FOX has released Mel Gibson's controversial, "THE PASSION OF THE CHRIST" on blu-ray, with both the theatrical and less graphic revised cut, available on the same disc. Whatever one's opinion of the film, one can't dispute Gibson's skill as a director(for the most part). As with "BRAVEHEART," his film offers some breath-taking imagery and a powerful atmosphere. Still, as was the case with "BRAVEHEART," he seems unable to quell his desire for going so over-the-top in some sequences, that the final impact to some otherwise stunning sequences is unintentionally embarrassing at times. A perfect example of this is visible in the scene with Barrabas. While the scene begins with a pageantry that draws the viewer in, almost magically, Gibson ruins it completely by displaying the criminal, Barrabas, with a look that makes Lon Chaney's Hunchback, feel completely normal by comparison. As far as the anger by jewish groups that the film is anti-semetic,....? Well, even if one can completely overlook the director's obvious anti-semtic rants occurring during a DWI, years later, there's never a scene, featuring actors outside of Jesus' inner circle, of Jews, that doesn't feature the hook-nose, salivating stereotypes found in anti-semetic propaganda found in all nazi pamphlets. It's disingenuous, at best, to contend that the film doesn't have anti-semetic underpinnings, as much as the tale of Jesus, calls for love of one's neighbor.
It's a shame that Gibson didn't choose to delve more into the kinds of scenes of pure brilliance popping up sporadically, as in Jesus' ride into the city on donkey back, or of his drawing a line in the sand, wherein the would be executioners of a prostitute drop their stones. These scenes are undeniably beautiful, powerful, and show promise for a much greater message and of a film that could've been an undeniably great film, rather than one that merely offers moments of greatness.
FOX has provided the correct 2.35:1 aspect ratio for this 1080p/AVC MPEG-4 blu-ray. Gibson's compositions inherently bring less than ideal detail in some sequences, particularly at night, wherein the blue tint of the design, leaves other color levels almost muted. However, the brighter moments look terrific and the costumes, as well as background and actors exhibit consistently stellar definition. There are some minor instances of grain and softness becoming annoying, but, for the most part, "PASSION" looks terrific!
FOX has provided a DTS-HD Master Audio 5.1 mix. While it's not an action-style aggressive mix, surround and subtle ambient effects, create a completely immersive environment. Since Gibson likes over-the-top so much, the overly dramatic punctuations of discrete effects, suits much of the film perfectly. Dialogue and music are perfectly balanced. It's an extremely entertaining mix.
This 2 disc set offers the film versions on disc one, along with five separate commentaries. Some of each commentary offered, is alternatively captivating and entertaining. However, they all become a bit tedious with much of the film left.
Disc two offers numerous documentaries and featurettes, and while bits and
pieces are worthwhile, these too, become dull after a while. Still, it's hard to
argue that this presentation isn't loaded.