Newspaper article The Florida Times Union

'Passion' Lure Rivals Effort to Stay Away

Newspaper article The Florida Times Union

'Passion' Lure Rivals Effort to Stay Away

Article excerpt

Byline: Mark Woods, The Times-Union

The Passion of the Christ opens tonight. After weeks of buildup -- advance screenings for churches, Mel Gibson making the interview rounds, even a stock car circling the Daytona International Speedway with a Passion ad on its hood -- the movie finally is in theaters around the country.

I want to rush out and see it.

I also want to stay home and avoid it.

This flip-flopping isn't necessarily because the movie is violent, or because of the controversy about its content, or because of mixed reviews. It isn't even really about this movie in particular.

I often feel this way when a book is turned into a movie -- leery of having the images in my mind mixed with those on a big screen.

The more I like a book, the more I am torn about seeing it in Technicolor and Surround Sound. I'm curious about what a movie director has done with it, how he has interpreted it, what he saw when he read the same words I did. But at the same time, a part of me doesn't want to know the answers to those questions, doesn't want to risk forever picturing the story with a certain actor's face or voice.

So when I say I'm not sure I want Mel Gibson's version of what happened in Jesus' final 12 hours to become my version, this isn't meant as a commentary on a film I haven't seen. If anything, it is a commentary on films I have seen -- and their ability to create lasting images, even to become my memory of the way events happened.

I'm fascinated by John F. Kennedy, but I hesitated to see JFK, the movie, because I worried that years later I would be thinking, "Now did that really happen? Or am I just recalling some theory Oliver Stone tossed out in JFK?"

It seems that no matter how great the real story, Hollywood seems compelled to try to make it better, to add a speech that Roosevelt never made to Pearl Harbor, to change the championship game in Hoosiers. …

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