"Leave it to public television's premier documentary series to come up with a serious, rational and absolutely riveting examination of the most fundamental and timely question of the hour:
Will the new millennium trigger the end of the world, the end of time, the end of existence, the Apocalypse foretold in the New Testament's Book of Revelation?...
'Frontline' takes an in-depth and at-length look at this notion of a final and all-consuming battle between good and evil, the Armageddon, prior to the Second Coming of Jesus and the re-creation of the world into a place of peace, harmony and justice.
The two-hour program is not likely to be well-received by those whose faith leads them to accept the literal account of Revelation.
Indeed, among the things 'Apocalypse!' points out is that the literal meaning of Revelation is far from clear; its language is so dense with obscure, ancient imagery and references that for centuries it has been subject to countless complicated religious interpretations. ...
William Cran and Ben Loeterman--who wrote, produced, and directed 'Apocalypse!'--bring this amazing story of life with a vibrancy that transcends a heavy load of information and scholarship. Their achievement is nothing less than extraordinary."
"'Apocalypse!' is a crash course in doomsday scenarios through history, starting with the Bible's Book of Revelation. And it couldn't come at a better time. ...
With scholars--including the University of Texas' Michael White--and theologians leading the way, it's a fascinating tour of how, through the ages, the world has waited for the end, and how each generation of doomsayers has had to reset the clock...
The belief is spreading that before Christ can return, the Jews must rebuild the Temple in Jerusalem. And Rabbi Richman, whose Temple Institute is dedicated to rebuilding it, believes one of the only things missing to rebuild it is the red heifer.
Rancher Lott plans to fly two planeloads full of pregnant red Angus cows to Israel in December and he is convinced that the "red heifer" will be aboard one of those planes.
Where, but in a 'Frontline' documentary, would you find out about that?"
"...'Apocalypse!,' tonight's absorbing two-hour edition of 'Frontline, ' offers a 2,000-year history of apocalyptic visions, beginning with the final book of the New Testament, the Book of Revelation, with its powerful images of a cosmic battle between good and evil, heaven and hell, eternal damnation and an ascent to Paradise. ..."
"...For two hours, the same producers who brought 'From Jesus to Christ: The First Christians' to 'Frontline' browse through the long history and implications of the pesky last book of the New Testament.
Browse? Crawl might be more like it. Here's a subject that's all too easily sensationalized, and 'Frontline' doesn't succumb. But the program is pokey. It seems to dip whenever it needs to zip.
...'Frontline' seizes an inherently fascinating subject and front-loads the program with so much drowsy research that you might wonder which will come first: the end of the show, or the end of the world."
"...I highly recommend tuning in to 'Apocalypse!'
This intelligent, well-documented PBS show, from the same team that produced last year's 'From Jesus to Christ: The First Christians,' gives compelling insight into Revelation, the last book of the New Testament. It is written, directed and produced by William Cran and Ben Loeterman, who did exhaustive research to provide us a thousand years of interpretations of Revelation.
It could have been dry and scholarly. But instead, they cleverly show us how much of an impact this book has had on human culture through the ages, from war to art. They traveled to historic sites throughout Europe, Israel and America to film locations and precious texts in their original environments. The result will even interest a nonbeliever. ..."
"...'Frontline' takes a far more thoughtful and fascinating look at potential impending mayhem as foretold, albeit nowadays through contemporary filters, in the Bible.
'Apocalypse!' filmmakers William Cran and Ben Loeterman point out a lot of stuff that was overlooked in Sunday School. For example, the authors of the Bible cribbed the concept of Hell from Greek mythology. And the words 'anti-Christ' and 'rapture' don't even appear in the Book of Revelation, the last book in the Bible and the one that has foretold a presumably imminent cataclysm since its authorship at the end of the first century A.D. There was, in fact,, much debate over whether Revelation belonged in the New Testament--the Greek Orthodox church omits it from its Bible to this day. ..."
"...a deeply informative documentary about the origins of the Bible's Book of Revelation and its influence on apocalyptic thought.
For starters, the word 'apocalypse' does not necessarily mean unspeakable decimation or destruction of life as we know it, 'Frontline' says. Indeed, apocalypse also means prophesy--honed by various religious figures of different creeds over 2,500 years, couched in admittedly flamboyant symbolic imagery.
That and much more info makes 'Frontline's' 'Apocalypse!' a great primer for anyone worried about stepping into 2000."
"...It's hard to imagine a documentary subject any richer than this or, in the case of 'Apocalypse!,' a duller or more conventional treatment of it. ...
Much of it plays like a painful caricature of dryly standard documentary procedure. An invisible, monotonous narrator intones names, dates, and factoids until your brain locks. To his script are added the words of a medley of scholarly talking heads, many of whom would surely be interesting elsewhere, but not in this stultifying context. And finally, there is the visual content, which features countless closeups of flickering candles, words printed in fine old typefaces, and the turning pages of venerable-looking tomes - rare Bibles, perhaps.
The apocalypse has never looked, or sounded, so soporific."
"...Produced by the same team responsible for the splendid 'From Jesus to Christ: the First Christians,' the two-hour 'Apocalypse!' traces end-of-the-world beliefs that have been embraced by groups large and small during the last 2,000 years.
...With a new millennium just around the bend and Y2K paranoia lurking under every mouse pad in America, this special couldn't be timelier...
...For most viewers, 'Apocalypse!' is an enlightening and occasionally mesmerizing journey. It may also get you thinking: Why has almost every society in the last 2,000 years been convinced that the end of the world was moments away?
It's something we may ponder well into the next millennium. Given the opportunity."
"...a sober, scholarly attempt to sort through multiple visions of end-games. Most are inspired by interpretations of the nearly 2,000 year-old Book of Revelation, which many believe foretells the end of the world as we know it. As the millennium nears, 'the level of apocalyptic belief is really almost at an all-time high,' says Paul Boyer, Merle Curti professor of history at the University of Wisconsin at Madison.
Some of this is tough sledding. History's innumerable apocalyptics, ranging from the German nun Hildegard of Bingen to the British minister John Nelson Darby, are not easily grasped or deciphered. Their predictions of Second Comings might be perceived by many viewers as a big head-spinning brew of biblical mish-mash. ..."
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