Movie Review

Jesus Christ Superstar (1973) Review


Musical – songs sung by characters inserted into the narrative, at times with dancing.

Opera – singers and musicians perform a dramatic work together.

Rock Opera – a work of rock music presented as a storyline over multiple parts.

The rock opera of rock operas, at least tied with The Wall. Both of the works I’ve mentioned are complete albums, films, works. Tommy can’t compete with either. It has “Pinball Wizard” and Keith Moon acting crazy. I’m not religious in any way, but I’m a fan of rock music. Real rock. Classic rock. Rock ‘n’ roll. If you’re a like-minded spirit, and looking for something good to watch on Easter weekend, you can’t go wrong with this film. Let’s be honest. You can’t go wrong watching this anytime of the year.

I could be wrong, but I slightly recall this album in my parent’s collection of vinyl records. I never listened to it and never watched it. Then, many years later, I met a woman and this was one of her favorites. That woman became my wife, and this film became one of my favorites as well. To some people it isn’t Easter unless they watch The Ten Commandments on network television. Don’t get me wrong, it’s an epic masterpiece, a Hollywood classic. Though in recent years, there’s two films that make it Easter for me. Both of them are watchable at any time. One is Barabbas starring Anthony Quinn, an all-time favorite. The other is Jesus Christ Superstar.

I’ve reviewed Grease and discussed musicals. This isn’t a musical. There’s no spoken dialogue. This is a rock opera. The dialogue, every last word of it, sung to rock music. The soundtrack is the film, but both stand on their own. However, the body language and facial expressions of the actors make the film worth watching. This is early 1970s fashion on display. Carl Anderson steals the film as Judas. His posturing, expressions, everything adds a unique dimension to the character. He sings the two best songs in the film. The chemistry between Anderson’s Judas and Ted Neeley’s Jesus is an unexplainable magic. I understand Neeley still tries to play Jesus in stage productions. I wonder if he’s still trying to grow his beard? In opposition to Barry Dennen in the role of Pilate, who had to shave with a mini-lawnmower between takes.

At the heart of the film, the production, are the songs. This won’t disappoint any classic rock fan. This isn’t religious. I mean this isn’t preachy. Anyone of any religion, or no religion can enjoy it. That is, as long as they enjoy the music. Why do I think this? From my experience. I’m a rock fan, a classic rock fan, and of no religious affiliation and I enjoy this film. I LOVE this film. It’s become one of my favorites, and if you’re a like-minded individual it very well could become one of yours. What’s the buzz? This is what’s a-happenin’.

Copyright © Drew Martin 2016


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