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Blu-ray Review: THE DARKEST HOUR

The Darkest Hour arrives on 3D Blu-ray, Blu-ray and DVD from Summit Entertainment this Tuesday. Timur Bekmambetov (Wanted) produces this apocalyptic sci-fi film from director Chris Gorak (Fight Club, Minority Report). The cast incldudes Emile Hirsch (Speed Racer, Into the Wild), Max Minghella (Ides of March, The Social Network), Olivia Thirlby (The Wackness, Dredd), and Joel Kinnaman (AMC's The Killing). 

An alien life form has invaded Earth, and five young people find themselves stranded in Moscow to fight for their lives and human kind after the devastating attack. Minghella and Hirsch play software developers in Moscow trying to raise capital for their new social media hotspot application.

If the world is really this badly scripted, then I do not think it is worth saving. Fortunatlely, the world is not as bad as this films script and storyline. Jon Spaihts wrote the screenplay for this film, which is pretty lackluster. He recently worked on Ridley Scott's Prometheus, so I am hopeful that he stepped up his game.  The biggest problem is believing that Minghella and Hirsch are software developers, but then that they would be able to survive this type of attack. It would be more plausible if the story was about a group of American backpackers that were in the wrong place at the wrong time over this laughable plot.

Let's face it the special effects and action sequences are what you are most interested in seeing or hearing about. Bekmambetov blew me away with Night Watch and Wanted, and I am hoping that Abraham Lincoln: Vampire Hunter will be equally badass. The special effects are solid, the colors sweet, bu there are some elements that get a bit tiresome. For instance, the view from the alien life form looks like a grey version of the Matrix. The use of the orange for the light strobes was very cool is really cool, and really pops on the Blu-ray. The visual effects were really cool against the backdrop of the sweet Russian architecture. The destruction of the buildings were some of the coolest bits. 


Casting wise, The Darkest Hour is decent. I do think that all of the actors should have read the script before signing on to star. If they read this Emile Hirsch and Max Minghella can and should be doing so much better work. Hirsch should have learned a lesson from Speed Racer (which was mildly entertaining). 
The bonus features for this disc are rather slim, which is unfortunate. The disc includes The Darkest Hour: Survivors, which follows the rebels as they fight the aliens in a new short film. It is pretty cool, and almost better than some of the film itself. This makes me think that the film could have been better suited for a TV mini-series instead of a feature. The lighting and tones used in this were superior to the movie. I liked how it showed other survivors throughout the world who were fighting the aliens. The other cool feature is The Darkest Hour: Visualizing An Invasion, which takes audiences behind the scenes of the visual effects of the film. The remaining features are comprised of deleted and extended scenes and audio commentaries. 
If you can get past the lackluster script, then sci-fi fans will enjoy The Darkest Hour. Gorak and Bekmambetov deliver a visual effects heavy film that was not intended as a tentpole for Summit. Go into the movie with this mindset and low expectations script wise, and you will be prepared for a fun time. 

 

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