On the DVD: Die-hard groupies will appreciate the inclusion of a documentary about the making of the video, which includes interviews with the cast, the production team and Lloyd Webber and Rice. There are also previews for video productions of Cats and Joseph and his Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat.
Instead of the swords and sands of the '73 version it is set mostly inside in some strange reality in which technology of the present can be seen ("Put away your sword," Jesus says to someone holding a machine gun,) but in the architectural style of revolutionaries in underground catacombes... (the opening overture rises above 'Liberty' and 'Democracy' graffiti.. as well as grafitti of a quote by George Orwell, interestingly enough) Visually, it works terrifically - particularly in the Overture, Superstar and Pilate & Christ. Again, visually it is very symbollic - about half way through the crowd - wearing their tie-die tee-shirts - change into a mob wearing complete black, appearing menacing... for this reason, the visualisations are also very symbollic. The lighting and costumes also add a lot this effect (a particular memory is Pontious Pilate in his huge military leather cloak...)
And now to the cast: Glenn Carter, I believe, provided quite a good Jesus in both the acting and the singing - far better than the 1973 version's Ted Neeley, although not, in my opinion, as strong as 1996's Steven Balsalmo, who's interpretation of Gethsemane is incredible. However, I've read many negative comments of his role in this film, and I don't believe that they are all entirely justified (in my opinion.) Judas was portrayed well, although vocally I don't believe he was as strong as in other interpretations. I do feel that he was very varied and portrayed the emotions and dilemas of Judas very effectively. I found the interpretation of Mary Magdalen reasonably good; the best Mary vocally I've encountered came from an amateur production, however. Pontious Pilate was outstanding - a completely different vocal style to the original Pilate who was quiter (I mean metaphorically, not in volume) - providing some very powerful performances. I did find that, however, the interpretation of Pilate's Dream was the weakest aspect of This Production - in my opinion it was far too emotional. This Pilate's interpretation of Pilate & Christ I believe to be truly exceptional. The preists I also believe to have been very effective, particularly Annas; and Rik Mayall provided an amusing rendition of Herod, though not my favourite vocally (although his predecessors in this role include Meatloaf and Alice Cooper, so what's to be expected?) The Simon was also very good, sounding very enthusiastic and, to quote from the score, "quasi soul." Peter was also reasonable.
In addition, this production also has very many 'clever touches,' examples including Judas showing Jesus the bible during the quote "Did you know your messy death would Be a record breaker?" during the abstract Superstar.
One thing I haven't commented on here is the Musical Itself - it goes without saying that its an exceptional creation; and you can probably guess that I've encountered it before. The lyrics are incredibly witty and the music very profound and great to listen to independantly of watching any production: although, in my opinion, the best production to listen to vocally is the 1996 version. However, visually, this production is stunning, and all-round it definately comes out on top.
Glenn Carter stands out for me. His performance is fantastic, full off live, and expression. His singing is wonderful. I can't stop playing Getheseme. That song has always been my favourite.
This is a must for fans of Jesus Christ superstar. I can't wait to get the film with Ted Neeley on Dvd. I just have to mention my favourite Jesus's are Ted Neeley, Glenn Carter and Arvid Larsen who just finished playing Jesus christ superstar for 2001 tour.
This musical never gets old, with songs like Heven on their minds, Jesus Christ Superstar, Gethemane. People just don't write like that anymore. I have to go watch the Dvd again now.
Buy it, sit back, and see if you can stop yourself from singing along to the songs. I couldn't
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