Maybe it could have used more violins. Not that there weren’t plenty on the soundtrack…there were and they swelled majestically during every portentous scene of the first episode of this little passion play/action-adventure/suspense mini-series. And since it is loosely (very loosely) based on the Biblical book of the same name there are portentous scenes abounding in the first episode of Revelations.
You got your signs and, yes, your portents: a large shadow image of Jesus on a mountainside that moves its head to look at the gathering crowd...a young girl struck by lightning and then, though brain dead, drawing maps and reciting scripture in Latin...a baby found miraculously unharmed as the only survivor of a shipwreck...a bug-eyed Satanist (Michael Massee, gleefully hamming it up as EVIL incarnate) not bleeding after cutting off his finger (and maybe…just maybe…being able to calm the weather with a snap of his fingers)... an intrepid (and well-funded) scholar/nun (an appropriately serene and slightly enigmatic Natascha McElhone) doggedly crisscrossing the globe chasing down the evidence that they are all in the “End of Days”.
And at the center of it all is a college professor (Bill Pullman, who spends the hour looking either very intense or very constipated…I couldn’t really decide which) whose daughter was murdered by the Satanist in a ritual sacrifice and who doesn’t really buy into the whole “End of Days” thing despite the nun’s perky persistence (something tells me he’ll have a change of heart before it’s all over.)
As recently as a year or two ago, NBC wouldn’t have touched this series with a ten-foot pole…much less positioned it to be a heavily-hyped part of their upcoming May “sweeps” campaign…but the boffo box office take of Mel Gibson’s The Passion of the Christ and the ever-escalating sales of Dan Brown’s The DaVinci Code have allowed them to say that, in the words of the Doobie Brothers, Jesus is just all right with them. I don’t have a problem with that…I just wish that Revelations wasn’t off to such a stilted (a lot of the cast seemed like they were reading their lines off cue cards), predictable, and over-cooked (along with those portentous scenes there is plenty of melodrama abounding as well) start.
Maybe they needed more violins. Maybe it’ll get better as it goes along. Maybe I’ll be there to watch it as it does so. Maybe…or maybe not...