Director – Andre van Heerden, Screenplay/Producers – Paul Lalonde & Peter Lalonde, Photography – George Jiri Tirl, Music – Gary Kortinoff, CGI Effects – Bee Vision Productions Inc, Special Effects Supervisor – Ron Craig & Max McDonald, Production Design – Ronald A.W. Lee. Production Company – Prophecy Partners Inc/Jack Van Impe Ministries/John Hagee Ministries.
Jeff Fahey (Thorold Stone), Tony Nappo (Willie Spino), Carol Alt (Cindy Bolton), Nick Mancuso (Franco Macalousso), Leigh Lewis (Helen Hannah), David Roddis (Len Parker), Marium Carvell (Selma Davis), Rick Demas (David Nidd)
Counter-terrorism expert Thorold Stone is still grieving over the inexplicable disappearance of his wife and daughter, along with millions of others around the world. As a member of One Nation Earth under the new messiah Franco Macalousso, Stone is required to arrest Christians whom Macalousso has labelled Haters. One of the arrestees slips Stone a cd that contains plans for Macalousso’s Day of Miracles. As a result, O.N.E. declares Stone a wanted fugitive. Stone takes refuge with a secret enclave of Christians who try to persuade him that Macalousso is not the Messiah but the Anti-Christ and that Stone’s family have been taken up to Heaven as true believers. With the help of a computer expert, Stone cracks the secrets of Macalousso’s Day of Miracles – a virtual reality simulation where whatever people wish for will come true in reality, where the only price they will have to pay will be to renounce Jesus Christ and accept Macalousso as Lord.
Toronto-based brothers Peter and Paul Lalonde are Christian filmmakers. All of their films centre around the Biblical End of the World as prophesied by the Book of Revelations. Revelation is the second film in their tetraology of End Times films that began with Apocalypse (1998) and continued with Tribulation (2000) and Judgment (2001). Furthermore, the Lalondes have also made the unrelated Vanished (1998) and Left Behind (2000) and its two sequels Left Behind II: Tribulation Force (2002) and Left Behind: World at War (2005), as well as the big-budget theatrical remake Left Behind (2014), all of which have very similar plots concerning the Biblical End of the World.
It may say something about Lalondes peculiar obsessions or the fact that all of these were being made around the time of the turning of The Millennium, but it does seem odd that when Christians get behind the camera all they seem make is dramatic films about the Biblical End of the World. Outside of the Lalondes, we have also seen other Biblical End Times films such as Raging Angels (1994), The Moment After (1999), The Omega Code (1999), Gone (2003), Six: The Mark Unleashed (2004), Revelation Road: The Beginning of the End (2013), Final: The Rapture (2015), most of which have also produced sequels
Revelation tosses up all the themes of these End Times films – The Rapture (where all good Christians are bodily taken up to heaven), the establishment of One World Government, the Anti-Christ who appears as a charismatic messiah bringing world peace and miracles. (It may say something about the paranoid worldview that these Christians live in that they keep making films warning people about the dangers of anyone who unites the world and brings peace in the Middle East). There is also something self-serving about the film – in having all good Christians labelled Haters and persecuted for their beliefs. When you consider that televangelists like Jack Van Impe and John Hagee financed the film, you tend to think that the real reason the Christians are likely to be persecuted is not their beliefs but simply for being annoyingly bigoted and dogmatic thinkers – John Hagee in particular has made vicious denunciations of Islam. (At one point in Revelation when the Christian rebels go to hack into Anti-Christ’s Virtual Reality centre, a list of O.N.E. operatives comes up and on freeze-frame is shown to contain the names of the production personnel – one wonders if the filmmakers are not trying to signal a peculiar message to the audience).
Revelation interestingly ties the Biblical End Times themes in with Virtual Reality themes. This is a focus that pays more attention to current fads – ie. the popularity of other Virtual Reality films that came out the same year such as The Matrix (1999), eXistenZ (1999) and The Thirteenth Floor (1999) – than it comes from any precedent in The Bible. One defies the Lalondes to offer any Biblical evidence that suggests that the Anti-Christ will appear in Virtual Reality simulations. That said, the fictional scenario created is sometimes interesting.
Revelation is a much better budgeted film than Armageddon – it has minor Hollywood names such as Jeff Fahey, Nick Mancuso and Carol Alt essaying roles that were played by different unknown actors the first time around. Nick Mancuso, through receiving second billing, is barely present in the film until a few scenes at the end. The characters in the film are dealt with in a fair way. Jeff Fahey’s hero has the interesting virtue for one of these films – of remaining an atheist right up until nearly the end.
The most interesting character is Tony Nappo’s horny, wheelchair-ridden computer geek who has been left with rough edges rather than having them bowdlerised. The cynical relationship between he and blind Carol Alt is the most authentic-seeming part of the film. Although, when the two of them are tempted, there is a nasty underlying implication – that crippled and blind people are more likely to succumb to diabolical temptation than ‘whole people’ because of their disabilities.
These End Times films are stuck with the difficult problem in that an accurate rendering of the Book of Revelations ends with the Anti-Christ reigning over the Earth for a thousand years and all true believers being persecuted for their beliefs. The Omega Code valiantly tried to rewrite Revelations for a happy ending. Revelation tries similar things, with The Day of Miracles being defeated and an unconvincing scene where the true believers are burnt in a furnace but remain unharmed Shadrach-like, only for the furnace to then explode killing the Anti-Christ’s evil lackey, but with the Anti-Christ left still in overall control. The end of the story is surprisingly downbeat.
Full film available online here:-