Milton got it right, even though he did not intend to do so. Paradise Lost is interesting, as a story and as a poem, while Satan is in the spotlight. As Harold Bloom noted, Milton saw in Satan all his own “best qualities.” God’s fallen angel is an “heroic vitalist” and that’s just what we get in this film about the approach of the end of the world–the most vital, heroic (in the sense of “bold” or “dramatic”), and sexy demon ever to walk down the streets of New York City at the turn of a millennium.
Being evil is probably more general fun than being good. You get a wider range of emotional and physical experiences than most nice people ever have (the joy of walking unharmed through exploding buildings, the deep satisfaction of catching bullets fired at point blank range, the sheer relief of making cars go up in flames just by…well, you know) and you can engage in activities usually frowned upon by civilized types (occupying the bodies of unsuspecting humans, assaulting women in restaurants, setting adversaries on fire, and ripping the heads off your henchmen). Still, evil is so messy. Better to be good. Boring, but better. Ask Arnold Schwarzenegger.
In this film, Gabriel Byrne gets to play evil–the darkest, most sinful, immoral–the very essence of evil because he is Satan, after all. And in the most beautiful Armani coat imaginable. And with a wicked sense of humor. It must have been a total hoot to inhabit The Man (and that coat!) for a few weeks and do all those things that good folks just are not supposed to do. Not to mention the dialogue! Saying those words, well–one might take a bit of delight in having the opportunity to utter some of the words in that script:
Now you’re making me angry. You don’t want to see me angry.
Me, I don’t do guilt.
I think you need a reminder of how painful reality can be.
Devoted to secular humanism, are you? Bit of an atheist? Slightly agnostic? Well, then, this is the movie for you. The Supreme Being gets well and truly roasted and Satan has a devil of a good time. Until the end, of course, when poor Arnie slices himself to save the day. And the world. And the future, for heaven’s sakes!
But not before we’ve been on a roller coaster ride with a gorgeous demon in delicious black Armani. And to remind you of the thrills, chills, and spills of that ride, the End of Days Mega Movie Page has screencaps by Lozzie (to die for, they are!), videos, quotes, promotional stills and posters, and a very special item you will have to see to believe.
Many thanks to all who contributed to this page:
Kudos to Lozzie for her beautiful and evocative screencaps and that hysterical blog posting about the film (you must read it!);
A big thanks to Daniela for the premiere footage and to DeMonk and Daniela for screenies and promo shots;
Hugs to Ramona and Aragarna for their great wallpapers;
And a very special thanks to our anonymous donor for the very special gift of Armani!
Enjoy End of Days and Happy New Year to you!