I haven’t jumped on the Passion of the Christ bandwagon yet, the “controversial” movie directed by Mel Gibson about Jesus Christs last days before being crucified. Since I haven’t seen it I can’t tell you whether it is a good or bad movie, though I’ve heard from both sides. What does bug the hell out of me about this movie is the tacky marketing that has followed the release of the film. Not only can you see the movie you can now drink from the OFFICIAL coffee mug (I’m surprised they didn’t call it the Holy Coffee Grail). Or maybe you’d like to show your devotion for Christ (or the holy gods of Hollywood) by wearing an AUTHENTIC Nail pendant, so you too can pretend you were there when Jesus was crucified. Do you occasionally forget why Christ died on the cross? Well you don’t have to with your OFFICIAL Passion Witness Cards, which reminds you why he died and also gives you pray suggestions! Plus coming soon – music inspired by the Passion of the Christ featuring the hottest singers of this century including Beyonce and many others.
I find this blatant marketing of religion indespicable. If I were a Christian I wouldn’t stand for it. I realize it is Mel Gibson and Hollywood trying to make money. I realize that is the way Hollywood (and the world) works. Even so if I was religious I would take offense that my religion was being used as a money making device. I also think this blatant marketing reduces the potential for the film at least in my mind and taints the personal impact the film could have on me. The only item being sold I don’t have a problem with is the book since I don’t see that as stretching the limits of acceptability.
When I think back to other movies that have had an impact on the way I think of the past (like Schindler’s List or Saving Private Ryan) I don’t remember them being marketed like this movie is. They were great movies by themselves and I didn’t need to run out and buy the official “bullet necklace” or “star of david pendant” because I left the movie with more than any souvenir could give me, plus it would have cheapened the experience into another capitalist money grab from the director and the movie industry. It would make me suspect that the director didn’t create this story for the benefit of the audience but for the benefit of his or her bank account.
Again these are just my thoughts. Let me know what you think about this and if you’ve seen the movie let me know what you think of it.