History Channel // 2009 // 94 Minutes // Not Rated
Reviewed by Judge Dylan Charles (Retired) // April 10th, 2009
"War, famine, plagues...According to the Book of Revelation in the Bible, these are three of the four horsemen of a coming apocalypse. The fourth? The anti-Christ, in human form, walking somewhere among us."
The Book of Revelation is one of the more controversial books in the New Testament. It proclaims that at the end of this age, God will wipe out most of the human race (and the planet upon which it lives), saving only his best buddies from complete annihilation. The documentary 7 Signs of the Apocalypse is impartial and nonbiased as it examines the history behind the Apocalypse of John and how modern-day Christianity views this important text. Oh wait, sorry, I've got that wrong. Actually, 7 Signs of the Apocalypse is a fear-mongering, sensationalistic, and emotionally manipulative documentary that misuses science in order to prove its point that we're all going to die soon.
In the past, I've been a little peeved about the History Channel's approach to history. Rather than, oh say, talking about important historical events, the History Channel has devoted a great deal of time and money towards scaring the living shit out of everybody. Space aliens, government conspiracies, vampires, exorcisms, damnation, Nostradamus, and Judgment Day: that's what the History Channel seems to be focused on, and 7 Signs of the Apocalypse is an appalling example of this.
The show is structured thusly: an expert on The Bible talks about what it says in Revelation, focusing on a particular disaster; the show then cuts to a scientist who talks about whether or not it's possible for such an event to occur -- and that's it. Revelation talks about plagues wiping out much of the human population and, guess what, it's possible that a global epidemic could kill a fair amount of people. We've got our smoking gun, people! It goes on like this. It's a ravaging of logic. All they've "proven" is that John took events and occurrences that he would be familiar with (disease, earthquakes, volcanoes, red tides), and then increased their severity to a global level.
This kind of twisting around of facts is appalling. The scientists aren't saying that the Apocalypse is right around the corner. They're saying that, yes, it is possible for a meteor to strike the earth and wipe everyone out. Yes, it is possible that a virus could wipe out a lot of people. The biggest and most shameful attempt to distort the facts is with John's prediction that there will be a global earthquake. On come the scientists to testify that, yes, earthquakes can be devastating, but not one of them said that a global earthquake is possible.
Visually it looks like someone suffering from ADD and on a wicked caffeine high was let loose in the editing room. There's an outpouring of images, flickering by in the space of a second and bound to give at least one person a seizure. Whenever a disaster is mentioned, they always show a rapid succession of images, like a slideshow of Satan's vacation trip. Volcanoes erupting! Rivers flooding! A typewriter typing! Buildings collapsing! People starving! It's a montage of suffering and a blatant and abysmal attempt at emotion manipulation. See! Here are some real people starving to death and dead bodies floating in the water! That proves that the Apocalypse is coming! Using footage of Katrina victims or children starving to death just to prove a point that a potential future disaster would kill people is tasteless and way over the line.
The camera is also incapable of sitting still and I believe that they hired a bored ten-year old to work the camera. Every time an expert is speaking, the camera switches angles every five seconds. Extreme close-up, moving left, moving right, re-centering the speaker: the camera bounces around like a lunatic mosquito.
On the plus side, everything looks sharp and dandy. Both the transfer and the show itself are visually appealing. It looks damn near cinematic, what with the widescreen format and all.
There are, thankfully, no extras. I think my brain would have exploded if I had to deal with bonus scenes further detailing how one can take real science and arbitrarily apply it to The Bible.
All in all, 7 Signs of the Apocalypse is a beautiful-looking waste of time. It proves nothing, discusses nothing, brings nothing new to the table, and abuses the good name of science to do it. It's the television equivalent of a street lunatic yelling about the End of Days.
7 Signs of the Apocalypse is guilty of pandering to the baser emotions and distorting the facts and this Judge is of a hangin' mind.
Review content copyright © 2009 Dylan Charles; Site layout and review format copyright © 1998 - 2014 HipClick Designs LLC
Scales of Justice
Studio: History Channel
* 1.78:1 Non-Anamorphic
* Dolby Digital 2.0 Stereo (English)
Running Time: 94 Minutes
Release Year: 2009
MPAA Rating: Not Rated