Friday, 29 September 2006

Apocalypse—now!

Cinema has never dealt satisfactorily with the end of the world. There's a passable bunch of science fiction films exploring humanity's destruction through pestilence, alien invasion, economic and/or ecological collapse or as the fly on the windscreen of a passing asteroid. All entertaining movies. But no one has made a good film about the Apocalypse. I'm talking Four Horsemen, seal-opening, star called Wormwood, trumpet-sounding, ooh, ooh, I'm covered in boils stuff.

There's excellent source material—the Book of Revelation, written by John who had clearly spent too much time on his own on Patmos*. Not much of a narrative but a bundle of great visuals. Stick in a bit of Hieronymus Bosch and you're laughing. (Although probably not too loudly and¬—if you look like one of Bosch's creations—on the other side of your face. Literally.)

Of course, a few film makers have already mined the Apocalyptic lode but none of them struck it rich.

Here's a (non-exhaustive) list of those movies with their taglines. Obviously, it pays to have a sense of the absurd ...

The Omen (1976)
Our final warning.

The Omen II (1978)
The first time was only a warning.
(Eh? Oh, I get it.)

The Omen III (1981)
The power of evil is no longer in the hands of a child.
(It's in the hands of Sam Neill. The Apocalypse, we were meant to precipitate it.)

The Omen (2006)
His day will come.
(Enough already!)

The Seventh Sign (1988)
The seals have been broken. The prophecies have begun. Now only one woman can halt the end of our world.
(And it's Demi Moore. Who'd have thought it?)

The Stand (1994)
The end of the world is just the beginning.

The Prophecy (1995)
There is a war in heaven and all hell is about to break loose.
(I quite enjoyed this one. Mainly because Christopher Walken played Gabriel and Viggo Mortensen played Lucifer. They gave the Apocalypse a bit of verve.)

End of Days (1999)
Prepare for the end.
(... with Gabriel Byrne as Satan and Arnie as Jericho Kane, the saviour of the world. Yep. He'll be back.)

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*He's not the only one with too much time on his hands.

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