Up and At ‘Em: Easter Movies for the Rest of Us
April 24, 2011 1 Comment
And by “the rest of us,” I mean “those of us who think there probably was a man named Jesus who did some really good things a few thousand years ago, we’re just not totally on-board with the whole Son of God thing.” And who don’t want to watch The Ten Commandments or King of Kings or The Greatest Story Ever Told for the umpteenth time either. Now pass me my Reese’s Peanut Butter Eggs and fire up the Blu-ray.
E.T. THE EXTRA-TERRESTRIAL (1982)
Well, this one is a no-brainer. He comes from the sky. He’s friendly. He heals people. He dies, comes back, and heads up into the clouds again. If Jesus had ever ridden a Huffy, this would be a dead-on interpretation. Of course, lost amidst the rainbows and John Williams music of the finale is the fact that Elliot, the child of divorced parents with a father who’s all but disappeared, has to stand there and watch someone else he loves leave him. Who says Spielberg is all about the happy endings?
(By the way, a special blast of ill will to Katy Perry, who’s turned every Google search for E.T. into a never-ending parade of stills from that damned video of hers.)
SUPERMAN: THE MOVIE (1978)
Clark Kent stands in the Fortress of Solitude. The spirit of his father reveals his true heritage. “They can be a great people, Kal-El, they wish to be. They only lack the light to show the way. For this reason above all, their capacity for good, I have sent them you… my only son.” Now I can’t quite put my finger on it, but this sounds awfully familiar… Superman II even gives us a form of death and resurrection with Superman losing and regaining his powers. And Superman III is just a modern re-telling of when Richard Pryor met Jesus.
MONTY PYTHON’S THE LIFE OF BRIAN (1979)
Not a mockery of Jesus (in fact, his dialog in the film is taken word for word from the Sermon on the Mount and he’s barely even seen), but a mockery of those who will blindly follow anyone with a good enough story and a good enough promise. Which maybe hit a little close to home for those who raged against it back when it was released. And although Brian doesn’t get a Christ-like resurrection, he does go out with a merry show tune, which isn’t all that bad.
THE LAST TEMPTATION OF CHRIST (1988)
Okay, this one’s a little bit of a cheat, but if Scorsese wants to break the rules, who am I to argue? Besides, this is a depiction of Jesus I can get behind, one who is scared and unsure and yet still makes the conscious decision to die for mankind, rather than one who is simply following a divinely destined path. If we’re expected to struggle with temptation, should we expect any less from the one promising to deliver us from it?
HERE COMES PETER COTTONTAIL (1971)
‘Cause it ain’t a holiday until Rankin-Bass gets a hold of it. And besides:
IRONTAIL, BITCHES! Put that in your Easter bonnet and wear it.