ALIEN APOCALYPSE begins with an opening narration that sounds like some "Dawn of time" bible documentary. It tells us that there were once trees on the earth of every kind. Then the Mites came, destroyed our trees, and put us into bondage.
And you know what? All of this opening narration and scenery doesn't mean a damn thing because this whole mess will be explained to our stalwart heroes, and so us, all over again.
Then a group of four astronauts come to earth. Captain Chuck Burkes (Michael Cory Davis: THE VAULT, RAPTOR ISLAND, CERBERUS, ALIEN SIEGE, PATH OF DESTRUCTION, MANTICORE), Kelly (Renee O'Connor: NIGHT GAME, FALSE IDENTITY, DARKMAN II, BOOGEYMAN II), Lt. (Neda Sokolovska: MAN WITH THE SCREAMING BRAIN), and Dr. Ivan Hood (Bruce Campbell: EVIL DEAD [all], DEAD NEXT DOOR, DARKMAN, FROM DUSK TILL DAWN II, SPIDER-MAN [all], BUBBA HO-TEP). They've already figured out that civilization has been destroyed. These astronauts were in cryogenic sleep for 40 years and that's when the alien invasion happened and everything went to hell. They walk about twenty yards over flat terrain, bitching and sniping at each other to pass for character development, and only then notice the burnt out towering husks of what was once the city of Portland.
While they ask each other stupid questions, they are being watched by insect-like aliens - the Mites. One of the few kudos here is the superior make-up creature effects. Gary Jones (EVIL DEAD II, ARMY OF DARKNESS, FROM DUSK TILL DAWN) designed the creatures and brought his A-game. The combination of real creature and cgi is flawless - at least on a TV screen.
On the other hand, possibly the worst effect I've ever seen in any movie is the fake beards and wigs of many of the humans. And I've watched the Teen Ape movies!
Then the four astronauts are captured by those wiggy wearing humans.
Three astronauts later and they wind up in a forested camp.
Technology has been thrown into disarray as everyone rides on horseback and uses ancient machinery to harvest wood. I can't help but think, "The hell?" These alien varmints have faster than light travel, are able to overcome all of our technology and enslave us, all to take over our planet to harvest our forests, and the best they have for cutting down trees is a hand saw?
A Hand Saw?!?
And you know, we're only ten minutes into the movie and it's already this dumb.
Now it would be cool if it was fun dumb. But they've gagged Bruce Campbell so we don't even have his witty repartee!
The three astronauts are brought before the alien leaders, the black guy mouths off to his alien captors (who have the best lines), and the Unfair Racial Cliche Alert swings again. Yes I said the
!!!UNFAIR RACIAL CLICHE ALERT!!!:
Two astronauts later, our heroes get thrown into the pit with some other humans. It turns out that the aliens attacked us with... ahem... Neutron bombs. "It killed the people but left the trees." they're told.
Worse, since everything is done by human hands, the aliens further exacerbate the harvest problem by cutting the fingers off of the human workers?
And they practically starve their human workers so the work goes slow. And since they have no breeding program they are always having to capture more humans on raiding parties, and there just aren't that many survivors any more, so the work goes even slower and, holy crap but this is stupid.
ALIEN APOCALYPSE was written and directed by old Campbell/Raimi friend and associate Josh Becker. The DVD commentary between Josh and Bruce sounds like the kind of conversation you'd expect from two old friends who've been making movies together since they were kids. Unlike Raimi, Josh hasn't got that far in his movie career despite being amazingly well connected. He wrote / directed a handful of Xena episodes, a couple of Jack of All Trades episodes, and the experiment, RUNNING TIME. None of his movies have ever seen wide theatrical release or look like they ever will.
Josh seems to love the quick quip and snide remark, and they're good, but that's all he's got here. To be clear, Josh wasn't trying to make a fun bad movie, this is the best he can do.
The action sequences are more fast-forward crap. For example: Some humans kill one of their alien captors and run off to make their escape.
They capture them and bring them back for punishment?
In another scene a human attack against the aliens allows the human slaves to run. And run they do until that moment where they inexplicably stop, turn, look up to the sky, and stand there, throwing their arms over their faces, as they wait, to let something that exploded drop from the sky and crush them.
Or where aliens, standing around with obviously superior blaster weapons, are defeated in a protracted battle with... arrows and swords? And all the while not firing their weapons? Are they supposed to be so confused by a human running up to them with a sword that they can't fire their blaster guns?
How the hell did these aliens defeat humans in the first place? Neutron bombs from the sky doesn't cover it! Hell, pocket knives could do the trick on these suckers!
Because Josh is well connected he is going to keep making movies like this and, as long as he stays to a specific budget and shoots in Bulgaria or Bucharest or someplace, his movies will make money in late night sales to the SciFi Channel: Your Cable Home of Absolute Crap! As well as late night /early morning cable when they can't sell an infomercial for that time slot.
Now I know you've been told that the competition in Hollywood film making is really, really fierce. But it's not!
There are people like Josh Becker making a nice living with movies like this! Granted he has friends like Sam Raimi, but Sam Raimi had nobody until he made THE EVIL DEAD. So if you want to make movies, then get together with your friends. The best talented among you will rise, drag the worst of you along for the ride (don't fight it), and you can have a career making crap and send your kids to college: like Josh Becker! Seriously! If you can't make a movie at least as good as ALIEN APOCALYPSE, then you have no damn business making a movie at all!
One Shriek Girl.
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