Wednesday, December 16, 2009

Cheesy Sci-Fi Movie Review: Final Days of Planet Earth

Final Days of Planet Earth is a surprisingly good sci-fi/horror made for TV movie/miniseries.

What's good about it?

Well, first off, while it's a smidgen slow, it's not slow like Supernova. Supernova was terminally slow.

No, FDoPE (F'dope!) is slow in a tension-building, suspenseful way.

At the beginning, we join some astronauts on a futuristic moon mission. There's surprisingly good microgravity effects as they come home, and then, all of a sudden, one of the astronauts wakes up alone. Then, a splatter of gore tells us that he's probably the only one left.

A few years later (supposedly, anyway), we join the main plot. A cast of characters gradually get gathered together and drawn to "Room 86." (I rather had the feeling that the original title would have been "The Secret of Room 86," and they changed it to FDoPE for the sake of sounding more exciting.) There, they discover that there's a room behind Room 86 (actually the ombudsman's office) where some guys in white suits with retractable bug claws are butchering human beings. (They discover this without dying because one of their number, an archaeologist, carries a semi-automatic pistol.) It's all very disturbing and grisly-obviously, this isn't for the fainthearted. (Originally, it aired on the Hallmark channel, if what I've read around is correct. Huh?)

What are the bugs butchering humans for? To make people suits, of course! They also want to use some part of our bodies for "fertilizer." It turns out that they need to get chitin from our bodies to feed a fungus which will let them eat/drink it and harden their shells with it. (Why not use some other animal? It turns out they just really hate us, as we learn in a speech from their queen, because we're a horrible abomination to them, what with all our bug-spraying and stuff. In fact, we get the impression that one of the people was sent to Room 86 purely because she's an exterminator.)

Anyway, it was split into two parts, totaling about three hours, probably for the sake of special effects. The aliens in their true forms are giant praying mantids which can kill people with a simple blow to the gut from their big scythe arms, but they're still vulnerable, conveniently, to bullets, stun guns, and machetes. (At one point, some characters went to buy guns; the 3-day wait kept them from picking any up, so he got some machetes instead. Don't tell me it's too easy to get a gun in this country.)

The real problem isn't that they're giant, scary bugs. The real problem is that they're giant, scary bugs that have infiltrated the government, particularly the bureaucracy. I will allow you to momentarily contemplate the horrors of praying mantis bureaucrats.


Okay, let's continue. They turn out to have a secret weapon of sorts-for some reason, they're deathly allergic to the astronaut they didn't kill on the space mission. Why? Who knows? Anyway, they can't even touch him without protection, or they'll die horribly. Eventually, they successfully destroy the hive, blah blah whatever.

So what else is there to say about this? Well, the actress who plays the queen is apparently "hungry," because her performance is almost as hammy as the villains from the two Power Rangers movies. This is not a bad thing-I think it's pretty funny.

Then there's the astronaut, who after being held and tortured by the aliens pulling off his fingernails and stuff (yes, I already said this was a rather grisly movie, didn't I?), was loopy in a funny kind of way.

There's a thing or two that are highly dissatisfying about it, like an unresolved plot point or two (presumably, the aliens are all dead, but at least one character's fate was disturbingly ambiguous), but overall, there are worse things to eat up three hours of your time with. Not for the squeamish, but not a bad movie at all, especially compared to the stuff I got it with.

-Signing off.

1 comment:

Shaun R said...

Looks hilarious. I'd watch it just for the laughs. And Darryl Hannah is in it? Hehe. I've often wondered what she's been up to recently...