The Darkest Hour (2011)

This film is getting trashed by critics and fans of the genre. The producers originally blew it by releasing it theatrically two days before the Christmas holiday. Why not just release it in the summer or around Halloween? Well, the film’s available for streaming and on disc and I checked it out. It’s not a great flick, but I enjoyed watching it. In many ways it reminded me of a good old-fashioned 50’s sci-fi flick.

Underneath it’s modern 3D-CGI special effects, The Darkest Hour (2011) is b-movie all the way. I like the story (yet another rehash of War of the Worlds) which pits a group of dumb teens and ragged Russian rebels in Moscow against unseen metal-mining monsters from outer space. Think a tiny bit of the “Monster from the Id ” accept these are not mental projections and weren’t animated by Disney Studios.  Actually they look nothing like the Monster from the Id, accept for the faint, orangey wisps of plasma.

I like the monsters in this film. They’re different for sure —they spin around like gyroscopes within plasma capsules and crumble into charcoal when their protective blisters are broken. I liked Sergei’s directed microwave weapon which disrupts the energy gyroscopes (hey was this concept heisted from Harryhausen’s “Earth vs. The Flying Saucers”?). Probably. B-movie all the way.

The cast struggles. My girlfriend recognized one of the leads (some hot Tasmanian blonde chick) from Gray’s Anatomy. How good can this film be? Emile Hirsch is ok, I guess, as the lead. I don’t think he will ever be a big star. His style and delivery reminds me a bit of Leonardo Dicaprio. Don’t ever cast him as Speed Racer.  I cheered quite a bit for the aliens.

This film throws a lot at you, including Moscow nightclubs,  a nuclear submarine on the Moskva River, cool photography around Red Square, and a tabby cat wrapped in Christmas lights.

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