Tim Rice and Andrew Lloyd Webber's rock opera began as a hit album then drew huge crowds in London and New York in its stage adaptation, but the screen version falls far short of its predecessors. Filmed beautifully in Israel, the movie presents a show within a show, as a group of young
tourists reenact Jesus' last seven days amid the arsenals of modern Israel. Director-coproducer-cowriter Norman Jewison (FIDDLER ON THE ROOF) presents lots of gorgeous images but no motivation, and he manages to trivialize the story of the Gospels with campy characterizations and erratic choice of
locale. The songs were key to the film's success (it grossed nearly $20 million, altho...