Jesus Christ Superstar (Widescreen)
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The stage spectacular makes a stunning debut on DVD! Tim Rice and Andrew Lloyd Webber's Jesus Christ Superstar is now available to own for the first time ever. When it exploded on the scene in 1970, Jesus Christ Superstar changed the way the world watched musicals. At last, the phenomenon has been filmed especially for DVD, so you can see one of the world's best-loved soundtracks come amazingly to life. Powerful performances of Jesus Christ Superstar an unforgettable extravaganza you can't afford to miss!
Before Andrew Lloyd Webber took over Broadway with his operatic productions and Tim Rice tossed in his lot with Disney's animated musicals, they were the young turks of musical theater and their rock opera Jesus Christ Superstar was their calling card. Director Gale Edwards's 1999 stage revival, which became the basis for this video production (also available on CD), takes the show out of ancient Jerusalem to an indeterminate mix of modern New York (complete with graffiti-scrawled walls and T-shirt garbed disciples) and timeless Rome. The grandly abstract sets, rainbow lighting, and striking costumes are more theater than cinema, but like the previous made-for-video Lloyd Webber-Rice production Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat, the enormous soundstages give the director free reign to combine the mediums.
The setting folds fascism, intolerance, and revolution into a portrait out of time, robbing the play of its powerful historical grounding but injecting it with energy and insight. As Christ, Glenn Carter (who played the role in the 2000 Broadway revival) flashes his anger and rolls his eyes at Judas (Jerome Pradon) but cannot deny the truths of Judas's fears: "Every word you say today gets twisted 'round some other way." As Christ sees his cult of personality overtake his message and struggles with the fears of his sacrifice, he reaches within for faith and forgiveness, giving the show the spiritual dimension it so often lacks.
It's an entertaining, thoughtful, and well-sung production. Edwards avoids the tepidity of Norman Jewison's solemn 1973 film, driving forward with energetic editing and swooping cameras, and guided at all times by the dramatic, exhilarating score. --Sean Axmaker --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.
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Top Customer Reviews
Is it ejoyable for those who only know the '73 movie?. Well, I kinda liked it. My guess is that if you love the play, you'll like this DVD, because it's all about the songs and the play. But certainly, I cannot say that, as a whole, this DVD is better than the old movie.
The "modernized" enviroment is intended, I guess, to give the play an "updated" feeling. JCS for the new generations. But the street looks of the stage, the grafittis, the Nazi/Darth Vader-like costumes of the authorities and guards, and other elements, compromise compatibility. I mean, the message of Jesus Christ is universal, but the time and place in which events took place were unique. More than updated, the historical facts look out of place.
OK, maybe it's just a false impression. Some would argue that the '73 movie version had the same flaws, with, among other things, roman guards in jeans and construction helmets. But since the movie was filmed in locations close to the originals in place and looks, details like modern costumes were easier to overlook.
Regarding the voices, most of the singers are wonderful. I was specially impressed by Tony Vincent (Simon), Fred Johanson (Pilate) (by the way, he sounds so much like the judge in The Trial, in Pink Floyd's The Wall), and Renee Castle (Mary Magdalene). But the leads...Read more ›
To those of you unfamiliar with the plot of Jesus Christ Superstar (JCS), well... that sounds quite implausible, but still... if you have no idea what the story of Jesus Christ is, all you have to do is read the Bible, or head out to watch Passion of the Christ. JCS chronicles the last few days, or perhaps hours of Jesus of Nazareth's life, through the point of view of the betrayer, Judas Iscariot.
Yes, this is what makes the storyline somewhat distinct from other movies/plays based on the story of Jesus. Andrew Lloyd Webber's musical sees Jesus through the eyes of Judas, and explores Judas's character, while at the same time, helping the audience to speculate why Judas would betray someone he loved so much.
The cast here is outstanding. Glenn Carter is superb as Jesus, partly because he bears some resemblance to his character. Renee Castle is a great singer, though her voice is a little feeble and is reminiscent of Brandy. Jerome Pradon gets the thumbs-up for his performance as Judas. His interpretation of Judas's character shows us a man who is torn between his love for Jesus and his wisdom. Although Jerome is hardly a great singer, he is an outstanding actor. And his great performance is what makes the film so enjoyable. Rik Mayall is wonderful as King Herod. He has the right mischievous air, coupled with the malice he exudes.
Indeed, it is the cast that holds this performance together. The musical itself, to me, is hardly as strong as what Andrew Lloyd Webber could have offered. The music has not enough lilts to engross viewers. I would not classify this musical as one of the greatest in the world for this reason. Such a great story deserves a stronger musical score to bring forth its greatness.
Most recent customer reviews
excellent picture and sound ,I liked this version as much as the film......Published 14 months ago by Mark Stanton
This version resets the story in a more modern vernacular. And it works well. By leaving behind the "hippy dippy" setting of 70s version, this production makes the story... Read morePublished on Feb. 11 2008 by grant corriveau
That's all. Disappointing from the beggining. New arrangements, ciber-punk fashioned people, and a cast that really works... until Jesus starts to act. My god! Read morePublished on June 9 2004 by Abraham Romo
The first time I saw this musical was a few years ago at an outdoor theater on Montery, CA. It was a traditional interpretation of the show, and I absolutely loved it!!! Read morePublished on May 9 2004 by K. Cassada
I'm sorry I may be the minority who preferred the 70s version, maybe I'm getting old and sentimental. Read morePublished on April 26 2004 by r10623
This version is the best I have seen. It was inspiring and just plain amazing. Glenn Carter as Jesus was powerful beyond words and was supported by a very talented cast. Read morePublished on April 19 2004 by Crazy reader
...and also about the actor who played Judas. Hey everyone! It's me again, the girl who the review entitled "Perfect" don't worry I will always believe that. Read morePublished on April 15 2004
Short and simple. The first video was great but there is NO comparison! ALL the actors have and unbelievable about of passion and power. The 1st version was flat and unfeeling. Read morePublished on April 11 2004 by Mr. X
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