After their mother dies, teen twins Rachel and Theo are sent to live with relatives in Auckland, where they come across three alien races. The seven shapeshifting Wilberforces love all things rotten and seek to lay waste all of Earth through the power of the seven Gargantua, enormous slug-like creatures trapped, one apiece, under Auckland's seven volcanoes but soon to free themselves. Mr. Jones is an alien too, the surviving twin of a pair come to use their fire powers on the other aliens. Only twins can unleash the firepower from a set of magic stones, but after failure with a previous set of twins, Jones hasn't much hope for Rachel and Theo, though he doesn't know they can tele-communicate with each other. Written by
I'd waited for this one for ages thanks to some fond memories of the original TV adaptation from when I was a child. I suspect that those memories made me expect a lot more that what was delivered here.
The plot is okay for a simple science fiction story but don't expect anything epic. The target audience for this seems to be children so in terms of entertainment value for adults it is rather limited -- fans of the original show, supporters of NZ cinema, and those who enjoy sci-fi. I would expect most adults not fitting into these categories are going to find this a boring film.
The special effects are okay. For the story, there is the right amount and the quality is acceptable. The movie is more about the characters than flashy special effects so here the balance seems about right.
The real problem with production is the same that plagues many New Zealand productions - bad script writing and terrible acting. I watch all the NZ films I can and I am always hoping they will improve but rarely am I surprised in a pleasant way. Whomever writes their scripts needs to spend more time watching real people converse. Part of the problem with the wooden acting is that their lines just don't feel natural so how can they be delivered in a believable way. If you are not a Kiwi or Australian you may not even notice how clunky the acting is; for us it is painful at times! Interestingly, some of the most clunky delivery comes from Sam Neil. Don't hold it against him though; he didn't have much to work with here and he *is* helping out NZ cinema.
The nicest thing about this movie is that it is not Hollywood junk. The characters, while not particularly convincing nor likable, are like people you would see on an everyday street. They are not perfect Hollywood models with glowing white teeth and perfect makeup and hair. That in itself is a refreshing change.
This movie doesn't extend NZ cinema to any great new heights, nor is it every going to be a classic. It's just a ho-hum movie that might amuse for an hour and a half then be forgotten.
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