THE CELESTINE PROPHECY —the story has a small group of people searching the jungle in Peru for ancient scrolls predicting what lies ahead for mankind. The movie left a small group of people (those who actually saw it) searching the kitchen and bathroom for vodka or aspirin as antidote. James Redfield co-wrote the script off his novel, which he originally hawked out of the trunk of his Honda. Give him chutzpah, as he unloaded 100,000 copies that way. Revealed unto the New York Times bestseller list, it spread the word for 165 weeks, more than 23 million copies.
The $10,000,000 spent on the movie returned 10% of its cost, and got about as lousy a critical reception as you could dredge. The first 15-20 minutes hold interest, then the “ah, wait a second..” manifests. Armand Mastroianni directed. No flow, no humor, no urgency, logic nonexistent. Actors are at least as curious as other people, more so, since they like to play “what if”, but maybe there were a lot of inept agents working in 2006 to get some capable professionals signed onto this 99 minute amnesia prod. Matthew Settle, arresting in Band of Brothers, gets thankless hero duty, followed by Sarah Wayne Callies, Thomas Kretschmann, Annabeth Gish, Joaquin de Almeida. Jurgen Prochnow, many leagues from Das Boot, is the bad guy—I guess it wasn’t depraved enough to snare Rutger Hauer. Hector Elizondo plays a priest in hunched-over-contemplative style: do those beanies they wear do something to neck muscles?
Hey, I’m searching as much as the next pilgrim: I’d eat rust and adopt a penguin if I thought it would tell me what’s going on, but my Pretend needs some kind of Belief Factor. Air inside the Moon? Giant lizards that belch radioactivity? I’ll bite, because the suspension of reality is a given—you’re asked to be a kid for an hour and a half. Here, grown-ups are supposed to believe there’s some mall-sized hacienda mystery woo-woo location deep in the jungle that the bad guy convoy can get to by road within two minutes of being spotted, and there happens to be another exit road the good guys can take—leading…? Millions of people bought this book? Maybe that’s no surprise, since billions have swallowed other fanciful faith farragoes.