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The Quiet Earth

101 customer reviews

Additional DVD options Edition Discs
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(Jun 13, 2006)
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$114.99 $26.94

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Editorial Reviews

Product Description

At exactly 6:12 am, government research scientist Zac Hobson (a powerhouse performance by Bruno Lawrence of SMASH PALACE and UTU) awakens to discover that he may be the last man on earth: homes, highways and entire cities are deserted. Empty planes have fallen from the sky. Every living thing has disappeared. But for Hobson, the ultimate shock is still to come months later when he finds that he is not alone. With the addition of a beautiful young woman (Alison Routledge) and a Maori trucker (Pete Smith), the apocalypse suddenly becomes very personal. What has happened to everyone else on the planet? Why has Zac himself survived? Will sexual tension lead to sudden violence? And what is the ultimate responsibility for a man of science when the end of the world may be just the beginning?

The "last man on Earth" sci-fi sub-genre is reasonably well represented by director Geoff Murphy's The Quiet Earth, a 1985 film from New Zealand that earned plenty of Kiwi kudos in its day but still fails to measure up to the great expectations engendered by its premise. Bruno Lawrence is Zac Hobson, a techie who's involved in "Project Flashlight," a vast energy grid that allows war planes to circle the planet without ever refueling (leave it to "the Americans," who are blamed for the whole ensuing mess, to come up with such a diabolical idea). When what Zac drolly describes as "a malfunction" (thereafter known as "the Effect") occurs early one morning, he awakens to discover that he's apparently the only survivor, human or otherwise, of a catastrophe that has altered the very fabric of the universe. Lawrence is terrific in these early scenes, which find him gradually losing his marbles as the gravity of his situation sets in; wearing nothing but a woman's slip, he stands on a balcony and grandly addresses an "audience" of cardboard standups (from Queen Elizabeth and Hitler to Bob Marley and Alfred Hitchcock), declaring himself "president of this quiet Earth." But effectively sustaining such weirdness is tough, and although Murphy, to his credit, doesn't over-rely on special effects and scientific gobbledygook, the film isn't up to it. Turns out Zac isn't the only survivor, and when first a pretty young woman (Alison Routledge) and then a Maori man (Peter Smith) appear, the director tries to balance the human dynamics with the sci-fi elements (seems the Effect may not be over after all) to awkward and unsatisfying effect, and the film loses most of its momentum. As for the ending, well, safe to say that it will leave some viewers perplexed, others feeling that they've been bamboozled, and still others thinking that its mystery and lack of explicable closure are perfect. --Sam Graham

Special Features

  • Commentary with Producer Sam Pillsbury
  • Theatrical Trailer
  • Eight-Page Collectible Booklet

Product Details

  • Actors: Bruno Lawrence, Alison Routledge, Pete Smith, Anzac Wallace, Norman Fletcher
  • Directors: Geoff Murphy
  • Writers: Bruno Lawrence, Sam Pillsbury, Bill Baer, Craig Harrison
  • Producers: Don Reynolds, Sam Pillsbury
  • Format: Color, NTSC, Widescreen
  • Language: English (Dolby Digital 2.0 Surround)
  • Region: Region 1 (U.S. and Canada only. Read more about DVD formats.)
  • Aspect Ratio: 1.85:1
  • Number of discs: 1
  • Rated: R (Restricted)
  • Studio: Starz / Anchor Bay
  • DVD Release Date: June 13, 2006
  • Run Time: 91 minutes
  • Average Customer Review: 4.1 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (101 customer reviews)
  • ASIN: B000EZ908Y
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #101,976 in Movies & TV (See Top 100 in Movies & TV)
  • Learn more about "The Quiet Earth" on IMDb

Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

34 of 36 people found the following review helpful By on June 24, 2004
Format: VHS Tape
Although I do wish I could get a copy on DVD here in the states (hint, hint) I wanted to share my thoughts with those having a look here.
A vivid look into one man's nightmare and awakening, but also a haunting commentary on the dangers of science without a conscience. Masterfully blended in a raw and unadorned style which makes the characters seem more alive, more real, for the lack of Hollywood glitz and glamor. No "B" movie here. Truly a wonderful way to spend a couple of hours. And a film that will have you scratching your head and wondering about a great many things for years to come. After roughly 15 years I still consider this movie on a regular basis.
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23 of 25 people found the following review helpful By Donald W. Stein on September 2, 2006
Format: DVD Verified Purchase
For fans of apocalyptic sci-fi The Quiet Earth is a must see. This is the story of a suicidal scientist waking up to an empty world and then finding out why this happened. The ending is atypical for movies and has you thinking long after the movie. I've traveled to New Zealand and watching the end of the world scenes in 80s Auckland was eerie.

The DVD transfer is surprisingly good considering the age of the movie. Full 16x9 widescreen with good color. The sound quality is a little off. The DVD box is really well made. The box is solid and has interesting artwork. This DVD will make an excellent collector's item.
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11 of 12 people found the following review helpful By Boston Legal addict on January 30, 2008
Format: DVD
I saw this movie several years ago and it still haunts me. No matter how many times I watch it, I'm left with questions, wonder and a "whoa!" feeling....I also own the soundtrack as the music is really gorgeous but it, too, reminds me of my feelings re: the movie. The acting is superb and the story line goes way beyond other last-man-on-earth stories like Omega Man (which I also like watching). What sets this one apart from the others is the relationships among the 3 main characters, the self-sacrifice and what that will cost all three of them...and then there's the ending.....Unbelievably amazing stuff. I can't even say this could happen in reality (whereas Omega could, in my opinion) but it leaves you thinking, thinking, thinking....stays with you long after the final credits.
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46 of 59 people found the following review helpful By D. Knouse on April 26, 2004
Format: VHS Tape Verified Purchase
4.5 stars. Australian Science Fiction has never been widely distributed nor marketed widely in America. With the occasional, rare exception, such as "Pitch Black," most people think all Australian films are invariable linked to "Crocodile Dundee." This story starts off with a man waking up to find all the people in the world are gone. While he is alone there are some unnerving and even blasphemous scenes showing his mental disintegration through isolation. I recently had a collegue mention that Man is a social creature, and that if any one man was all alone in the world he would eventually crack-up. This discussion reminded me of this under-appreciated film that, for some reason, is not available on DVD in the United States. Bruno Lawrence is excellent as the main character, showing both mania and depression with equal intensity; but eventually he embraces his future, albeit with a somber countenance, only to discover that he is not alone and for very macabre reasons. The first time I saw this movie I absolutely loved the ending, which is both fantastic and reasonable. All in all, this is must-see, intelligent Sci-fi. Thank you. EDIT: Apparently, this film is from New Zealand. (picky-picky, people) Also, it is now currently available on DVD. Yeah!
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9 of 10 people found the following review helpful By jblyn on December 26, 2006
Format: DVD
The first 50 or so minutes of this film are terrific. The late Bruno Lawrence plays Zac Hobson, a scientist in New Zealand who wakes up one morning to find that everyone except him seems to have vanished from the face of the earth. We see him trying to cope with this state of affairs, going crazy and then slowly regaining his sanity while the world is silent around him. In these scenes, Lawrence gives a bravura performance which manages to stop short of hamming it up and really gets you caring about Zac's frail psyche. His descent and renewal are as gripping as any great moviemaking could be, done with only a few words, a few poignant gestures and deft editing and camerawork.

Zac then finds out that he's not alone after all: first, a young woman named Joanne and then a burly Maori lorry-driver named Api find him and the three of them try to puzzle out why they're still on Earth and everyone else has vanished. It's at this point that the movie gets pretty soggy. There's a rather flimsy plotline about how an experiment funded by the big, bad USA somehow brought about this catastrophe, a love triangle that comes about just when you're hoping a love triangle WON'T come about, and an ending that smacks of the story petering out, as opposed to leaving you with tantalizing unanswered questions. So that's disappointing. But the first 50 minutes of THE QUIET EARTH are right up there with the first hour of THE BLACK STALLION, where the director uses all of the cinematic tools at his disposal to help you experience Zac Hobson's despair fully and completely. That's worth the viewing in and of itself.
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8 of 9 people found the following review helpful By Dr. Dave on April 12, 2006
Format: DVD Verified Purchase
I thought "On The Beach" was the most chilling end-of-humanity film ever made until I saw "The Quiet Earth." It wasn't promoted much after it was released; all I remembered was the movie poster. I rented it one night and have been haunted ever since. Being the last human on earth would truly be more terrifying and maddening than dying among millions.
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