The Second Coming of the Passion
by Phil Boatwright

The Passion of the Christ – Definitive Edition, a two-disc bonus package of Mel Gibson’s emotional impacting film, is set to be released by the newly created faith-based label Fox Faith on January 30, 2007. Packed with several commentaries, including a first ever with director Mel Gibson, it also includes enlightening “making of” segments and the alternative version of the film, Passion: Re-Cut. Priced at $26.98, Fox Faith plans on a comprehensive marketing program including national TV advertising, as well as targeting through Christian consumer media.

Back in 2004, after screenings of The Passion of the Christ, many reviewers were awestruck at the artistry and inventiveness with which Gibson’s company approached this oft-filmed story. Several had spotlighted one stunning visual effect that occurred after the death of Jesus. The audience was looking down on Golgotha, the three crosses prominent, hangers-on still in attendance. The camera’s bird’s-eye view took in the tableau, briefly becoming distorted, as if looking through water. Suddenly that optical illusion converted into a single teardrop falling to earth, signifying God’s pain. Then, as the droplet splashed against the ground, His wrath against evil set off an earthquake. Many referred to this episode as profound, claiming it gave a perspective of the Creator’s love for His Son and declaring what He was willing to sacrifice for mankind.

When asked why he wanted to tackle Christ’s story after its theatrical release, Mr. Gibson’s response was heartfelt. “I wanted to make one that was as realistic as possible; I wanted the audience to feel like they were really there, witnessing the events as they had actually happened. But at the same time it's hugely personal. I saw other film versions and I couldn't understand them, I couldn't believe them. Once I started meditating on the Passion, really going deep into it in my own mind and heart, then I began to understand it, to believe: that's the version I put on film.”

Synopsis: At 142 minutes, the film focuses on the last twelve hours of Jesus of Nazareth’s life. The film begins in the Garden of Gethsemane where Jesus has gone to pray after the Last Supper. Jesus must resist the temptations of Satan. Betrayed by Judas Iscariot, Jesus is then arrested and taken within the city walls of Jerusalem, where leaders of the Pharisees confront him with accusations of blasphemy and his trial results in a condemnation to death. From there, the physical and mental torment Jesus the man endured as He makes his way to the cross and into history is portrayed.

Caution, the film is rated R and due to the prevalent violence, it is unsuitable for children (a depiction of a demon is startling and the creepiness of Satan’s appearance is eerie; the film becomes graphic with the beating and execution of Jesus, but Gibson wisely cuts to past moments in Christ’s life to help us cope with the brutality; due to the adult subject matter, the film is unsuitable for children or immature teens).

One of the ten greatest money makers of all time (an estimated $611 million worldwide), The Passion of the Christ speaks to both Christians and those seeking a spiritual awakening.