Thursday, October 9, 2014

Ten Statements About....THE PROPHECY II (1997)

"I'm an angel and I oppose Chris...when do I get my check?"
“Ironic, isn't it? An archangel needs a monkey to get a vision from God."

1) Wow....not even ten minutes into this less-than-ninety minutes sequel and two of the more three dimensional characters get written out--one just gets a voice over before bursting into a CGI flock of birds.

2) You remember how I praised the original film for taking the time to create a credible mythology and backstory for their angelic war?  Well, forget that.  This whole film has a strong whiff of ‘just go with it’ from beginning to end; everything, from the way Christopher Walken’s Gabriel returns to Earth to the way he is defeated, seems made up on the spot.

3) Jennifer Beals’ Valerie fares a little bit better than Virginia Madsen’s Katherine from the previous film--but that might be because there’s a lot less required of her.  She’s much more reactive than proactive, and admittedly there are some moments toward the end where Beals acquits herself quite well, including the final confrontation between her and Gabriel.
"So there are angels and they're at war...when do I get my

4) Here is where Walken just dives right into Full On Walken Mode--his Gabriel this time is all quirks, wisecracks and callbacks.  Even though he does spend some time paying lip service to his jealousy of humanity, the script by Matt Greenberg and Greg Spence has robbed a lot of that jealousy of the poetic nature originator Gregory Widen gave it in the first film.

5) I find it fascinating how all the life and humor of Steve Hynter’s Joseph has been sucked out of him in his one scene where he rants at Valerie and fills in some of the backstory.  My impulse is that Joseph was turned into a grump solely to make Gabriel the most vivid character in the film.

6) ....and that’s further borne out by how freaking dull the other angelic characters are.  Russell Wong’s Danyael, who is supposed to be the male lead of the flick, is colorless and without life (his most distinctive characteristic is his nationality, which sticks out amongst the all white angelic hosts), and Eric Roberts’ Michael is so sonombulistic that you can imagine Roberts watching the clock the whole time.
"So we decided to tear it down and put up a Galleria..."

7) So, ummm....that’s Eden?  I guess someone took the song ‘Big Yellow Taxi’ literally.

8) I think nothing shows this film’s inconsistency--not only with its predecessor, but with itself--as much as Britney Murphy’s Izzy, who is supposed to be Gabriel’s companion in the way both Adam Goldberg and Amanda Plummer were in the first film.  The script is extremely fickle with Izzy--she acts all tortured and resistant like Goldberg and Plummer did when the script needs her to, and makes her act like a full on accomplice when it needs that.  It robs her of the little shading these previous characters had.

(Although admittedly, she has the best laugh line in the film.)

9)  Given how this is pretty much confined to Los Angeles proper (although I suspect a large portion of the film is Vancouver-Pretending-To-Be-LA), the film doesn’t have the beauty the first film had.  Quite the opposite--there’s a real sense of tawdriness and cheapness to the way it looks and feels.

10) Even though I have no idea whatsoever how the film ended up there (and I hated the last shot, which had that ‘nudge in the ribs’ sort of overobviousness), I did like the fate of Gabriel...and it’s one of the few times in this movie where Walken underplays the role.

Overall...even with a few rare grace notes, this makes all the mistakes the original avoided.  Probably best to avoid unless you’re committed to watch the whole series.

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