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Mel curbs his own 'Passion' - Zach Porter

Today Mel Gibson is re-releasing his bloody film about the death of Jesus Christ in theaters - this time without the blood. The new "recut" version takes out many of the more gruesome moments of torture, with a total of six minutes cut from the original film.

I didn't particularly like the film but since its release I have grown to respect Mel Gibson for standing by his art and not selling out his vision to anyone. But now that he has recut the film for a more sensitive audience while still keeping the overall message intact, then what was point of all that blood in the first place? Could he not have just released this edited version as the original this time last year and avioded the controversy that surrounded the film's violent aesthetic?

On Thursday Gibson did an interview for the "Sean Hannity Show" radio program and said the new version of the film was edited with younger and older audiences in mind. Essentially the film is now a more modest portrayl of the crucifixion that everyone can enjoy. So was Mel in the minority of his own Christian audience in the first place with his obvious penchant for blood and gore? On the Hannity program he even described the edited footage as "In your face." So the real question is whether Mel made a single-minded film to satisfy himself or a film for Christians of all ages and levels of comfortablity with depections of torture and violence? Not to mention the question of how many of the original viewers would have perferred this Mel-censored version.

But just when I thought Mel sold out to "milk-it" at the movies again for Easter, he made an outragegous statement denouncing the Oscars as a midless commercial for Hollywood. He said this in so many words in response to Hannity's question about "Passion" not being nominated for any major Academy Awards. His response was rich because he is the recipient of at least two Academy Awards for the film Braveheart in 1995. It doesn't get any better than movie stars irreverently disparaging thier own ilk.

I've said before that I love eccentrics and Mel is definately joining the club. Releasing ultra-violent films that cause controversy for months, then releasing them without the controversial material, then biting the hand that feeds him to boot. And then sometimes staring in romantic comedies where he can hear women's thoughts and films about alien invasions or "road warriors." What's all that about? How bizzare.

If the next Republican candidate does not appease the "religous right" then they may throw their support behind Mel Gibson in 2008. The signs will read "Mel will save us from Hell." Hey, anything could happen.

Zach Porter is a photographer with the News Daily. He can be reached at (770) 478-5753 or zporter@news-daily.com