Top positive review
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Let's children see what they've been taught--somber but family-friendly
on September 30, 2005
The Animated Passion is exactly what parents of faith hope and expect it to be: Mel Gibson's Passion, minus the gore, and with greater emphasis on the Resurrection. Ironically, this Passion predates the R-rated one by several years.
We all know the story, so the questions for such a production are: Age appropriateness, tone, and overall quality. Our children are five and three, so we struggled with whether to show this to them or not. The five year old knows that "Jesus died for our sins" and "Lives in my heart." So, we tried. She cried through the saddest parts, but more in the way we adults did with Gibson's version--not out of trauma, but just utter sadness. Originally, we planned to show the Passion portion one night, and the Acension the next. However, for younger children, it is important that they see victory--or at least the Resurrection, after the crucifixion. We did not want them going to bed with Jesus having died and not yet risen! Bottom-line: Unless your child is mature and well-versed in the stories of Jesus, it's probably best to hold off on this one until seven or eight. Also, parents really need to watch this with their children, and be ready to answer questions.
The tone of this animation was balanced and appropriate. There was great sadness. No one category of people (i.e. Jews or Romans) were scapegoated. The story is not sugar-coated simply because it is for children. Yet, there is hope, and Jesus' suffering is mixed with his sense of purpose and determination.
The Animated Passion's quality was quite good as well. While this appears to have been produced by a smallish company, great care and thought went into to the work.
Recommendation: Parents will do well to show this to children seven and above. Five and six year olds might have the maturity and background to appreciate the Animated Passion. Viewers will find a movie of standard quality, but one done with care. There is a sacredness, hopefulness, and yet somberness that permeates the film. This is a definite rent recommendation--and a probable buy, since it is a story Christians want to hear again and again!