Apocalypse (1998)

Apocalypse (1998)
aka Apocalypse: Caught in the Eye of the Storm
Rated: PG for violence and thematic elements
Running Time: 94min
Genre: Endtime/thriller
Production Company: Cloud Ten Pictures

Peter and Paul Lalonde have been writing "end time" books for many years, so it wasn't that surprising that they would eventually turn their attention to the visual arts. Apocalypse is the first in a series of endtime movies produced by the Lalonde brothers and it shows.

The movies production quality is not very good, about as good as a 1970's daytime soap opera. The entire movie seems to have been made on handy cams and not very good ones at that. From the DVD case I expected this to be a low budget straight-to-video B action movie in the vein of a Van Damne or Seagal flick, albiet with a Christian message . What's actually on offer here is a lot of actual stock footage from Desert Storm and an extended advert for Jack Van Impe ministries.

Most of the movie is presented in the form of newscasts which wouldn't have been a half bad idea if put in the hands of someone experienced. The end result however, is a good idea that was poorly executed.

So what's the movie about? Apocalypse introduces us to Helen Hannah, a news reporter for WNN, World News Network; the character of Helen Hannah goes on to appear in all the Apocalypse sequels made so far. Helen's boyfriend and fellow anchor, Bronson Pearl is in the middle east covering the Battle of Armageddon. While Bronson is there, the rapture occurs and the whole world is thrown into chaos. The movie then follows both Helen and Bronson as they search for answers.

I appreciate all the time and effort that must have gone into this movie, and the Gospel message comes through loud and clear, so kudos to you Mr's Lalonde. But when all is said and done Apocalypse is a less-than-par addition to the Christian movie scene. It's poorly and cheaply made, and at times it is plain hilarious, unintentionally so; take the scene in which the rapture happens... the Christians are taken and their clothes are left behind, all neatly folded. I'm smiling just thinking about it.

The best things about this movie is the writing. I actually read the novelization of Apocalypse a couple of years after seeing the movie and I have to say that it's infinitely better than the movie. The way the story is written did not work well in this movie, but as a book it's thrilling, fast paced, and very enjoyable, as well as insightful on endtime themes.

I'm glad to say that the sequels (yes there are sequels) are much better than this. So if you want to watch this series of movies begin by skipping the movie version of Apocalypse and read the book instead.

The bottom line: The Lalonde brothers movies get better and better but my rating for Apocalypse is a disappointing 3/10. CSJ

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