Monday, January 2, 2012

Review: The Darkest Hour [2011]

The Background:
Release Date: 25 December 2011 (USA), 29 December 2011 (Malaysia)
Directed By: Chris Gorak
Written By: Jon Spaiths, Leslie Boham, M.T. Arhem
Starring: Emile Hirsch, Olivia Thirlby, Max Mighella, Rachael Taylor, Joel Kinnaman
In A Nutshell:
Sean (played by Emile Hirsch) and Ben (played by Max Mighella) goes to Moscow to raise funds for their social networking website, but find out that their idea had bean stolen by their contact, Skyler (played by Joel Kinnaman). The pair go to drown their sorrows at a bar where they meet Natalie (played by Olivia Thirlby) and Anne (played by Rachael Taylor). They also bump into Skyler again there. The night turns into total havoc when "almost invisible" aliens appear and start to vaporise every human they could find. The five people mentioned, then stick together as they try to find a way to survive.
Thumbs Up:
+ Visually cool human disintegration by the aliens (as seen in next photo below)
Thumbs Down:
- Thin and ridiculous plots with two dimensional characters
- Terrible dialogues and lame attempts at jokes
- Complete void of any suspense along with subdued action sequences
- (Potential spoiler alert) Bad guy, Skyler turns from typical only-looking-out-for-himself to sacrificing his life for the other main characters without any believable reason.
- "Unfinished" ending, supposedly with a sequel in mind (don't think that'll be happening)
The Verdict Is In:
In general, there are three major apocalypse-human survival type of movies: 
(1) Natural disaster being unleashed by mother nature (2) Zombie onslaught (3) Alien/monster invasion.
Of those three, the alien invasion type has always been my undisputed favourite. Add to the mix: a decent trailer, Olivia Thirlby (whom I featured in my Babe-O-Licious segment two weeks ago), and not much else shown at Malaysian cinema (still no The Descendants, Hugo, or The Girl With The Dragon Tattoo) at the time, and its safe to say that I was rather looking forward towards this movie.

But it seems that the last movie I saw for 2011 is one gigantic letdown (my year-ending was made even worse with Manchester United losing at home, heh). It also possibly ranks along with Sucker Puch [2011] and Immortals [2011] as the worst movies I've seen last year (to be fair, after years of watching loads of movies, I've developed a sense of knowing what movies I won't like and avoid seeing most of them).

The plot and dialogue here are often stupid, as are the characters. For example they learn the aliens can't see through glass or if they hide under cars, but they continue to travel the city by running and shouting instead of carrying glass or crawling under the many abandoned cars. I'm aware that people say at some movies you just need to "leave your brain at the entrance and just enjoy the fun". I'm sorry but there is simply no fun in this movie to enjoy. There is as much suspense in this movie as you would expect from watching a chess match. At least a chess match has the benefit of being mentally stimulating. This is not even one of those so-bad-its-entertaining type of movies. Those type of movies don't take themselves too seriously and have absurdities we can make fun of. The Darkest Hour does takes itself too seriously and tries to be a proper movie but fails miserably. This is proven when the audience feels no sympathy whatsoever at the slow motion scenes of (don't really think so, but possible spoiler next) the heroes crying when other major characters die. Even the plenty of amateur-fan-made-movies found on the internet are fun to watch for their low-budget special effects and monsters, which is not the case here as the aliens are somewhat "invisible".

The Darkest Hour has no redeeming factor (the visually cool human disintegration can be viewed in the trailer) and truly is the darkest one and a half hours an audience could waste their time on.
3 out of 10

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