Tuesday, December 27, 2011

A Dark Bomb: The Darkest Hour

Why was I even interested in this film?
The Darkest Hour takes place in Moscow, situating itself nicely between two important films: the James Bond film of 2008 Quantum Of Solace and Mission Impossible Ghost Protocol released this month (I decided to wait and make sure that The Darkest Hour wouldn't color my review of Mission Impossible one way or the other and wanted to see it before posting on Mission Impossible). In Quantum of Solace, a British government official tells M. (Judi Dench) that the Russians aren't selling any of their natural gas and fuel on the market so Britain is forced to play dirty with Dominic Greene who may have discovered oil in Bolivia. In Mission Impossible, the Kremlin is blown up and a defunct Russian agent decides to activate old nuclear launch codes to start a nuclear war. Because The Darkest Hour is about "energy consuming monsters/aliens," I imaged it would be a plot involving international politics or a spiritual parable.
Nope, none of that.
It really is just like the (extremely disappointing) The Thing: all show, no story. I thought a strong diametrical opposition such as "light" and "darkness," would work really well in creating a formula for the story's foundation, but the film makers neglected to develop the story (since the film is barely an hour and a half long, it's possible that original parts were omitted). Any symbols utilized fell flat on their face.
Who would like this film?
Let me put it this way: there is nothing objectionable in it. I was watching one of the Ice Age films this weekend and realized (I had never seen any of them before) that they promote non-traditional families, i.e., gay couples having children (you can't have a "non-traditional herd" that doesn't reflect a family dynamic if morals and values haven't been re-written and debunked to allow for it). There is nothing like that in The Darkest Hour. If you are a fan of 3-D, I am sure the visual effects would be worth it in the theater (I only saw the 2-D version, wearing the glasses makes it difficult for me to take notes). When it comes out on DVD, watch it for a night of mindless entertainment, it would be good for that.
Just as the Norwegians were the best part of The Thing, the Russians are the best part of The Darkest Hour.
My last point: it is possible that this film will make more sense next year with the release of Jack the Giant Killer: the large earth-to-sky power beams the aliens set up in The Darkest Hour resembles (except in color) the beanstalks in Jack and the Giant Killer, so there is still a possible life-line that this film will serve a greater purpose, however, given that it has only a 18% approval rating by critics on Rotten Tomatoes, I am not going to hold my breath.