Cinema Sweetheart's Rating: 5 out of 10
Director: Gale Edwards, Nick Morris
Starring: Glenn Carter, Jerome Pradon, Renee Castle
Rated: Not Rated
Genre: Musical, Religious
Run Time:107 minutes
Other Versions: Jesus Christ Superstar (1973)
Based off of Andrew Lloyd Webber's famous "rock opera" of the same name, Jesus Christ Superstar is an epic musical production. The story details the last week of Jesus' (Carter) life through the eyes of Judas Iscariot (Pradon), his best friend and right-hand man, who will later betray him. Although a delight to watch, this movie is filled with Biblical inaccuracies, portraying Jesus as a self-centered, ignorant young man who has allowed his new-found popularity to go to his head, while Judas is the level-headed apostle who tries to keep him on the right path. The setting is more modern than its 1973 counterpart, with revolutionaries and gangs instead of hippies.
I enjoyed this movie, however, there were quite a few things that bothered me. First of all, I don't agree with how Jesus was portrayed as naive, oblivious, and a conceited drama queen. Plus, I was not a fan of how they overly sexualized his relationship with Mary Magdalene. Also, Carter has a wonderful voice, but he launched into falsetto tones far too many times, and at parts that didn't need falsetto. The chief priests, especially Annas (Michael Shaeffer), besides looking like a cross between The Matrix and the Spanish Inquisition, were absolutely demonic (but wonderful), making it nearly impossible to understand why Judas would go to them to betray his friend.
Speaking of Judas, I have to say that next to Ben Vereen, Jerome Pradon is my favorite Judas. His performance is powerful, moving, and emotional, making the viewer really sympathise with him. I loved his role, and honestly, Pradon made the movie for me.
All in all, an okay movie. Not the best I have seen, but enjoyable, and reminiscent of Donny Osmand's Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat. Although, I have to say that I preferred Godspell to Jesus Christ Superstar. However, if you enjoy the works of Andrew Lloyd Webber, I would say that this film is worth it. If musicals really aren't your thing, then I'd suggest looking for a different movie.