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Entertainment Media Analysis Report
A service to His little ones through you in His name by His Word
(2000), PG-13 [PG-13*]
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(While the Scriptural references are certainly not subjective, my commentary may be and sometimes is somewhat subjective.)
Distributed by: Cloud Ten Pictures
In Association With: Jack Van Impe Ministries, John Hagee Ministries, T. D. Jakes Ministries
Director: Andre Van Heerden
Producers: Peter and Paul Lalonde, Jack Van Impe, John Hagee
Production Design: Ronald A. W. Lee
Line Production: Nicholas D. Tabarrok
Screenplay: Peter and Paul Lalonde
Cinematography: George Jiri Tirl, S.A.S.C.
Original Score: Gary Koftinoff
Editor: Michael Doherty
Costume Design: Sharon McDonell
Art: Ricardo Barcelo
Casting: Lisa Parasyn
There are imagery and sound combinations in Tribulation as well as topics likely too intense for the more impressionable ages of early teen and younger. There are also many fine-sounding arguments and smooth talk [Rom. 16:17-18, Col. 2:4] to make a strong contrast with the Truth. Parents of viewers with too little experiential maturity should consider avoiding letting them watch this film or at least watching it with them. With the state of our culture and its drive to make attractive the intense dislike and even hatred of anything with "Christ" attached, the younger viewer may lock onto one of those fine-sounding arguments and smooth talk and be misdirected or confused in his/her Spiritual path.
The CAP Thermometers for Tribulation are almost opposite the thermometers from any secular show: high scoring (good in content) in Impudence/Hate, Sex/Homosexuality and Drugs/Alcohol. While Tribulation is a quite violent show (which is to be expected in a telling of the tale of the Tribulation), it contains NO sex, NO homosexuality, NO drugs, NO alcohol, NO foul language and NO uses of God's name in vain with or without the four letter expletive. This is a somewhat detailed accounting of the story line but is in no way revealing of the total story. Tribulation is an intricate piece of work that packs a lot of information into a short time. I doubt I have revealed 20% of it.
This is the third in the Apocalypse series by Cloud Ten Pictures. Tribute magazine, the Hollywood magazine distributed in theaters in support of studio features actually did a special report on Apocalypse III - Tribulation. In the article they called Peter and Paul Lalonde "the Coen brothers of Canada." The Academy Award-winning Coen brothers have made such award-winning films as Fargo, Blood Simple and the Big Lebowski. According to Peter Lalonde "It was a great honor to even be mentioned in the same breath as the Coen brothers. It goes to show how seriously Christian filmmaking can be taken if we strive for excellence."
High wattage performances by Gary Busey, Margot Kidder and Howie Mandel and a great support cast show us what it might be like to wake up after the Rapture -- during the Tribulation of the Book of Revelation.
Gary Busey was born June 29, 1944 in Goose Creek, Texas. His filmography includes The Buddy Holy Story (Buddy Holly), Lethal Weapon (Mr. Joshua), The Firm (Eddie Loman), Drop Zone (Ty Moncrief) and Soldier (Captain Church).
Margot Kidder (Margaret Ruth Kidder) was born October 17, 1948 in Yellowknife, Northwest Territories, Canada. Her filmography includes Superman (Lois Lane), The Amityville Horror (Kathy Lutz), and Pygmalian (Eliza Doolittle).
Howie Michael Mandel II was born November 29, 1955 in Toronto, Ontario, Canada. We've all seen Mandel in many productions which include St. Elsewhere (Dr. Wayne Fiscus), Gremlins (Gizmo), David Copperfield (Mealy) and The Howie Mandel Show (host).
Nick Mancuso was born Nicodemo Antonio Massimo Mancuso on May 29, 1948 in Mammola, Calabria, Italy. Nick is a "regular" to the Apocalypse series as Frank Macalousso. He has also played Stingray on Stingray and General Metzger in Loyal Opposition: Terror in the White House.
Support cast includes Sherry Miller as Susie Canboro, Leigh Lewis as Helen Hannah, Lawrence Bayne as Zack and a host of others.
The story opens with young Eileen Canboro (Rebecca Henderson) and her younger brothers Tom (Erik Knudsen) and Calvin (Nicholas Swan) many years in the past marking a "safe tree." To address their mother's concerns about their safety as the trio play in the woods, they decide, or rather Eileen decides, that if ever they become separated they are to meet at that tree. Eileen marked the tree by carving their names into the flat of a sawed-off limb. Tom and Calvin keep trying to rush Eileen because Calvin is close to wetting himself. Tom would say something to Eileen such as "Can we go now" and Calvin would repeat it -- until Tom said "Well, hurry up. Calvin looks like he's about to wet himself if we don't go soon" But older sister Eileen is not to be rushed. Eileen also seals the "pact" with a prayer that God would keep the tree standing forever, but it is too late for Calvin who becomes "bladder boy" for Tom. The tree and "bladder boy" are key points in the story.
Moving to present day, Eileen (Margot Kidder), Tom (Gary Busey) and Calvin (Joseph Ziegler) are reminiscing in Tom's kitchen about the bladder boy incident with Tom's wife, Susie (Sherry Miller). Jason Quincy (Howie Mandel), Susie's brother is upstairs dabbling in occult behaviors with a Tabarror board (much like the Ouija board). It seems Jason is given a message that is revealed to be the plan of Franco Macalousso (Nick Mancuso - Satan), head of the European Unity Project to "unify" the world in order to harness the power to be gods that God gave us as related in Genesis 11:6 "...nothing they propose to do will now be impossible for them": that "We can do all the kinds of miracles that God and Jesus can do but first we have to come together."
Back downstairs in the kitchen, Jason reports about how he has found the truth. He continues with a finding of some scientists that reveal how some monkeys, without any contact or connection with each other, are observed to be mimicking each other even though miles apart. The key thought here is that unity in thought will make it possible to make anything desired happen. The focus of this postulation is Genesis 11:6 where God confounds the language of the people of Babel since, in unity, they tried to become gods themselves by the very power God gave us. "If we can just come together, anything we can believe we can achieve."
Jason has become trapped by the dark forces. By the way, of Jason, Eileen, Tom and Calvin, Eileen is the only Christian ... for now.
By now, it is clear to the believers that Franco Macalousso, head of the European Unity Project, is the AntiChrist, Satan incarnate setting the stage for the final prophecies of the Bible. To the rest of the world, Macalousso is the "new messiah." Macalousso begins to establish One Nation Earth (O.N.E.). Zack, the leader of Macalousso's evil forces and his dogs demonstrate their evil powers by focusing on a college professor, Tim Tucker (Randy Butcher) who teaches psychic phenomenon: "His mind will be wide open." With evil mind control, Macalousso's agents force Tucker to become murderously hateful. While Tucker and his wife, Diane (Heather Hodgson) read in bed, he reading "Babel Becomes One" by Macalousso and Diane reading the Bible, Tucker springs out of bed in a fit of mental anguish and pain screaming then throws Diane's Bible through some glass: "There's no room in this world for lies like those, Diane! Don't you see!? It's people like you that are holding the rest of us back ... holding us back from unity. Your's is not the only way. The time has come to rid the world of the haters (believing Christians) ... 'honey.' All of you must die!"
Tom Canboro, a police detective, receives the domestic disturbance call. Arriving he finds Tucker attacking Diane. Tucker manages to levitate a butcher knife to his wife's throat, but in another episode of murderous rage and pain, Tucker drops the knife and commits suicide by jumping out their 14th floor bedroom window.
At the same moment Tucker attacks his wife, Jason attacks Susie Canboro but miles away in Tom and Susie's home. The dark forces are wanting to silence Jason because he has discovered the truth about their plans. Demanding to know the whereabouts of Eileen, Jason manhandles Susie in a way that suggests he is ready to kill her. "Haters! Where is she? Where is Eileen? You know where she is ... I can see her hand! Where is she ... where is she?" In an identical episode of mental anguish and pain, Jason jumps out the 2nd story window of the Canboro's home at the same moment Tucker jumps out the 14th floor window. Though Tucker dies, Jason is only superficially injured. But neighbor Mike (Roy Lewis) called the police and an ambulance arrives to transport Jason to the mental ward of a hospital. Jason shouts for Susie (his sister) to not let them keep him there because "they" were after him. Susie argues with the attending physician who argues back that because Jason demonstrated behavior dangerous to others and himself that they must keep him for at least 24 hours.
Tom receives the call about the second domestic disturbance while still working the Tucker situation and turns command over to officer Kenny Rice (Philip Jarret) whom Tom indicated he wished was there at the Tucker episode since Kenny was a Christian "I've been on the force 20 years and I've never seen anything like this. Listen. That knife was 20 feet away from him [Tucker]. It was unreachable. I looked at the table where the knife was, I looked around the room, I looked back at him. The knife was in his hand without him moving [...] Well if the devil's at work here, I'm sorry you weren't there instead of me. You're the Christian."
Out of concerns for Jason, Tom and Eileen meet at the hospital. Eileen, being a believer, wanted to help Jason with faith and prayer. Tom, however, not being a believer argued with Eileen "I know where you're going and I know what you have to offer, but that's not what he needs right now. I know this religious stuff is important to you, but that does not mean it's the answer to everything. Jason has a very serious problem ... and he needs a doctor, not a priest." A somewhat animated pair continue as the argument moves to belief in God until Tom finally agrees to go to church, to Faith Chapel -- for the first time in his life -- with Eileen. And that earns him a hug from his sister. That promise from Tom to Eileen is a key storypoint for the end of the show.
Discovering that Jason has been right about his claim of evil trying to kill all Christians, knowing the evil forces are out to kill him, too, and seeing an ambulance driver killed for what he knew about Jason's discovery, Tom races to warn Susie to get out of the house: that the agents of evil are on their way to kill her because of what she likely knows since she probably knows about Jason's discovery as well since she is his sister. Tom, not being a believer is vulnerable to the controls exerted by Satanic evil and finds his steering wheel locks up as well as his brakes. At break-neck speed, Tom collides with an oncoming truck head-on in a rather graphic display of a vehicular collision. Being an ex-medic I can tell you the imagery was quite realistic.
After years in a coma, Tom finally wakes up and finds himself in a hospital -- after the Rapture. One Nation Earth (O.N.E.) has been established and is bent on locating everyone who has not taken the mark of the beast and force them to chose between two options: join or die.
In the hospital after waking up from his coma, Tom meets one-armed Evan (Gerry Quigley) who has also not taken the mark since he had been drugged since the "vanishings" of the Rapture. Evan warns Tom to not let the O.N.E. agents put "the glasses" or goggles on him: "If they put those glasses on you, you either come out one of them or you don't come out at all." Dropping to the floor from weakness, landing in a way as to not be readily noticeable to people who come into the room, Tom witnesses O.N.E. agents barge in. Evan bolts and the O.N.E. agents chase Evan out of the room and down the hall. Catching him in the hall the O.N.E. agents force the goggles on Evan. Immediately, the one-armed Evan is virtually taken to the "messiah", Frank Macalousso. Evan now has his right arm and begins to thank the messiah for miraculously replacing it. But the messiah explains that he did nothing, that Even did it himself as a sample of the power in himself with more promised if he will "join our side." The messiah further explains that all Evan has to do is to take Macalousso's (Satan's) mark -- the mark of the beast: "Take my mark and anything you want you can have." It is Macalousso's plan for everyone in the world to take his mark foretold by the Book of Revelation, a mark such that without it nothing can be bought or sold, a mark that no one is told that accepting it means giving his/her soul to Satan. In this story Satan tempts everyone to take his mark by promising "power such as the world has never known" through unity. If everyone takes the mark it will, as Satan explains it, give reality to the unity of Genesis 11:1-7 where God "admits" if everyone is together that nothing is impossible, even godhood. So staunch is Macalousso in getting everyone to take his mark that anyone who will not -- anyone who stands in their way -- will be killed.
As Tom scurries through the hospital trying to escape the O.N.E agents, he ducks into a room where he finds in deep meditation one of they who had taken the mark levitating a ball with his new-found powers -- just for taking the mark. But at what cost? His very soul! Little do the ones who take the mark realize, nor are they told, that they are pawns for Satan, ever-lasting "company" for him in the lake of fire. Satan's single minded focus is to steal as many souls away from God as he can by what ever lies or trickery he can come up with. In that small room is the first time Tom notices one of Macalousso's TV broadcasts of evil being preempted by Christian underground workers broadcasting messages of Truth and Light.
Once outside the hospital Tom gets a sample of the new O.N.E. force in action as they gun down Ronny (Rothaford Gray) who had not taken the mark. Lying on the street from the gunshot wound but still alive, O.N.E. agents force the goggles on Ronny who is "virtually transported", as was Evan and everyone else who puts on the goggles, to the new messiah (Macalousso). As a cobra snake looms about Ronny's feet, Macalousso explains to Ronny "All you have to do is to believe, Ronny. All you have to do is take my mark. And anything that you can imagine ... anything will be yours. The goggles - they are just a way to let people see what's possible in a unified world. Miracles are taking place. Healings are happening. And once the last of the unbelievers are removed, then your powers will blossom forth like a wondrous rose." To that, Ronny says "Nice speech" as Macalousso's countenance changes from soft and smooth to evil and hate. Ronny explains that Satan can do whatever he wants with his body, but "my soul, the one thing you really want you can't have."
After witnessing Ronny murdered by the O.N.E. agents, Tom is cornered by one of the citizens who had taken the mark. The on-looker said "Serves him right for not taking the mark" and then tries to get Tom to show his mark -- "I gotta go." Continuing his escape from the O.N.E. agents, Tom ducks into an alley where several homeless people have gathered. One of the men there without provocation told Tom "They're all gone now. [What?] Millions of them. I remember. [and more somberly] I remember." Then the O.N.E. agents enter the same alley. Zack, leader of the O.N.E. agents stops at one of the homeless men and says at gunpoint "O.N.E. Show me your mark." Another O.N.E. agent asks Zack "Should I send for the goggles, sir?" Then Zack says "Never mind" and murders the homeless man. As the O.N.E. agents advance down the alley looking for Tom, they gun down the homeless people: "I mean, do we really want this filth stinking up our world?" Tom barely escapes with his life through a manhole cover in the pavement.
On a number of occasions throughout the show, TV broadcasts of Macalousso's plan for individual godhood for each through worldwide unity are seen. Several times, the broadcasts are interrupted by "pirate broadcasts" overriding Macalousso's messages with evangelical clips. One of the times the pirate broadcasts is seen is when Tom arrives at his home to find it barren and for sale by his brother, Calvin. Breaking into his locked home, Tom collects a couple items. A ring for Susie which he was going to give her the night after he attacks the front end of the truck that puts him into a coma - on their tenth anniversary. Tom also collects his service sidearm and the revolver of his neighbor, Mike who had just attacked Tom for not having a mark. On this particular pirate clip are noted evangelists Dr. Jack Van Impe and his wife, Rexella, Dr. John Hagee and Bishop T.D. Jakes. The interruptions of Macalousso's broadcasts are provided by the Christian underground, led by Helen Hannah (Leigh Lewis), who broadcast as many messages of Faith, Truth and Light as possible. During one of her pirate broadcasts, strangely by herself this time, Helen is arrested by the O.N.E. agents.
During Zack's search for Tom in his home, Zack noted Eileen's Bible was still there, implying that Zack thought Tom left it there intentionally. Of special meaning to believers, as Zack tossed Eileen's Bible on the table Zack said "Good news. He's [Tom] totally unarmed."
After being arrested by the O.N.E. agents, Helen Hannah is taken to the O.N.E. headquarters for interrogation and torture. In chains, O.N.E. agents torment Helen with talk of how God has abandoned her, running away in fear of the power of the new messiah "It's time for some real faith now, Miss Hannah. This should be easy for you, shouldn't it? This God of yours, where is He now? I'll tell you. He's off running with his tail between His legs like the coward that He is. Perhaps. More importantly, He's doing absolutely nothing to help you." As the agents leave her chained, Helen mumbles to herself "I'm in now." That will make sense to you if you get your own copy of the movie.
Zack forces the goggles on Helen and, as is everyone who puts them on, she is transported to meet the "virtual messiah" who hisses and slithers up behind her just like an animal getting ready to attack. Helen warns Macalousso about his power struggle with God in an eloquent and intricate display of verbal battle. Macalousso opens with "Welcome -- to - your - day - of - wonder --- Helen Hannah." After a look at Macalousso and a lengthy pause, maybe implying she might be considering submitting to Macalousso, Helen tells him "It's not going to work." To that, Macalousso says "Oh, but it is. Please ... don't underestimate me. Tonight, the whole world will be mine. And those who won't come willingly ... well ... they'll be mine anyway ... because they won't have a choice." Helen replies "You're forgetting something, Satan. One soul with God is a majority. You can unite every mind in the world. You can meditate. You can chant. But when it comes down to it one soul who believes in God is more powerful than every demon, than every deceived soul and, yes, even more powerful than you!" To that, Macalousso laughed and said "Revelation 13 'And the whole world wondered after ME [Rev. 13:2}. And they worshipped ME [Rev. 13:3]. Saying who is like unto ME [Rev. 13:4]. And it was given unto ME to make war on the Saints and to conquer them [Rev. 13:7].'" Helen replies "You may have power over our earthly bodies but you cannot steal our souls. And that's what the real battle is all about. So why fight it when you know you can't win." Much more is presented as Macalousso throws one counter after another, each of which is destroyed with the Truth from God's Word through Helen. It is indeed a though-provoking and sobering presentation of the Truth of the Gospel and of Revelation. I will reveal no more about this intricate piece of work by the writers except that Helen being there with Satan is part of her plan to defeat him with his own words.
Remember early in the story when Tom promised Eileen that he would go, for the first time, to church with her? Tom gets his chance to make partial good of his promise to Eileen but without her by going to the Faith Chapel, now abandoned (except by God, of course) and give his life to God. And to give the ring to Susie. Be sure to visit the listings in the Findings/Scoring section before you decide whether this movie is fit for you and/or your kids.
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***Selected Scriptures of Armour against the influence of the entertainment industry***
As always, it is best to refer to the Findings/Scoring section -- the heart of the CAP analysis model -- for the most complete assessment possible of this movie.
Wanton Violence/Crime (W):
Offense to God (O)(2):
|NOTE: The CAP Analysis Model makes no scoring allowances for trumped-up "messages" to excuse or for manufacturing of justification for aberrant behavior or imagery, or for camouflaging such ignominy with "redeeming" programming. Disguising sinful behavior in a theme plot does not excuse the sinful behavior of either the one who is drawing pleasure or example from the sinful display or the practitioners demonstrating the sinful behavior. This is NOT a movie review service. It is a movie analysis service to parents and grandparents to tell them the truth about movies using the Truth.|
|"There are some in the entertainment industry who maintain that 1) violent programming is harmless because no studies exist that prove a connection between violent entertainment and aggressive behavior in children, and 2) young people know that television, movies, and video games are simply fantasy. Unfortunately, they are wrong on both accounts." And "Viewing violence may lead to real life violence." I applaud these associations for fortifying 1 Cor. 15:33. Read the rest of the story. From our nearly seven years of study, I contend that other aberrant behaviors, attitudes, and expressions can be inserted in place of "violence" in that statement. Our Director - Child Psychology Support, a licensed psychologist and certified school psychologist concurs. For example, "Viewing arrogance against fair authority may lead to your kids defying you in real life." Or "Viewing sex may lead to sex in real life." Likewise and especially with impudence, hate and foul language. I further contend that any positive behavior can be inserted in place of "violence" with the same chance or likelihood of being a behavior template for the observer; of being incorporated into the behavior mechanics and/or coping skills of the observer. In choosing your entertainment, please consider carefully the "rest of the story" and our findings.|
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