As I watched the 2013 film, The Watchers: Revelation, three words kept going through my head:
Threat Level Midnight
Yes, I was thinking about Michael Scott’s infamous amateur film from The Office, in which the fact that Michael obviously knew how to move a camera and compose a shot could not cover up a ton of awkward dialogue and a plot that appeared to have been made up on the spot. Like Threat Level Midnight, The Watchers: Revelation is very ambitious and even features not one but two presidential meetings. (The film opens in the 50s with someone who I guess is meant to be Dwight Eisenhower and it ends in the near future, with a President named Connolly.) Like Threat Level Midnight, the film features some rudimentary special effects that are actually kind of impressive when you consider the fact that the film was obviously made for very little money. And, like Threat Level Midnight, the story is next to impossible to follow.
The film makes the familiar case that, since at least the 1950s, otherworldly beings have been meeting with world leaders and supplying them with weaponry and technological advances. In this case, there’s two sets of beings. One group is evil and one group is good and the challenge of the film is to keep track of which is which. The film also suggests that these beings are not, as many assume, aliens but are actually the Watchers, the angels who were assigned to watch over Earth and who betrayed God’s trust by sleeping with human women and creating the Nephilim. (It’s in the Books of Enoch, people! Not to mention Darren Aronofsky’s Noah.)
Anyway, in this one, Ambassador Addon (Eugene Pridgett) leaves Earth in 1955 after warning President Eisenhower that his people are not happy about mankind’s warlike nature and or their ambitions to leave the planet and explore the universe. Much as in The Day The Earth Stood Still, Addon warns about spreading Earth culture to other planets. We then jump forward several decades, to the discovery of an ancient tablet that appears to prove that aliens did visit Earth and did share technology with early humans.
Dr. Peter Kenner (Titus Young Wolverton) is a scientist who has no faith in God but does believe in ancient alien visitation. His uncle, Joshua Sanders (David Gaylor), is a scientist who retains his faith in God and, as a result, he and Peter don’t really have much to do with each other. However, they are brought together by nine year-old Kara Pennington (Carissa Dallis), who can read ancient Hebrew and who, for some reason, the aliens want to abduct. Seeking to protect Kara is her mother (Katlin Lory) and a mysterious man named Ethan (Tyler Trent). It all eventually leads to a battle in a warehouse because these things always do….
To be honest, the plot is pretty much impossible to follow. There’s a lot of scenes of people chasing each other but you’re never quite sure why. There’s also some political conspiracy intrigue that never really seems to come together. At the same time, the film is made with such enthusiasm and is so earnest in its attempts to be a sci-fi epic despite not having an epic budget that, much like Threat Level Midnight, it’s hard not to like it. Sometimes, you really do have to appreciate the effort.