When “The Passion of the Christ” became a sensation in 2004 — it remains the top-grossing Christian movie of all time — some viewers struggled with the film’s violence and its sole use of Aramaic, Hebrew and Latin. Both issues have been addressed on home video.
A Blu-ray released in 2009 offered the option of watching the "Passion Recut." It removed many of the graphic scenes, for those who might flinch at director Mel Gibson's brutally realistic depiction of the 12 hours leading to Jesus' crucifixion.
Now, a new Blu-ray (Fox, $17), which replaces the previous release and comes out in time for Lent, adds the option of watching the Oscar-nominated film with English or Spanish dubs. No need for subtitles for all of those ancient languages. Unfortunately, the results feel as if you’re watching Jesus in a spaghetti western or Godzilla movie. The dialogue naturally doesn't match lip movements, nor do the replacement voices always suit the actors. But the new audio will undoubtedly appeal to less tolerant viewers who don't like to read their movies.
Importantly, the re-release makes the recut and dubs optional. The defaults are for the original movie with its original dialogue. A wealth of bonus material from the original Blu-ray also is retained, including four commentary tracks and a pop-up trivia option.
A second disc, a DVD that contained behind-the-scenes documentaries (obviously, not in high-def), has been jettisoned. So seek out the original two-disc "Definitive Edition" if those are important to you and you don't care about the audio changes for mainstream viewers.
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