DVD Review: Alien Apocalypse
Release Date: October 4, 2005
Distributor: Anchor Bay
· Josh Becker
· Bruce Campbell as Dr. Ivan Hood
· Renee O'Connor as Kelly
· Remington Franklin as Alex
by Jim Pappas
Published: October 3, 2005
I really have a hard time understanding the appeal Bruce Campbell has with his fans. His cinematic characters are certainly likeable everymen, but the films that he stars in are so unappetizing that to eat during one takes real intestinal fortitude. His most recent endeavor to reach DVD is a made for Sci-Fi TV production called “Alien Apocalypse,” and it is the same bundle of joy as most of his other films: full of actors obviously scrounged up from the streets nearby the film’s shooting location, and dialogue that was seemingly written by elementary school kids pumped full of ritalin and aching for mommy’s attention. The direction is even worse, as Josh Becker is at the reigns, taking his charges through their paces like a guide might lead a group of blind tourists.
The film played first on the Sci-Fi channel March 26th, and the DVD will be released on October 4th. There are special features on the DVD, with the most notable being the audio commentary by director Becker and star Bruce Campbell. You can watch the entire film and hear them comment on anything and everything. Other extras include storyboard drawings, a Bruce Campbell professional bio, and some behind the scenes glimpses. Very skimpy on the extras, which I presume they are really saving for the “director’s cut” of the film. God help us.
The story told by “Alien Apocalypse” is “rah rah” for freedom, and kill anyone who disagrees, especially alien insects who’ve invaded earth, enslaved humanity, and has them busy working at sawmills as, you see, these aliens are just intelligent termites. The humans even call them “mites.” Entering into this idyllic little set up the aliens have created for themselves is a group of astronauts, who had been in space for 40 years, mostly in cryogenic suspension.
The returning astronauts include Bruce Campbell as Dr. Ivan Hood (think “Robin”), Renee O’Connor as Kelly, and Michael Cory Davis as Capt. Chuck Burkes. They quickly run across a group of slaves being shepherded by “bounty hunters” who capture the astronauts and eventually take them to a saw mill overseen by the insect aliens, and run by humans who cooperate with them. Only Dr. Hood and Kelly survive their capture, as Capt. Burkes becomes an hor’doeuvre for the alien master. Hood and Kelly are put to work loading lumber that is being transported back to the aliens home world (they really like wood).
What finally happens after many a minute spent watching actors fumble blindly with their craft is that Dr. Hood becomes the leader of a revolt against the insects. Of course you know that a group of unorganized rabble armed with arrows are quite capable of defeating a conquering race of aliens armed with particle beam weapons and armored vehicles. Oh yeah.
The film has a moral to it, which it preaches loudly and ad nauseam: freedom is good, alien conquerors are bad. I like Bruce Campbell and thought he was terrific in “Bubba Ho-Tep,” but a silly and pointless film like “Alien Apocalypse” makes me question his choices. He can do better and has, but to play roles in B-movie shlock like “Alien Apocalypse,” despite what some see as a kind of unpretentious charm to films like this, indicates a lack of truly mature judgmental skills. I don’t really have the right to condemn him for films like this, though, as they have an audience who loves them and him so he’s doing something right. I just don’t really know what it is, though.