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:
Just thinking about this movie again makes me giggle. It was either a very entertaining hour and a half or the worst thing I’ve ever seen, I can’t quite decide. The best way to imagine this movie, I feel, is that had it been made in the 1950s it would have probably been an incredible creature feature. That may be what gives it a little bit of its charm. It has absolutely everything you could want from a b-movie: Aliens with Predator-like cloaking abilities, reverse Avatars, special effects that are right up there with the likes of Birdemic and a very 80s Casio soundtrack. All these wonderful things, wrapped up in a cacoon of blue candyfloss. Definitely not for the inexperienced b-movie viewer, but I’d give it a recommend to the more seasoned amongst us; if nothing else it’s one hell of an experience. It’s also the only movie I’ve watched during End of the World Month to score anything on the Breast-O-Meter.
Earth is under siege! Unbeknownst to all of us our forests are slowly being invaded by an alien race known as the Scythe (that’s Scythe with a hard ‘c’). Thankfully a strange race of pink-haired blue people are flying around the universe doing their utmost best to protect all the other little species out there. Earth falls within Ava’s sphere of protection, but unfortunately the robot she tried to send down that usually takes care of the hard ‘c’ed Scythe has malfunctioned. The lesson in all this? Never send a robot in to do a knock off James Cameron extraterrestrial’s job. The reason the robots are sent in is because they are designed to see through the Scythe’s cloaking abilities rather than Ava having to fumble around with her arms out in front of her. What ever will she do now?
We’ll get to that in a minute, because before the Earth can be invaded and we as the audience can take it all seriously there needs to be a group of people in danger that Ava has to save. Enter our team of stereotypes: Jock, Jock’s Friend with Benefits, Rebel Girl, Nerdy Virgin Guy, Nerdy Asian Girl and Slut. This lot’ve been friends since they were knee-high to a grasshopper and are heading out to a camping spot that they’ve been going to since high school. OK, nobody’s really friends with Slut, but Jock’s hoping that she can pop Nerdy Virgin Guy’s cherry. It’s understandable why nobody really likes her: while not only a bitch she is entirely impractical and thinks that wearing a pair of hooker heals is perfectly alright for taking a hike through the woods. With the Scythe nearby and looking for blood, of course, poor choice in footwear will soon be the least of the group’s problems.
So, with a malfunctioning robot and an alien on the loose, Ava must come down to Earth and save us all from the horror. Being an alien and unable to breathe in Earth’s atmosphere Ava will actually stay in her ship and send down a human avatar imbued with her life force to do the job. When she meets up with the group of hikers they’re a little bit wary of the leather-clad female with Ke$ha-like autotune for a voice but after a little story and nearly killing one of them they’re all ready to jump on board and do their bit to save the world. They need to find where the Robotar’s (the robot that’s going to protect the world) pod landed so that they can go and fix it. Trust will become an issue since the Scythe can shape shift into anyone whose DNA it has come into contact with and there’s the small issue of humanity being a hopelessly technologically backwards species. Can the group come together to power up the machine and save the world or is Earth doomed to becoming a plastic alien’s new breeding ground?
LIFE’S LESSONS LEARNED:
- Giant explosions and fire balls in the sky are no cause for alarm.
- Women hike up to cabins just so they can complain that they want to go home.
- Some girls will sleep with a homeless guy just to make him feel better.
- Stilettos make less than desirable hiking boots.
- Sluts make superb bear hunters.
- Just because everyone else goes off to save someone doesn’t mean you can’t scarf down breakfast.
- Earthlings are highly insulted when they’re told that English is one of the simplest languages in the universe.
- It’s mankind’s fault that the Earth and the solar system only have one sun.
ALIENS VS AVATARS TRAILER