It’s the story of Jesus one more time (stop me if you’ve already heard it), in this instance seenthrough the eyes of Judas (Johnathon Schaech). Enraged by the oppression of his people, Judasis a would-be revolutionary who believes he sees in Jesus the leader he has been hoping for, onewho will lead the Jews in a revolt against the Romans. He is increasingly disillusioned by Jesus’lack of commitment to armed resistance, and the bitter disappointment he feels ultimately leads…o the famous betrayal.
Bad guys are always the more interesting characters, and the premise of this telefilm is aninteresting one, with Judas as a tragic figure. At 89 minutes, the film clips along, but sometimesdoes so in too choppy a fashion. Some seriously cheesy CGI (which would not be out of placein South Park: Bigger, Longer and Uncut) ruins the big crowd scenes (and especially themass crucifixion at the opening), but the real problem is the script, which combinescontemporary vernacular with dumbed down Biblical verse. The result sounds like the NewTestament as translated by Tony Soprano. And what’s with the illuminated bar table in the lastsupper scene? Jonathan Scarfe’s Jesus also comes across as a rather naive, overly well-fed whiteboy.
The 2.0 sound has a pretty active surround component, which gets a particularly strongworkout with both the music and crowd scenes. The overall clarity is not perfect, however, asthere is some unfortunate distortion when it comes to the dialogue.
The picture (fullscreen, naturally) has nice colours and excellent flesh tones. The blacks aregood too, but some of the darker scenes are afflicted with pixelation. There are a couple of grainydaytime shots as well. There is some visible edge enhancement, and in other cases the edges ofdistant objects tend to shimmer slightly. Otherwise, the image is decently sharp, thoughunspectacular.
Entertaining, I guess, but too often the story topples over into camp. The whole Judas story,complete with political currents, was handled with much more aplomb in The King ofKings.