Jesus Christ Superstar meet "Jesus Christ Superhero" - Ultrachrist! Lets' face it, religion has always been a controversial subject in moviemaking, just look at the furor that surrounded The Passion of the Christ. I doubt anyone will be shocked by what transpires in Ultrachrist!, as the whole affair has a kind of wide-eye charm to it, but who am I to say? 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.
Picture: The movie is presented in 16:9 widescreen aspect ratio. The picture is acceptable for a low budget film of this nature, with the problem being with the actual picture rather than the transfer.
Audio: Dolby Digital 2.0 Stereo, which sounds fine, although the Klezmer music in the background does get annoying.
Extras: The Extras included on this disc are a commentary by the Filmmakers', a Behind-the-Scenes featurette, a step-by-step guide to the erotic massage (a running joke from the film featuring the Archangel Ira), a Stills Gallery and the Trailer.
Conclusion: Ultrachrist! also happens to be ultra-cheap and ultra-silly, but is a nice treat for those that aren't easily offended. The movie plays more like an extended South Park episode, than the high-water mark for Religious comedies, Monty Python's The Life of Brian. However, it's still more entertaining than Church and could be a fun rental for the adventurous or the curious alike.