2005 - PG-13 - 360 Mins.
|Director: Lili Fini Zanuck|
|Producer: Jessika Borsiczky|
|Written By: David Seltzer|
|Starring: Bill Pullman, Natascha McElhone, Fionnula Flanagan, John Rhys Davies, Fred Durst, Michael Massee |
|Review by: Harrison Cheung
|Official Site: www.nbc.com/nbc/Revelations/|
In the post ‘X-Files’ and ‘Buffy’ world, everyone is scrambling to find the perfect formula to win back the fans of the paranormal. And don’t we deserve it? Shyamalan has burnt his bridges of credibility thanks to the dreadful ‘The Village,’ and we might just run out of Asian horror films to remake! So along comes ‘Revelations’ – now out on DVD – a mini-epic that is one-part ‘Exorcist’ creepiness and one-part ‘DaVinci Code’ with its intricate historical and religious mysteries and puzzles. And it has a good pedigree -- writer David Seltzer penned most of the 'Omen' films.
Not a date movie.
Reliable actor Bill Pullman is good at playing nice guys and average joes. He was the dull professor in the U.S. remake of ‘The Grudge,’ the blandest American president in ‘Independence Day’ and the nice brother Sandra Bullock falls in love with in ‘While You Were Sleeping.’ See a pattern here? Pullman seems like a nice guy, but we never see any passion from him. In ‘Revelations,’ Pullman stars as Dr. Richard Massey, an astrophysicist who is out to debunk religion and the paranormal. Tragically for Dr. Massey, his 12-year-old daughter was brutally murdered by a Satanic cult leader, Isaiah Haden (Michael Massee from ‘24’). But Massey meets Sister Josepha (Natascha McElhone of ‘Solaris’) who believes that we are in the End of Days – the time just before Apocalypse as predicted by the Book of Revelation.
Together, this unlikely duo of Dr. Massey and Sister Josepha play Scully and Mulder as they try to track down clues to see if a new Christ child has been born … and if a new anti-Christ is to follow. Can they prevent the end of the world?
First the bad stuff. There are plot holes in ‘Revelations’ that you could drive a truck full of bibles through. Set-ups early on in this epic don’t fit the ending. And ‘Revelations’ makes the cardinal sin of setting up its own mythological rules, only to ignore them. Then there are bizarre character flaws. For some reason, Dr. Massey often visits his daughter’s murderer in prison for advice. Call me over-emotional, but it seems unlikely – even for the calm and collected Bill Pullman – to talk to a satanic murderer who enjoys describing what he did to your daughter.
Massey also has great affection for his ex-wife’s stepson, Hawk. Huh? Yes, the son of his ex-wife’s new husband. Something here sniffs of a bad script rewrite because when Hawk is kidnapped by the Satanic cult, Massey is spurred on to stay on the hunt for religious clues. Why couldn’t have Hawk been Massey’s son?
Then there’s the issue of chemistry. The Mulder/Scully banter nourished ‘The X-Files’ because you not only had the pro-paranormal Mulder passionately arguing with the logical scientist Scully, but they also sparked with chemistry and mutual attraction. In ‘Revelations,’ we have a nun and Bill Pullman – not the hottest couple around.
But the good stuff is that ‘Revelations’ can be quite gripping and spooky. You get the same creepiness from the beginning of an Indiana Jones movie, when Indy is explaining how and why some object is of significant biblical importance. Cue the John Williams music. Aside from the Bill Pullman miscast, ‘Revelations’ has a rich location budget shot around the world, good special effects, a shockingly high body count, as well as a strong cast which includes superb Irish actress Fionnula Flanagan (‘The Others’), John Rhys Davies (‘Indiana Jones’) and Limp Bizkit singer, Fred Durst. Stealing the show is Michael Massee as he showboats his way into the most disturbing evil character since De Niro’s tattoo’d Max Cady in ‘Cape Fear.’
If you can’t wait for ‘The DaVinci Code’ movie, check out ‘Revelations’ – a similarly styled story that won’t have you asking any deep questions afterward.