Fans of interesting, unique alien flicks will probably be heading to theaters to check out the new movie The Darkest Hour. The previews showed a movie with a unique premise and some great looking action. Too bad the trailer was the best part.
Two twenty-somethings from Seattle (played by Emile Hirsch and Max Minghella) venture to Moscow for a business deal which goes bust. They had created a social networking website geared around travelers, showing them the hot spots in any city, but their connection in Russia (Joel Kinnaman) stole it from them. Disheartened, they head to a club and meet up with an American girl (Olivia Thirlby) and her Australian friend (Rachael Taylor) for an evening of trying to forget. Not long into their night the electricity goes out, everyone goes outside, and beautiful golden balls of light start falling from the sky. Pretty, right? Until a curious cop touches one and gets pulled into an invisible energy field and disintegrates. Panic ensues, and the four new friends (and the inconsiderate jerk that screwed them over, of course) try to figure out what’s happening while staying alive.
The premise sounds interesting. Unfortunately the previews made this movie look way more intriguing that it actually was. I loved the concept: Aliens that feed off of bio-electrical currents. But there were some crazy holes in the logic. The aliens toward the end are mining precious metals out of the earth to be able to conduct electricity. So why weren’t they interested in all the metal that was already dug up? And if they were interested in the metals, why was it the bio-electrical current that they were killing for as well? Granted, I am not an expert on electricity, but harkening back to my biology degree I remember enough about this stuff to feel like there were inconsistencies.
I’d be willing to let all of that slide however, if the overall feel made it worth watching. Sadly, I definitely think it fell short in this area as well. I found myself thinking back to other blockbusters that I enjoyed (2012, The Day After Tomorrow, etc.), and what made me like those movies so much more was the buildup to the action. There was a running tension throughout the first third of those movies as we waited for the bomb to drop. The beginning of The Darkest Hour had potential for this. But then suddenly aliens disguised in occasionally visible electric balls were falling from the sky and burning people to ash. The rest of the movie was the main characters running around trying not to get eaten by the things. There just wasn’t enough back-story for me to connect with the characters enough to feel something more than mild interest in their outcome. That’s saying something, since two of the main characters bite the dust (pun intended), which I didn’t expect. Even so, I just wasn’t bonded with them enough to really feel deeply.
There were definitely some creative elements to this movie, and those were nice to see in the theater. Even so, I’m not sure I’ll watch this movie again, even on TV, because I just couldn’t get anything out of it. Seeing Moscow was cool. The beauty of the aliens at first was cool. The scenes with the invisible aliens lighting up light bulbs were cool. That’s about it. Definitely save your moola on this one, if you’re looking for alien action with some depth and logic.
The Darkest Hour hit theaters on Christmas day.