I saw this movie this past Sunday, and before I forget to post anything about it, I want to make a couple comments.
I think TIME put it best with the title "The goriest story ever told" (March 2004 issue). It is the goriest story ever told, and Mel Gibson made sure it was shown in full detail.
When Peter got his ear torn off, and seeing Jesus put it back on again, that set the tone for the entire movie. During the whipping scene, when they get out the whips with the metal claws on them, that was a rather visceral feeling when you heard them rip the thing out of his back, and saw the flesh fly (I wasn't ready for that one, and neither was the audience in the theatre). And then there was the spear at the end of the Crucifixion scene. This movie was bloody, and gory. Did it need to be? I don't know, but I think it was used for a purpose. And it did not hurt the film.
The Passion was bloody and gory, but I was expecting worse from what I had heard. Maybe it is because I have been desensitized by the media and Hollywood, but the blood and gore in this movie did not bother me.
The production values were very high, the costumes and sets were very nice. The small amount of effects shots were very good I thought. The spear scene at the end of the movie did not look great, but it was so bloody that most people were not scrutinizing it at all.
I thought the teachings and healing of the life of Jesus would have been a bigger part of the movie, but they were only short flash backs triggered during His torture through out the movie. The movie centralized on what happened after the Last Supper. But it was good that the movie did not go broader, the movie was not too long, not too short. It told enough of the story to tell the story well.
When we grow up and learn about Jesus and his life through Sunday School, church or what not, we see these carvings and stained glass windows of specific moments from His life. It was amazing seeing these scenes acted out, very closely I might add, to that of what we remember from church. I thought that was the best part of the movie.
Another shining point of this movie is the fact that, in my opinion, it was not so much propaganda as other 'Jesus" movies and shows have been. There were no cheesy beams of light, people were not falling over at the sight of Jesus. The story was treated very well, and it was not Hollywood-ized either. No one would want to see that either.