Ooh boy. Let’s start with what little positive I have to say about this gigantic steaming pile of feces: it had good special effects. The first ten minutes of the movie are phenominal. Any writer could learn a lot from the first ten minutes of the movie, but I’d stop there. After Nicholas Cage and the rest of the mediocre cast get into the picture, everything goes downhill.
The premise for the movie is absurd, but I rolled with that because it’s Hollywood sci-fi, which often makes less sense than dadaist theater. Science is not only completely thrown out the window, it is made the villain. I’m used to all that. I’m even used to pseudomystical BS like numerology playing a major role in films (it worked out for The Number 23 didn’t it? oh… wait). This film manages to combine all of that with lazily slapped together Christian theology (such as in the predictable ending), especially Genesis, the book any grade schooler can tell you the major stories out of. Not only was this film insulting to the intelligence of filmgoers (especially the ham-fisted ending), it has bad acting, sloppy writing, and ridiculously predictable to the point of characters saying exactly what is going to happen. The last part wouldn’t be too bad if it didn’t pretend to be suspenseful.
The aliens in this movie bear commenting on. They look like Morrissey. You’re clearly supposed to be frightened by their appearance, and they look like freaking Morrissey! I expect them to start singing “How Soon is Now” and giving pouty ambiguous looks to the camera, rather than being the all important… well… I won’t spoil it for you. If you’re masochistic enough to see the movie, you deserve at least the chance to predict their role within five minutes of seeing them, as I did.
Okay, I found one other slightly redeeming part of the movie: Nicholas Cage, being the redblooded American he is, assumes there is going to be a terrorist attack in the New York subway system for reasons that are too stupid to name here. Of course, being a Hollywood hero, he enters said subway system and finds a vaguely Middle Eastern guy doing something suspicious. I was groaning, until I realized that this guy didn’t do anything. When Nicholas Cage finally catches up to the guy, he drops his stolen DVDs and confesses to the nearby police officer. Excellent. It’s stuff like this that makes me mad that this is a bad movie, because there is clearly some competent writing in this. I could blame the patchwork way movies are made, and how focus groups and “too many cooks” can really ruin a screenplay. But it doesn’t matter why it was bad, the point is that there is some really good writing in this movie, surrounded by absolutely HORRIBLE writing. Do yourself a favor, and see ANYTHING ELSE except this movie. Rent Ishtar, for God’s sake, just don’t watch this.