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Review: Rapture-Palooza / Cert: 15 / Director: Paul Middleditch / Screenplay: Chris Matheson / Starring: Anna Kendrick, Craig Robinson, John Francis Daley, Rob Corddry / Release Date: October 28th

After the rapture where all the pious souls were sublimated to heaven, Lindsey and her boyfriend Ben are left with the rest of the unworthy on an earth where the Antichrist – an arrogant politician named Earl – has risen. When he encounters Lindsey and it’s lust at first sight, she and Ben decide that something needs to be done about him.

The 2012 resurgence of Armageddon-themed films spurred by the misunderstood significance of the end of the latest Mesoamerican calendar cycle has now continued almost a year past the world’s supposed expiry date. Apocalyptic comedy seems the trend’s direction, with This Is The End and The World’s End setting a high bar for others to follow. Sadly, despite the number of usually reliable names attached to it, Rapture-Palooza falls far short.

The film suffers mostly in the limited scope of its story. The first part is a look at life in the post-rapture world narrated by Lindsey in sardonic fashion, accompanied by some postmodern deconstruction of the somewhat arbitrary nature of the plagues and torments forewarned by the Book of Revelation. It must be said, though, that CGI locusts popping up to proclaim “Suffer!” in chipmunk voices or murders of crows incessantly taunting people with juvenile swearing is kind of amusing. However, it’s a little directionless and it’s only when the Antichrist is introduced into the story, what little there actually is of it, that it gets properly underway. However, he turns out to be less the evil-spreading cornerstone of the Unholy Trinity, and something more akin to an overgrown frat boy who believes everything is his right just because he wants it. He provokes contempt rather than fear, and is so utterly unintimidating that it’s completely unconvincing how terrified everyone is supposed to be of him. It’s a similar scale to being polite to your dad’s boss who happens to be a bit of a twat.

It’s criminal that the last five years haven’t made Anna Kendrick a bigger star. An Oscar nomination and a string of diverse roles showcasing a broad range should have put her on more people’s radars, yet she continues to drift just shy of stardom. Her talent for deadpan sarcasm seen in the likes of Pitch Perfect and Scott Pilgrim informs much of Lindsey’s character, convincing as someone who could genuinely be completely unfazed by periodic meteor storms or monsoons of blood. Craig Robertson as The Beast (as he insists on being called) is usually an understated comedic constant, but here has little more to work with than unsubtle innuendo and dick jokes. When you consider than the scriptwriter Chris Matheson was the guy who gave us Bill & Ted, it’s enough to make you weep.

While the principal joke of an Antichrist who is more annoying than terrifying is an interesting one, a villain you can’t take seriously is not a proper antagonist, just an irritation whose removal comes down to whoever could actually be bothered doing it.

Extras: Audio Commentary / It's Good to Be the Beast / Deleted Scenes / Gag Reel

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