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John Paul II: Millennial Pope
John Paul II Millennial Pope
Genres: Television, Documentary
NR     2003     2hr 30min

He's the charismatic Holy Father who commands great influence not only over the Catholic Church but also among world leaders and politicians and issues of human rights and social justice. Pope John Paul II is as much a pro...  more »


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Movie Details

Genres: Television, Documentary
Sub-Genres: Television, Biography
Studio: PBS Home Video
Format: DVD - Color - Closed-captioned
DVD Release Date: 12/16/2003
Release Year: 2003
Run Time: 2hr 30min
Screens: Color
Number of Discs: 1
SwapaDVD Credits: 1
Total Copies: 0
Members Wishing: 0
MPAA Rating: NR (Not Rated)
Languages: English

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Movie Reviews

Pope Fiction
Jeff Jones | Redlands, California United States | 09/12/2002
(2 out of 5 stars)

"I am a huge fan of PBS' "Frontline" series ... I'm also a huge fan of His Holiness Pope John Paul II, and therefore got my hands on this program the minute I heard of it. The film started out good, great actually. The colors were a bit dark, the narration a bit dry, but I enjoyed this ... until they said Venerable Pope Pius XII did nothing for the Jews in the Holocaust. Despite the fact that 860,000+ Jewish lives were saved through his efforts (more than all international agencies combined), and the NY Times praised his 1942 and 1943 Christmas messages referring to the Holy Father as "...a lonely voice crying out in the silence of a continent" Frontline says Pius XII was physically and verbally shut down during the Holocaust. We then are enlightened by Prof. Giacomo Saban as to how abandoned the Jews felt because of this. I think he's talking about the misinformed Jews of today. The feelings of the Jews of the past can be seen in the literal multitude of trees the government of Israel planted in honor of Pius XII, and the thanks offered by the Chief Rabbi of Israel as well as the Chief Rabbi of Rome who was so impressed with the actions of the Pope he converted to Catholicism, taking the name Eugenio Pacelli in honor of Pius XII. We are then treated to Konstanty Gebert's zealous denouncement of my patron saint, Maximillian Mary Kolbe, perhaps the only anti-Semite who welcomed 15,000 Jews into his living space (in this case, a friary), and comforted Jews in Auschwitz, including a 13 year old whom he shared his scarce rations with. Of course, Frontline's statements on both Kolbe and Pius XII were stated flatly, no references, no proof. I'll admit the film has a few high points, and I tried beyond belief to focus on the pros rather than the cons, but for every positive there followed a seemingly endless barrage of negatives. It seemed to me that the makers tried so hard to not be biased TO Pope John Paul II that they ended up totally and fully biased AGAINST him, with a bias of the liberal kind. For instance, one-second they're showing their obvious favor for the Holy Father's more liberal stance on capital punishment (he is ardently opposed to it) and the next second he is harshly criticized for his traditionally conservative view on birth control (it's instrinically evil). I did though, like the final words offered by the film, as they are sure to invoke endless rounds of debate and discussion. My own final word? If you want a 5/5 star film on John Paul, buy "Witness to Hope"... I still watch Frontline, I still like Frontline, but I just think they should stay clear of biographies. ..."
A dissappointing film about a great man and Pope
Derrik Mantel | Maplewood, MN USA | 08/24/2004
(1 out of 5 stars)

"I agree the with reader above that Frontline has not accurately portrayed the Pope in this video. Weigel's Witness to Hope is a superior production and representation. This one spews a lot of misinformation - specifically regarding the Catholicism, Pope Pius XII and the Jews during the holocaust as well as Maximillian Kolbe. It paints the Catholic church negatively while occassionally giving the pope credit for things as though they originated in him and not in the actual teachings of the church. They interview very liberal English-speaking Catholics who make sweeping unsubstantiated statements based on personal opinion and bias that detract from John Paul II and his accomplishments. History will remember John Paul II as John Paul II the Great, a modern doctor of the church. This video does give him credit for hastening the fall of communism. One scene shows the communist Polish head of state literally shaking at a press conference in the presence of the Pope. It's hard to eclipse so bright a star."
Threw it to a garbage
Mark | Portland, OR USA | 04/04/2005
(1 out of 5 stars)

"I bought this tape few years ago and finally I watched it yesterday and ... threw it to a garbage. About 40% of the film was devoted to the Jewish cause with a lot of misleading information. For example, the film accuses Poles (not Germans) for the holocaust. It forgets the fact that the number of Poles who died during the WWII was equal to the number of Jews, and many of them died for helping Jews. If you want to see a film about the Pope look somewhere else."
The pope through a very dark lens
C. Kelly | Minneapolis | 04/08/2005
(1 out of 5 stars)

"I was surprised and disappointed by the "Millennial Pope."

From the very start, with an MTV-stlye montage of graphic images culled from the Holocaust, violent video games and horrific war zones, it states John Paul II was "a man at war with the 20th century,'' not a particularly insightful way to sum up his papacy.

Then, before the facts of his life are presented, we hear from three people, two of whom think he's sending the chuch in completely the wrong direction - one of them, a writer who has left the church, essentially says the pope is killing the church. (Later we hear repeatedly from a former priest, a woman who's angry because she can not be ordained a priest and other critics of the church. Rebuttal or contrasting views are absent.)

The organization of the video, too, is odd for a biography. It skips over some aspects of his life with hardly a mention and then divides the film into sections such as "The Jews," "Liberation Theology," "The Women." I'm not saying that these issues don't have a place in a discussion of his papacy; the question of the inhumane treatment of Jews in Poland (and the world) during the Holocaust is an important one and one that shaped his life and his papacy. But together, those three subdivisions take up almost 75% of the video.)

In addition, I'd stronly advise against children and even younger teens being shown this as a biography. If it were a movie, it would almost certainly rate an R for the amount of graphic violence: video of a martyred, bloodied priest after his death, bodies of Holocaust victims being tossed into heaps, people hanged in trees and swollen in death.

This video presents a dark and frankly disturbing take of John Paul II's papacy and it leaves me with more questions than answers about his life.