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Prophecy

It's harder to think of a more ironically titled movie than John Frankenheimer's pseudo-hip 1979 infomercial for nature, Prophecy, which has been cleverly presented as an intellectual monster movie over the years. The reason for this abundance of irony is not that the movie itself contains any type of deep insight into the society of the late '70s. Quite the opposite, in fact: Prophecy has aged so badly — and become so unintentionally silly in the process — that to watch it today is to risk drowning in tears of longing for our nation's lost naiveté. Talia Shire stars as Maggie Verne, wife of Dr. Robert Verne (Robert Foxworth). Both fight strongly for ecological causes, and at present they are most concerned with a Maine lumber mill that may be harming the environment via chemical dumping and pollution — especially after huge mutant fish and severely brutalized human remains are found in the surrounding woods and rivers. And, of course, from there the film forays into several monster movie clichés. The problems with Prophecy stem not from the movie's lack of intrigue, but from its poorly considered "Mother Earth Rules" tree-loving point-of-view. A film like this will have a hard time finding an audience, and it feels so insignificant that it actually distills its own message. Paramount's DVD offers a clean anamorphic widescreen transfer (2.35:1), Dolby 2.0 audio, and English subtitles. There's nothing else, not even a trailer — which means this one's only for true Frankenheimer fans or tree-sitters. Keep-case. Keep-case.
—Joe Barlow



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