End of Days (film)

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End of Days
End of days ver5.jpg
Theatrical release poster
Directed byPeter Hyams
Written byAndrew W. Marlowe
Produced byArmyan Bernstein
Bill Borden
Starring
CinematographyPeter Hyams
Edited bySteven Kemper
Music byJohn Debney
Production
company
Distributed by
Release date
November 24, 1999 (USA)
Running time
122 minutes
CountryUnited States
LanguageEnglish
Budget$100 million[1]
Box office$212 million[1]

End of Days is a 1999 American supernatural action horror film directed by Peter Hyams and starring Arnold Schwarzenegger, Gabriel Byrne, Robin Tunney, Kevin Pollak, Rod Steiger, CCH Pounder, Miriam Margolyes and Udo Kier.[2] The film follows former New York Police Department detective Jericho Cane (Schwarzenegger) after he saves a banker (Byrne) from an assassin, finds himself embroiled in a religious conflict, and must protect an innocent young woman (Tunney) who is chosen by evil forces to conceive the Antichrist with Satan.

The film was released by Universal Pictures and by Buena Vista International on November 24, 1999. It has grossed $66.9 million in North America and $145.1 million elsewhere, for a worldwide total of $212 million. The film received largely negative reviews.

Plot[edit]

In 1979, the Pope sends a priest on a mission to protect a newborn baby, Christine York, identified in New York City by Satanists as one chosen to be the mother of Satan's child after witnessing a comet arching over the moon at the Vatican. However, a few Vatican knights (led by a corrupt cardinal) insist that she must be killed.

In 1999, Satan possesses an investment banker in a restaurant before destroying the restaurant and the people inside. Suicidal and alcoholic former police detective Jericho Cane, depressed since his wife and daughter's contract killings, works for a private security company and blames God for his plight. Jericho and co-worker Bobby Chicago are assigned to protect the possessed banker. A priest, Thomas Aquinas (presumably named after St. Thomas Aquinas) fails to kill the banker. Jericho captures Aquinas, who tells Jericho: "The thousand years has ended, the dark angel is loosed from his prison" and says that a female is central. Aquinas is then arrested by the New York City Police Department. Marge Francis, an NYPD detective and Jericho's former colleague, tells Jericho that Aquinas has no tongue.

Jericho and Bobby investigate Aquinas' apartment, where they find his tongue in a jar and messages and symbols written in blood on the walls. Marge arrives, revealing that Aquinas was trained by the Vatican and sent to New York before disappearing. Jericho questions Father Kovak, a priest who knew Aquinas. Kovak says that Aquinas was driven mad by forces Jericho could not understand. Satan enters Aquinas' hospital, and crucifies him on the ceiling. After he is brought down and presumed dead, Aquinas wakes up, grabs a syringe to attack Jericho, but is shot by one of the police officers. Jericho and Chicago read in Latin "Christ in New York" carved into Aquinas' skin; they begin searching for any similar names and come across Christine York in her apartment.

Jericho and Chicago rescue her from being killed by the Vatican knights. However, Satan blows up Chicago's van, killing him and setting the apartment in flames. Jericho fights off Mabel, and he and Christine flee the burning apartment. Satan kills Mabel for her failure; Marge and another officer, both revealed to be Satanists, demand Jericho surrenders Christine. Jericho feigns surrender before killing them both, escapes with Christine, while Satan resurrects Marge to rally the other Satanists to do his bidding. Taking refuge in the church, Father Kovak tells Jericho and Christine that Satan must impregnate her by midnight on New Year's Eve to usher in the "end of days". Despite Jericho's skepticism, Christine accepts Kovak's protection, and Jericho returns to his apartment.

Satan confronts Jericho in his apartment and tries to tempt him into giving up Christine in exchange for resurrecting his dead family. After Jericho resists his temptations, Chicago comes knocking into his apartment's door soon after. Skeptical of his claims of survival, Jericho shoots Chicago in the arm to test if Satan has possessed Chicago's body. Satisfied that it is indeed Chicago, the two agree to retrieve Christine from the church.

Back at the church, Jericho stops the cardinal and his knights from killing Christine. Satan reappears and kills the Vatican clergy. Chicago betrays Jericho, leaving him to be beaten and crucified by a mob of Satanists, revealing that he made a pact with Satan, who resurrected him after the van exploded. After Chicago leaves with Christine, Kovak finds and rescues Jericho. After his recovery, Jericho tracks down the Satanists to their lair. Jericho kills Marge once again and rescues Christine after he convinces Chicago to resist Satan's influence, only for Satan to burn Chicago to death for breaking their pact. Jericho destroys the lair with a grenade as he and Christine escape into a subway tunnel and board a train. Satan follows them on the train, killing the driver. Jericho, however, separates the train in two before firing another grenade at Satan, destroying the train car Satan was in. With the banker's body now irreparably damaged, Satan abandons his host to pursue Jericho and Christine, leaving the banker to die.

As they flee, Jericho and Christine arrive to another church, where he renews his faith in God and prays for strength. Satan as a massive, winged creature emerges underneath the church to possess Jericho. Satan, now in Jericho's body, attempts to rape Christine, but responding to her pleas, Jericho is able to resist long enough to deliberately impale himself on a sword protruding from a statue of the archangel Michael, sacrificing himself to prevent Satan's endgame. At the stroke of midnight, God frees Jericho and sends Satan back to hell as the world celebrates a new millennium. Jericho sees his wife and daughter waiting for him in the afterlife. Jericho dies peacefully, and Christine tearfully embraces him before the police and the ambulance arrive to take Jericho's body away.

Cast[edit]

Production[edit]

Directors Sam Raimi and Guillermo del Toro were offered End of Days, but turned it down due to other projects. Marcus Nispel was going to direct the film, but he left because of budget and script problems and was replaced by Peter Hyams.[3]

The role of Jericho Cane was written for Tom Cruise, but he chose to work on Magnolia and Arnold Schwarzenegger was then cast in March 1998.[4] Liv Tyler was the first choice for the role of Christine York, but she declined over contractual issues. Kate Winslet was then set to play the character, but she dropped out and Robin Tunney replaced her. According to Hyams,

Jim Cameron was the kind of godfather of me doing that film, because of his relationship with Schwarzenegger. He told me I was doing it! ... End Of Days was going to be Marcus Nispel, but it wasn't working somehow, but they had Arnold and a start date, and Jim came to me and told me I had to do it. This was the first picture Arnold had made for a couple of years. I think he had a heart thing. So this was Arnold coming back. And he wanted to try to make something good, and to take some chances. I applauded that. And we had very, very good actors around him, like Gabriel Byrne and Kevin Pollak and Rod Steiger. It was a very enjoyable experience. Half way through shooting I told Arnold I thought he should die in this movie. Of course Universal blanched at the idea, so I shot the ending both ways, and everybody agreed that the dying ending was the better one.[5]

Over 60 visual effects shots were created by Rhythm & Hues.[6]

As early as 2016, actress Miriam Margolyes had complained about Arnold Schwarzenegger's behavior on set.[7][8] In 2022, Margolyes' reports caught wind again when she accused Arnold Schwarzenegger of deliberately farting in her face while on set.[9] Schwarzenegger has yet to respond to the allegations.[10][11][12]

Alternate ending[edit]

Jericho dies, and Christine tearfully embraces his body and thanks him for saving her life. Suddenly, God removes the sword from Jericho's body and heals his wounds, bringing him back to life. Christine is surprised and glad Jericho is back, and they embrace before leaving the church together.

Music[edit]

Soundtrack[edit]

The film's soundtrack primarily contains tracks by industrial rock and alternative metal bands. It features the first song released by the "new line-up" of Guns N' Roses, which is "Oh My God". During the editing of End of Days, soundtrack songs were overlaid in scenes that are usually silent in thriller films. In several scenes, a sample from Spectrasonics' "Symphony of Voices" is heard. The score for the film is composed by John Debney and conducted by Pete Anthony.

Reception[edit]

Box office[edit]

End of Days opened on November 24, 1999, in third place behind Toy Story 2 and The World Is Not Enough. It earned $20.5 million in its opening weekend, combining with $31 million from its five-day Wednesday opening.[13] The film grossed $66,889,043 in the United States and about $212 million worldwide,[1] against a budget estimated at $100 million. Although it was profitable because of strong international revenue and DVD sales, its final numbers fell short of Universal Studios' expectations. Schwarzenegger received a salary of $25 million for his role in the film.[14]

Critical response[edit]

End of Days received largely negative reviews. Rotten Tomatoes gives the film an approval rating of 11%, based on reviews from 101 critics. The site's consensus states: "An overblown thriller with formulaic action scenes and poor acting."[15] Metacritic gives it an average score of 33/100, based on reviews from 33 critics.[16] Audiences polled by CinemaScore gave the film an average grade of "B−" on an A+ to F scale.[17]

Newsweek wrote that "Peter Hyams's lurid, FX-happy thriller slams pieces of a dozen other movies into a noxious new compound. It has to be seen to be believed, but who'd want to?"[18] while Mark Kermode called it "idiotic beyond the point of redemption, this sinfully stupid farrago manages to insult audiences and critics, Christians and Satanists alike, reducing 2000 years of fertile mythology to the level of an incoherent pop video.".[19] USA Today called Schwarzenegger's performance "that is among his worst" noting that "[Arnold] seems to have trouble with his lines and doesn't get to make his trademark wisecracks".[19] Los Angeles Times' Eric Harrison called it "bloodless as a cyborg, and it feels as if it has been assembled according to diagrams supplied by someone who studied every successful sci-fi action thriller and then multiplied the findings by 10".[19] The New York Times wrote that "End of Days" is "as incoherent about its mysticism as it is about anything else".[20]

However, there were a few mixed reviews. San Francisco Chronicle stated that while "there are moments in End of Days when Schwarzenegger seems to be gunning for an Oscar. Those moments play like comic relief", "End of Days" is an "intense but silly thriller".[21] James Berardinelli called it "a deliciously bad motion picture"[22] while Roger Ebert stated that "End of Days involves a head-on collision between the ludicrous and the absurd" giving it two stars out of four.[23] In a retrospective editorial twenty years since the film's release, Bloody Disgusting highlighted how the film "is always fascinating and entertaining".[24]

Schwarzenegger later said he thought Hyams was "the wrong director" for the film. "He did not have the potential… I think visually and intellectually to really do something with that movie, but he was recommended by James Cameron, so we thought "Well he must know.""[25]

Accolades[edit]

End of Days was nominated for three Razzie Awards—Worst Actor (Arnold Schwarzenegger), Worst Supporting Actor (Gabriel Byrne) and Worst Director (Peter Hyams)—and was pre-nominated for Worst Picture, but it was withdrawn shortly before the awards ceremony.[citation needed]

It also received a nomination from the Motion Picture Sound Editors for Best Sound Editing - Effects & Foley as well as two nominations in the Blockbuster Entertainment Awards for Favorite Actor - Action/Science Fiction and for Favorite Supporting Actor - Action/Science-Fiction for Arnold Schwarzenegger and Kevin Pollak respectively.

See also[edit]

References[edit]

  1. ^ a b c "End of Days". Box Office Mojo.
  2. ^ Maslin, Janet (November 24, 1999). "'End of Days': Satan Is Planning Millennial Mischief". The New York Times.
  3. ^ "Beacon drafts Hyams to helm 'End of Days'". Variety. Retrieved July 1, 2021.
  4. ^ "Arnold to duel devil". Variety. Retrieved July 1, 2021.
  5. ^ "Peter Hyams Film by Film" Empire accessed 30 July 2014
  6. ^ "VIFX will do effects for 'End of Days'". Variety. Retrieved July 1, 2021.
  7. ^ Heritage, Stuart. "Something about Miriam Margolyes v Arnold Schwarzenegger smells funny". The Guardian. Retrieved 20 July 2022.
  8. ^ Hemelryk, Simon. "Miriam Margolyes: "I Remember..."". Reader's Digest. Reader's Digest. Retrieved 20 July 2022.
  9. ^ Bucklow, Andrew. "One-on-one with Miriam Margolyes". I've Got News For You. news.com.au. Retrieved 20 July 2022.
  10. ^ Sharf, Zack (2022-07-19). "'Harry Potter' Actor Says 'Rude' Arnold Schwarzenegger Farted in Her Face on Set: 'He Did It Deliberately"". Variety. Retrieved 2022-07-20.
  11. ^ "'Harry Potter' Actor Says 'Rude' Arnold Schwarzenegger Farted in Her Face on Set: 'He Did It Deliberately"". www.yahoo.com. Retrieved 2022-07-20.
  12. ^ Garner, Glenn (July 18, 2022). "Miriam Margolyes Says Arnold Schwarzenegger 'Farted in My Face' While Filming End of Days". PEOPLE.com. Retrieved 2022-07-20.
  13. ^ Lyman, Rick (November 29, 1999). "Those Toys Are Leaders In Box-Office Stampede". The New York Times. Archived from the original on March 19, 2022. Retrieved March 25, 2022.
  14. ^ "Arnold Schwarzenegger". The Numbers. Retrieved February 19, 2009.
  15. ^ "End of Days". Rotten Tomatoes. Retrieved 2 January 2019.
  16. ^ "End of Days". Metacritic. Retrieved 2 January 2019.
  17. ^ "CinemaScore". cinemascore.com.
  18. ^ "Newsweek End of Days Review". Newsweek. 5 December 1999.
  19. ^ a b c "Rotten Tomatoes Top Critics End of Days". Rotten Tomatoes.
  20. ^ "Rotten Tomatoes Top Critics End of Days".
  21. ^ "San Francisco Chronicle's End of Days Review". 24 November 1999.
  22. ^ "ReelViews's End of Days Review". Rotten Tomatoes.
  23. ^ "Roger Ebert's End of Days Review".
  24. ^ "Bloody Disgusting End of Days Retrospective Editorial". 30 December 2019.
  25. ^ Knowles, Harry (November 10, 2012). "Harry interviews Arnold Schwarzenegger on the set of The Last Stand. We cover a lot of ground!". Aint It Cool News.

External links[edit]