The Darkest Hour takes advantage of the popularity of many end of the world/alien takeover vehicles that have hit lately, and ups the ante somewhat by following a group of survivors who are twenty-somethings as they try to survive the onslaught of invisible invaders.
In an opening act that is a little longer than necessary, we meet our two main characters: Sean (Emile Hirsch) and Ben (Max Minghella) are computer geeks who have created a new App that is sure to be all the rage. They’re on their way to Moscow to close a deal, but things don’t quite work out as planned, and they arrive to find that they’ve had their intellectual property stolen from them… or whatever.
Hitting the Moscow nightlife to drown their sorrows, they meet up with two young American beauties, and the next thing you know, odd lights are appearing in the sky. The slaughter begins, and fortune throws our heros and heroines in with the very man who stole their App (The Killing‘s Joel Kinnaman).
Now they’re trying to survive in a world that is mostly destroyed, under siege by aliens that are mostly invisible, and apparently mostly bulletproof.
As far as this “running for your life” genre goes, especially where we are heavily focused on young, pretty people cut off from everyone else, The Darkest Hour actually has a lot to recommend about it. Unlike many others, this is a movie that is content to be what it is, without any delusions about playing for real drama, and it manages to run at a solid pace. While still saddled with moments of mandatory goofiness, it plays them out better than you’d expect, and despite the obvious special effects wizardry necessary in destroying… everything, what it puts forward is mostly the tension of small moments, rather than massive explosions.
Viewers may well hope for a bit more meat, but The Darkest Hour‘s best bet at positive response is an absence of negatives, and it holds up in that regard. Where most things would eventually lean far toward the downright silly, this offers some legitimacy to the guilty pleasure, popcorn roller-coaster, just by avoiding pitfalls, and sticking with its own story.
The special features leave something to be desired, but you have to wonder what possibilities mean much in this case. You get a few deleted and extended scenes, and a featurette that is your normal behind-the-scenes offering. Possibly best is the new short film The Darkest Hour: Survivors, which is surprisingly entertaining all things considered. Finally, there is a commentary track with director Chris Gorak, and it is ultimately exactly as interesting as you think it will be. The film doesn’t particularly lend itself to such treatment to begin with, and not that many people are going to be overly excited that the director of one other film is providing commentary. Not to take anything away from Mr. Gorak, or his commentary, which is about average, but it isn’t a strong selling point.
The video and audio are solid as well, and the film does have its moments that make Blu-Ray worthwhile. Oddly, there is as much daylight as darkness in the film, for reasons that make a certain amount of sense given our aliens, and the shadows and skylines get equally nice treatments when you’re scrutinizing the Blu-Ray abilities. For those who care about such things with a film like this. Even more odd, one of the flaws people may notice on the video end is that some the special effects look just a bit weird. The HD quality, and extreme crispness of picture make a couple of scenes look almost laughably green screened. Just one of the catch 22s of really amazing video quality, I suppose.
Overall, I think a lot of people will be surprised how well this one works as a good time movie, and if there is any chance of liking it, it should not be avoided.
Check out more info and a couple of clips below, and enter to win your very own copy of the Blu-Ray release.
The electrifying science-fiction thriller The Darkest Hour arrives on 3D Blu-ray™, Blu-ray and DVD April 10th from Summit Entertainment. Emile Hirsch (Speed Racer, Into the Wild), Max Minghella (Ides of March, The Social Network) and Olivia Thirlby (TV’s “Bored to Death,” Dredd) star in this story of five young people who find themselves stranded in Moscow and fight to survive in the wake of a devastating alien attack.
With Moscow’s classic beauty as the backdrop, The Darkest Hour features mind-blowing special effects from the minds of visionary filmmakers Timur Bekmambetov (Wanted) and Chris Gorak (Fight Club, Minority Report). The suspense never lets up as the invaders begin their assault on Earth, targeting the planet’s power supply.
Once the credits roll, see what happens next in The Darkest Hour: Survivors, an all-new short film following the rebel resistance around the globe! The fight continues as freedom fighters in Tokyo, Malibu and Afghanistan work together to develop new technology and strike a major blow to the alien invaders.
In addition to Survivors, the 3D Blu-ray, Blu-ray and DVD contain special features that include an audio commentary with director Chris Gorak, deleted and extended scenes and a behind-the-scenes featurette -The Darkest Hour: Visualizing an Invasion.
3D Blu-ray, Blu-ray and DVD Special Features:
- “The Darkest Hour: Survivors” – Follow the rebel resistance in an all-new short film!
- Deleted & Extended Scenes
- The Darkest Hour: Visualizing an Invasion
- Audio Commentary with the Director
The Darkest Hour – Bonus Clip: Extended Scene – “Natalie and Sean Talk About Anne and Ben”
The Darkest Hour – Film Clip: “Enemy Exposed”
The Darkest Hour – Film Clip: “Stay Away From The Light”
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