I should have known from the PG-13 rating this would not be Hollywood’s finest hour. The story line is actually decent, it makes sense even. Of course it didn’t to take two friggin’ hours to tell. And the special effects are well done and don’t wander too far into the absurd. But that’s where the “good” stops and the “bad and the ugly” begin:
- Most of the action scenes happen at night. I assume intentionally. But this means you can’t really see what the hell is happening and it’s done in a way which really doesn’t add any suspense. Now, “Alien” knew how to use low-light. This movie: not so much.
- The writers made the classic mistake of the genre of spending a third of the film on “drama” – the whiny “I’m so scared” wife and the whole “you must protect the kids” sub-text. It doesn’t need to be repeated every ten minutes.
- Because The Hero needs to get back to San Fransisco because (wait for it) he has a wife and kid there, he is allowed to tag along on all manner of Spec-Ops missions – HALO drops, transporting nukes, you name it. Yup, the ranking officers always make allowances for troopers who have to get home to the wife and kids.
- I won’t give away the finale, but it’s stupid enough to have been a Sandy Frank production – you know, the guy who made the original cheesy Japanese monster flicks.
- Oh, and no one in the US Military swears in this movie either. The closest is when Godzilla does his flamethrower bit at another monster, one SpecOps guy shouts to the other: “Did you see that shit?”
- Ripping off the “Encounter with the Monolith” chant-music from “2001” for the HALO drop scene was just so forced. That whole scene was moronic and just for show – I guess the director was having a “Kubrick moment.”
- While the special effects and CGI were overall quite well done, they took some serious liberties with the laws of physics. Especially fluid dynamics.
- The worst crime was that this movie was boring. The acting and writing was so bad you didn’t give a crap what happened. It was obvious that Our Hero would survive and be reunited with his sappy wife and precious tike. So: no suspense there. Most of the ending they basically gave away too.
This is clearly a movie aimed at a summer audience of soccer Moms and Dads and their broods. And I suppose on that level – that of a carefully executed marketing strategy – it succeeds. As a movie, though, it bites.