W&G

Oct. 19th, 2005 01:59 pm
yrieithydd: (Wyddor)
[livejournal.com profile] emperor and I are planning on going to the 21:50 showing this evening. Others welcome. I've not booked. Maybe I should?
yrieithydd: (Wyddor)
It has come to my attention that there is a film of Wallace and Gromit newly released. It strikes me that a trip to watch this film would be a good plan.™ Who is interested? And when are we free?
I was amused by my tendency to think 'it wasn't like that in the book' as that is my standard response in films of books I've read (as those who had the pleasure (or should that be misfortune) to see the first Harry Potter film with me know), but this wasn't that pronounced!

The prayer in Gethsamane was reasonable. The devil was a bit overdone I think, although the snake appearing from the devil and being trodden on as Jesus moved back to the disciples was a well-placed reference. It then deteriorated. The arrest was too violent. Yes, Malchus' ear was cut off (which happened in the film although it wasn't clear whether it was actually healed), but in my reading of the gospel accounts that was the only blow. He came quietly without the fisticuffs which meant that one of Jesus' eyes was closed from early on.

On to the High Priest's. This was a bit odd in places. Why were a crowd assembled here? I thought it was only servants who were around with Peter. The also compressed all three denials into one chunk rather than spacing them out through the night.

The trial, Pilate to Herod and back, seemed reasonable. It showed that Pilate was trying to keep the peace above everything else. Then the scourging. It was send as they left 'punish him, don't kill him'. Well, they seemed determined to do the latter. At this point I regretted my knowledge of Latin as they counted the strokes and said harder (which weren't subtitled). 'Satis' (enough) was said a few times. The first time when Jesus started to stand (and this after 32 IIRC blows) they started again. I was amazed when this bit finally came to an end that he was still alive.

Back to Pilate for the final part of the trial. I noted the lack of a subtitled line of 'Let his blood be upon us and upon our children', but that something unsubtitled was shouted at that point, as this seemed pertinent to the whole 'anti-semitic' debate. Reading about this elsewhere, it seems that that shout was indeed that line and that in someplaces it is subtitled. Barabbas was released and Jesus condemned.

The next section owed much to the stations of the cross. I don't think we had the greeting of the women of Jerusalem but the others up to the 13th (taking down of the body) were there. The image left on Veronica's (headscarf in this case) was actually plausible given how bloody his face was at this point. Simon of Cyrene was good. At the crucifixion, there was a bizarre moment when the unrepentent thief was attacked by a raven. I also wondered why the headboard only had Latin and Aramaic on it; I know these were the languages used in the film, but scripture records that Greek was there too (and I wanted to grin about the fact I could read it!).

I mentioned we got to the thirteenth station. It then went black and we shifted to the tomb, but not to the laying in the tomb (the fourteenth station) but to empty (but unfolded) grave clothes and a clean faced man 'waking up' (well that's what it reminded me of). This was interesting a) because I'd heard that the resurrection wasn't included and b) the fact that this was Passion Sunday and the fact that the structure was owing much to the Stations, I was actually glad that it wasn't going to be there. I dislike the recent tendency to make the Resurrection the 15th station of the cross because the stations are a Passiontide (or Lenten) devotion, and we haven't got there yet. Yes, the Resurrection is crucial (and I think we tend to underplay it in the west - I noticed how much it was mentioned at Orthodox Vespers) but to get to it too soon bypasses so much. Given that this film seems very much to have been an act of devotion by a traditionalist Catholic (rather than an evangelistic one), the omission of the Resurrection made sense. What we got in the end was odd.

My overridding impression was that I was amazed that I'd heard beforehand was that evangelicals were praising it (and no exceptions to this). I was amazed by this because I was struck how Catholic it was and my experience of evangelicals has primarily been with people who don't think Catholics are Christians (this is only a subset of evangelicals) and I didn't think that they'd be impressed. It was partly things like the use of the stations of the cross, some of which, like Veronica, are non-scriptural, and also there positioning and choice of flashbacks, such that we got the institution of the Eucharist during the crucifixion. When I got home, I started catching up on the ship-of-fools and found a hell thread entitled 'idiotic evangelical nonsense' which intrigued me. Reading it, it pointed to an article from such a group of evangelicals saying why evangelicals shouldn't watch the film. The first three didn't surprise me at all. The 4th (preaching is the only valid means of communicating the gospel) and 5th (no visuals) did however, although they do fit with wider concerns I've heard from certain evangelicals who do put a very heavy emphases on 'verbal proclamation'. The fifth shows much ignorance of the arguments surrounding the use of icons. It quotes a date for a condemnation of images, but does not mention the refutation of this position because of the logic of the incarnation.

On the gore - it was too gory and violent. Christ was barely able to speak when he was on the cross and he didn't really come across as a person. At times he was just there to be hit.

On anti-semiticism - if one wanted to read it in, it would be possible, but the Romans come of very badly and use of Aramaic reminds people that the 'good guys' are Jews too.

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