Once their defenses are down, the aliens in “The Darkest Hour” look kind of like the Night Fury from “How to Train Your Dragon.”
At least I think they do. After all, the new science-fiction flick remains true to its title, making most of the movie very hard to see (an effect that is amplified if you opt to see it in 3D thanks to the sunglasses one must wear). Truth be told, “The Darkest Hour” is not the brightest bulb in the box – in either sense of the phrase.
Emile Hirsch and Max Minghella star as Sean and Ben, a pair of Internet entrepreneurs who arrive in Moscow to pursue their business dreams only to find them dashed by a Swedish businessman named Skylar (Joel Kinnaman). Hoping to salvage their trip, Sean and Ben party hearty at a local nightclub alongside Natalie (Olivia Thirlby) and Anne (Rachael Taylor), two women stranded by an unscheduled stop over en route to Nepal.
However, the entire city suddenly goes dark invisible aliens invade. The five young people hide underground and emerge 5 days later to find that that said aliens have disintegrated the majority of Earth’s human life. Now, Sean, Ben, Natalie, Anne and Skylar must journey across the foreign land that has become overrun with an extraterrestrial force made up of electromagnetic wave energy whose only giveaway is anything electrical.
Granted, the fact that “The Darkest Hour’s” poor lighting makes it nearly impossible to see anything would be much more tragic if anything in the movie were worth seeing in the first place. Sure, the viewer gets a glimpse of the aliens once their defenses are down but our protagonists are fleeing seemingly nonexistent antagonists during the majority of the film’s fortunately brief runtime.
Half of the fun of watching a science-fiction flick is seeing its extraterrestrials – regardless of how creative they are or – in the case of “The Darkest Hour” – are not. Moreover, the five lead characters are not exactly interesting. Nor is their journey, which essentially sees them ducking for cover from flashes of electromagnetic wave energy as they attempt to muster up a plausible plan.
On the other hand, there is a decent movie hiding somewhere inside of “The Darkest Hour” – albeit one that would have likely been a low-budget indie picked up by IFC Films or Magnet Releasing – via the city’s other survivors (such as an inventor played by Dato Bakhtadze and his young apprentice played by the beautiful Veronika Ozerova) who have decided to take a stand for their land.
After all, fight is always more fascinating than flight – especially when the people doing the fighting make the viewer want to see them survive, which is more than one can say about the cast of characters in “The Darkest Hour.” With any luck, some unexplained electromagnetic wave energy will spread across all of the projectors in the world and disintegrate this disaster of a motion picture.
“The Darkest Hour” (PG-13 – 89 minutes) is now playing at movie theaters throughout the Valley. Visit FirstLook.com for specific showtimes.
This movie, which was not made available for review in advance of its release, was screened courtesy of UltraStar Cinemas – exclusive home of Pure Digital Cinema. Visit them in the Valley at UltraLuxe Scottsdale Pavilions, 9090 E. Indian Bend Road, or UltraStar Surprise Pointe 14, 13649 N. Litchfield Road.