Recruiting [Judas] for the cause, the film's happy hippie version of [Jesus Christ] says to him: "I want you to spend eternity with me, with my father. Whaddaya say?" When the disciples ask Jesus to tell them what fate has chosen for Him, Jesus tells them, "You're not ready to handle the details." Some disciples lobby for violence, but Jesus says, "That is not the way we're gonna win." Ordering Jesus arrested, [Pontius Pilate] instructs soldiers to go to Gethsemane and "grab him."
It's more than coincidental that ABC is airing "Judas" while's [Mel Gibson]'s gloomy gore fest is still in theaters. TV Guide reports that "Judas" was made in 2001 but was salted away by ABC executives who feared the film would offend fundamentalists. Any protest over "Judas" now, however, would be dwarfed by the din over Gibson's movie anyway.
Judas chafes at the peaceful teachings of Jesus but likes Him in a best-bud kind of way. In one of the film's more embarrassing scenes, the two pals are horsing around and break into an impromptu wrestling match. The torture and physical punishment in which Gibson wallows mostly occurs off-screen in "Judas." [Tom Fontana] and director Charles Robert Carner prove that it is possible to convey the barbaric horror of crucifixion without going into sociopathic excess.
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