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Look! Up in the sky! It?s a bird! It?s a plane! It?s ...[url="http://www.leisuresuit.net/content/ultrachrist_trailer.shtml"][color=#cc6600]ULTRACHRIST![/color][/url]
Flipping religion on its head, Ultrachrist seeks to enlighten the follies of following scripture to the letter by returning Christ to Earth 2,000 years after his death. Oh! And he?s come back to usher in peace for all mankind. The trouble is that he?s completely out of touch with modern society. As soon as Christ returns (ala [i]The Terminator[/i] style), he realizes many things have changed: clothes, personal philosophy, neon signs, and, oy!, religion.
Christ ([url="http://www.imdb.com/name/nm1340441/"][color=#cc6600]Jonathan C. Green[/color][/url]) gets a crash course in what the world wants by first bellying up to a bar with a drunken man and discovering what?s become of humanity. Discouraged but not deterred, he soon runs into Molly ([url="http://www.imdb.com/name/nm1340797/"][color=#cc6600]Celia A. Montgomery[/color][/url]), a young seamstress who falls for Jesus and decides to help him regain his ministry on Earth. She makes him a superhero spandex costume and poof!, the Ultrachrist is born. Running around New York in his new outfit, Christ diverts sin wherever it appears, but no one is heeding his words...
Perhaps sin needs redefining.
God ([url="http://www.tv.com/don-creech/person/17047/summary.html"][color=#cc6600]Don Creech[/color][/url], [url="http://filmreviewstew.blogspot.com/2006/01/good-night-and-good-luck.html"][color=#cc6600]GOOD NIGHT, AND GOOD LUCK[/color][/url]) doesn?t like what his son is doing on Earth so sends down Ira, the Patron Saint of Erotic Massage, to get rid of Jesus? ridiculous costume and to set his son back on the path of righteousness. But Ira?s attempts are hindered by his own Earthly desires and by The Devil (aka, The Parks Commissioner).
Satin ([url="http://www.imdb.com/name/nm1095644/"][color=#cc6600]Samuel Bruce Campbell[/color][/url], [url="http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0286660/"][color=#cc6600]THE GREATEST SHOW ON EARTH[/color][/url]), not happy that Jesus has finally returned, resurrects some of the meanest and most evil people the world has ever known (from Hitler to ...uh ...Jim Morrison?)
But Beelzebub is the least of the Ultrachrist?s problems. He must overcome the "sin of sex," something he?s been unable to do since witnessing his mother "get-down" with another man (if Jesus gets "excited", his hands bleed).
With Ira?s, Molly?s, and his father?s help, Jesus changes the sin rule book and thus helps banish all of the foes thrown at him by Lucifer.
This low-budget flick isn?t for everyone. Those who find religious satire revolting or insulting most certainly should NOT watch it. If you don?t like B-movie production standards, avoid it. But if you like to chuckle at the ridiculousness of religious fanaticism, this is something you most surely should check out.
The production standards are okay but nothing to praise. The acting is equally tepid. The script, however, is quite good. Ira belongs on the set of Seinfeld, and Jesus would be right at home in a rough Brooklyn neighborhood (i.e., his accent). But these things also added to the humor of the movie. It?s not supposed to be taken seriously and doesn?t attempt it ...which I found absolutely great!
If you seen and enjoyed FILM GEEK, [url="http://filmreviewstew.blogspot.com/2006/07/spaceman.html"][color=#cc6600]SPACEMAN[/color][/url], or other minimal budget films, this one is right up your alley.
[url="http://www.leisuresuit.net/ultrachrist/trailer_high.mov"][size=1][color=#ff6600][b][i]Click here for the Ultrachrist movie trailer![/i][/b][/color][/size][/url]
Starring: Jonathan C. Green, Jordan Hoffman, and Celia Montgomery
Director: Kerry Douglas Dye
At the dawn of the 21st century, Jesus the Christ (Green) returns to Earth to resume his ministry. He starts in the most sinful city on Earth--New York--but finds that no one is willing to pay attention to his message. After a marketing executive he meets in a bar convinces him he needs a flashier image, he gets a disillusioned fashion designer (Montgomery) to design and sew a spandex superhero costume for him. Thus decked out, Jesus takes to the streets to combat sin and to have New Yorkers accept him as their personal savior. But many forces stand arrayed against Jesus: The Anti-Christ conjures the ultimate evils of Hilter, Nixon, Vlad the Impaler, and Jim Morrison of The Doors to fight him, and God the Father takes offense at Jesus' new superhero image and dispatches his son's school friend Ira, the Saint of Erotic Massages and Lapdances (Hoffman) to force Jesus to take a more conservative approach to ministering to the sinful. Can even an Ultrachrist triumph against such formidable opposition?
"Ultrachrist!" is a surprsingly well-made and intelligent comedy that in the final analysis is actually pro-religion. It is an incredibly silly movie, but it manages to remain respectful to Christianity and even to Jesus, who, even as he struggles to adjust to the modern world, remains a sensitive and wise person. It never sinks to the level of mocking or belittling the figure of Jesus, but derives its humor from funny lines, mild slapstick, and "fish-out-of-water" moments, The Jesus character also also defined by near-boundless kindness and a near-total trusting and loving nature. The difference between God (manipulative and vengeful) and Jesus (trusting and forgiving) also give rise to some of the film's more intelligent moments.
While I suspect that many uptight, kneejerk Christians will take offense at the film, I think that any movie that portrays Jesus as insightful enough to figure out how to redeem even Richard Nixon. I wouldn't remcommend showing this film to the church group, nor to the kids, but I think that it can be appreciated by Christians who recognize there is a disconnect between the divine and the mortal, because it's all filtered through mortals.
For examle, Jesus' response when Molly asks him about the New Testament's 'Book of Revelations', for exampe, is "I haven't done much reading since I've been back... and whent it was written... well, I was dead at the time." His response to learning that people have adopted the cross as a symbol of his religon is also both funny and insightful and further underscores the theme of disconnect between Jesus and mortals: "The cruxifix is the symbol of Christianity? I hated the cruxifix! Ouch!"
"Ultrachrist" is one of those all-too-rare movies that show that a low budget does not equate a bad movie. While the shoestring with which the film was made is often evident, it has a razorsharp script, a cast of excellent and very funny actors, and a soundtrack score that's almost a character unto itself in the movie--it's mostly traditional-sounding Yiddish music.
The only reason I don't give "Ultrachrist!" a Ten-tomato rating is because the ending is a bit weak. They try to do the old "let's save the day by putting on a show!" ending, but they don't quite manage to pull it off. It's funny, but it was the one part of the film where my attention wandered, and I started mentally reviewing my schedule for the rest of the day.
Despite that one misstep at the very end, I recommend "Ultrachrist!" highly to lovers of quirky, intelligent comedies.
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