It's an up-to-date setting of the 1951 sci-fi thriller. With the world blinded and the Triffids set loose, it falls upon a band of scattered, sighted survivors to fight this carnivorous ... See full summary »
Alice awakes in Raccoon City, only to find it has become infested with zombies and monsters. With the help of Jill Valentine and Carlos Olivera, Alice must find a way out of the city before it is destroyed by a nuclear missile.
A group of humans arrive on Sirius 6-B to investigate an SOS signal sent out from the planet, which has been supposedly deserted since the destruction of the man-made weapons known as "... See full summary »
A group of heavily armed hijackers board a luxury ocean liner in the South Pacific Ocean to loot it, only to do battle with a series of large-sized, tentacled, man-eating sea creatures who have taken over the ship first.
A deadly infection breaks out in Manhattan, causing humans to devolve into blood-thirsty rat creatures. Six recently evicted tenants must survive the night and protect their downtown ... See full summary »
When most of the population of Earth is infected with a virus and transformed into flesh eaters and blood drinking creatures, a group of hunters led by Tao chases the vampire zombies to ... See full summary »
It's an up-to-date setting of the 1951 sci-fi thriller. With the world blinded and the Triffids set loose, it falls upon a band of scattered, sighted survivors to fight this carnivorous plant invasion. With a brave new world of maniacs, warring factions and renegades, the battle on the streets is not only directed at the purple-headed organisms but a battle to survive the sinister street-army headed by megalomaniac Torrence. Written by
Some good b-movie monster moments do not cover the missed potential and irritating lack of internal logic in the plotting
Injured in an attack at his work place, triffid expert Bill Mason (sp) is in hospital with his eyes bandaged when the solar event of a lifetime occurs across the earth as solar flares create a cosmic firework display for all to see. When he wakes he finds the hospital in chaos as everyone appears to have been struck blind with only those not watching the sky at its peak. Society quickly crumbles as those with sight struggle with the choices inherent in protecting the weak or looking after themselves. However Mason has more immediate concerns as he knows that the triffids, farmed for years for their oil, require strict control and management given their ability to move and their carnivorous diet and that inevitable power failures will release them to look for easy and defenceless food sources.
In the original material the triffids are pretty much in the background of the story as the focus is more on the collapse of society and the retention (or otherwise) of morality that comes with it. The BBC miniseries got closest to it while the b-movie from the 1960's focused more on the escape from the creatures themselves. Although I did expect a bit more in the way of intelligence and horrific moral drama from this three hour film, I was not overly surprised to find that the Christmas BBC blockbuster production took the "action first" route not surprised but perhaps a little disappointed. This is not in itself a bad thing because I don't see the logic in deriding something simply because it didn't stick to the source material if whatever it does with it actually works well it is a different time, a different media and a different writer (adapter). Being protective is not a bad thing either, but the reality is somewhere in the middle, not at either extreme.
The problem then because one of whether this version "works" and it must be said that it does work well in specific moments but not as a whole. What this means is that there are moments and sequences that work well if you just view them as standalone moments. Many of the triffid attacks are well done, while there are scattered moments of drama associated with the treatment of the blind and the selection of survivors. These "moments" are not momentary and as a result I did quite enjoy it as I sat in front of it but ultimately I am not watching a series of "reasonably good bits" but rather one drama that has to work over three hours (yes, three). This is the thing you see, it doesn't work that well, mostly due to the focus of the plot combined with the near total lack of internal logic.
The plot has decided that a clear goodie and baddie are required so, although he is never explained and doesn't make a lot of sense, Eddie Izzard's Torrence is the baddie foil to Mason's goodie. As a result, the bigger picture quickly takes a back seat to Torrence's pursuit of Mason and Jo. This gives us the base of a thriller plot but it does rather fold the whole story in on itself and needs good work done to layer it and add more complexity to it. Sadly it doesn't do this. There are some small moment of tragedy and tough decisions early on but mostly it doesn't do this and it certainly doesn't make it part of the total film so much as part of specific moments. The frequent moments of peril keep it distracting but they are not enough on their own to fill the running time or to distract the mind from the many illogical moments or moments of sheer lay writing convenience (constantly ensuring that the main characters manage to find each other to keep the narrative moving). This continues the whole way to a weak ending that does the same thing and is somewhat of a disappointment that brings earlier failings into sharper focus.
The cast are reasonably impressive on paper but not that good in reality. Scott matches the square jaw of Howard Keel with his gruff voice and lack of noticeable range. Richardson is better but is never given the material to work with. Izzard could have been a great villain but sadly nobody has written one for him so his performance is poor and his presence distracting he does seem to be in a different movie. Priestly has more of a "oh look at him" effect rather than being a good turn, while the presence of Cox, Bremner and Redgrave suggest more have been possible with a better script.
Not a great surprise then to find that a festive television special delivers the b-movie monster thrills but doesn't challenge or engage the brain all that much (although to read the boards here you'd think the makers had exhumed Wyndham and performed terrible acts with his remains). Missed potential and full of irritating jumps in logic and plotting make it nothing more than this and not something to go out of your way to see.
17 of 26 people found this review helpful.
Was this review helpful to you?