Tuesday, December 18, 2012

King of Kings (1961) Review:

For movies that depict religious figures, I can imagine it is hard to pick out the best actors for the job. For director Nicholas Ray, it seems like picking the actor for the portrayal of Jesus Christ was very accurate; if not natural. This movie along with Ben-Hur (1959) is probably one of the few that had special entrances, intermissions and end titles. It's an awesome feeling to watch movies like these because it really makes the viewer feel like they're back in the mid twentieth century. This is also one of the few movies that was made in color as well. Back then film were just starting to be translated into color.

Jeffrey Hunter as the Jesus
The actor who plays Christ is Jefffrey Hunter who I think does a magnificent job. To remember such quotes from Christ almost seems impossible because of the magnitude at how things were spoken back then. The things that will catch the attention of the viewer the most are Hunter's eyes. His eyes are neon blue and every time the camera focuses on them, it's like they're are looking through into the viewer's soul. As for the rest of the cast, all of them do great jobs at their characters.

Another appealing factor are the visuals. The movie itself is so surreal that it seems like this was filmed way back from the beginning of time but yet the viewer will be able to tell it was filmed in the mid 1900s. To make things even more massive and powerful is when Christ talks to his followers on the hills. Probably more than one thousand people volunteered to be apart of the crowd. In a sense this movie reminds me of Gettysburg (1993) because of the vast number of actors hired for the job, especially when more than half are volunteers.

Mary, Jesus' mother
The scenery also adds to this spectacle. Because the story of Christ took place in a time where cities did not have skyscrapers, mountains surrounded much of the cities. And although the viewer can tell which parts are matinée paintings and which are not, they still give a sense of power and purpose to this movie. What really makes this film so great though is how Jeffrey Hunter recites the words of Jesus Christ. He says he each word as if he were Christ himself; it's that good. Along with that is an influential musical score by Hungarian composer Miklós Rózsa. The music sounds so God like that it could be mistaken for church music. Either way you listen to it, it is a brilliant piece of music.

As the first motion picture ever to feature Jesus Christ as a main character, the direction of the movie is superb and the cast is outstanding. Adding to that are the powerful performances lead by Jeffrey Hunter, its beautiful backgrounds and a commanding soundtrack.

Points Earned --> 10:10

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