1. An atmosphere so loaded with grandiose self-importance that the urge to stamp on it (or at least switch it off) was irresistible. The word ‘turgid’ came to mind, but it wasn’t strong enough.
2. A cliché-ridden script that would do justice to a primary school nativity production.
3. Wooden acting served up by Hollywood stars who just can’t avoid looking like Hollywood stars no matter what they’re doing.
4. Laughably outlandish costumes that resonated about as much with the historical period as I do with Donald Trump.
And you know what? I bet there are people out there who watch it in the belief that it’s an accurate portrayal of actual events and every word is true. (And maybe it is, but if I were a Christian I think I would be seriously offended by it.)
For my part, I watched an East European movie of the Passion story once and found it far more edgy and realistic than anything Hollywood ever manages. Hollywood has to load everything with bucketsful of saccharin so as to make it more palatable to contemporary audiences and attract big bucks. They don’t even use sugar; saccharin is an artificial sweetener (roughly as old as Hollywood by an odd coincidence) which has a tendency to make you feel sick.