I found a nice discussion of the economic history behind the environment “Old Economy Steve” lived in, and it’s a pretty succinct and good writeup.
[ NOTE: Image-heavy post ]
The movie starts off with a short recap, standard End Times fare as noted from the voiceover with overlapping voices, with each line representing a different speaker:
There is no doubt it’s the beginning of great tribulation…
Don’t be blind to what the government is trying to do!
…and democracy. One world government.
Take heed, my brothers. These things are happening now.
We must remain vigilant.
Then we get the One World Government and treaty with Israel and all the rest, as a newscaster speaks:
And as that voiceover happens, OMINOUS WORLD GOVERNMENT SYMBOL TRANSITION IS OMINOUS.
Then we recap the President mentioning the “B” chip and
Rabbi Messianic Jew (’cause he’s one of the 144,000) Jacob Krause telling us all it’s really the BEAST chip (shock! horror!). Then Krause’s voiceover changes subject: “And for all the brothers and sisters who are now being persecuted throughout the world, we especially want to lift up Adam Riley, whose execution is now drawing near.” (the second image is a close-up on the article, which can just be made out well enough to read, for those who are interested)
Of course, being as we’re in an End Times themed movie, the good guys will totally win and Adam won’t be killed. But let’s see how it plays out, yes?
A talking head indicates that Riley’s execution order was upheld in a court and so no delay of his execution is gonna happen. Darn.
We eventually end up with Riley daydreaming he’s out in the desert in his suit, only to wake up and realize he’s in his orange jumpsuit with a couple more prisoners, all of them apparently being taken to be executed. I wonder if they have Loyalty Enforcement Facilitators in this fictional version of Earth or if they’ll just go with the old firing squad.
The brown-haired guy in the middle (who, in the truck, is seated opposite Riley) is Rex. The darker-skinned guy, Robert Jackson, has a way with the lingo of the Bible: “My time is in your hands. Deliver me from my enemies and those that pursue me.”
That being said, one suspects the dude isn’t quite as “humble in Christ” as other Christians might be.
Anyway, the truck (in a pretty obvious body kit) shows up at a checkpoint.
Small talk ensues. The driver complains the air conditioning’s busted, and given that the movie (and its predecessor) were filmed in California, I don’t envy them in that heat (could be worse though; it could be in the humid parts of the US in summer)!
Turns out the actual place of this execution is so secrety-secret they can’t even tell the guards where they’re going. BUT SURPRISE! The checkpoint guards aren’t real guards! They shoot the driver and passenger, then dash around to the back of the truck and release the prisoners!
Much backslapping and congratulating all around, then Riley gets invited along with the escapees, who steal the pickup truck parked nearby. He refuses, preferring to go off alone.
Maybe you shoulda gone with the Christian militia guys after all, buddy. That gas tank ain’t gonna un-leak itself.
He decides to hot-foot into the hills and hopefully run across someone who won’t bust him and turn him in for an undoubtedly huge dead or alive reward.
I have to say, the choice of a more common generic serifed font compared to that sillyass typewriter font for the first movie is a nice change and looks more appealing. Also, nice scenery into which Adam is running, albeit he won’t have any water or food.
We then see a fade to the title, then fade to black and scene cut.
I think I’ll take up the next part in a new post, since we’ll be switching to Baker, Riley’s ex-partner.
So, we return to see many of our characters on the
big screen direct to DVD TV screen!
It is of note that The Moment After II: The Awakening took about six years to get issued after TMA, and it shows. The characters have visibly aged in some cases, and if they don’t get The Moment After III out soon, it might be impossible to re-use the same people and believably maintain continuity. Bad enough when they did this (having to swap out all the actors) to Atlas Shrugged – it just made a crappy movie even worse.
That said I predict that this movie will suffer from the haphazardly constructed plot in TMA, and that some hurried patch jobs and/or limiting the focus to only the major characters will be one way they’ll avoid needing to factor in world events or other phenomena which would require linking events of the first movie to the second, beyond the fact that Riley is in jail when we start out.
I’m not sure how I’ll split it up this time, so I’ll go back and edit the section titles to indicate part 1 of x, 2 of x, etc. In any case, Part 1 due to come shortly! 🙂
[ NOTE: Image-heavy post ]
We left off with Adam Riley meeting Dr. Exposition, I mean, Dr. Wilkins. Now that we have learned some of the reasons behind the seemingly bizarre things in this movie, the rest is all straightforward. We hope.
Anyway, he heads back to the FBI office and gets told by Baker they need to head back out to chase down Jacob Krause. Now I have no idea what or how Baker got this info but they show up at what looks like the abandoned barn where Krause’s group was staying. HowEVER, the evil nasty global army got there first!
They’re busy arresting people and taking stuff away. We end up meeting the overseer of this operation, Lt. Fredericks. He’s the Big Bad, as it turns out! (and it’s not much of a spoiler to say he comes back for the sequel)
He says Krause wasn’t there when the Evil Global Army showed up. After some jurisdiction friction Fredericks pretty much tells them to sod off, ’cause it’s Evil Global Army’s playground now. Then, on their way back to their vehicle DUN DUN DUN they see Catherine Harris being led away, conveniently all by herself, to a truck!
Riley impulsively decides to rescue her (as opposed to calling his boss and getting some kind of official authorization for the FBI to detain her instead of Evil Global Army; they DO have cell phones in this movie, so it’s possible for a flurry of rapid-fire phone calls to ensue). Baker reluctantly fakes a problem with his car to draw off the (conveniently) lone soldier guarding the truck, while Riley sneaks into the back to get Catherine out of there.
Oh, how convenient. Riley magically has the right handcuff key. This movie really should’ve been vetted for plot plausibility, but that’s what happens with low-budget films. They skimp on things like this. Anyway, Riley gets her out just as the cute soldier is done fixing the “problem” Baker manufactured, which was to deliberately loosen a fuse.
And while this was happening, somehow he didn’t notice Riley sneaking Catherine into the car at ALL and just happily waves at the two FBI agents now hightailing it out of there like their asses were on fire. Sure enough he gets suspicious, checks the truck, and kicks over the hornet’s nest to git those varmints.
WHY NO DAPPER MADAM WE TOTALLY WILL NOT…. uh, yes, we will, thanks to
Joe Hardy Adam Riley, who is the impetuous blond of the Hardy Boys pair of FBI agents*.
Meanwhile, Lt. Fredericks comes out of the barn doing his Evil McEvil Global Army mook thing. He decides not to bother going after the agents. “We’ll deal with them later.” OMINOUS FORESHADOWING IS OMINOUS.
And then just to REALLY show that the Evil Global Army is evil, he orders that the barn be burned down once all the people have been taken away and their stuff confiscated.
Scene cut. We’re in a cafe with the agents and Catherine. Now you’d think, having just harbored a fugitive, the agents would be barricading themselves inside the FBI HQ and getting everybody in the HQ to suit up and raid the weapons locker, but this is Rapture-themed fiction and of course we need to set up implausible courses of action to prove the ~power of faith~, etc.
“So, Catherine, what were you doing with those people?”
“I am one of those people! I’m a follower of Jesus Christ!”
Segue into the usual Conversion Story trope – “I thought I was in control of my life, but nopity-nope, it’s all God’s show”, upon which Baker asks why it is the Evil Global Army busted them all. Her answer? “Things don’t always work out the way we want them to, but God is STILL in control.”
I almost feel like there should be a Chuck Norris joke in there somewhere.
She recites Romans 8:28 and explains she found joy and peace and a sense of purpose. “The time is short”, she says. Agent Baker remains still unimpressed.
And then BOOM HELLO EVIL GLOBAL ARMY GUYS. They roar up in Humvees and Jeeps and Evil McEvilBoss (Fredericks) comes strolling on in after a bunch of mooks surround the agents.
And then Catherine gives herself up! She tells Adam, “he is waiting for you”, and then she goes out singing a song, probably a hymnal.
This is what I mean by such artificially constructed situations that such movies strain plausibility. The whole thing was clearly set up to give Adam the ~secret code~ and then show her ~strong in the faith~ as a martyr for the cause, etc etc etc.
Then OMINOUS LIEUTENANT IS OMINOUS WITH OMINOUS THREATS. After that, he leaves.
Scene cut. The agents are driving home, and it’s suddenly dark out. They’re coming up to a checkpoint, which apparently is another one of those randomly evil things the moviemakers figured they’d just toss in to make sure we know about the Evil Global Government being… well, evil.
Never mind that the Department of Homeland Security now runs internal checkpoints within the borders of the USA. Don’t need a one world government to erode them constitutional rights, guys.
The guard at the checkpoint waves his scanner thingy over Baker’s “B” chip in his hand and then Riley flashes his FBI ID. Riley gets a SECOND WARNING. From the suceeding dialog, if he gets the dreaded THIRD WARNING they grab him, strap his ass to a chair and BZIP the “B” chip into his hand. Because of course the Evil Global Government is evil, and totally can’t figure out how to bamboozle people into getting “B” chips without needing to force them into it.
C’mon, advertising’s a multibillion dollar industry in the USA. If anyone can figure out how to get people to have “B” chips, it’d be the Mad Men.
Riley then begins wondering out loud how the Evil Global Army found them. At this point the scene is all but shouting the answer: That “B” chip can be satellite tracked, but Baker chooses to play the dumb and doesn’t work it out for himself. The agents decide to take one more crack at the shelter Krause used to run.
Anyway, they FINALLY grab the MacGuffin of the photograph off the wall, and boom, Riley recognizes the area! (“My dad and I used to go camping on this mountaintop when I was a kid.”) Agent Baker is skeptical and unimpressed.
They also see writing on the back of the photo! “Seek and you shall find!”
Well then, that clears it all up, doesn’t it?
So off they trundle to said mountain. And sure as shit, Jacob Krause is there, in the flesh.
He sees the agents and chats all guru-like. I was starting to wonder if he wasn’t being a few cards short of a full deck with the way he was going on about the beauty of nature and the fruit trees and all the rest, especially when Adam asks directly if he’s one of the 144,000. Jacob answers indirectly, “God needed people to speak hope and life to the world, especially now. That’s what I’m doing. I’m pointing the way to Jesus Christ.”
Baker remains unimpressed. He announces he’s there to execute the warrant for Krause’s arrest. Krause goes willingly, but not before his Armor Piercing Statement: “To live is Christ, to die is to gain. There are worse things than dying.”
Inside the car we get the DUN DUN DUN about the “B” chip! Krause says he tells his followers not to get the chip and that makes him an OMG HUGE THREAT.
(Paraphrased and rearranged for comedic effect)
Krause: That “B” chip is evil.
Baker: It’s just my credit card replacement.
Krause: Are you sure about that?
Krause: Are you really sure about that?
Krause: Not even a teensy hint of doubt in your mind at aaaalllll?
Baker: YES GODDAMNIT SHUT UP.
Krause: I know what it REALLY is!
Jacob Krause: Biological Encoding And Satellite Tracking, or, as the Global Council of Nations refers to it, the BEAST chip.
DOHOHOHOHOHO WELL WHAT ABOUT THAT HUH? HUH???????
Krause proceeds to reiterate the faith-not-works doctrine of how to get into God’s grace, which is Team Rapture’s stock answer for why those who are Christians and didn’t get beamed to heaven are left behind on Earth. More dialog, paraphrased:
Krause: The wages of sin is death, but Jesus fixed that for us. So now we can be sinless and in God’s presence as a result. Really! It’s easy. Just one quick prayer, honest! (^_^)
Baker: SHADDDAAAAAAAP. (>_<)
Krause: Well, it’s purely a personal decision, Charles. \(^_^)b
They pull into a gas station, and Riley jibber-jabbers with Krause some more. We discover that for some reason Riley is REAL IMPORTANT. Important enough that the Messianic Jew who’s supposed to be spreading Christ’s word far and wide as one of the 144,000, instead gets busted and potentially thrown in jail or worse, executed.
Riley asks, “Then why did you let yourself get caught?” and Jacob answers, “To talk to you. God wanted me to talk to you.”
Cue a couple more lines (including Rev. 21:4), and then like, the FASTEST EVER SINNER’S PRAYER: “God, I know you’re real. Please forgive me. Come into my life, Jesus. God, lead me.”
And then Riley decides NOW IS THE TIME! He stashes Krause in the trunk, and takes off with a full tank of gas and a very annoyed Agent Baker at the store. Baker calls Riley on his cell, and the two of them have a “WHY?????” “I DID WHAT I HAD TO DO” stock conversation while Riley’s taking off at top speed to get Krause… somewhere.
DUN DUN DUN A CHECKPOINT OH CRAP. Riley’s third warniiiiiiiing is coming up!
Only wait a sec, Deus Ex Machina! The two military guys doing the checkpoint can’t verify Riley’s ID because their laptop’s satellite Internet is mysteriously down! HA HA. They wave him through.
Too late, Baker shows up! Oopsieshit they just let through a rogue FBI agent!
Scene cut. We see a super duper big military checkpoint full of guys with automatic weapons and the Big Bad (Lt. Frederick). Riley pulls up to a stop and lets himself get arrested. Will they get Krause too?
HA LOL NOPE GUYS. TRUNK’S EMPTY!
Baker catches up and has a sad. “Was it all worth it? Losing everything?”
Riley is all like “Yup.”
After that, we see Krause is plodding back up the mountaintop, and a voiceover recites:
In the words of Apostle Paul, “Fight the good fight, finish the course and keep the faith. Stand firm and be true to our Lord, who suffered wrath and died for our sins, so that we may have eternal life with him.”
A few final scenes – Baker having a sad over his two best buddies gone from his life, Krause talking to his followers, and Riley stuck in prison getting a secrety-secret Bible verse tucked inside his bread.
Next time, The Sequel!
* Back in the 1950s and 1960s, there was a fairly widespread interest in detective/secret agent thriller fiction for teenagers; my dad got me interested back in the early 1980s. Frank Hardy was always the studious brown-haired older brother and Joe Hardy was always the slightly more impetuous (hot-headed, if you will) blond-haired younger brother.
The Phenomenon of Bullshit Jobs is an interesting study into the problem of how society is apparently still dealing with the transition to the idea that it is not necessary to work 40 hours+ a week to live.
Explanation: The world has more bullshit going around today in a lot of spheres than it did a generation ago. “Your call is important to us” being a classic example, as is “this call is being recorded to ensure accuracy and quality”.
Translated: “We’re just fobbing you off with a meaningless catchphrase”, and “we don’t trust you, and we think you’ll lie like a rug if you can get away with it so we’re taping your call.”
I would actually be kind of happy if the voicemail maze system said something like, “your call will be recorded; be aware that we can and will use it against you in the event of any civil or criminal proceedings.”
And in terms of the job market – well, the B.Sc is the new high school diploma only you have to pay up front for that part, or get your parents to put the house in hock so you can walk out without a debt and run like a hamster in a Kafka maze of spinning wheels to get a job.
[ NOTE: Image-heavy post. Also, all links to Bible verses are from the Revised Standard Version. ]
All right, so we left off with Charlie finding out his wife is in the hospital. I’m unsure of the time evolution of this series but I guess we can assume it’s been a few days or a week after the Rapture. For all that, however, the hospital is suspiciously not-crowded and has a non-harried front-desk nurse handling reception as Charlie rushes up and asks for “Rebecca Baker”:
“Room 8,” she casually says. Well, let’s move to Room 8, shall we?
And just as the agents rush up, a doctor’s leaving the room. She’s clearly not frazzled from having to deal with numerous accident victims, death certificates for DOAs, etc etc etc. Kind of reminds you of Buck Williams’s very own special doctor, eh?
“Mr. Baker, I need to talk to you.” DUN DUN DUN THIS IS NEVER GOOD. Riley (blond agent) gets the picture and is all like, “I’ll be down the hall there, buddy.” Slips off to let lady doc give Charlie the bad news: it seems that his wife, Rebecca, was pregnant but whatever happened to her, the baby miscarried. 😦
Baker is mad and smacks the wall. In an appropriately male-angsty way (movies like this tend to buy into a lot of gender essentialism, so as a man, Charlie can’t cry, but has to express his grief physically and in stoicism) he grinds out, “Can I see her?”
And so we meet Rebecca.
She’s upset she lost the baby, and tells Charlie the doctor said she might not ever be able to have children. 😦
While I don’t want to make light of this scene, I do want to note that what we’re seeing here is also of a piece with the usual tropes that enter into literature aimed at Christian fundamentalists, which is the importance laid on having many children and the appearance, if not the reality, of a well-to-do, prosperous family.
The fact that Rebecca can’t have children could, in this light, be seen as another “strike” against Charlie. He’s already not happy that just maybe he missed the Rapture, because he previously asserted, “I’m a good person” and that he’s a Christian who attends church. But as the Rapture-believers say, he just wasn’t good enough to get the golden ticket to Heaven to bypass the Tribulation. So not being Raptured, not being able to field a football team of kids for Christ, et cetera – these can all be “read” as marks of those-not-worthy.
Now that we have had a sad, scene cut. We’re now at Catherine Harris’s house, who we may recall is the wife of George Harris, an agent who did, in fact, get Raptured. She’s been in the mental hospital long enough that the scene shows her in danger of foreclosure and eviction. Never mind that the sudden glut of housing would throw the banking and landlord-rental systems into chaos, and when you can move anywhere for free and tell the bank to go fuck themselves, why try to legally foreclose and evict someone when if they stay, they’re still paying you money?
Adam Riley lets himself in and after walking through the sad, desolate, dark house, another flashback to when he was at the Harrises eating dinnner (I get the impression that Adam is single and so probably eats a lot of bachelor-type frozen dinners).
“I outdid myself? Really? Well YOU can wash the dishes. 😛 ” – Catherine (paraphrased)
Cut to the kitchen with George and Adam doing the dishes. And George is proselytizing Riley, naturally. What’s a nice meal without some of that “wages of sin is death” stuff as a post-dinner apertif, right?
So debate ensues. Adam says he “keeps an open mind”. George, of course, says, “Pshaw, nonsense. All those other religions may have truths, but they are DANGEROUS. THE BIBLE is the one true book! Every word!” (paraphrased) Seriously, he actually grabs the conveniently placed Bible right near the kitchen sink and holds it up to buttress his rhetorical point.
“… and through his death on the cross, made it possible for us to fellowship with him once again.”
Bingo. There’s the old resolution to the “wages of sin is death” doctrine, trotted out one more time as ‘proof’ for why Christians are special.
They get interrupted by Catherine, who tells them a basketball game’s on, and that’s the end of the flashback. Back to Riley having a sad at the empty house and the loss of his friend. He wanders the house some more and spots A BIBLE. He grabs it, sits down near a lit candle, and begins reading. From the looks of it, he’s flipped open to somewhere in the last third of the New Testament. Gotta get that Revelation somehow, eh?
Scene cut. Now we’re back to the Christian shelter place the Jewish rabbi opened up. The nasty evil law enforcement officers in the thrall of the global government are closing the place down! He has ten minutes to pack everybody up and leave! Those MEANIES!
(Never mind that in a real-world Rapture scenario? I think this would be the LEAST of the worries of the authorities, considering squatting would likely be a de facto widespread phenomenon, and dealing with crime would be a lot more important. Plus, anyone kicking a group like this out would, out of sheer practicality, probably give them 24 hours after getting an eviction order from the government responsible for assuming title to distressed property)
Now, I’ve mentioned this global government thing before, and you can see in the picture above the soldiers bear its logo, and last time the census ad had it too. But it’s just been parachuted in from nowhere; there’s no buildup or even an attempt to give us back story on it. We’re just to assume it’s happened because, well, reasons and the audience just naturally knows because RTCs have all been exposed to this sort of alarmist rhetoric from the likes of LaHaye et al, that the United Nations or something is just waiting in the wings to grind America under its bootheel.
Rabbi dude walks back up and tells everybody to pack up and get rolling. And so they do. Except for the MacGuffin of a picture of himself on a rock, which the rabbi leaves pinned to a wall.
Scene cut. We’re now with Rebecca in the room she had prepared for her baby, which we know miscarried from the previous scene. Charlie comes in and they talk. We find out Rebecca’s sister was an RTC and she got beamed up to good ol’ Heaven. Charlie’s having none of that and re-asserts the “good/decent people” thing, which as all RTCs know is code for “you didn’t recite the magic wooooooooooords! HA HA.”
It’s a subtle reference back to the “faith through works” being inferior to the “faith through grace” doctrine which LaHaye propounds in his books and which other End Times-believing Christian sects often cite as well.
Charlie goes to the Man Cave and sees the rocking horse he made for his child-to-be. In a fit of anger, he takes it into the back yard and sets fire to it. Because manly men do not cry.
Scene cut to a really awkward group of mostly guys singing a Christian song around a campfire. After the song ends, rabbi dude even goes through the whole “wine and bread” spiel in his speech about taking comfort from Jesus Christ. And so saying, he passes around a loaf of bread and someone busts out the cranberry juice.
This rabbi guy seems awfully conversant with a lot of Christian things for all that he’s presumably been raised in the Jewish faith. But then again we know sects that proclaim themselves true End-Times-believing RTCs have a habit of treating Jews like stage props or proto-Christians (look at Tsion Ben-Judah for example) rather than as people who have their reasons for believing in what they believe in.
Scene cut and we’re back with Catherine Harris. We finally get a timeline! The interviewing officer there indicates she’s been in the facility for four months since the Rapture. Usual song and dance about moving on, etc. And THEN
THE OMINOUS CENSUS STATION FORM.
“Your cooperation is now considered mandatory.”
Another one of these randomly-parachuted-in OMG global government things!
Scene cut to the President of the United States on TV! “My fellow Americans, etc and blah blah.”
The relevant (to RTCs) extract of the speech is as follows:
But we must move on and heal our nation as we heal ourselves. As you well know, this suffering has gone far beyond our borders. This catastrophe has touched every single nation on the face of the Earth. The Chairman of the World Council of Nations has asked that we join in the Global Economic Alliance. This action will propel our country into economic health and stability. You must also join with me to turn our currency into Global Credits as soon as possible to ensure the success of this dynamic program. Already, England, France, Greece and seven other European countries have joined together and are seeing dramatic results. Despite our personal losses, we must remember that the current economic condition is good. Job opportunities in all fields are at an all-time high. By imposing martial law and vigorously prosecuting criminals, we have brought down crime dramatically. This is a time of prosperity, a time of blessing after the curse. To bring further stability, many new and far-reaching programs must be put into action. We will continue to conduct the Emergency Census. We ask that every citizen receive the biological chip, introduced in Europe earlier this year. As you know, this “B” chip will ensure that all of your monetary credits are properly logged and accessible. It’s much like a credit card, with one wonderful advantage. You can never wake up and discover that it’s lost. We ask that you join in supporting your country as we move into this New Age.
I’ve underlined all the obvious End Times dog-whistles in this speech, from the thinly-disguised analog of the Secretary-General of the United Nations, the global government, the new currency (which at least isn’t given the stupidest name on the face of the Earth) the legend of the ten horns, to the DUN DUN DUN CHIP ON THE RIGHT HAND (the Prez actually points to his own right hand when he says that part of the speech).
We also get some reaction shot cuts from Riley, Catherine, Charlie and Rebecca, as well as some random FBI dude.
The economic stuff is double-talk. Why does the Prez say “the current economic condition is good” and then at the same time insist on a new currency as a stabilization measure?
In Edge of Apocalypse, there was actually a semi-legitimate reason to do so, because the post-RTS crisis caused a sudden drop in the value of the US dollar amid years of printing money to avoid needing to deal with the problem of high oil and gas prices. So there, the US dollar was already primed to lose value for one reason or another. But here, according to the Prez, things are fine! But nonetheless, the End Times checklist must needs be obeyed, ergo a new currency must be introduced and with it, tighter integration into a global government.
In reality I suspect after a Rapture, an inflationary depression would hit many countries since the sudden collapse of demand and disruption of supply chains for a lot of consumer goods, coupled with existing government spending commitments, would lead to at least a temporary resort to the printing press, causing a spike of inflation, followed by a longer-term readjustment of prices.
As the speech ends, we’re back to the Christian group, who are now in a barn listening to the radio. Rabbi dude speechifies again about being “like-minded in Christ”, etc. Incidentally, a girl addresses him as “Jacob” so for the first time we actually know the dude’s name. His sidekick is named John. Biblically anvlicious much there, movie producers and writers?
Anyway, Jacob tells John he needs to take off for a few days and buy supplies. The obvious implication here is that Christians are being persecuted, but again this is just sort of parachuted in with no real set-up whatsoever. This movie suffers from the fact that it assumes far too much about its audience, that watchers can just “fill in the gaps”, as it were. Any non-Christian who is not versed in End Times doctrine would probably be confused as hell watching this thing.
For example, in this scene John (long-haired dude) says, out of the blue, “Jacob, do you think they ever will come after us?”
Jacob responds that God will provide, etc etc etc. This would be a confusing scene if one did not have some knowledge of what generally happens in such fictional portrayals of the Rapture and subsequent events.
Ominous scene with the FBI boss! It is now 18 weeks later (suspiciously, no treaty with Israel, so no idea if in this series, the Tribulation Clock has officially kicked off) and the Justice Department is now reassigning all agents originally tasked with tracing the disappeared. (They seem to have reasonably decided that several million people can no longer be found, especially given the sheer logistical impossibility of assuming they all just fucked off someplace.) Of course it is presented with an undercurrent of conspiracy-theory foreboding, as though some shadowy higher authority knows the truth.
New assignment: Chase down Rabbi Dude! Authorities believe he is assembling a “paramilitary force”!
Objective: Locate and arrest one Jacob Krause, threat to national security!
Of course we in the audience already know he’s an inoffensive Jew-turned-Christian who’s just hiding away a bunch of people like him who are essentially harmless. But as we know from the way End Times checklists work, Christians will perforce be persecuted without reason, so scenes like this are a necessary ingredient of Rapture-themed films.
And we learn that Riley did not report to his census station! DUN DUN DUUUUUUUUUN.
Scene cut! Totally randomly somehow out of the blue, dear Jacob happens across Christine sitting on a park bench! She’s holding her purple Census form thingy and looking kind of despondent. And then he just sits down next to her and is all like, “It’s a beautiful day, isn’t it, Catherine?” GEE BE MORE CREEPY THERE BUDDY.
And of course she’s all, “DO I EVEN KNOW YOU???”
He replies with stuff about Jesus loving her, everything will be fine, etc. Fairly standard boilerplate for such stories when a RTC character is in peril from the authorities.
Scene cut. Charlie can’t find much on dear ex-Rabbi Krause, just an old address for his synagogue and phone number. Nonetheless like good FBI agents he and Riley go check it out. But Riley practically lampshades the absurdity inherent in this movie as he says, “Why would a rabbi found a paramilitary organization?”
Again random stuff out of the blue – we learn that “Global Humanitarian Rescue” closed down all non-Global shelters! What the–*flails* FILMMAKERS, DO YOU EVEN HAVE A CLUE? Any overarching coordinator of shelters for people displaced due to the disappearances would link up with and use existing infrastructure rather than cause further dislocations by trying to impose their own parallel structures!
Eeesh. This kind of absurd unthinking pushing of the RTC agenda in a Rapture-themed film like this is akin to the sloppy work LaHaye and Jenkins do in Left Behind, or LaHaye and Parshall in Edge of Apocalypse.
Anyway, empty shelter is very empty! EXCEPT FOR THE MACGUFFIN!
They don’t take it, though, and leave. Outside, Riley has a momentary BSOD as he gets upset over spending months looking for disappeared people and no answer has materialized. Again more random crap parachuted in, suddenly we learn there is a “military government” running things. Writers, can we please aim for some kind of overarching plot consistency here?
Riley also complains that nothing they’ve seen so far links Krause to anything, and it’s now a fine time for Charlie Baker to get all “I must not question why” on his good buddy. In the end Riley says nonsense like, “Maybe it needs to [fall apart]. Look, this job used to mean something to me. Now, I feel like I’m a pawn in someone else’s game. Maybe it’s time I quit and get on with the healing.”
Pretty far cry to go from lack of suspicious material on the Rabbi to wanting to throw the table over and go off and do something else, though.
Ok, scene cut! We’re now with our theologian, Dr. Edward Wilkins, the one who was (drumroll, please) Left Behind. He’s alone in his church. And he has a sad. Then we hear someone say “Dr. Wilkins?” It’s Agent Adam Riley! And he seeks ~answers~!
Wilkins says he “could use the company. It’s been awfully quiet around here these days.” He relates that about a quarter of his congregation disappeared and the remainder simply drifted off. I suspect that this is a pretty realistic response, considering that mass disappearances could lead to a rise in generally morbid or nihilistic thoughts in people, particularly if “Am I next?” is on one’s mind.
Now, even though they’re in the middle of a frakkin’ church, with presumably Bibles everywhere, the instant Adam busts out HIS Bible, Wilkins is all, “Careful! That’s an unpopular book these days!” OMINOUS PHRASING IS OMINOUS, GUYS. Y’know, that whole persecution out of nowhere thing with no set-up or back story for it.
Anyway, Dr. Wilkins begins explaining: “You see, Adam, the Lord Jesus Christ has returned for his people. First Corinthians, 15:52, says, ‘In a moment, in the twinkling of an eye, at the last trump, for the trumpet shall sound, and the dead shall be raised incorruptible, and we shall be changed.’ This verse foretells what has just happened, the Rapture.”
He then makes reference to First Thessalonians, chapter 4, verses 15 through 17. He states “It was promised that Jesus would return with the sound of a shout and the voice of the archangel. And when this occurs, those who believe and are alive will see him and hear the trumpet of God and will be with him instantaneously. But this will all be invisible to the nonbeliever. So, what has happened is the immediate disappearance, the Rapture, of believers.”
The emphasis I have added to the above is that the movie is consistent with this depiction. The trumpet sound is only heard by believers; anyone not Raptured does not hear anything unusual.
The good Doctor then reveals to us that the clock is ticking down: “The beginning of the great tribulation, mass apostasy, one-world government, treaties with Israel, increase in persecution against new believers in Christ, economic boom, then collapse. And finally, the wrath of God poured out on the ungodly.”
(Just gotta get that last Fuck You, Infidels in there, no matter how well-cultured or nice the theologian may be.)
The other crucial aspect of this scene is it finally reveals why Rabbi Dude Jacob Krause suddenly started spouting off Christianity like he’d known it all his life. Wilkins says, “[Krause] could be one of the 144,000.”
And what, pray tell, are they?
With reference to Revelation 14, verses three through five, as well as Revelation, chapter seven, verse four, we learn:
“And no man can learn that song but the 144,000 which were redeemed from the Earth. These are they who are not defiled with women, for they are virgins. These are they who follow the lamb whithersoever he goeth. These were redeemed from among men being the first fruits unto God and to the lamb.”
(Aside: That’s pretty rotten luck if the rabbi likes women. Now, wouldn’t it just be a kick in the ass to all the remaining homophobes if he was gay? I’m not going to even try to touch the misogyny that drips off that verse, though.)
“And I heard the number of those who were sealed, 144,000, from every tribe of the sons of Israel.”
Bottom lining it here, the interpretation of scripture according to the filmmakers is similar to that of the Christ Clone: 144,000 Jews are especially ‘chosen’ to begin evangelizing the message of Jesus Christ. There are some, shall we say, issues with claiming this, particularly as it is known that Revelation was written as a veiled critique of the Roman Empire. As such, the only way to interpret those verses is to assume that Jews living at the time would be converted to the then-alternate sect of Judaism, and so be the first mass converts. The number itself is likely a numerologically favorable one, given that the Bible makes references to multiples of seven and twelve a lot.
Anyway, that pretty much wraps up the speech. As speechmaking goes, he’s better than Bruce Barnes whose smile is pastede on yay. But Wilkins provides a similar expository function as Bruce Barnes and Pastor Billings from Left Behind: he serves to get the audience up to speed with what’s going on, and what will happen next.
And with that, I’ll stop here. Part 3/3 soon! 🙂
Says the organization that pioneered structural adjustment programs.
[ NOTE: Image-heavy post ]
So, as mentioned in my previous post, I ran across this rather hokey, low-budget movie. It’s basically your standard Rapture-fare, and we launch straight into things:
Then we see an image of the “tasks left undone” motif that’s thought to be characteristic of a sudden Rapturing: clothes left in a pile where a person was sitting/standing, a phone off the hook, a table with food still left out, a stove with a pot boiling over, a radio announcement mentioning multi-car pileups and so on.
We follow the camera through the house, and end up outside: a car has crashed, a woman is frantically searching for her child, and other scenes of widespread disaster appear before us. Then, THE TITLE SCREEN!
Man, I tell you, nothing screams “classy movie” like that typewriter font shit. You just KNOW this is gonna be one kick-ass movie, right?
MOVING ON THEN.
So, we’re now in this bedroom and this blond dude is in bed. Must’ve had a late last night. The doorbell’s insistently ringing, so he goes to answer it. Turns out it’s his FBI buddy. Blond dude’s name is Adam Riley. The brown-haired dude’s name is Charles Baker.
These two guys are our main characters! 🙂 We’ll be following them along for the rest of the movie. Charlie tells Adam people have DISAPPEARED. Only he seems really dispassionate about it like oh gee it’s nothing much (even though he says, “In fact, we’ve had thousands of missing-person reports in our district alone”). We learn a buddy of theirs named George is one of the missing and they’re not freaking out about it??? Even with the already thousands of other people gone, too? Mmkay then! (But seriously, if I were in that scene? I would be shouting, “THIS IS SERIOUS SHIT U GUISE!”)
And then OH MY GOD. Guys, this is just the most mind-blowing example of the short shrift Christian Pre-Millennial Dispensationalists give Jews, like, EVER.
So the next scene is this synagogue and holy cliche, Batman.
I can’t understand the Hebrew in this scene, but rabbi dude is doing davening – it’s prayer with chanting and bobbing back and forth on your heels – and just in case we didn’t know we were seeing a synagogue there’s the Israeli flag on the left side, just to really totally make sure we know what scene this is.
No idea if the Hebrew on there is really for real or if it’s just something made up because hey, no need to worry about another language when the King James was good enougjh for Jesus, amirite?
Anyway, he hears sirens and he’s all spooked. Sensible I guess! Also, that beardy thing? Is totally a strap-on fake. I have no idea if real rabbis are supposed to have beardy things [EDIT: Apparently Orthodox Jewish men are supposed to have actual beards] but if they’re not, then I’ll put this one down to the movie writers and director figuring a stereotype will go down just fine because as far as they’re concerned it’s not like anyone who’s ACTUALLY JEWISH would ever watch this thing.
Okay, then we switch to the FBI district HQ which as you may expect for a crappy low-budget film does not look very district office-y. Head dude is here, never fear, and now it’s INFODUMP TIME:
At 7:23 this morning, everything you knew about the world changed. The estimates of the missing are now in the hundreds of thousands. Nationally, reports are in the millions. Worldwide, we have no idea. The President has declared a national state of emergency. Martial law has been enacted.
[…] Officially, Donald Parker and George Harris are confirmed missing. Now, this is going to hit a lot of you on a personal level, but I need you here. It’s chaos out there, and it’s our job to find out what happened. We need to restore order, and each and every one of you has a very difficult job ahead.
The agents go off and start interviewing people! We get lots of flashbacks! The movie folks save a lot of $$ by making sure that the camera never actually “sees” people disappear (except once when they interview George’s wife); we just see a bright flash of light and the HOLY CRAP reaction shot. Of course, the whole point of these repeated flashback intercuts is to hammer home the idea that one must be a “Real, True Christian” 100% or no Rapture for you!
Ok, remember what I said about the way this movie handles Jewish people? OH MY GOD JUST NO. Okay, you know how some Christians treat New Testament Bible verses as armor-piercing bullets against Jewish resistance to the notion that Jesus is the Messiah? Well OF COURSE the rabbi just runs out and buys a Bible (okay, it’s 1999, movie time, but still, I kind of think a rabbi might keep a Bible around just to be able to look up stuff in order to have discussions with Christians who come to synagogue for some reason) and frantically flips the pages.
Sure as shootin’, here’s the page:
And if you look up the names of the books (in, for example, the Revised Standard Version) both Acts and 1 Corinthians are New Testament verses. Judging from the text in the screenshot I’d bet dollars to donuts the rabbi got a King James, but here’s the equivalent text in the RSV, 1 Corinthians:
 But the Lord said to him, “Go, for he is a chosen instrument of mine to carry my name before the Gentiles and kings and the sons of Israel;
 for I will show him how much he must suffer for the sake of my name.”
 So Anani’as departed and entered the house. And laying his hands on him he said, “Brother Saul, the Lord Jesus who appeared to you on the road by which you came, has sent me that you may regain your sight and be filled with the Holy Spirit.”
 And immediately something like scales fell from his eyes and he regained his sight. Then he rose and was baptized,
 and took food and was strengthened.
The rabbi runs his finger down the page and it stops on the “scales fell from his eyes” part, which… yeah, Unfortunate Implications, people. We don’t see any epiphany he’s had, we don’t see him undergoing any crisis of faith, we don’t see BUPKISS. All we see is the Jewish guy suddenly being all like OOPSIESHIT TIME TO BE A CHRISTIAN NOW. He lays his Bible down and picks up this curved horn, which I think is his shofar. He blows on it, and then scene cut.
*shakes head in disbelief*
So yeah, this is intercut with interviews and flashbacks so I’ll skip ahead to the next bit. A bunch of homeless guys in an alley, rough-looking types, get encountered by our rabbi dude, minus the beard. He calmly comes out of the shadows and is all like, “follow me” like he’s the new guru or something.
Now, the weird thing is, the subtitles I grabbed seem to imply there’s a scene of the FBI dudes interviewing some high school students, but school’s been called off ’cause so many teachers were missing. That seems to have been replaced by an extended scene of the FBI agents in a car blabbering about something, but I couldn’t quite follow the dialog.
Back home, Riley’s watching TV, and he’s watching a show called Views. First up is the moderator/host who introduces himself as Peter McCollum. Then some “very distinguished guests”! (Links open in a new window or tab)
Dr. Claire Holt, an ecological researcher at “City University”. (Could’ve come up with a better name, movie writers, honestly.)
Dr. Edward Wilkins, who is with City Evangelical Church, and Chair Emeritus at Alpha Theological Seminary.
Last up is Dr. Jason Hersch from APET (Astrophysics and Extra-Terrestrial Research Foundation).
Then he clicks the remote.
We cut to an ad from the “National Emergency Census Bureau”. Being as this is a Rapture/End Times themed movie, why OF COURSE it will be totally nefarious and not an emergency measure to try and find out how many people are left, no sireebob.
OH GOD THE COMIC SANS GET IT OUT OF MY EYES
Also, that logo? Yep, say hello to the first sign of the ONE WORLD GOVERNMENT.
We’re back to the talking heads. We’re listening to Dr. Holt (who, NGL, is attractive and has a nice voice) tell us that “Gaia” is a “living organism” with “great power to support life or extinguish it”. Gaia, she says, was “cleansing itself” of “overpopulation”. Given that this movie is designed to appeal to Christian fundamentalists, the obvious intention by the moviemakers is to make the audience dismiss this as just ‘magical woooooo’ – and her portrayal here IS kind of over the top. As such it’s not a fair portrayal of ecologists by any means.
Then Dr. Hersch gets his oar in, rattling on about reports of UFO abductions and sightings. Incidentally it looks like the unofficial name for the disappearances is “the Event”.
Finally Dr. Wilkins says NO UR BOTH WRONG. It was totally predicted thousands of years ago in the Bible! SO THERE.
Cut to a news reporter and the EVIL WORLD GOVERNMENT FORCES (who, by the way, are introduced with no preamble and no set-up at all, kind of like how in Edge of Apocalypse the UN enforcement offices are just, like, THERE.) She says, “Tonight, there has been gunfire in the downtown section of the city, as Global Enforcement Units have joined with the National Guard in routing out an enclave of gangs.”
Click. Cut back to the talking heads. Hersch is going on about extraterrestrial visits and whatnot, and then click. The announcer says, “Disturbances by right-wing extremists continue at the local census stations.”
Not quite anvilicious enough, you think?
Rabbi dude in the TV snippet shouts, “Don’t be deceived, this is not of God, don’t be blind to what the government is trying to do!” There is some blabber about the “Global Council of Nations” and then Click.
YES THANK YOU I HAVE HAD THE ANVIL DROPPED NOW. Evil Global Government will be headed up by an Antichrist and the Tribulation will start, uh-huh!
Back to the talking heads. Holt is making positive compliments about “secular humanism”, etc. Standard fundamentalist THIS PERSON IS BAAAD dog-whistle stuff.
Wilkins retorts that “science has proved the Bible” and “a major prophecy was fulfilled before our very eyes”.
Someone (Hersch, probably) says, “Well then, why are you still here, Doctor?”
Total deer in the headlights look.
HA HA OWNED BY THE ARMOR PIERCING QUESTION THERE BUDDY.
Next scene that isn’t a flashback/interview is the rabbi dude reopening a Christian shelter which, as it turns out, had been shut down by the omgevil Global Forces. Rabbi dude’s talking to a friend he seems to have made, and before they go in, he says, “[let’s] see what God has in store for us, huh?”
Clicheville, here we come.
I skipped over a lot of the flashback parts (and will mostly pass over George’s wife Catherine’s as well), but I want to note that her case is the first instance in which the movie shows the possible negative effects the Rapture has had on people: she’s had to be committed to a mental facility because the stress of losing her husband and children got to be too much for her to handle, and she tried to kill herself.
The story, as shown to us, of Catherine and her family, is pretty standard fare akin to Irene vis-a-vis Rayford or Abigail vis-a-vis Joshua: the earnest Christian spouse (George) wants the other spouse (Catherine) to join in the faith, but the non-Raptured spouse was not eager to fully commit. George gets Raptured reading to the kids before going to work, and it’s the one scene where they show it happening: people get washed over with a bright light and then vanish, leaving their Earthly clothes behind.
She’s now convinced that, as George had said, that the Rapture has happened. The FBI agents, however, are still somewhat skeptical. But Charles gets a call: Rebecca (his wife) is in the hospital DUN DUN DUN.
(Aside: the unrealism shows through at points, and it does so here. Wouldn’t hospitals be overflowing with patients, backlogged amid the chaos of patients, finding out who’s not-disappeared and can come on shift, etc etc etc? The mental facility is hardly overflowing, and is actually very quiet. Charlie getting a call about his wife doesn’t seem realistic if the hospitals would be too jammed up to really deal well with emergency cases and do the usual due process of notifying the hubby etc.)
And with that we’re about half an hour in. I’ll do the next chunk next time.