Saturday, January 28, 2012

Survival of the luckiest

In the scifi-action flick “The Darkest Hour,” humans deal with a different kind of alien invasion after the systematic decimation of mankind.  

Russia becomes the battleground for survival, as two visiting software developers (Emile Hirsch and Max Minghella), their two tourist acquaintances (Olivia Thirlby and Rachael Taylor), and their former business contact (Joel Kinnaman) find themselves trapped in Moscow and eluding the invisible attackers.

“The Darkest Hour” has competent effects, although there aren’t many scenes where they’re used. The spare use of effects wizardry was hinted at early on in the trailer, where humans and an animal were shown getting disintegrated by unseen aliens. As for the 3D enhancements, they’re pretty average; sometimes they’re unnecessary, and don’t really get noticed.

The alien invasion angle is given a slightly different spin; they’re a bit reminiscent of Predators in that they can stalk their prey invisibly, except this movie’s aliens can be detected via their proximity to light bulbs. They’re personality-devoid, intelligent creatures that the human characters mostly run away from, and there’s much running, which gets pretty tiring on our end after a while.

Its action-adorned conflicts don’t offer new or innovative fight scenarios, and the science of alien-busting eventually gets a bit hokey. If anything, some characters unexpectedly bite the dust, but even then, it’s hard to feel anything for any of these survivors, whose conversations often become uncomfortably speechy. 

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