THE OMEGA CODE
The Omega Code by contrast approaches the End Times film from a completely different perspective it is earnest evangelical Christian doggerel masquerading as an End Times film. Where The Omen and imitators are horror films, The Omega Codes approach is more one of speculative drama. It was clearly made to exploit the arrival of the millennium, an event that was the locus of a great deal of heated fervour amid real End Times prophets. The film comes funded by faith-based production companies. It even has Hal Lindsey, the granddaddy of End Times prophets and author of the seminal End Times work The Late Great Planet Earth (1970), as credited prophecy advisor. Although this is clearly no church yardsale-funded production the film has a reasonable budget, employs moderately well known actors such as Casper Van Dien, Michael York, Michael Ironside (in about his 245th cold scowling villain role) and even Yugoslavian princess-heir Catherine Oxenberg in a supporting part. It was even given a respectable wide cinematic release worldwide where it did modestly successful business.
Evangelical Christianity seems to have been catching onto mainstream film-making as a place to get its message across in recent years with the likes of Raging Angels (1994), Time Changer (2002), Book of Days (2003), Gone (2003), Six: The Mark Unleashed (2004), The Visitation (2006), Fireproof (2008), Suing the Devil (2011), the chastity teen romance A Walk to Remember (2001), Revelation Road: The Beginning of the End (2013) and sequels, Gods Not Dead (2014), Heaven is For Real (2014), Miracles from Heaven (2016), while this peculiar End Times Prophecy mini-genre has been plumbed with almost obsessive regularity by the Toronto-based Lalonde Brothers and their Cloud Ten Productions in their tetraology Armageddon (1998), Revelation (1999), Tribulation (2000) and Judgment (2001), and a further series Left Behind (2000), Left Behind II: Tribulation Force (2002) and Left Behind: World at War (2005), followed by the big screen remake Left Behind (2014). And that was before the big box-office surge of Christian films begun with Mel Gibsons The Passion of the Christ (2004), The Chronicles of Narnia: The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe (2005), The Exorcism of Emily Rose (2005) etc.
A number of reviewers quickly jumped on The Omega Code and trashed it, consigning it to the same Z-movie oblivion as L. Ron Hubbards Battlefield Earth: A Saga of the Year 3000 (2000), which seems to be the pit of death that any film arguing an ardent religious believers viewpoint gets these days. The Omega Code is not entirely bad certainly not with the laughableness of Battlefield Earth it is just an oddity. In clearly eschewing the patented horror approach of The Omen and imitators, it strains at trying to find a dramatic way to tell its story and only ends up resorting to generic cliches. Instead of an epic vision of Armageddon, it models its story along the lines of The Firm (1993) and The Devils Advocate (1997) with a junior corporate associate gradually discovering that his boss is The Anti-Christ (although Michael Yorks role has been so heavily foreshadowed that such a revelation is no surprise at all). The unveiling prophecies, Michael Yorks One World Government, the proclamation of himself as the leader, his resurrection from the dead are all faithfully there. Contrarily, it tends to be stock thriller elements car chases, the wronged man on the run that dramatically drive the film rather than the prophecies. The film even adds a bogus sequence with Casper Van Dien being pursued by trucks in a tunnel, finding his family under surveillance and being betrayed by old friend George Coe, that adds nothing, merely generates faked frisson before a huge cop-out that reveals it all to be all a dream. Maybe it was just that the filmmakers felt the need to add something more visceral than the prosaic unfolding of prophetic events.
What is even more noticeable is how the dictates of B movie cliches of heroism and villainy end up creating a story that, despite the more-than-apparent religious earnestness of its creators, ends up rewriting The Book of Revelations for a more upbeat ending!!! According to The Bible, the coming of the Anti-Christ is supposed to herald Satans rule over the Earth for a thousand years. Contrarily, the film has the impossibly polished and handsome hero Casper Van Dien banishing the Anti-Christ and the film ending on the Earths transformation and renewal, a somewhat more upbeat ending than The Bible would have it. There are other times when the plot tries to be a little too clever for its own good rather than a standard Anti-Christ figure, the script tries to subvert cliche by making Michael York into a billionaire philanthropist who has the improbably self-fulfilling idea of setting out to make the prophecies come true and become the Anti-Christ himself.
For the most part, The Omega Code keeps the religious preaching relatively restrained. It only emerges into the open in scenes like where Casper Van Dien finds himself under demonic attack near the end and banishes the forces by proclaiming Jesus save me. Earlier the film has George Coe stand up in favour of marital fidelity: We promised each other wed stick it out, make it work no matter what. No matter what. (Although one is not sure what to make of the symbolism afforded by such a message when later during the dream sequence Coe is revealed to be a traitor). The film seems to be assiduously avoiding too much connection with Christianity perhaps in an attempt to mass-sell itself Casper Van Dien is a charismatic evangelist but the film tries to muddy this and instead make him a motivational speaker using interpretations of the Omega Code. The Omega Code itself is only a straight interpretation of Revelations, yet for thriller plot purposes ie to have a missing piece of code that is sought by all before the prophecies can begin the film mixes it up with the theologically highly dubiously regarded notion of Bible Numerics the theory that the entire Bible forms a secret mathematical code when you assign words and letters certain numerical values and further makes the claim that this code has prophetic value (something even the Bible Numerics proponents do not maintain).
The sequel was Megiddo (2001).
Full film available online here:-