Final Days of Planet Earth, starring Daryl Hannah, Campbell Scott, Gil Bellows, Suleka Mathew, and Serge Houde is a two-part movie that runs 170 minutes all total, a bit long for most family movie nights, but great for wiling away a rainy afternoon. The movie is unrated, but I would consider it to be family friendly: no excessive profanity, no nudity or overly gory scenes. So, pop up a big bowl of popcorn and settle in with the whole clan.
A mining mission to the moon returns with some unplanned passengers. These aliens reach Earth and set about their plans to subdue humanity and use them for their own ends. I don’t want to spoil it for you, so I won’t go into too much detail on that.
Rescue from alien domination must come from an odd assortment of non-heros who stumble into the plot but are unable to get any help from the military or intelligence bureaus because the aliens have control of all communications channels out of the city. The leader of this gang of misfits is an absolute anti-hero archeologist who openly displays a disdain for humanity and its ability to survive (partly because he spends his days digging up their failed attempts and studying them), yet when that survival is threatened he leads the charge to fight back.
Together they attempt to discover why so many people have disappeared. They must gain access to the enigmatic Room 86, find out what’s going on, how it relates to the mysterious fungus they keep finding, and what they can do about it.
The special effects and sets are pretty good. The aliens are particularly good. The human acting isn’t world class, but it’s not horrible either. The script, however, is pretty lame especially in the first half. What is intended to be witty banter comes off as awkward and wooden.
There are also a lot of opportunities to poke fun at the plot: aliens that can speak English while dressed in their human disguise but not when au-natural? But then how does an 8 foot tall six legged insect squeeze into a human suit and then walk around gracefully anyway? The second half is better written and the level of intrigue picks up as well. At no point were we left thinking that washing the dinner dishes would be preferable to watching the movie.
There will be no awards for this one, but if you like classic Sci-Fi, especially alien invasion flicks, Final Days of Planet Earth deserves a place on your movie shelf. When all is said and done, it was an entertaining, if slightly schlocky, piece of science fiction tale telling. This one is available in DVD widescreen and on Blu-Ray. Amazon has it for sale used starting at 50 cents as of this writing, just under $3.00 for a new one. Either way it’s an inexpensive afternoon or evening of Sci-Fi fun.