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Jesus Christ Superstar
review by Tony Medina
Running Time: 112 minutes
Starring Glenn Carter, Jerome Pradon, Renee Castle and
Music and Lyrics by: Andrew Lloyd Webber and Tim
Directed by: Gale Edwards
Retail Price: $29.99
Features: Making Of, Trailer, Production Notes, Cast
And Crew Bios
Specs: 1.78:1 Anamorphic Widescreen, English Dolby
Digital 5.1, French Dolby, Chapter Search
"What's the buzz?..." Well, I will tell you what's a
happening... How does "Jesus Christ Superstar" meets "Rent"
sound? After viewing this disc, I can honestly say that I
felt as though I were watching "Rent" with the Tim Rice and
Andrew Lloyd Webber Score to "Jesus Christ Superstar."
This production which was based on the successful UK Tour
and most recent Broadway Revival stars Glenn Carter as a
clean shaven Jesus in modern times.
The entire score is presented here in a modern but
faithful adaptation. No matter how many times you have heard
the score, you will notice some changes here and there and
in all honesty, they brighten up the already vivacious score
of the show.
The film was shot on a soundstage and while watching the
finished product, you feel as though you are sitting front
row center in the theatre.
As the film begins, we see a wall with various slogans
painted as graffiti from "hate" to "I Love Jesus" to "Jesus
is Cool" to "liberte" to "fascism" to "freedom." As the
camera pans, we see various militant and revolutionary
drawings on the wall as the police are marching through the
pillars attacking someone in the shadows. The police are
dressed in gear reminiscent of Darth Vader. As the overture
picks up, the cast climb down ladders and socialize with one
another while picking up a gun, writing graffiti on the wall
and symbolically showing fighting movements. The overture
finally comes to a conclusion when the cross which is fully
illuminated takes center stage. Right during this overture,
we can see that this is no historical telling of this story.
As the film opens, Judas dressed in a leather jacket and
a red t-shirt is strolling on the empty stage looking
distraught. As he begins the rock opera's first number
"Heaven on their Minds," Jesus is seen in the background.
Throughout this number, Jesus stands and looks at him in
distraught while a confused and angered Judas belts out what
will be the premise of the entire show in this opening song.
As Jesus, Glenn Carter gives a sympathetic performance
showing confusion, bewilderment and pain. Carter's portrayal
is extremely different from Ted Neeley's volcanic
performance. Where Ted reaches deep within, Glenn plays it
sympathetically and you truly feel for Jesus and we see a
human side to him.
As Judas, Jerome Pradon has a good sense of anger,
confusion and energy that offer a perfect balance between
Jesus' sympathy and Judas' Anger.
An interesting point I would like to mention is that in
many productions I have seen, you can feel the compassion
and anger between Judas and Jesus but in this production,
Edwards places a great emphasis between the ill feelings
between Mary and Judas. This can be seen in many scenes
throughout the film.
The disciples remind me of the cast of "Rent" in their
tank tops, jeans and casual wear.
A standout performance is given by Fred Johanson who
portrays Pontius Pilate. During Pilate's Dream, we see the
fear and uncertainty that he feels and you truly can see
that he fears that there will be a backlash that he will be
at the helm of.
The set is basically composed of steps and many pillars.
On the back of the set are levels which are utilized
throughout the performance. This is as modern as modern can
In all honesty, this particular production will take some
getting used to especially if you have seen Ted Neeley and
Carl Anderson on stage or in the 1973 Norman Jewison Film.
However, this is pure theatricality and is worth adding to
The Anamorphic Widescreen transfer of "Jesus Christ
Superstar" looked nice on a 16X9 screen. The colors were
generally lackluster and at times, a bit grainy especially
the reds. Throughout the film, there is a lot of pale flesh
color and this was on two different monitors. The transfer
has no noise that was relevant and is generally clear but
could be richer.
The DVD utilizes the Dolby Digital 5.1 Audio System and
makes good use of the rear speakers. The main vocals were
well stationed in the center channel. The mix sounded a bit
muddy and confusing in some passages but overall, the Dolby
Digital is used very cleverly especially at the end of the
film and during many musical numbers. The sound is rich in
Along with an interesting trailer and some info on the
cast and crew, we have a documentary on the making of the
film. In my opinion, watch the movie first and then view the
documentary. By doing so, you can go back and watch the film
and gain a different type of appreciation for the work.
With remakes a common scenario these days, it is nice to
have some classics bought back to life. This particular
production is in that category and relies more on modern
times eventhough Judas and Jesus are central characters.
This particular Superstar is more dark than previous
incarnations but, the same storyline is delivered through
the brilliant score. In short, give this DVD a look and you
might find yourself getting the buzz...
(3.5/5 - NOT included in
(3.5/5, NOT an average)