While studying the effects of global warming on a pod of whales, grad students on a crabbing vessel and its crew uncover frozen Soviet space shuttle and unintentionally release a monstrous organism from it.
A reality television crew, whose show features stories about drug addicts, finds that their 16-year-old junkie for their latest episode might actually not be fighting addiction, but a demonic force gripping her soul.
A group of grad students have booked passage on the crabbing boat Harbinger to study the effects of global warming on a pod of Belugas in the Bering Sea. When the ship's crew dredges up a recently thawed piece of old Soviet space wreckage, things get downright deadly. It seems that the Russians experimented with tardigrades, tiny resilient animals able to withstand the extremes of space radiation. The creatures survived, but not without mutation. Now the crew is exposed to aggressively mutating organisms. And after being locked in ice for 3 decades, the creatures aren't about to give up the warmth of human companionship.Written by
The famous dipping birds from the Alien series can be seen in the background. Alec Gillis and Tom Woodruff Jr. both worked on the Alien movies (but the first) with Stan Winston. And took them over as head visual effects artists after Stan's death. See more »
(at around 12 mins) When the crew of The Harbinger raise the 'object' shortly into the film, they claim it is encased in 'old ice' (due to the visible blue colour). Indeed, due to compression over many hundreds/thousands of years by 'newer ice' forming on top, this would be the case. However, according to the opening sequence; the object/craft in question crashed in 1982, and would unlikely have been there long enough for the necessary ice build-up and compression needed to give it the blue colour. See more »
Now, if the rest of you are done with this goddamn tom-fuckery.
Do you kiss my grandmother with that mouth?
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I was really pulling for this one, but it's a real dud...very disappointing.
I started hearing about this movie a while ago and was really keen to check it out because of its' interesting Kickstarter origins and because of its' rather refreshing commitment (at least in this day and age) to avoid using any CGI in favor of employing entirely practical on-screen monster effects. It seemed to be, at least philosophically, an attempt to do a throwback to movies like ALIENS and John Carpenter's THE THING (two of my favorite movies), so I was very eager to support the project and primed and ready to go along for the ride.
Unfortunately, this movie only ended up reminding me of the very first and most important rule about visual effects in movies--they only ever matter when they are being used as a tool to serve something that is far more important--a great story and interesting characters. ALIENS and THE THING had great effects that definitely served important roles in those movies, but they're not what made those movies great. It was the incredibly tight writing and story-telling, the engaging characters and actors who brought them to life, and some masterful direction.
As much as I was routing for it, HARBINGER DOWN fails miserably because it uses its story and characters to prop up and serve the visual effects instead of the other way around. The story borrowed so much from THE THING and ALIENS that it brought absolutely nothing new or interesting to the table. The characters were completely forgettable and you didn't really care what happened to any of them.
And the effects? Well, they're definitely solid and it was nice to see a return to the use of practical monsters--but they honestly weren't good enough to live up to the hype that this movie promised. Given how much the filmmakers were trumpeting this movie as a triumphant return to all practical effects, they needed to raise the bar and bring out some mind-blowing, next-level practical on-screen visual magic and it falls well short of that.
Bottom line (and important lesson of the day)--no amount of visual effects wizardry, whether CGI or practical, can save a movie that is lacking good storytelling and characters.
Here's the thing--at the end of the day, real movie magic doesn't come from creating creatures and effects that seem real. Movie magic comes from creating characters that seem real and putting them in a story/situation that we genuinely care about. Here endeth the lesson.
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