Thursday, July 1, 2010


Directed by Scott Charles Stewart.
2010. Rated R, 100 minutes.
Paul Bettany
Adrianne Palicki
Lucas Black
Tyrese Gibson
Dennis Quaid
Charles S. Dutton
Kevin Durand
Willa Holland
Kate Walsh
Jon Tenney

The Bible teaches us that once, a very long time ago, God had finally had enough of our crap. He was so fed up He made it rain for forty days and forty nights. This flooded the entire planet, completely wiping out the population of Earth, Man and Beast alike, save for Noah and the inhabitants of a boat that must’ve been the size of football stadium. What will happen should God be so angered again? Legion has some ideas.

We first meet Michael (Bettany). Because we’ve seen a lot of movies we immediately assume he’s either and angel or the mutant named Angel from the X-Men. You see, he has wings. Through a nifty bit of contortionism we don’t get to see, he very quickly cuts them off himself. After this and a gunfight with a shpe-shifting cop he begins his quest. Michael’s quest, we learn is to stop God from completely exterminating mankind and starting over. Michael still has faith in man while God does not. He feels God is making a mistake.

God is a particularly nasty fellow, here. He must really be ticked off with us. He doesn’t send a flood or plague. He turns all but a few into zombies and sends most of them to a dusty, roadside diner to stop a baby from being born, presumably taking away man’s hope and clearing the way for our extinction.

It’s an interesting idea but there are too many holes on either side of the equation. Theologically, it assumes God is capable of imperfection and questionable judgment. Nor is He all-knowing. This pretty much defeats the purpose of monotheism. It’s kind of like Michael’s beef is really with “a father” not “The Father.” On the other hand, is this the only baby near birth in the whole world? Or is this scene playing out in similar fashion all over the globe? But there’s only one Michael, so I doubt that.

Is this baby special? I dunno. I suppose he is if he makes it through the nicotine and tobacco filled gestation period a healthy lad, mom can’t quit smoking. The movie never tells us anything other than he must be born. I was expecting to hear that he’s the second coming of Christ, or at least John Connor or Neo (oh, you know them). Yet, Jeep (Black) and mom-to-be Charlie (Palicki) are indeed played like a modern day Joseph and Mary, except for that virginal and pure nonsense.

If it sounds like I’ve done way too much thinking about what’s going on here it’s because the movie invites you to do so. The problem is it isn’t thought out enough to stand up to scrutiny. It falls apart under its own weight. The crumbling starts from the very first time we’re asked to both believe that the God of Christianity is indeed real, but He isn’t perfect. By the way, if Michael, an angel, is so determined to disobey God’s orders doesn’t that mean he’s working for someone else? Hmmm.

However, all is not lost. It’s still just a movie. That said, it has some wild imagery and fun action scenes. Old ladies walk on ceilings, a man explodes. Angels have bulletproof wings and use them effectively in their own sort of martial arts. Though those action scenes are spaced a little far apart, there is some tension created. It’s a movie that’s somehow less than it wants to be, but more than it deserves. It’s not the deep, philosophical exercise it pretends to be, but it’s still an interesting watch.

The Opposite View: Joe Leydon, Variety

What the Internet Says: 5.0/10 on (6/28/10), 19% on, 32/100 on

MY SCORE: 5.5/10

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