The Prophecy

This w/u is naturally spoiler-free

Directed & Written By: Gregory Widen
Release Date: 1995
Genre Keywords: Fantasy, Religion, Suspense, Thriller, Horror, Apocalypse
Starring:
 Christopher Walken           ....   Gabriel
 Elias Koteas                 ....   Thomas Daggett
 Virginia Madsen              ....   Katherine
 Eric Stoltz                  ....   Simon
 Viggo Mortensen              ....   Lucifer
 Amanda Plummer               ....   Rachael
 Moriah Shining Dove Snyder   ....   Mary

Did you ever notice how in the Bible when God needed to punish someone ... make an example, or whenever God needed a killing ... He sent an angel. Have you ever wondered what a creature like that must be like? Your whole existence praising your God but always with one wing dipped in blood. Would you ever really want to see an angel?"

Thomas Daggett, intro to Prophecy


It wasn't really the premise of the movie, nor the rough plot that drew me to this - it was the fact that someone was actually making a non-biblical (extra-biblical?) religiously themed film. Treating the Bible as a historical document, as it were, less than the actual word of God sort of thing, and then making a movie based on a "what if" situation - instant historical fiction with a dose of the supernatural.

The "what if" in this case is not an uncommon one amongst writers; Neil Gaiman tackles a Lucifer who is bored in the Sandman and one that went insane in Neverwhere, Terry Pratchett wrote about a fallen angel (well, more like one that sauntered down) becoming friends with an actual one, and James Morrow kills off Jehovah altogether, and Preacher...well, you have to read that one yourself to believe it. The Prophecy asks: What if Lucifer had a sympathizer (with his belief that angels should come first in grace, and humans a distant second)? A whole host (heh, heh, host...) of sympathizers in this case? And they felt strongly enough about the monkeys to have it out with the big G once and for all?

Well, you'd have a war, wouldn't you, just like the first time. Except what if this time the scales were more evenly balanced, and the head cheese, as seems to be increasingly indicated by the New Testament, could not/did not want to step in to appease his angels? Well, they'd need an edge to beat the other side, wouldn't they. An extra special edge. And around the search for this - on Earth - the entire movie revolves.

Throw in a disillusioned ex-priest who was given a glimpse of heaven and rejected it and a unique take on angels themselves (especially as depicted in the visual arts), and you get a decent movie that nevertheless has to rely on its intrinsic quirkiness to carry it through its at-times overly self-indulgent plot. Walken, naturally, dominates the film and gives an excellent performance, but the rest of the cast doesn't really slouch either, accepting the near-apocalyptic events with a satisfying, very human, amount of bewilderment and resigned acceptance.

Amanda Plummer does a fantastic job as Gabriel's human (well, sort of) lackey. Elias Koteas appears sufficiently tormented without drawing it out too much. Viggo Mortensen's brief appearance as Lucifer is powerful, swift, dark and very effective. Finally, considering that a child actor can make or break a film, Moriah Shining Dove Snyder's performance borders on superb.

Good lines, good acting, lots of attention to detail (angelic script!) and a lot of quirkiness (you'll love the whole perching thing) carries the whole shebang across the movie-gaping (you know, the parts where something incredible happens and the actors have to stand and stare at it incredulously instead of oh, running away or, say, grabbing a shotgun and blasting the bad guy) and occasional descent into cheese. The philosophising is not too hard on the viewer, and the resolution satisfactory.

Watch it if you a) like Christopher Walken, or b) like vaguely iconoclastic, quirky entertainment. The movie may upset you should you think in black and white (angels are good, Satan is bad), and you should probably avoid it. Fans of more incisive cinema (Sundance vs. Holywood) will most likely cringe a lot.

Book #34 in the series Animorphs by K.A. Applegate.

Disclaimer: If you've heard of Animorphs and you're thinking "Aww, how cute," maybe you should read my introduction to the first book to see how wrong you are.

THE PROPHECY

Animorphs #34
by K.A. Applegate

Summarized Plot:

An alien called an Arn lands on Earth and meets with the Animorphs, saying that he wants to use Hork-Bajir DNA to create an army to fight the Yeerks on their own world. But the only hope is to also give them weapons, and a known cache of weapons was hidden by Aldrea-Iskillion-Falan, daughter of Prince Seerow. In order to get her advice on where the weapons are hidden, they have to resurrect her from a recorded essence she provided before she died, and the essence needs a vessel. Toby the young Hork-Bajir seer and Rachel both volunteer, but the presence chooses Cassie instead. The group goes to the Hork-Bajir world in the stolen Yeerk spaceship with the Arn, and throughout the journey Aldrea and Cassie communicate mentally, with Aldrea learning about what she's been through in the Yeerk war and Cassie learning about Aldrea's long-gone family and her own struggles. But Cassie also worries whether Aldrea will be able to take her body away from her, which is especially important when they end up disagreeing about how to fight a battle. Eventually they sort out their differences and uncover the weapons, and the Arn has what he needs to both create new Hork-Bajir and arm them, but there's always the final question about whether Aldrea will choose to let Cassie have her life again.

About this book:

Narrator: Cassie

New known controllers:

  • None

New morphs acquired:

  • Jake: Hork-Bajir
  • Cassie: Hork-Bajir (Jara Hamee)
  • Marco: Hork-Bajir
  • Rachel: None
  • Ax: None
  • Tobias: None

Notable:

  • This book is ghostwritten by Melinda Metz.

  • Toby, the daughter of free Hork-Bajir Jara Hamee and Ket Halpak, is referred to as "Toby Hamee," which suggests that "Hamee" is kind of like a last name; it's unclear whether her second name being the same as her father's indicates a paternal naming convention, but it's possible.

  • In this book it is stated that the Hork-Bajir are from a different galaxy. Ax says so when they have to go through Z-space to arrive "somewhere in the galaxy of the Hork-Bajir planet," and when Aldrea awakens Cassie wonders whether she has any idea that she's on "a planet in a different galaxy." But in The Hork-Bajir Chronicles, it's said over and over that the Yeerks, the Andalites, and the Hork-Bajir are from the same galaxy.

  • The concept of the Ixcila is introduced in this book: it's a person's essence and memories, and can be accessed through a "receptacle mind."

  • Typo: One of Ax's lines says "And if she doesn't chose to release her hold?" Should be "choose."

  • Cassie's narration has her describing climbing a tree as going "Up and up, toes and blades biting the bark, racing straight toward 'Father Sky,'" as if this is how Hork-Bajir think of the sky. In every other place, it's "Mother Sky." The "father" here is "Father Deep."

  • It's curious that despite Cassie's never attempting a maneuver like keeping wings from a previous morph on through to her natural form and onto another morph, she is somehow confident that she can do it. No testing, no understanding of whether it's possible; they just banked on it working. And because of her morphing talent, it does. There doesn't seem to be an Andalite science-related reason for this.

Best lines:

Cassie: We very seldom ended up refusing to do what was insane.

Cassie: Sometimes, in war, even the "good guys" do awful things.

Cassie: "She wants to know why she should have chosen you. Should I explain to her that you are the mighty, the powerful, the ultimate Yeerk-killer, Xena: Warrior Princess, whereas I am merely an ambivalent, animal-loving, tree-hugging wuss?"

Cassie: I could have pointed out that my friends and I were probably the galactic morphing champions. But I didn't feel right. I felt . . . I don't know. Aldrea was a hero right out of history. And I was the girl with the raccoon enema bag.

Cassie: I wondered again why Aldrea hadn't chosen Rachel as her receptacle. But maybe the answer was all too clear: Maybe I'd been chosen because she sensed that I was the weakest.

Ax: "Let us agree, then, that all civilized species must share a hatred of war."



Next book: The Proposal, Animorphs #35

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