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Having actually seen the first installment, I can say I didn't miss the
bloated 40 minutes of "American Idol" commercials mixed with 20 minutes
of overwrought "you are safe, you are in the bottom 3" hyperbole in
order to rid the field of wannabes of one more person.
Instead, I was mesmerized by the first one-hour installment of an intriguing story about people being brought together to consider a proliferation of unexplainable signs and events that might mark the end of the world.
Unless America is simply brain dead, this extremely well-produced limited series should rack up good numbers in the ratings.
Bill Pullman plays a Harvard professor who has recently seen the murderer of his teen-aged daughter captured and imprisoned. Not giving any credence to this man's claims that he can never be killed and will never bleed, he sees one of the man's fingers sliced off...and the non-bleeding hand is raised defiantly.
A nun who is part of a research foundation is an investigator checking out unexplained phenomena with religious connections. One is the appearance of a shadow on a mountainside. It appears to be the shadow of a cross upon which a man has been nailed. The shadow of the head moves as if the victim were alive. There were neither clouds,nor trees, nor anything else between the sun and the mountain that could have cast that shadow.
Another phenomenon is a girl, declared brain dead, after being struck by lightning. Now in a hospital bed, she speaks Biblical verses in Latin. And on one occasion, she was given a pencil and pad and began auto-writing, drawing a map....which linked, it was revealed, to Bill Pullman's daughter. These miraculous goings-on only happen during storms with lightning and thunder.
As hokey as I make it seem, it was beautifully done; the acting is first-rate. I am eager for part 2.
REVIEW: Wed + Sun 9pm NBC: "It's as probable for a tornado traveling
through a junkyard to produce Buckingham Palace than for life to emerge
from the Big Bang," says the teacher at the start of Revelations
he's the scientist. The series, produced by Omen maker David Seltzer is
relatively well done, with the likable Bill Pullman playing a scientist
whose daughter has been kidnapped and murdered by a Satanist who
excised her heart in a ritual sacrifice. Pullman goes to Chile and
helps capture the fiend, and later is confronted by a Nun (the
other-worldly Natasha McElhone the wife in Solaris) whose sister has
died in an apocalyptic cult in Africa, and who drags him to the bedside
of a young brain dead Florida girl who was hit by lightning. Of course,
this girl is talking.. in Latin, and it's about the end of the world.
Evil secular doctors are eager to harvest her organs while the Sister's
foundation staves them off (doctors love to pull the plug on speaking
patients). The girl draws a stick figure (with ancient writing) that is
the same as Pullman's daughter used to. The parallels with the Florida
Schiavo allow-to-die circus are probably coincidental, but jarring.
Signs abound: a shadow of Jesus on the cross on a Mexican cliff, a lone
child pulled from floating wreckage of a Greek ferry, the Satanist
chopping his finger off without bleeding.
I personally love these apocalyptic movies, but feel this is in so many ways a sop to the religious right, whose penetration into government is alarming. It feeds the creationist fervor, the cheap exploitive political acts behind the Schiavo carnival of fools. At the first meeting the Sister wisely advises the dubious Pullman to start contributing to religion. "All the signs and symbols are currently in place for the end of days." They allow Pullman to visit the killer of his daughter in prison, dubiously unmonitored, who chops his finger off in the feeding slot, and doesn't bleed. This sends Pullman on a quest for the Answers, being dragged kicking and screaming towards the Truth, like Gregory Peck so long ago in The Omen (actually saw that world premiere in LA). Portentous Bible quotes start each section. When the girl dies, Pullman holds her hand, and she.. awakes. Personally I don't think we should rush this apocalypse business- some nightmare virus may make it real for hundreds of millions soon enough. Not as intense as I thought, but then NBC isn't cable. Rating: 6 out of 10
*** This review may contain spoilers ***
If any research was actually done for this story, it was certainly only
on the religious angle because Bill Pullman's astrophysicist is not
only a shallow character, but a horribly generic Hollywood depiction of
what science is. With the exception of Contact, Hollywood's notion of
what a scientist is has been so far from reality, yet Revelations has
discovered a new extreme to take it to by contrasting it with a
well-researched religious background. Not only does it make the story
less compelling, it makes the characters incredibly one-dimensional.
*** SPOILER *** The single clearest example of how badly they've misrepresented science is the idea that they could tell a virgin birth from DNA. While this is true, they already know it's impossible because the baby is male...a woman has no Y chromosome. This is only one of many examples of the oversights from this movie. *** END SPOILER ***
Apart from the poorly researched story (which relegates this tale to at best an entertaining romp through supernatural mumbojumbo), the acting really isn't that great. Bill Pullman's character is about as intellectual as his character in Ruthless People...you know, the one where at the end the police actually say, "This may be the dumbest human being on the face of the earth." Natascha McElhone is good but not really all that different than Sara in Laurel Canyon, which is a far cry from a nun. Michael Massee has gotten better since even the first episode, but for someone supposed to be so evil, he's really not all that horrifying. Besides, he's obviously portraying the smartest character of the bunch (even though that role should be Pullman's), so it's hard not to root for him to beat all the idiots.
Everything about this show is melodramatic, so one might expect it to be somewhat campy. However, having seen the special preview screening as well, it's obvious the writer takes his vision extremely seriously. One could only hope he had done his homework, too. Everything about Revelations falls exceptionally flat, and I would be exceptionally surprised if this series got picked up for a full season next year.
Why do people always use a forum like this to vent their frustrations
over religion, politics, science, history, etc.? COMMENT ON THE
MOVIE!!! Okay, I'm done preaching.
I like what I've seen of Revelations, so far, having seen 2 episodes. Bill Pullman and Natasha McElhone are believable in their respective roles, and the story-line is interesting and suspenseful. While the Biblical accuracy may be lacking, that's not the point of a movie like this. This is a DRAMA, loosely based on a Biblical theme. Don't like it? - Change the channel. It's not like you paid 8 bucks plus parking to get in. For the most part, atheists and other religions will hate it for being too Christian, Protestants will hate it for being too Catholic, and Catholics will hate it for being too non-Biblical. Hey, folks, it's just a movie!!!
I'm looking forward to seeing the rest of the mini-series, but don't think I'll read anymore comments. Too many people commenting on God, the Big Bang, etc. Would you guys get a life?
There seems to be a common dislike in the public for this miniseries, for any number of reasons. Therefore, the majority of people out there seem to be influenced by these opinions rather than their own. I watched every episode starting at the premiere, and I can say that while I was rather alarmed at the constant misquoting of scripture (which is really the only true negative I had regarding this show), overall it was an engaging show. This show seemed to be honestly striving to have a purpose on television, to tell people about what is inevitable, though likely not in the way it is being described in the show itself. This, in a world where religion is so controversial that the very mention of God can spark heated debates between opposing sides. There are always going to be people offended by the mention of religion (but why they bother watching the show in the case, I don't know). With subject matter like the Apocalypse, in which every side has a different idea of how it's going to come about, there will always be sides unhappy with the way it is presented. Instead of focusing in on all the little things that conflict with your own personal beliefs, watch the show for its entertainment value, which I found to be rather high compared to most of the stuff on television nowadays. I would highly suggest that people give it a fair shot, get rid of all your biases, and watch it for its purpose: to serve as entertainment for religious and secular audiences alike.
*** This review may contain spoilers ***
I am not a Christian -- in fact, I consider myself a recovering
ex-Christian -- so my viewpoint may be biased as far as the theology
contained in this series, but I am not commenting on theology, only on
presentation. Yes, I can separate the two and keep an open mind.
This first episode regurgitated every tired bugaboo of fundamentalist Christianity, and the effect was not a good one. Do you think we should include a Satanic child murderer? What a great idea! How about something that would appeal to the Guadalupe and face-in-the-tortilla believers? Super! I know, I think we should include a sexy nun and a cute baby! Wow, that's absolutely brilliant! Hey, why don't we fan the Intelligent Design-Evolution flames a bit in the opening scene? Pure genius!
Natascha McElhone is a talented actress, on the plus side. Bill Pullman is adequate, as Bill Pullman always is. John Rhys-Davies I adore, but I hope he was embarrassed by his role in this. The dialog was wooden, every moment was predictable, but at least the F/X weren't sub-par.
The production values were as good as I would expect, so no bonus points there. I didn't notice the music, so it must not have been annoying. Still, the hokeyness was so omnipresent that I was barely able to watch the entire thing, so negative points there.
I will watch at least the next episode to see whether it improves, and it might, but in my opinion it would take a miracle.
What is it about David Seltzer that he can so touch the innermost
bogeyman of Christian nightmares? The Omen, then Revelations! While
Revelations is scary for anyone, of any religion or none at all, it is
particularly so for Christians. Seltzer finds the most potent images of
evil and gets one on a roller-coaster ride that is mystery, detective
story, theological and he amazes, thrills, terrifies. Also there is
hope in each of these two productions. Talented people doing good work,
well worth watching.
The performance by Michael Massee is stunning, truly scarier, for this viewer, than that of the great Anthony Hopkins' portrayal of Hannibal Lecter. Massee has to be seen as Isaiah Haden words are not descriptive enough to convey the malevolence of his characterization.
Seltzer creates an alternative Christian apocalypse however its plausibility is no less credible than the orthodox rendering. I do know that after viewing the Omen and Revelations I was on my best behavior for several weeks afterward.
The end of the world is always intriguing subject matter, for the
religious and non-religious alike, and with cinematic explorations of
the Apocalypse such as the Omen it's themes are at least vaguely
familiar to even those of us not raised in Christianity. Revelations
does not stray far from the formula in that respect- the birth of the
anti-Christ, the second coming of Jesus, it's all handled or hinted at
in ways that will not wow us with originality, but it does manage to
place them in a contemporary context without alienating the audience-
we are drawn into the story, and it is believable to us.
Bill Pullman and Natascha McElhone play the spiritual equivalents of Mulder and Scully, but with the gender roles reversed. It's a well-worn concept- the believer and the pessimist having to work together to achieve a common goal, but credit has to be given to the actors, who do bring something new to the roles, and make them characters we can acre about easily. Natascha McElhone conveys the wide eyed Sister Josepha Montafiore with such conviction that you find yourself envious of her sense of almost child-like wonder. Bill Pullman also shines as a jaded man who has lost so much.
Revelations also follows the recent trend of focusing on family- it's something I noticed recently in the cancelled sci fi show Invasion. I think it's an effective way of bringing the events occurring around the characters home, quite literally, for the audiences, and for a theme as huge as the world ending, it's a way of not overwhelming the audience with ideas- this is not a cinematic epic, it's very much about the central characters.
There are of course weaknesses with the show also. Prisoners who share a jail with Satan worshipper Isaiah Haden are very easily "converted to the dark side" and it's not completely believable because they are treated as a homogeneous group- they are in jail therefore they must all be unrepentant people who will side with Satan in order to feel good about themselves. It just doesn't work, and considering the depth in writing in some aspects of the show, it's a stark contrast. Similarly, the brief references we get terrorism are handled in a very Christian-centric manner. In a show that deal with God and faith, you would expect some exploration of different religions, and the different forms in which faith and a belief in God can manifest itself, but instead I felt we were being spoon-fed things that boiled down to "good" and "bad@ and that's not what an adult audience wants.
Despite these weaknesses, it's unfortunate that the show was not given an opportunity to grow- I would have been very curious to see the direction the show would have taken, particularly with more episodes per season to really explore the themes laid down in these 6 episodes.
I would certainly recommend this to people who are interested in the subject matters stated earlier, and for those in the mood to get into a story that won't take weeks to see through.
We are very sorry to find out that the series will not be continued. The only thing we can think of as to why, is that maybe it wasn't advertised enough. I think most anyone would enjoy this mini-series. There is a fair amount of violence, and the wanton killing is difficult to take, but the overall series is well worth it. It is basically a tale of good versus evil. The characters, I believe, do an excellent job. Michael Massee, as the "bad guy", does an especially great job. No wooden performances here - an overall great job by everyone. It is refreshing that the two "good guy" leads are a professor and a nun, so there is no romantic interest possible; seems like about every time I see a movie, there must be sex involved. It's nice that they didn't stoop to that level in Revelations.
I know there are a wide range of tastes in entertainment out there, but this show is PAINFULLY bad. It is the writing, acting, and direction that make this so awful. In any given year there has to be one show that is the worst of the lot, but this show may well hold that distinction for the entire decade. I stumbled onto this while trying to find something that was similar to other shows that I do like, such as Carnivale, which is also an apocalyptic tale with overt religious content. I also LOVE David Selter's "The Omen" and one or two of its sequels. Plus I have enjoyed Bill Pullman's work in other programs and movies. Sadly, neither Seltzer or Pullman seemed to have exerted any special effort on this throw-away. "The end is Here," to which I add "and not soon enough!"
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