March 31, 2005

TV Movie Review: Alien Apocalypse

Sci-Fi Original? Aliens? Enslaved Humanity? Bruce Campbell? Check on all counts. A week or two ago I was watching Stargate SG-1 on the Sci-Fi channel and saw a commercial for this. I thought "Hey, its got Bruce Campbell so it can't be all bad." Then I watched it, it can't be all good either.

The story is a clearly a take off of the original Planet of the Apes. The story starts off with the return of a group of four astronauts returning from a long, deep space mission to discover that civilization has been destroyed and the vast majority of humanity has been enslaved by an alien race of termite-like creatures. It doesn't take long before Campbell, playing a doctor named Ivan who has a very healthy ego, and his fellow crew are captured and put to work in a sawmill helping to get wood ready to be shipped offworld.

Apparently these termites value wood as gold, and also eat it when they aren't busy eating the heads off of insolent human slaves, that is. Ivan's team is quickly whittle down to 2, and plans to escape start it form. We learn from one of the older slaves that the invasion had taken place 20 years earlier, bombs were dropped and humanity quickly fell to the Mites. They also learn that the President survived the attack and was hiding in the mountains putting together an army to lead in a rebellion against the bugs.

Shortly after those events, Ivan and the only remaining astronaut, and new love, Kelly (Renee O'Connor), along with one of the slaves, Alex, make a break for it. Ivan and Alex make it, while Kelly is captured and returned to the sawmill. Ivan and Alex embark on a journey to find the president who, when found, turns out to be an old guy staring out a window, not the revolutionary everyone dreamed of. This leads Ivan to lead the people himself in a revolt against the bugs.

This is not a good movie, but being a Bruce Campbell fan, there was enough here to have fun with. Bruce has the standard one liners and witty banter to work with, and he has great charisma regardless of what movie he's in. We all know of his love of B movies, and the number of B's he's been in. The rest of the cast pretty goes through the motions. Then there is the cast wearing the fake beards and wigs, which looked just awful, they were just so goofy looking. I hate to think of the guys who looked at them and thought they looked good.

The termite aliens were rendered with a combination of animatronics and CGI, and neither one works. Granted, this is a low budget affair, but the effects still look awful. Despite the horrid look, I still enjoyed watching them bite the heads off of people resulting in a bloody fountain!

Bottomline. I had fun watching it, and also glad I didn't have to pay to see it. And I advise the interested parties do the same, see it on TV for free before they put it on DVD and you have to pay to see it. The bright spot is Campbell. Sadly O'Connor isn't given much to do.

Mildly Recommended for Bruce Fans Only.


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