*Contains mild spoilers but nothing that the trailer doesn’t give away.*
Upon my return from a charming South Carolinian vacation, my first order of business was to watch Rapture-Palooza. It was disappointingly hard to find in theaters, so I ended up going through IMDB to rent it on amazon.com for $6.99. (There’s likely a more convenient way to find it, but ever since I got BBC at home and stopped having to scour the internet for my weekly dose of Doctor Who, I’ve stopped paying attention to such things.)
Here was my initial response to Rapture-Palooza:
This glowing analysis dims a bit in light of the fact that my criteria for best Rapture-themed movie ever consists of “not once did I feel the need to yell/throw things at the screen.” As a Rapture nerd, I pride myself on having watched more Rapture movies than the average person. However, as a non-fundamentalist, I get very easily annoyed with these movies, and then I stop watching them halfway through. Hence I have yet to finish “A Thief in the Night” despite it being a classic in the genre.
What frustrates me about most Rapture movies is the fact that very little in these movies makes sense, and yet it’s usually presented as if everything that’s happening is perfectly logical. So the fact that Rapture-Palooza admitted upfront that none of it makes any sense immediately endeared it to me.
Unlike the other Rapture movies, of course, Rapture-Palooza is a comedy. It’s childish, it’s awkward, it doesn’t even pretend to take itself seriously, and for that I love it. The story is that of a young couple, Lindsey (Anna Kendrick) and Ben (John Francis Daley), who missed the Rapture but are trying to go on living despite the chaos around them. Unfortunately, when Antichrist falls for Lindsey, she and Ben must defeat him before he can kill off Ben and make Lindsey his queen. For some reason that’s beyond me, Lindsey doesn’t want this to happen. Anyway, the two enlist the help of their zombified, lawn-mowing neighbor and some pot-smoking wraiths to save the world by trapping the Antichrist in a dog kennel for 1000 years.
That’s the plan, anyway. Obviously, it doesn’t go as anticipated, all sorts of shenanigans ensue, and the viewer encounters more dick jokes than a cracked.com article.
A few negatives: This movie could definitely have been more fleshed out, and it introduced a few topics (like the possibility of Raptured people being sent back) that it never really went on to do anything with. Towards the end it started to ramble a bit. When God suddenly showed up, it felt like a literal deus ex machina, as if the screen writers didn’t quite know how to end it, so … enter God! And then … exit God! End scene!
Then again, I may have just been disappointed that it wasn’t Morgan Freeman.
Despite these rambly moments, Rapture-Palooza is a fun and funny movie. I enjoyed the non-Biblical additions including the crows that screeched obscenities and the pot-smoking wraiths. It didn’t go deep enough to offend anyone’s religious sensibilities (though more conservative viewers would probably be offended by the drug use and dick jokes). The makings of a classic aren’t quite here–it’s no Dogma–but it does something new, and it does it in an entertaining way. For that I recommend it.
But don’t just take my word for it! Read real reviews written by real reviewers:
A negative review, but I’ll include it for the sake of, well, variety:
PS – Variety claims that Sony’s This is the End, premiering today (June 12th), is also a “Rapture farce.” That aspect isn’t terribly clear from the trailer, so I’ll have to check it out next week and let you know if it is, in fact, a Biblical apocalypse or just an apocalypse.