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.
AE: APOCALYPSE EARTH TRAILER
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WHAT IT’S ABOUT:
You know, I consider myself a patient if somewhat long-suffering individual so far as b-movies go. I have seen things that I wouldn’t wish on my worst enemy. I have built up an immunity to things like the Asylum and Syfy Originals, but there are somethings that you just cannot prepare for. 2012: Doomsday is one of those things. Part of the Asylum’s trilogy of disaster movies that also includes 2012: Ice Age and 2012: Supernova, 2012: Doomsday is by far the worst of the trio. With this one they decided to throw in everything and then a few people’s kitchen sinks: the recipe includes Christian theology, New Age thinking and Mayan prophecy, but it was definitely left to cook for a little too long. By the end of it you’ll be so confused you’ll begin to wonder if you hallucinated the whole thing or if you actually saw this movie play out before your very eyes.
Our tale of misadventure and outright confusion begins in Mexico. Sarah is a Christian missionary incapable of displaying emotion or vocal inflection who’s on assignment in a little village in the back and beyond of nowhere trying to help out those good Christian people who are less fortunate and white than herself. The entire village has suddenly become ill and she desperately needs to find a doctor but, when that fails, a random medical student snapping photos of her jogging will just have to suffice. They realise that something is terribly wrong on the way back to the village when they pass a river that’s near boiling point and all the fish are dead and floating downstream. What possible calamity could have caused this?
The whole world going to Hell, that’s what’s causing this. Sarah’s father works for the US government tracking unusual phenomena that may have adverse effects on the planet. Somehow the combination of planetary alignment in the solar system and the sun’s rotation around the black hole at the centre of the galaxy have caused the Earth’s rotation to stop (although in this movie it has no effect on the magnetosphere), enormous storm cells to form and the continents to move around a little bit. It’s a helluva lot of stuff to have going on all at the same time. Thankfully we have Dr. Frank Richards, a man of science and reason to help us out. Well, science and reason until he discovers a crucifix in a Mayan temple and decides that the only logical thing to do will be to take it to a different Mayan temple to fulfill a prophecy as ordained by Fate. Making sense so far? Didn’t think so.
Because we don’t have enough strange people to pay attention to the movie also throws Susan at us. Susan’s a staunch atheist nurse who believes that science can explain everything. Somehow it’s going to explain her strange desire to visit a Mayan temple that she’s only ever seen in a dream as a child. Her mother, a very devout Christian woman, believes this is all part of God’s greater plan for mankind. So now all these odd people must make their way to the Mayan temple to fulfill a prophecy made by Christians in the Americas nearly a thousand years ago while avoiding a variety of natural disasters before time runs out and the entire planet is decimated. Oh yeah, and the rapture’s thrown in amongst all this just for good measure.
LIFE’S LESSONS LEARNED:
- The words ‘we need to evacuate’ just dare a volcano to erupt.
- The Mayans were famous for their underground Christian churches.
- Scientists refuse to accept that the Mayans practised crucifixion, and are insulted if anyone even mentions it.
- Doctors often argue about whether to use medicine or just leave it up to God.
- When the world’s about to go to Hell someone needs to be there to take pictures.
- God will plummet the whole Earth into chaos just to teach one blonde woman to believe.
- God, Christ and the Fates often club together to buy humanity gifts.
- Missionaries in villages in the hell and back of nowhere often have no skills that would be useful to the people there.
- Newborn children are the exclusive property of God.
- Mankind has a dormant instinct to flock to Mayan temples that is awoken during times of the apocalypse.
- Distance in Mexico is measured in how many hills you need to climb over.
2012: DOOMSDAY TRAILER
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