There have been many films about the end times, but few have had all that much to do with the actual Book of Revelation. Most apocalyptic movies have been more interested in giving the ancient prophecies a modern spin than in bringing the Scriptures themselves to life—and they have usually accomplished this by spinning a web of hokey political conspiracies and horror–movie shock effects out of thin air. Thus, these films have tended to reflect the social and cultural preoccupations of their makers much more than anything particularly biblical.
Thankfully, there is none of that in The Apocalypse, a European TV–movie (now available on video in North America) which brings some of the visions of John to life more or less as he recorded them. But the filmmakers, evidently convinced (and understandably so) that the Book of Revelation, as written, might not lend itself to a conventional dramatic structure, have imposed a fictitious story of their own on the proceedings—and while it is good to see Revelation put within its proper first–century setting, the results are often quite banal.
The basic premise certainly has potential. John (the late Richard Harris), the last surviving personal witness to the Resurrection, is imprisoned on the Isle of Patmos and sending letters of encouragement to persecuted Christians. However, because John keeps his identity a secret and goes by another name on Patmos, the Christians in nearby Ephesus are not sure exactly where he is. Meanwhile, the Roman Emperor Domitian (Bruce Payne), who has proclaimed himself divine, wants the Christians to worship him, and he gives his generals orders to put the rumors of John's continuing leadership to a definite end.
This is where things ...1
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