WHAT IT’S ABOUT:
As of late, my inner sci-fi geek has been awakened with a vengeance since I started watching Syfy’s Defiance (if you haven’t seen it, you owe it to yourself to check it out). So, in the spirit of different worlds being invaded by extraterrestrials and technicalities that require physics PhDs in order to follow the plot, I decided I’d give The Asylum’s AE: After Earth a spin. The cover looked interesting, and for me that’s always a good start. Unfortunately, that’s also where all the good things that can be said about this movie come to a grinding halt. It’s a rare example in b-movie making: I thought I’d figured out the lame ending after watching about 15 minutes, only to be fooled later on by AN EVEN LAMER ending! Also, and this is the best part for me, they took soft science to an intergalactic extreme, which I always find tremendously amusing.
Earth is being invaded! Yeah, it’s only one tiny little spaceship with a few missiles attached to it, but we’re still being invaded. Since we’re thrown right into the action at the beginning of the movie we’re not really given any indication as to how long this nano-invasion has been going on for, but suffice to say that mankind has been on the losing end of the war. Somewhere in between the aliens’ arrival and us getting our asses thoroughly kicked, the world’s governments were able to build a series of ark ships to take a portion of humankind and send it off to the relative safety of some far-gone alien world. So, it the face of absolute danger, we do what we do best: we get the hell out of dodge. The arks are fully automated and contain stasis pods made entirely out of the insides of old Game Boys, so all the survivors have to do is lay back, sleep for a couple of decades, and wake up on their new home world.
Well, that was the plan at least, until the ark ships got blown out of the air and had to make an emergency crash landing on an alien world. Now of course you know it’s an alien world because it has a ring system! Clever people over at the Asylum… Anyway, if the crash didn’t sufficiently thin out the remaining number of humans left in the galaxy, the invisible and rather trigger happy natives will certainly take care of the rest. If it weren’t for Lt. Frank Baum the Good Lord only knows what would happen to the few remaining survivors. He manages to lead them all to the relative safety of a palm bush, before asking his robotic assistant TIM to try and figure out where they are and what exactly is going on.
Thankfully the invisible guys with guns aren’t the only creatures on the planet: our Lt also managed to find a green humanoid lady who switches between a completely alien accent to a thoroughly American one in a heart beat. She explains that the invisible things keep her people, and the crash-landed humans, as test subjects in zoos to be studied. Together, the survivors decide that this planet really isn’t for them, and they need to get back to Earth. Hell, it may have been invaded by malevolent beings from outer space, but it’s still home. It will involve a very un-daring mission of cowardly men, overly Hispanic women, the green lady, a midget Ricky Gervais, and an entire race of albino humanoids to ward off this planet’s strange lifeforms and the invisible hunting things if the group ever has a chance of making it to the spare ship just over the mountain and making a beeline back to Earth.
I don’t usually give away endings, but this one was just too stupid and left me far too enraged to not point it out. So, whilst we are told that it took 5 years for them to escape Earth and make it to this planet, when the group does eventually manage to get off the surface they can’t find out where in the galaxy they are. TIM the robot explains that the evacuation plan was EVEN DUMBER than I originally thought: rather than finding a planet that would be suitable for humans to settle on before they all took off, all of the arks were just sent off in random directions with everyone hoping for the best. 10 years into the flight TIM realised that the chances of finding a suitable planet were nanoscopic (again, shouldn’t we have thought about that BEFORE we left Earth?) and decided that the best option would be to return to Earth. Even if it had been invaded, at least it was habitable. So, the Arks make the 100-year return journey to Earth, but due to a glitch in the theory of relativity the 100-year flight actually equates to 325 000 years back on Earth. When the Arks crash and the survivors woke up, the invisible thingies were the descendants of the original invaders, whilst lady-in-green and the albino people are the descendants of the humans that didn’t form part of the evacuation fleet. The Earth is now green due to a runaway greenhouse effect, and its ring system is actually the remains of the Moon after the aliens blew it up. Take that NASA! That’s how you soft science the shit out of space travel!
LIFE’S LESSONS LEARNED:
- First rule of planetary evacuations: no weapons in the stasis pods.
- Intergalactic space arks can easily be built with nothing more than a little wood and chicken wire.
- Yo mama jokes are a pan-galactic form of insult.
- If you don’t train your dragon from when it’s a baby, you’ll never teach it not to sleep on your spaceship.
- There is no intergalactic emergency so great that you can’t stop for a moment to bang one of the natives.
- There is no reason to think that English syntax differs in any meaningful way from that of innumerable alien languages.
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WHAT IT’S ABOUT:
“When a colossal tectonic shift causes the sea level to start rising, a microbiologist gathers the DNA of as many species as she can, while the military creates an “ark” in a desperate attempt to preserve life on Earth.”
The Asylum and I have really got to stop meeting like this. Seriously, how many of the movies in my collection have their sneaky little paws behind it? Now, I was in the mood for a decent cheesy disaster flick, but this was too much. Above is the blurb for this movie taken directly from the Asylum’s website, which I feel needs to be addressed. Firstly, there was no tectonic shift, not on any of the 40 days this movie purportedly spans. Secondly, sea levels did not rise; at best we had a few isolated inland tidal waves. Thirdly, there is no way on God’s green Earth that that woman was a microbiologist. Fourthly, surely samples of 3 bees and a few moths doesn’t count as ‘DNA of as many species as she can’? Fifthly, no country has a military made up of 7 people. Sixthly, that wasn’t an ark, it was a strange train that floated. Seventhly, the DNA of 3 bees cannot preserve life on earth if you didn’t take any life with you onto the ark. So yeah, that about sums up how I felt about this movie, but I’m gonna do my usual review now to drive home just how daft it really was.
Jon and Tessa are such a lovely couple – you’ve never seen a 50-year-old man and a 19-year-old girl so madly in love. They’ve got a pretty good life too – they work for the super-secretive black-ops illuminati division of the US military, which means they’re very clever, very wealthy, and very well looked after. All that and as many rooftop picnics as they could ever dream of! What could possibly go wrong for a couple as spritely as this? Oh right, the world’s about to come to an end. How’s the world going to come to an end? Be damned if I know; all I saw were four drunken kids driving around the Sahara desert when a few thunder clouds appeared over head. Next thing they (and I) knew, there’s an enormous tsunami coming over the mountains and the whole desert’s submerged by an ocean of CGI water.
In what turns out to be the Asylum’s answer to 2012, a massive super storm is developing over Africa, and within the next few days it will cover THE ENTIRE PLANET. How this super storm started to develop we’re never going to know, but said super-secretive black-ops illuminati division of the US military has to come up with some way of saving at least a nominal portion of the American public (mainly the smart ones though). To do this they’ve decided to build an ark. The ark will be the world’s first live-saving sea vessel shaped like a dildo, and despite the fact they have to cram in 3 years work into a week to get the thing built, everyone’s fairly convinced that it can be done with relatively few screw ups. Oh, how they underestimated Mr Murphy on that one…
Turns out there are a few hiccoughs to overcome before the ark can sail. Firstly, it’s powered by turbines built on completely theoretical technology that, despite being the size of a small cat, will harness the power of the waves and wind to generate enough electricity to keep it sailing for as long as they need. Surprisingly, there are a few problems getting these turbines working. Now, that’s Jon’s job. Tessa’s job is to collect DNA samples so that they can rebuild nature once the flood waters recede. Unfortunately a rock slide took out the train carrying all her samples, and now she has to go out into the wild to collect more before everything’s under water. And this is only the beginning of their troubles: once the ark sets out, who knows how long they’ll all be at sea? Who knows if the ark will be able to hold its own against the power of nature gone utterly berserk? In the end, none of it will really matter, since you’ll have been bored to tears long before the flood waters even cover your baby toe.
LIFE’S LESSONS LEARNED:
- If it means a quickie on a roof, saving humanity can just wait 15 minutes.
- If it means a quick tussle under the sheets, then escaping the rising Biblical flood will also just have to wait.
- There’s a lot more rain and wind in the eye of a super storm.
- You can safely transport DNA samples in an empty Evian bottle.
- The secret of human evolution, life, and all philosophical pursuits, ultimately lies with the humble moth.
- Most ships can be rendered utterly useless with a simple power drill.
- It’s easier to pistol whip someone than to answer a stupid question.
- The lesser-spotted cave bee is a key player in upholding the planet’s various ecosystems.
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