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I think I remember seeing Jesus Christ Superstar when I was very young. At the time the stark imagery and stunning music left a deep impression. Alas, it turns out to be one of those movies I should not go back to.

Filming Jesus Christ Superstar in the ruins of Avdat was, and remains, a brilliant choice. It gives the film some of its most powerful imagery. It serves both to remind the viewer that this is a story of millennia past, and also of present conflicts.

The songs from the original Andrew Lloyd Webber and Tim Rice musical remain powerful and effective, as does the core story, and yet this rewatch of Jesus Christ Superstar left me cold, and checking the time on my phone.

I strongly suspect that this wouldn’t be a problem were I to see it on stage again.

I think the problem lies in the overall aesthetic of the film: it is so very much a film of the seventies. Whilst I think that impressed me years ago, tonight it produced a cognitive dissonance that was throwing me out of the story.

Another problem pointed out to me on twitter by @pecunium is that the performance of the lead, Ted Neeley, is oddly flat, that his eyes are cold in close ups:

That tweet was one of those Fridge Logic moments for me. I didn’t realise it until then, but it made perfect sense once it was pointed out.

I still think that this Jesus Christ Superstar is an impressive piece of cinema musicals, and that it should be seen, but I don’t think it’s for me anymore.

Definitely recommended for those who haven’t seen it (and especially if you haven’t had a chance to see the musical on stage), make your own judgement after that as to whether you wish to see it again.