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Just got back from a screening of The Darkest Hour and honestly this
film was better than I anticipated. I confess, I hadn't wanted to go at
all but my friend insisted and so to keep the peace I went. Granted,
the beginning is a uneven and it was unclear where the story was going
but once it clicks in the thing moves right along. You are never sure
who is going to die next and that helps keep the suspense level high.
The acting is serviceable and the location is a refreshing change from
the usual New York/Chicago skylines. It's frankly more interesting to
watch the tale unfold against the dinginess of contemporary Moscow, and
with Russian soldiers instead of Americans. Moreover, the special
effects are simple, but effective.
In essence, invisible beings are here to steal our electricity and only insulators (e.g. glass or Faraday Cages) enable us to be hide from them. Because they are ruthless and utterly determined, there is no hope for negotiation, no chance for peace. Early on it is made clear either we win or we will be exterminated.
I liked everything about the movie, even though the alien invasion genre has gotten a bit tired of late. I was never bored and was always in suspense as to what would happen next. At 89 minutes, this joint Russian-American production probably could have taken more time with its story and characters, and not be in such a hurry to kill them off. Since the background is so different, maybe they could have shown us more of the city or used the locations more effectively.
Yet for all the obvious complaints one can make, the move works if you let it. I believe viewers will find it worth their while. Take it for what it is, and I honestly think you will have a good time at The Darkest Hour.
*** This review may contain spoilers ***
Christmas day! What a day for seeing movies! I really wanted to see Sir
Brad Bird's Mission Impossible, but my friend wanted to see it with me,
so I went for the next best thing: a Summit film. If you have can't the
best, get the worst, Fat Man sez. Just going to start off with a
disclaimer: SPOILER ALERTS. I won't say the movie was predictable, but
it certainly wasn't rational. Throughout this review, I'll be throwing
in some sane person/writer pop quizzes. Let's see how you stack up!
The Darkest Hour starts with our " " "heros" " " " I really couldn't put enough quotes around that word flying in to Moscow on the worst CG airplane I've ever seen. Nice, Summit. Sean and Ben are there to pitch their newest internet craze Apple phones apps World Travel Hunter (I honestly don't remember) to an investment group. They find that their Swedish buddy, Skyler, has ripped off their idea and is selling it as they walk in the room. WHOA!! In a fit of being sad, they end up at a hip hip Moscow night club with two of the stupidest people on the continent, Natalie and Anne. Now that we have our cast of dummies, aliens invade. They hide in the basement of the club for a week until the coast is clear.
POP QUIZ #1! Aliens have attacked and slaughtered most humans alive. You're an American in Moscow and still alive. What do you do? A) Head for the closest police station. B) Head for the closest military base. C) Head for the highest building to get a vantage point on the action. D) Head for the American Embassy.
If you chose D, you're in good company. Off they go! Oh wait, it's time for
POP QUIZ #2! Aliens have attacked and slaughtered most humans alive. You're in Moscow and you know nothing except that they are out for blood. You've got to get to *sigh* the American Embassy. How do you get there? A) Try to move from building to building, using interconnects. B) Walk down the middle of the biggest street you can find, in full view of everything. C) Use the ancient Moscow sewer and tunnel systems. D) Take advantage of the extensive underground transit system.
If you answered B, not only was that the best choice, but you're still alive. Now at the embassy, they find nobody is there, but somehow discover there's a SUBMARINE leaving soon that will take them to relative safety. Joined by others along the way, they finally get on a boat to float down to the sub. Oh, Ben, Skylar, and Anne are now dead. Guess those choices weren't so good after all. A huge blast knocks the boat over, and everybody manages to make it to the sub 50 feet away except for Natalie
FINAL QUIZ! #3 FOR ALL THE MARBLES! You are trying to get to the safety of a submarine when you're knocked in to the water. Do you.. A) Resurface, swim to the sub, and get in. B) Resurface, swim to the sub, and get in. C) Resurface, swim to the bank, walk 20 feet to the sub, and get in. D) Resurface, swim to the bank, head a half mile inland at a dead sprint, and hide in a bus.
If you chose D, you are the love interest of The Darkest Hour and we're supposed to be cheering for you to make it. Wow. Wow. Needless to say, or maybe I should since nothing else made sense, they retrieve her, kill a few aliens, and head off. The crappy VO at the end lets us know a few other aliens have been killed and one or two ships blown up. So? They're strip-mining the earth and then leaving.
I've aired most of my complaints already, but it's worth noting a few other things. Emile Hirsch and Max Minghella are no slouches, acting- wise, but you couldn't tell. Even good actors need direction, I suppose. I also take back everything I've said about wanting better monster design. These were completely original and completely horrible.
Darkest Hour really leaves me a little torn. On one hand, I enjoyed the film immensely. It's like watching a car full of Hollywood producers roll down a hill, catch fire, and burst in to flames. Beautiful and hilarious in its tragedy. On the other hand, this film got heavily marketed, released in over 2000 theaters, and did terrible in the box office. Hollywood complains that nobody wants to go to movies, nobody is buying tickets, it's all the fault of pirates, we need more more more restrictions so we can make every bit we can. Funny, the top monthly grosses have all happened since 2007, most since 2009, and 4 in 2011 alone. Who's not making enough money? This will also be held up as an example of why original work doesn't sell more prequels, sequels, and remakes for everyone! Maybe if you had a screening process for scripts and gave creative control to directors and writers instead of a pile of producers, good, original work would be successful.
Merry Christmas everyone. Continue to vote with your dollar and give your hard earned cash to deserving movies.
I was very skeptical to spend money on a movie with a 4.9 IMDb Rating
but in the end of the day I went with my guts which never let me down.
I saw the trailers back in summer 2011 and was already excited.
So what is the problem with this movie? Why does it have such bad reviews? The environment has a lot to with it. The movie is set in Moscow, the most actors are Russian and the 2 supposedly American girls are occasionally speaking with a British accent. This is probably a bit too much for a "patriot". The next point would be the acting, it is not that good and the special effects range from brilliant to not so brilliant but then again this is a 30 Million Budget movie, they city of Moscow went through hoops to make it happen by closing down main roads and entire quarters. The scenes when humans are getting killed are extremely well done an innovative and the whole plot is very exciting and doesn't give much time to breath.
If you aren't ignorant to let another country but the USA be the good guys for once you will simply love that movie, if your heroes must kiss the love interest in front of an American flag then forget about it.
Great movie, not so great actors but all in all enjoyable and 8 points for a new idea of an Alien Invasion.
I don't know why critics panned this movie so much. Did they expect a
different movie than what they saw? After seeing the trailer, this
looked like a fun movie so I gave it a shot and was not disappointed.
It was pretty much like I thought it was going to be. Sure the whole
alien invaders thing has been done a lot, and this sticks to the
formula to a certain extent (minus the annoying deus ex machina plot
device), but it was original enough to set it apart.
The acting, while not Oscar worthy, was definitely fine for this genre of movie. The setting (deserted Moscow after the invasion) was well done, and the effects (apart from the opening airplane shot) were pretty good too. There was just enough suspense and action to keep things interesting, and while I didn't feel a deep bond with the characters, I still rooted for them to survive.
All in all, this was a pretty fun movie, and throughout it I keep wondering to myself why there were so many bad reviews because I was definitely liking it.
Don't listen to the "critics" who are too full of themselves and don't get this kind of movie; judge for yourself. If after seeing the trailer you think you'll enjoy the movie, you probably will (if you go into it unbiased). I definitely did.
In a world of mostly straight to video lower budget scifi movies or the
hit and miss affairs of Sci-Fi original movies, The Darkest Hour was a
The ghost-like concept of the invaders was well conceived. Adding tension in droves, much like the original alien movie, with the what you can't see lets your mind be more creative. The lack of need for constant CGI of the aliens seemed to allow more budget and creativity on the other more subtle effects, creating a much more believable world. The floor of light bulbs effects, used similarly to the motion detectors in the Aliens movie, was cool.
It seems the film critics have again missed the point and glories of this movie. What they seemed to punish for I personally found to be the movies greatest achievements. Efficient, well conceived plot to me, seen as lacking to the critics. The not trying to save the whole world, ala Independence Day, but focusing on rag tag group of unprepared survivors worked, as it does in AMC's series The Walking Dead. The restrained use of 3D, meaning few objects flying out the screen or visual overdose leading to headache like the latest Transformers movie. The 3D effects added significantly to the sites of Moscow, giving a true sense of the size of Red Square and hence the immersion a 3D movie should give.
The Darkest Hour. Solid entertainment and great way to see Moscow without a 12hr flight. Ignore the critics and make up your own mind.
*** This review may contain spoilers ***
First off, don't get my review title wrong, I actually found the movie
rather fascinating given my initial expectation. My title is more
directed at the reviewers who crutch their poor reviews on the aspect
For one, what is there to expect out of an alien movie these days? They're either friendly, or they're blood thirsty, this movie being an example of the later. Now, given they're bloodthirsty, how many various, and colorful reasons can there be for an alien invasion? Anyone having taken a 9th grade social studies class can tell you that initial invasions of a hostile intent happen for one of 3 reasons, territory, resources, or religion. This movie, *SPOILERS* eventually, made the hypothesis that the initial invasion was for resources. */SPOILERS* How many "original" concepts can we really ask for out of those 3 categories?
Here's what I noticed defining this movie from other alien invasion concepts: *SPOILERS* 1. They weren't identifiable, humanoid invaders. That definitely gave me a different perspective on differing lifeforms. 905 of the alien movies I see, even if they try to hide their true form, end up being mostly humanoid in shape. 2. There was no identifiable warning for the alien attack. It just happened, and it was sudden. 3. It was through the perspective of every day schmucks who had to figure it all out on their own. There were no convenient plot devices like a misc. scientist who just popped up and already knew all of the answers. 4. The mode of fighting back was a gradual process. There was no sudden discovery of a super weapon that could kill the aliens with no issue. 5. It delved MUCH much further into the human aspect of an alien invasion than I've seen out of a lot of alien movies. It really made me think of how "normal" people might react in that situation. */SPOILERS*
It most certainly is not the most creative alien movie I have seen in a long while, I reserve that for "Paul", but it most certainly was not "unoriginal". They took the reference of an alien invasion for our resources, which is a common plot device, but changed the perspective, eventual solution, and even the antagonistic element. I haven't seen that since Battle of Los Angeles, though that movie only received a 2 so I guess I shouldn't really be surprised Darkest Hour is getting this kind of rating.
Also, not to try and call anyone specific out, but it's easy to say something like "It's unoriginal" while giving no hint as to what you think would constitute as an original idea...I keep reading these reviews that have the phrase "It's unoriginal" stretched out into 3 paragraphs.
This was a bit of fun to watch, nothing special, like an above average sci-fi channel flick, but fun to watch nonetheless. Hasn't been a box office hit or getting much in the way of good reviews, but if basic alien invasion is your cup of tea, you will probably enjoy it too. I liked the aliens, not your usual lot, and the Moscow sets. The cast gave decent performances as well. I would have liked to see more of the invaders and would have liked a few more battle scenes, and could have enjoyed it just as well without the 3D effects. All things considered, I will add it to my collection when it's available on disc. Catch this during a matinée if you must, but you'll probably like it a whole lot more on a theater's big screen than waiting for HBO.
The idea behind the darkest hour was original. It is nice to finally see something that hasn't been recycled from another movie, game, book, etc. That being said the main problems in the movie come from a rather dull open story. It leaves you with many unanswered questions. There are also many flaws in different aspects of the movie. Being an avid movie goer I give this a 6 out of 10 because of the original idea. But it could have been way better had they developed script better. The other flaw was the lack of graphics. They clearly spent very little on special effects. I feel that this should have been a TV movie. Not something to go see in the theater.
*** This review may contain spoilers ***
Granted I wasn't expecting a great deal from The Darkest Hour, where
the trailers have probably spelt out the entire film from beginning to
end, and more than validated it to be nothing but a special effects
extravaganza. Then again, what you have already seen is it, as The
Darkest Hour indeed is the darkest in terms of filmmaking, having
nothing else served up to excite nor to thrill, sticking to what would
be a rote storyline packaged hundreds of times over.
The selling point of the film is of course Timur Bekmambetov's name on the credits, a filmmaker who had made everyone sit up and take notice of his inventive, stylish science fiction films out of Russia - Night Watch and Day Watch - that Hollywood had come wooing, and from then on it's either producer creds to help boost some languishing production, or allowing the filmmaker to helm his own like in Wanted. Not everything he touches turns to gold of course, and sadly The Darkest Hour boasted what could have been something he could have done, but ultimately falling very flat on its face because of the lack of freshness in its story, written by Leslie Bohem, M.T. Ahem and Jon Spaihts, who also had screenplay responsibilities.
The premise is as bland as you can get, and frankly can work in any other major city if not for the exoticness of Moscow, and Bekmambetov's connection of course. The characters too can be anyone other than the software engineering duo Sean (Emile Hirsch) and Ben (Max Minghella) who flew halfway across the world to find out they were outplayed by their Swedish competitor Skyler (Joel Kinnaman), and two holidaying teenage girls Natalie (Olivia Thirlby) and Anne (Rachael Taylor), who all got together in a hip pub, only for what could have led to respective one night stands interrupted by a parade of lights falling from the sky, which from the trailer you will know contain some mean, invisible aliens out to annihilate all of humankind for our energy.
Yes you read that right, invisible aliens. They have this innate ability to light up bulbs activate anything that's run by electricity, since it's a signature they carry, before being allowed to reveal something extra in the final few scenes. Sure, something invisible would work in playing up our fears, but the way director Chris Gorak did it, his inexperience shows. Similar genre films like Attack The Block built anticipation nicely, but here we get nothing of that sort of emotional engagement, as it teases through elements that suggest vulnerability and chinks in the adversary's armour, force fields of sorts that are entirely resistant to whatever arsenal us humans can throw at it, if we can get to realize their positions first.
The plot could have been written by any newbie hack sent packing home to watch countless of alien invasion and monster movies, to be able to come up with something that's really quite plain and lacking true suspense. In some ways it's like an amalgamation of science fiction films from I am Legend to other contemporary alien invasion type movies, except that we don't give a hoot too much for the characters involved here, so much so that the filmmakers have the audacity and courage to ensure equal opportunity to become alien fodder, which is a rarity.
Effects wise, this two trick pony will soon wear out its novelty, the first of which is the way the aliens turn humans and all living creatures into swirling dust upon contact, and the second of which is an electrical whip-like probe that goes feeling around for lifeforms. Nothing terribly original here, and after a while these limited bag of tricks do become a little stale. As for its 3D presentation, there's only depth of field, getting human dust falling all over, as well as having exploding debris hurtle toward the screen. Some large scale effects like collapsing walls and huge probes to siphon Earth's resources still looked a little bit raw,
Perhaps then if you're looking for any sliver of merit to watch this, it will be for the on- location shoots in Russia, as well as having this film mark what would be a rare treat at having Russian soldiers/mercenaries in action up against the enemy compared to the usual US led war machinery in any alien invasion film, and this one also marking a USA-Russia collaboration amongst survivors in this post-cold war era. But you need not have to look that deep into this film, because it's indeed a struggle to find something unique and of narrative quality, failing which The Darkest Hour is only at best a mediocre film that offers nothing new.
It is really hard to understand movie critics and audiences, because
this is a nice movie with an interesting premise and a not so bad
Maybe the characters are a tad bland and nondescript but the story is entertaining enough and it kept my attention. It has a few clichés but in the end it was a good way to spend a 90 minutes or so.
The special effect were good enough considering the somewhat low budget, and the story moves at a good pace.
There are no confusing subplots, romance (it is a story of survival, there is no time for it) and other distractions.
I give it an 8!
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