WTFW: Ultrachrist!

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Wednesday, October 16, 2013

WTFW: Ultrachrist!

So after last night’s article and the amount of emails I received pertaining to the subject matter I will be taking a break from pulling out the soapbox.  It will be awhile before I talk about anything related to religion.  So what’s on the plate tonight?  We’re going back in time to 2003’s Ultrachrist…ah crap!

Ultrachrist! (2003)

  • Genre: Comedy
  • Directed: Kerry Douglas Dye
  • Produced: Jordan Hoffman
  • Written:
    • Kerry Douglas Dye  
    • Jordan Hoffman
  • Starring: Jonathan C. Green, Celia A. Montgomery, Samuel Bruce Campbell, Dara Shindler, Jordan Hoffman, Danielle Langlois
  • Music: Howard Leshaw
  • Cinematography: Peter Olsen
  • Editing: Kerry Douglas Dye
  • Studio: LeisureSuit Media
  • Distributed: Unknown
  • Rated: NR
  • Release Date: 24 April 2003
  • Running Time: 92 minutes
  • Country: United States
  • Language: English

What would Jesus (Jonathan C. Green) do if he returned to Earth and discovered that he was wildly out of touch with today's youth?  In Ultrachrist!, he dons a Spandex costume and goes out into the streets of New York City to fight sin wherever it rears its ugly head.  His disapproving Father (Don Creech) wants him to minister as he did 2000 years ago.  The Antichrist, in the guise of the New York City Park's Commissioner (Samuel Bruce Campbell), resurrects a legion of famous sinners to destroy him.  And when the beautiful seamstress Molly (Celia A. Montgomery) tempts Ultrachrist with Earthly love, his own inner hang-ups guarantee that redemption will not come easily.

I'm sure that those who found The Passion of the Christ required viewing may very well have a problem with some of the ideas presented here.  Bearing in mind that Jesus himself NEVER becomes the object of ridicule, I'm sure that some of the light-hearted antics could offend.

Beginning with a scene right out of The Terminator, Jesus (Jonathan C. Green) returns to Earth, in present-day New York City, nude in an alleyway.  He finds out the hard way that things have changed in the 2000 years He's been gone and His message is falling on deaf ears.  He meets an attractive seamstress, Molly (Celia A. Montgomery), who helps Him get an apartment.  Upon finding out His roommates are a Lesbian couple, He approves of their lifestyle choice since all love is equal in the eyes of The Lord.  He also has Molly create a superhero costume for Him, complete with spandex, cape and Teva sandals.  Declaring Himself Ultrachrist, He takes to the streets of Manhattan to gain the respect of today's sinners.

Unfortunately, His unorthodox methods aren't enough to appease God, who wants Him to go back to His old ways of preaching.  Down, but not out, Jesus makes a deal with His Father.  If He can convert half the world's youth in three days, then He can continue to spread the Word as Ultrachrist.  He decides that the best way to get his message out there is to televise a Benefit Concert from Central Park on the healing properties of Love (and SEX!). Satan (Samuel Bruce Campbell), in the form of Parks Commissioner, A.C. Meany, calls upon the combined might of the four most evil sinners in history; Hitler, Vlad the Impaler, Richard Nixon, and Jim Morrison, to ensure that Ultrachrist's mission fails.

Ultrachrist! comes close to the edges of bad taste without ever really going overboard, but the movie tries hard to show Christ's humanity, he was the "Son of Man" after all.  Although the camera work is clumsy, the acting is hammy and the plot is nonsensical, first-time Director Kerry Douglas Dye infuses the movie with a fun sense of innocence and a sincere message.  Like Woody Allen's early efforts, the film trades a Hollywood budget for New York locations, Jesus' whiny Jewish accent and pure, madcap comedy.  And like the best of Allen's films, Ultrachrist! ultimately is about how to live our lives in an ever complex and changing world.

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