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Blu-ray Review: "Earth's Final Hours"
on April 8, 2013
If you've seen one SyFy Channel Original Movie, then you know what to expect from all of them. The simple formula consists of a couple of familiar television or genre actors, some type of otherworldly threat or attack, and some budget special effects that aren't quite as bad as what we get with The Asylum's movies. However, they still don't quite live up to the expectations set forth by years of watching films crafted with the help of ILM.
"Earth's Final Hours" is no different except for a premise that isn't quite as hard to swallow as an alien attack or over-used as a giant asteroid on a collision course with Earth. Don't get me wrong; matter from an asteroid figures into the story. It's just not the size we're used to from years of movies like "Meteor," "Armageddon," and "Deep Impact."
The dense matter from a white hole in "Earth's Final Hours" is about the size of a soft ball and hits one side of the planet and exits through the other. This causes Earth's rotation to stop, leaving one side facing the sun to fry while the other freezes in darkness. One stripe down the middle of the planet will be inhabitable. Government officials want only the world's finest to gain a spot in this limited "Green Zone." A group of CIA agents and scientists are more concerned with saving everyone by finding a way to set the Earth's rotation back to normal.
I admit the concept behind "Earth's Final Hours" is way more intriguing than another film serving us more of the same collision course / end of the world fodder we're used to. Instead of pieces of flaming rock smashing into buildings and people, we get solar beams and flares that burn up everything in their paths.
The problem lies in the pacing of the movie. It gets tedious watching individuals run around shooting at each other in between momentary spatters of someone being incinerated. There has to be more writers can do with this concept than what they gave us here. Unfortunately, chances are there isn't on a SyFy Channel Original Movie budget.
Bruce Davison is the big-name celebrity for "Earth's Final Hours." He's starred in the "X-Men" movies as well as "The Practice" and "Last Resort" TV shows. Julia Benson is no stranger to SyFy Channel projects, having starred in "SGU Stargate Universe" and most recently "Chupacabra vs. the Alamo." Cameron Bright is recognizable by most as vampire Alec in the "Twilight" movies. Robert Knepper is on the CW's "Cult" and also had roles in "SGU Stargate Universe" and "Heroes." Roark Critchlow pops up on "Pretty Little Liars" occasionally and also starred in SyFy's "The 12 Disasters of Christmas" and "V."
The high-definition transfer of "Earth's Final Hours" does nothing to help its inadequate CGI effects appear any better. If anything, it highlights their limitations even more. As I said above, they're not as bad as they could be but still come up lacking. The 5.1 surround sound will help immerse the home audience into a dramatic world of explosions, gunfire, and other jarring sound effects.
"Earth's Final Hours" provides an alternative to the usual end-of-the-world scenarios we're handed. That doesn't mean its quality is any better as far as filmmaking is concerned. It will mildly entertain and serve as a distraction from real life as SyFy Channel Original Movies are intended to.