Monday, February 10, 2014

The Darkest Hour (2011)

SPOILER WARNING!!! This post spoils movie The Darkest Hour (2011).

I expected this to be really bad. Then I saw the potential and wanted to like it. In the end, it was just less than average scifi end of the world movie. So, what was the problem? The script, like in most big budget movies, that doesn't work. Movie had interesting aliens. It was set to Moscow. Main characters were so one-dimensional, you didn't care what happened to them. First you expected all of them to survive. When they started to die, only thing you felt was surprise, that one of them died.

Movie start with two american nerds coming to Moscow to promote their new social network service. They soon find, their swedish partner has screwed them and taken their social network from them. After that they go to bar, where they find two american girls. Swedish partner is also there. Lights go out. Everyone goes out to see what happened. They see northern lights and some lights coming down from sky. Everyone wonders what happened, until one of the lights kill police officer. Panic breaks as invisible aliens start to kill everyone. American nerds, american girls and swedish partner escape to cellar, where they stay for several days.

Movie doesn't use fact, that swedish partner screwed nerds anyway. Nerds and swedish partner are like strangers thrown together by end of the world. Why creating the social network angle, if it is not used? Everyone could have been tourists and it wouldn't have changed nothing. All survivors take end of the world quite casually. Some of them freak out at times, but most of the time, they are like they are on adventure vacation. Best zombie movies are never about zombies. They are about people reacting civilization falling around them. This movie is about aliens. That is this movie's problem.

Aliens have technology, that makes them invisible. Their electric charge is only thing telling, where they are. These would be perfect aliens for horror game. They work in this movie too, but in good video game, they would be really effective. We learn, aliens are electric and they came to earth to mine metals. They attacked major cities, because cities have most metals. Faraday cages make you invisible for aliens. Only problem, I have with aliens, is their appearance, when they are visible. Other than that, they do their role in this movie.

There is one almost interesting character in this movie. He is russian scientist, who invents weapon capable disturbing aliens armor, making them visible and vulnerable. One of the american girls get him killed before he becomes interesting. Thank you very much. There was one almost interesting character and he gets killed almost as soon as we meet him. American girl gets killed right after that, so we are not reminded of that incident later. Damn, you had guy, who saved people and made safe haven and you freak out and get him killed. He was only character I cared. Everyone else lacked personality.

Movie looks good. Plot is interesting, but one-dimensional characters destroy the movie. Movie lacks impactful kills. Characters survived, when their death would have made impact and died, when it didn't make impact. That russian scientist was different case, because we shouldn't have cared about him. His death made biggest impact. Ending left sequel open. I don't know, how they continue this story in sequel, if they ever made one. This was about young americans escaping from Moscow. Only way to make it work, would be different characters and different city. Writers should understand, movie is zombie movie, where zombies are replaced by aliens. Movie could advance humans fight against aliens. Then in third movie humans could win. You could make trilogy out of this. I fear that sequel will have same characters, but more like action heroes. In this they were lost americans helped by resourceful russians.

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