beginning to distance themselves from Mel as he makes comments that are not in favor with right-wing conservative politics and non-supporting of president George W. Bush.

And I can only imagine that some Christians would not believe it when they read the Time Article and see that Gibson is quoted saying: "After what I experienced with The Passion, I frankly don't give a flying f___ about much of what those critics think."

Those couldn't be words out of good ol' Christian Mel could they...not the same movie who made that beautiful film about Jesus' final hours. But this apparently isn't rare for chain spoking Mel who the article compares to a Quintin Terintino character.

All this to say, I'll be very interested to see how Apocolypto does and to what degree the Christian community comments and interacts with this film. I knew the time would come when Mel Gibson's reputation would be up at stake in the Christian community, and for awhile I had heard rumors of him doing a movie about the Hasmonean Revolt from the 1 Macabees in the Apocrypha...this also would have isolated his protestant fans...oh the challenges of being a Celebrity embraced by Christians for a season.

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6 comments:

Lesley said...

you know, it's sad that the christian "community"--that is, the group of squeaky-wheel church goers who don't accurately represent the views of all christians (or of Jesus, for that matter)--has adopted this "you're either for us or against us" mentality. like, you can make a beautiful film and we'll sing your praises, but say a curse word or criticize George W. and you're not going to heaven. remind me--which chapter and verse of the gospels mandates that we all be republican?

i love the issues you bring up.

kojak said...

Just to leave my 2 cents, I think the film, the Passion of the Christ was fantastic. Sure there are a couple down points, but overall, I think he did a good job. It takes guts to make a movie like this.

JW said...

I didn't enjoy The Passion of the Christ just because it seemed to me to be a more or less two hour long torture scene. I find it amazing as a cultural phenomena though.

I am predicting "Apocalypto" to be the Failed Historical Epic Movie of the Summer like "Troy" or "Kingdom of Heaven" (although I hear the director's cut of the latter, which I have not seen, is actually pretty good).

Recovering said...

Screw the "Christian" crowd. The only people bringing the Christian community into the discussion about this movie is the media who is trying to pick a fight.

They know us well enough to know that Church People can't resist being judgemental, legalistic, and publically antagonistic about anything that doesn't meet their narrow pharisean standards.

I can't wait to see the movie and refuse to have an opinion about it until I do. I feel increasingly bad for Evangelicals and other Church People who's world is so small.

Captain B said...

I don't believe it is Gibson's intent to target any specific crowd. He sees a good story and makes the movie. The Mayan's are one of the great civilizations that have never been touched on. There is a story there, and it has nothing to do with modern religion or modern politics. The history buffs and the tourists who have visited the Mayan ruins of Central America will love it. If Gibson is able to translate the eerie mystery of the ancient Mayan people to the audience, he'll have a hit.

Sian said...

It sounds like an interesting film, the Mayan culture is fascinating. Mel Gibson is certainly not afraid to take a leap of faith and make a film that he believes is worth making, regardless of negative opinion or criticism. Good luck to him I say.

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