Tuesday, 9 September 2008

No.63 : Without Warning

Without Warning at the IMDb

Our regular programming is interrupted to bring you this review…

‘Without Warning’ is a faux rolling news report that covers a meteor landing that soon escalates into a global emergency. I was actually annoyed that they broke away from the film they were showing at first as it looked far more fun than the derivative drivel that is to follow.

The film is basically an updated version of Orson Welles’ ‘War of the Worlds’ broadcast for the CNN generation. The aged anchor, whom I understand is a real life newsman, holds things together as various correspondents file shaky reports with snippets of information. There is precious little in the way of actual footage with us having to make do with a bunch of actors shouting and holding their ears a lot.

The initial three prong meteor strike is written off as a freak natural event but when three more are spotted on the radar the SETI nuts are believed. We then get a nervous wait before the threat is dealt with by a tactical nuclear strike. Is the threat over and is an alien intelligence at work?

This film is really annoying and it’s hard to stay the course. It masquerades as a real life event but when you have ‘Malcolm in the Middle’s Mom, the Library Detective out of ‘Seinfeld’ and Q out of ‘Star Trek TNG’ pitching in, you know reality isn’t what it was. Added to the mix is an interview with Arthur C Clarke which may be archive, as he doesn't relate to the events in play during it. They probably asked him so make a comment about the tri-meteor threat to the world but were told to bugger off.

The static laced pieces to camera may be authentic looking but it is a bit annoying when they keep crackling and cutting out. The amount of access given by the government is also unbelievable as they let all the camera crews into witness a nuclear deployment - aye right. As the threat heightens the professional journalists start bubbling and talking about their kids - gee that‘ll help when the alien slavers arrive!

The special effects match the acting in the dire stakes, with computer graphics standing in for all the action. The crash scenes we do see are dark fields with small fires in them, intercut with stock footage of people rioting, celebrating and bowing to our alien overlords. Maybe not the last one, unfortunately.

To be fair this was a TV movie and you can’t expect massive alien monsters to be roaming around shooting the place up. You could however expect something a bit more exciting and believable than this full sized game of ‘Asteroids’. Supposedly people believed that the Welles’ radio show was real - anyone taken in by this nonsense should be sectioned immediately.

Best Bit : “If I turn the triangle upside down…whoa!"

‘W’ Score : 6/23

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