Well, your friendly neighborhood blogger is sick. You already knew that you say? Not that kind of sick! I’ve been aching and cold for most of the day, and keep falling asleep.
That said I did manage to slink over to the couch and pop in a Netflix DVD—Jesus Christ Super Star:2000.
Maybe its my illness, but the flick stunk/maybe my heart just goes all aflutter for the hippie rendition of 1973, but the 2000 version didn’t feel right.
In 2000 Jesus and his disciples aren’t very likable. They’re brooding and cynical. They all look like they could be out of an Ambercrombie catalogue. There is no comradely or love expressed between any of them. They’re all too busy posing and giving one another snotty and hurt looks. Even Mary Mag’s “I don’t know how to love him” is focused on the line “I’ve had so many men before.” Part of the tragedy of JCSS is the break down of friendship and hope into disillusionment, betrayal, and ultimately crucifixion. None of that was present in 2000.
Speaking of dark and brooding… if you think the disciples are bad you should see the Council and the Romans. They look like storm troopers, all decked out in black and often masked. Here’s the problem though, “the Jews” are also dressed in all black (trench coats and fedoras for the men and burka-ish things for the women).
Why is this a problem? Well, you can’t really tell them apart. Part of the tension in JCSS is that there are clearly four factions, Jesus’ band, the Romans, the Council, and the average Jew. The average Jew sort of waffles and could be described as morally ambiguous, first joining Jesus on his triumphant entry into Jerusalem, then latter shouting for him to be killed. No such tension in 2000. In 2000 the Romans are storm troopers in black, the Council are storm troopers in black (minus military insigia), and the average Jew are basically secret police. In fact they don’t participate in Jesus’ entry into Jerusalem (only the Ambercrombie crew do that).
Worse still, when Pilate decides to flog Jesus it’s the average Jew who flogs him… literally “the blood is on their hands.” Anyone who knows any history of passion plays and the unfortunate anti-Semitic use of this particular trope knows that this ain’t good.
Also the set is SO dark. I get that they are putting Jesus into a fascist world and therefore it needs to be dark, but some of the JCSS music just doesn’t fit with dark and brooding.
Also Jesus actually seems a little bored with the whole process at times, for example when he visits Herod.