So Much Potential, So Little Budget...4/10
INTRO: Unfortunately, I was bittersweetly disappointed with this movie; let's break it down...
BUDGET: Clearly Too Low. Movies are expensive, but it seems clear to me that this movie was out of it's budget's league. At least the movie got finished, which is in and of itself an accomplishment, but it seems like there wasn't enough to give it the polish and finesse that the concept really deserved. I think this could have been a gem, but I get the impression someone got a little too ambitious and jumped the gun.
FX: Not bad, but rather sparse for Sci-Fi. The environment, and elements that required obvious Motion-Graphic/3D treatment were pretty well done; they didn't distract or disconnect you from the movie, and that's really all you NEED. Having said that, given that it's a sci-fi flick (and that the cover sort of gives a similar impression), it didn't seem like there was a whole lot going on in terms of digital effects; much of the visual effects seemed to be done on set, which is fine for keeping costs down, but also doesn't allow you to edit and refine things in the post-production stage; that can make all the difference when trying to add more intensity to an otherwise 'flat' scene.
ACTING: It felt forced. It didn't come across as natural at all; there were a couple actors and a couple of moments where things 'felt right', but it was a really mixed bag, feeling forced overall. Maybe (again) the budget constraint caused the process to be rushed, or maybe because the movie's target audience is kids, the decision was made to just 'rough it'... or maybe there was too much work placed on too few people, causing burnout(?)... Either way, direction, takes, and/or talent were lacking for a polished experience.
PACE: Too slow. The movie really seems to drag on more than anything and emotionally flat-line throughout large swaths of the film. Due to the level of acting, lack of effects, and lack of developing/fleshing out the overall storyline, it feels like lots of time is wasted with what can only be described as "awkwardness".
STORY/CONCEPT: Good, but needs some fleshing out. Overall, the concept was actually great. The problem, however, was its vision. The animated introduction was a little complex (given the amount of info vs time), then throughout the movie we have long periods where really next to nothing is developing, and then nearly everything is revealed at the end. The middle, where conceivably the conflict would REALLY begin to gaining traction, was more of a whimper; not even the characters were fleshed out or understood as individuals to a point where one could connect with them on an emotional/personal level. Also, most of what was revealed at the end was rather predictable and not really much of a revelation by the time it was formally stated. Thus, much of what was displayed at the beginning of the movie and unveiled at the end should have been evenly spread out throughout to make it less turbulent to digest.
DETAILS: Too many "ugh" moments. - Even though I loved how the SkyArk looked, it drove me nuts seeing it within Earth's atmosphere, and then seeing it clearly orbiting the Earth in space only moments later. It seemed rather inconsistent. - The monsters aren't scary, and often-times they were just so lethargically slow and awkward. They looked a little neat, most notably the semi-transformed individuals near the end, but they didn't seem super-human enough in terms of speed and ability. - No blood... really? This movie needed a little more blood; the weapons were always clean, and even the only gun-shot in the movie didn't have any audio/visual weight/impact to it; you'd almost have been better off to zoom out the window, make a flash, and have it be an implied death. - As an adult, I found myself rolling my eyes and sighing too often in regard to the acting/character progression. The mannerisms, the gestures, the movements, the lines... there was just way too much lacking, giving the impression of extreme cheesiness. Part of me thinks this should be a series of movies or a web-series, and the story should begin earlier; that whole intro should have been a movie on its own where you focus on getting the fundamentals spot on, and then use this base as a springboard to get on to the more complex sequences in a sequel.
FAVOURITE LINE: "To survive in a world of monsters, you have to become a monster. You can stop this; all this pain and suffering... Drink!" - Rusty I'm so glad this movie had a line to really reflect on and provoke thought; in my case it actually reminded me of something Hitler is said to have believed regarding control and how the only way one can change a given power structure is to rise to the top.
CONCLUSION: All in all, my frustrations with this film are bittersweet and in a sense almost a compliment; the concept has SO MUCH AWESOME potential to be a solid family movie, but it currently isn't fleshed out enough in any area. I definitely wouldn't throw out the concept, but I'd start it over in a few years after REALLY fleshing out the story/'universe' more and developing the characters with increased complexity.