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Jesus Christ Superstar [Blu-ray]
Format: Blu-ray|Change
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on November 7, 2015
The review of Yvonne Elliman's 'Best Of' CD and the fact that she actually got her hallowed start portraying 'Mary Magdalene' in Anderew Lloyd Webber and Tim Rice's concept album Rock/Opera "Jesus Christ Superstar" which subsequently became a hit musical on Broadway and an extremely well-made film by Norman Jewison circa1973 (the acclaimed director had two-years earlier made the quintessential film-version of the amazing musical reflecting the joys & heartbreaks of East-European Jewish shtetl Life = "Fiddler on the Roof" in 1971) = prompted me to rewatch this movie on AMAZON instant video recently and I was greatly impressed as this filmed-version of "Jesus Christ Superstar" was even better (and more moving & impactful) than I had remembered since first seeing this on VHS in the mid-1980's

"Jesus Christ Superstar" was certainly a monumental creative undertaking = beginning as Rock/Opera 'concept' album in 1969 which was really a collection of songs capturing key episodes in the life of Jesus Christ heavily featuring character of Judas Iscariot not as any kind of pure villain - but as the philosophical counterpoint to Jesus himself = not a ready or eager 'believer' but a vigorous questioner and skeptic-cynic constantly warning Jesus that his unquestioning belief (that he is the true Messiah) and his growing number of devoted followers will no doubt raise the retaliatory ire of those established-ensconced powers that will most certainly view Jesus as a mortal-threat to their unchallenged rule.

All the songs and melodies with Words by Tim Rice (inspired by the New Testament of course) and Music by Andrew Lloyd Webber are greatly-memorable, very effective in telling the story and delineating the characters, and ultimately tremendously emotionally moving. Ted Neely seems authentic as Jesus = portraying Jesus with calm-tranquility, self reflection and inner-strength that evokes the sense of genuine enlightenment ==> but Neely is also capable of conveying Jesus' rage-wrath lashing-out against injustice especially in the scene where Jesus rails against the unremitting avarice of the moneychangers and violently overturns their market tables + but also when he rages against Judas for accusing Mary Magdalene of being a negative-influence that should depart his presence, and finally when he confronts/reveals Judas' plans for betrayal towards finale.

As mentioned many of the songs & melodies by Lloyd-Webber and Rice are quite moving & indelibly impactful = communicating the sense of intensity & tension between Jesus and Judas (as friends who inexorably become adversaries even enemies for a time) and the sense of devotion and Love that Mary Magdalene has for Jesus, even when she doesn't know exactly how to fully-express her inner feelings (Yvonne Elliman's vocals and acting authentically portray this tenuous and ultimately tragic relationship and her song "I Don't know how to Love Him" is powerfully moving and perhaps one of the absolute finest vocal performances ever captured on film)

I was way to young to see this when it first came to theaters - I first watched this on VHS in the mid-80's - and I recently re-watched on AMAZON instant video.

Two additional points: in reading some older historical-reviews when this film was first released in 1973 it seems that the two major criticisms of the time were that: 1) Judas was portrayed as the only major Black character in the film; and 2) some thought the story-line had shades of anti-Semitism because it appeared the Jewish populace was in favor of Jesus' crucifixion.

After watching this film again, my own comments would be that Carl Anderson's performance of 'Judas Iscariot' is so amazingly powerful, intelligent and dignified that as mentioned before he comes across as much more of an ultimate skeptic, cynic and eternal questioner (as opposed to outright villain) = Judas here seems to truly admire Jesus and even his message and is utterly remorseful once realizing the grave error of his actions toward finale; on point 2) I cannot believe that director Norman Jewison would ever intend to add anti-Semitic elements to this story = Jewison had just directed the incredible film-version of "Fiddler on the Roof" two years prior which presented a completely sympathetic and wholly-understanding-empathic view of Jewish shtetl Life (both its great joys & tragedies) and "Fiddler" remains one of the best and most popular movies (to this Day) reflecting on the Yiddish experience in Eastern-Europe. Also, all movies about Jesus show to varying degrees that the temple 'Pharisees' were of course partly to blame for Jesus' hand-over to the Romans, but it is always critical to remember that Jesus lived as a Jew (among the Jewish community) for his entire life on Earth (and most of his original followers were Jews themselves) - and it has also been historically-documented that the very early Christian & Jewish communities lived in relative harmony and shared a number of customs and even celebrations together (early on = at least during the first few Centuries AD)

Note: another important element that warrants this film 5-Stars is the beautiful and absolutely-stunning photography filmed entirely on location in Israel, by cinematographer Douglas Slocombe (who later served as Steven Spielberg's chosen cinematographer on the first two 'Indiana Jones' movies)
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on February 3, 2016
Ever since I was introduced to this movie I was determined to keep it in my collection of favorites of Christine. It is now 2016 and this movie is now celebrating its 40th year. That's loyalty. I've looked at many movies in my 54years and I only remember 2 others , "Gone with the Wind" and "San Francisco. I was young when both were on the TV and it was the buildings burning in both movies that made me cry. The epic movies always just blown me away such as the "Ten Commandments." By the way "Fiddler on the Roof" was a 4 also. I don't do 5's. There is flaws in every film.
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on February 22, 2016
Case was cheap, picture quality was weak, sound quality was no where near high def.
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on January 30, 2016
The only movie version worth watching. If you have never seen JC Superstar, it offers up some fantastic rock n roll and a remarkable performance. You don't have to believe (I don't) to love it.
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on December 28, 2013
J C Superstar is one of my favorite films. In fact I had the DVD, but now I can watch it in Blu-Ray. The only "but" that I dislike is that in the Jesus Christ Superstar- 40 Anniversary [Blu-ray] the volume level is too low. I have to increase the volume in my home theatre almost at 38 for listening like I used to do it in my DVD version. In the DVD the range of volume was 20. But in the other hand everything else is fantastic. The movie, the sharpness is really very, very good. Oh. some other comment. I was really surprised of the delivery. It was really fast. So thanx for that.
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on February 24, 2016
The acting, singing, dancing, drama come across better than ever in this Special Edition DVD. It has to be one of the most successful transition from Broadway to the cinema!
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on February 4, 2016
The only problem with this movie is that we can't stop humming the tunes. And your thumb can get tired when you have to keep backing up to watch the King Herod scenes again.
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on October 12, 2017
Just gorgeous. There are so many beautiful details that are visible in the Blu-Ray that I never noticed before on my previous VHS and DVD copies.
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on February 4, 2017
I saw the movie after Vietnam and the wood stock movie its great and also have the son GOD AND RISEN
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on October 26, 2014
I love the music and singing but got confused by intertwining the biblical story with more modern devises such as jet planes, tanks and references to Israel not having mass communications in 4 BC. Maybe I should just stick with music and avoid this visual mishmash.
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