catapult magazine

catapult magazine


The Last Temptation of Mad Max


Mar 18 2004
02:46 pm

I haven’t seen this thing, and I’m not sure if I will. Maybe on video. I’ll be honest that I’m skeptical of it, but mostly I am sick of the hype and the arguments, and I am satisfied with not being able to have an opinion on it.
I’m curious as to why this was so big, even before it came out (it obviously wasn’t a sleeper hit). The Gospel of John came out a few months ago, and this was a film financed by evangelicals, faithfully followed the Gospels, and was actually released in theaters. Why didn’t the national Christan media culture get behind that and make it a blockbuster as well as The Passion? It’s an honest question. For those of you who have seen The Passion, do you think it was so popular because it was flashier and had more violence, basically more sensational? Or was it because it was an excuse to fight against the New York Secularist Leftist Jews who were not a fan of Gibson’s conseravtive standpoint? Or was it because The Passion was specifically about personal salvation from sin, which of course would appeal to the mainstream Chrisitan culture? I’m not asking why it might be better, rather more popular.
I ask this because i was thinking back to other Christ movies I’ve seen and thinking about what they were actually about beyond the story of Jesus. There’s Last Tempation of Christ, which is a whole different ball of wax, but there’s also The Gospel According to St. Matthew. It’s quite good, very simple, and extraordinarily faithful to the source (there wasn’t even a script, just the gospel). It’s probably one that a lot of Christians haven’t seen, and I think it would be fun to screen it for a bunch of Christians, get their reaction, and then tell them that it was made by an atheist, Marxist, homosexual.
Jesus, in this film, is not tall, not particularly good looking, nor constantly smiling dreamily as if in some Zen-like trance. He’s more firey, dirty, and angry. You start to remember that Christ was talking about the poor, widowed, and the orphaned, not just metaphorically. He also spoke about economics, not just personal salvation.
And who wants to hear about that?
Is that perhaps an accurate assement of why The Passion was so popular, supposedly “the best evangalizing tool in 2000 years,” or what ever that quote was? It seems to be completely attuned with the national Christian media culture obsessed with the apocoplyse, battles between angels and demons, and general sensationalism.