How I Wasted My Birthday
Early in the year, I wasted 80 or so minutes of my birthday. Watching this movie. Boy, was I dumb. Boy, was that movie dumb. And I mean really, REALLY full of itself dumb. Yes, it had some very decent characterization in it, very nice action scenes and the idea of being stuck in an enclosed place while trying to make sure the main character gives birth successfully turns the film into a "Breakfast Club from Hell" kind of deal. But the plot? PHBBT. B-movie. Not even, really. Apparently God has utterly lost all faith in Humanity and sends angels to (I couldn't make this up if I tried) possess the bodies of "the weak-hearted", which ranges from grannies to LAPD to little kids. And why? To exterminate humanity like we're cockroaches and they're divine pest control. Though the ultimate goal, and once again, I remind you I couldn't make this up if I tried...is to kill an unborn child that belongs to the main character, Charlie, cuz he's going to be the Messiah and God's sick of second chances. First of all, isn't this breaking his covenant with humanity? You'd think, if nothing else, an almighty God would be the one to keep his promises. "I won't ever try to wipe you out like I did with the flood ever again". Furthermore, possessing little kids and grannies to kill a BABY? God's acting an awful lot like Satan. Oh, and let's not forget one poor schmuck is (rememberI'mnotmakingthisup) NAILED UPSIDE DOWN TO A CROSS, COVERED WITH ACID-FILLED BOILS WHICH EVENTUALLY EXPLODE. Yeah, it's okay to WIPE OUT AN ENTIRE SPECIES BY USING THE MOST UNDERHANDED METHODS POSSIBLE. You can do that because you're God. Jewish people believe that even God is to be held accountable to the force of Justice...and clearly, these are the actions of neither a just god...nor a loving god. There is only one really good thing about this movie. The end comes with a flashback voiceover. "I asked my mother why God would stop loving his children. "I don't know" she told me, wrapping her arms around me. "I guess he just got tired of the bullshit"." That's actually pretty freakin' badass right there. The rest?...nah. The action scenes and the few instances of good character dialogue can't save this movie's horrible, pathetic plot, which really, REALLY reaches and falls totally short, even by it's own standards.
There's a term for these sort of flicks...
...my sister came up with it yesterday, it's 'Biblesploitation' or maybe 'Angelsploitation'. This flick comes in at a long line of similar flicks and it's not exactly original: angels face off, Gabriel's in there (for some reason Gabriel is almost always involved and for most of the time he's a baddie), a man and a woman survive, happy ending with a possible bait for a sequel. When the thing first came out I didn't want to see it for being a Prophecy rip-off. Though the first fifteen minutes are somewhat dull, albeit Michael managing to blow a cross-shaped hole in the wall is fun, it's a good bad-movie and has many things to it's credit. The possessed are highly enjoyable (the granny, who scares the daylights out of you right off; several sweet children trying to murder you; Doug Jones!) if somewhat uneven about their capabilities. There are some cheesy but enjoyable one-liners ("Are you asking me to explain the behaviour of a motherfucking pestilence?" springs to mind). What I applauded the most was the fight between the archangels, for once someone though of using and angel's wing in battle! Not only does Gabriel use his wings as shields (and not just in a boring 'oh, I'll guess I'll cover myself with this' kind) but I thought I saw him try and hit Michael with them as well. I can understand that CG maybe was unable to do that until recently in film but I don't believe I've seen such excellent use of an angel's body part even in anime. Yes, it's not thought-provoking and yes, it's unoriginal. The last ten minutes are written by an eight year-old. All of this doesn't stop it from being fun. If you have a bit of time to kill then watch this instead of something attempting to be terribly high-brow and failing, in my mind an honest B is better than an A crippled by it's self-importance.
First off, this is definitely a B movie. It's got a fair few problems, but I like it nonetheless. The negative: It drags quite a bit in the middle, and the plot is as full of holes as a Swiss cheese. It's one of those "don't think about it too hard" issues, because under real scrutiny it falls apart. Fridge Logic is not this movie's friend. Some of the acting is also dubious, particularly Dennis Quaid, who apparently decided to om nom nom the scenery for breakfast every day. Plenty of Narm, too. The positive: I personally found the visuals themselves effective. Not, for the most part, the special effects, but the setting, lighting, and cinematography really worked for me. The cinematography was nothing special, but I found it created a nice atmosphere. Claustrophobia even in the middle of nowhere. There was also some Narm Charm, most of it unwitting, which somehow made it a bit more charming. Paul Bettany was obviously having the time of his life, too. Sandra pissed me off to no end, but that was the entire point, and her Kick The Dog moment oddly made me rather more fond of Audrey than I suspected I would be. And of course there's the faceoff between Gabriel and Michael. Nice choreography, and it looked like it really hurt like hell, no pun intended. Unfortunately, the ending was a little too open and unsatisfying for my taste, but I'm not really surprised. Basically, it's a bad movie that nonetheless has its charm — entirely unintentional charm. It's hilarious in places it really shouldn't be, somewhat cringe-worthy in others, but it had enough decent bits to keep me interested. Take it for what it is and it can prove rather entertaining.