My sincerest apologies for the lateness of this review. With so much going on lately, I guess it just slipped my mind (despite having actually watched the movie earlier this week). But you know what they say, better late than never, right? Anyway, I was really excited to see this one when it was in theaters, but the terrible reviews surrounding it, I didn’t see it… until now. The film gives us your basic end-of-world scenario, but in this case with electric pulse invisible alien creatures. Sean (Emile Hirsch) and Ben (Max Minghella) are two young American businessmen traveling to Russia. But after Skyler (Joel Kinnaman) steals their idea and screws them over, they go for a night of drinking to take their minds off things and meet Natalie (Olivia Thirlby) and Anne (Rachael Taylor). Unfortunately, this is about when the aliens show up and start killing everyone. After a few days of hiding out, they realize they’re some of the only people left in the city, and they need to come up with a plan to survive.
As the film started, I wasn’t quite sure what the big deal was with the film and why nobody liked it. But as the film went on, it became more and more obvious. Painfully obvious, at times. The worst problem with the movie is that it has NO idea what it wants to be. Every 10-15 minutes seems to be a new scenario with new side characters. I mean, it starts with them heading to the American embassy or whatever. Then it turns to finding survivors. Then it becomes a survivalist film with a wacky scientist. Then it becomes a revolution film with a gang of fighters. Then it becomes a race against time to safety. Then it’s a rescue mission. Seriously. It just jumps all over the place. It needed to choose one idea and stick with it, not toss everything into the mix and see what works.
The acting wasn’t terrible, but it certainly wasn’t perfect. The characters were the bigger problem, though. Nobody was really fleshed out. You have the girl who ran away from home… but why? And, of course, nothing really important comes of it. You have the two main guys who… are only there so there could be a movie. Honestly, the most refreshing bit was Skyler, the asshole businessman. Sure, he was meant to be the character you were meant to hate, but they gave him a spin of humanity and a guilty conscience for previous actions. That rather surprised me, so I do give the writers kudos for that. Unfortunately, the annoying stupidity traits went to one of the girl characters, so I was rooting for her to die most of the time.
Not even the cool special effects could hold up over the course of the film. In the third act (or tenth act, depending how you see it), you actually see the aliens that reside in the electrical orb thingies. And boy, when they show the inside, does it look like crap. Prior to this, the CGI had been excellent and well used. But once we reach this point, it’s like they ran out of budget and had to go with the second layer work of the creatures or something.
Yes, the film sets itself up for a sequel… but unless they get better writers, it probably won’t happen (though it probably wouldn’t have happened anyway). It’s certainly not the worst flick I’ve seen, even for a MILF review, but it was just so damn disappointing. I don’t think I had high expectations for it anymore when I saw it this past week, mainly due to all the negative reviews it had received. But I still went in with some hope that I’d still enjoy it on a level most other people wouldn’t. But that really didn’t happen, either. It had the potential to be so much better than it was… and fell pretty dang short.
(P.S. I still don’t get how the girl goes from falling into the water to ending up on a bus a couple miles into the city. That makes no freakin’ sense… at all.)