Another Earth (2011) – 1/5

Awful. Arguably one of the worst movies I’ve seen in years. Terrible writing, directing, cinematography, acting, you name it. Truly a perfect storm of awfulness from start to finish. It’s rare when so many horrible elements come together in one neat package like this, and everything is made all the worse by the inexplicably positive reviews the film is getting.

Maybe a few scenes here and there were okay, and the lead character is real pretty in a “couldn’t express emotion if her life depended on it” kind of way that people seem to associate with intelligence in films today, but otherwise, my god is this movie a disaster of clichés, poor plot and character development, terrible, terrible! directing, and lapses in logic anyone with even a basic understanding of science and this magical thing we call “gravity” would be annoyed by.

I mean, come on! You have an Earth size planet approaching our orbit at a distance that appears to be several times closer than that of the moon, and its gravity has absolutely no effect? I understand that its presence is ultimately supposed to be a metaphor of sorts for starting over and all that crap, and that would have been all well and good had it been treated as such, but then why the heavy emphasis on space travel and communication and all that? It clearly has mass, and is a physical object, so why aren’t both planets tearing one another apart or crashing into one another or one of the many other possible things that could happen when two enormous objects come within close range of each other in space? Oh, cause the CGI wouldn’t look as pretty, right.

When you’re making a piece of science fiction, you’re either going to be realistic about it and do things right, or you’re going to make things up and hope no one notices. You can’t have it both ways, with a somewhat realistic approach to our coming into contact with another civilization on the one hand, and a ridiculously unscientific, borderline moronic notion that the laws of physics no longer apply when said civilization’s planet hovers dangerously close to ours on the other. Bad, stupid writing! Bad bad writing! Stupid! Ignorant! Morons!

The extremely poor science isn’t exactly a minor nitpick as it’s so glaringly ignorant, stupid and creatively lazy that it took me out of the movie, but compared to the other stuff in the film, it’s brilliant. The main story is equally illogical, though, to its credit, somewhat more realistic.

Without spoiling anything, the concept is interesting, but the execution is just garbage. None of these characters are appealing, none of their actions make any kind of sense, none of their dialogue is interesting, none of their emotional moments are earned; nothing about this film felt real. The notion of another Earth hovering that close to our planet without either suffering any kind of gravitational consequences was more believable.

There’s one moment in particular near the second act-ish that especially annoyed me, where ***SPOILERS*** the pretty, emotionless robot-like main character suddenly feels the need to have sex with the ugly guy from “Lost,” whose family she killed in an accident a few years prior, despite neither of them having shown the slightest bit of romantic interest toward one another up until the moment they’re ripping off each other’s clothes.

The scene before that, where the guy from “Lost,” (who is normally a great actor but was poorly directed in this), is playing that horrible, horrible music for her as flashes of shuttles and space and other grainy, terrible looking footage is paraded about before us in what had to be one of the most poorly edited and utterly random montages(?) in recent film history, had absolutely nothing sexual going for it at all, so why do they have sex immediately afterward? Also, isn’t it kind of odd to be having sex with a man who has no idea you were the person that killed his family just a few years prior? What kind of twisted psycho would do that? And this is the character we’re supposed to sympathize with?

Also, why are shuttle tickets to Earth 2 so easy to give away? The contest seemed to have been designed to give people with the most interesting back-story a chance to visit the planet, but if they end up having the ability to give their tickets away or selling them to whomever, doesn’t that defeat the purpose of the contest? And didn’t the “Lost” guy or the cute robot girl ever wonder what would happen if he found his dead family alive on Earth 2, only to also find the other version of himself still married to said family and living otherwise happily ever after? Or was he prepared to fight his double to the death ala his fight scene with Jack in the first season of Lost? And what was with the ending? What in god’s name could that possibly mean? ***END SPOILERS*** Arghhh!

Anyway, bad movie. On top of all the horrible story problems, the film is just badly made through and through. It doesn’t look all that great either save some nice CGI effects, but whatever, it’s a low-budget film so that could have been excused were it better told/acted/directed/made. It’s also not particularly interesting at times. Though I admire what they tried to do and the limited resources they tried to do it with, it really could have used a lot more work, first and foremost at the script stage. Do not believe the hype with this one, folks. Terrible, terrible movie. Avoid.

    • Dork Storm
    • September 21st, 2012

    Totally agree with you, Allen. Two things you didn’t mention: the guy from Lost accepting this woman into his house as an employee and not questioning her paper-thin alibi, and the mystic janitor who makes hokey new age statements to the passive/sociopathic heroine like a bargain basement Yoda. Ugh.

    • James
    • August 11th, 2012

    Just saw this last night and I was very disappointed. I’m a big hard science-fiction fan and the utter lack of attention paid to basic science and physics distracted me from the plot horribly. The film seemed like it was building to something that never happened. I am not a special effects junkie by any means, this film just never seemed to get to the point. It’s simply a thought experiment put on film with another Earth used as a catylist for the whole idea. If you were looking for sci-fi, this most definately isn’t it. What a waste of time.

    • Ajay
    • March 14th, 2012

    i liked it :) Wasnt great ,but better than most of the hollywood big screen dribble punched out the door. And..it wasn’t a remake!! woooohooo!

    • The concept was interesting, it’s the execution that lacked skill. It needed a stronger script, a better director, and a more interesting lead to make it work. I’m glad an extremely low budget film like this got the attention it did, I just wish it had been something better.

      Thanks!

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