Much credit to the SyFy Network (and by extension Anchor Bay, the network's video arm) for carving out a space for themselves when it comes to movie and video productions. The science fiction B-movie is rapidly becoming a place of cultural gathering and joy, even if the movies themselves appear to be created strictly from a book of moviemaking Mad Libs. In a sense they have become the 21st century versions of The Rocky Horror Picture show, except we can now all throw toast at the screen via whatever social media is of fashion at the moment. And with Earth's Final Hours, we have the latest installment of just such a thing.
Written by (among others) Robert Westcott and directed by W.D. Hogan (Independence Daysaster), the film starts with a man who appears to be hooking up some satellite dishes and solar panels. He is doing this because he thinks there may be some pending catastrophe to the planet and he wants to develop some sort of warning for it, but he does not get the chance to find out. Rapidly dispatched to learn more about this is John Streich (Robert Knepper, Prison Break), a Federal agent recently assigned to the town that he does not seem to enjoy. This is borne out with his son Andy (Cameron Bright, Twilight: Breaking Dawn Part 2) getting into trouble with the local authorities for hacking. When John finds out the circumstances surrounding these deadly incidents, including the introduction of a character in Dr. Rothman (Bruce Davison, X2), a doctor who worked on these things with his now-deceased partner, John tries to stop them before it is too late.
I have often said that if an ensemble comes together with the general consensus that the story they are trying to tell is not all that good and they execute their roles knowing this, then the film will turn out to be not too bad. With the case of Earth's Final Hours however, there would appear to be an anomaly of sorts. The story attempts to play the government conspiracy card a lot through the film, using everything short of black helicopters to help throw in the factor of fear for the viewer when dealing with this global disaster. With Rothman, one even has the government outsider who has been exiled for years a la Stephen Walkom. But without much explaining of the disaster itself, the result leans too much on one plot device without much convincing of the other.
The ensemble is not bad; having seen little of Knepper outside of his television role, John could have used a tiny bit more exposition. The friction between him and Andy is decent, albeit symbolic of the film itself. You expect those things to be here, but you do not get a firm grasp of why. Davison is okay, as is Julia Benson and Julia Maxwell, who play the female counterparts to Knepper and Bright.
The lasting impression of Earth's Final Hours is one where there actually could have been a bad movie that was good, but this including more of the wink and the mod without actually going through the machinations of what things were and why the viewer had to dread them. I do not like my food pre-chewed or digested for me, even if the meal is less than palatable, and if the movie is not going through the pomp and circumstance, then the lack of effort shows on screen as it does here.The Blu-ray:
AVC-encoded, 1.78:1 widescreen goodness are the highlights of the Earth's Final Hours Blu-ray, with the results being not bad. After coming off Super Storm, this feature is full of image detail in the foreground and background, and is a more colorful film to look at, be it the greens in the forest or in darker scenes in government prisons. And even computer generated moments look fine without artifacts or much DNR. A solid presentation.Audio:
TrueHD 5.1 surround much like Anchor Bay does with SyFy films, and this one being quite good. Dialogue is consistent and centered just fine, but the Earth rumbling brings out the subwoofer to provide a convincing rumble, and the storms that strafe across land and human being contribute ample channel panning, and there are moments of directional activity to boot. Say what you will about the content of the programming, but how said programming is delivered on these Blu-rays ain't shabby at all.Extras:
No extras at all, much like similar genre releases by Anchor Bay/SyFy.Final Thoughts:
I really wanted to like Earth's Final Hours, but it is hard to when you do not get much of a chance to go through the journey on your own without things being an assumption. Technically the disc was much better than I was expecting, even if the supplements were nil. The film is little more than a fun afternoon watch, as better technical discs (to say nothing of better movies) can be found elsewhere.