Stonehenge Apocalypse (UK - DVD R2)
Marcus knew this would be nuts just by the title. Did watching it change that..?
Stonehenge just moved! That’s right, after an earthquake and some mysterious lights the ancient monument moved and burnt seven tourists to a crisp. Now the army have surrounded it and the mystery of what’s going on is underway. American Independent radio conspiracy theorist Jacob Glaser (Misha Collins) is on the case, but he may be too late as this may already be the beginning of end of the world.
Well with a synopsis like that you’d be bang on the money when predicting that this is yet another low budget sci-fi bonanza with terrible special effects, goofy acting, and a believability rating of about zero on the “seriously?” scale.
That said, if you let a majority of the visuals go there’s a solid sci-fi idea in here somewhere. It’s a goofy one and it comes out of that belief that every ancient monument on the planet is connected and are actually machines of some kind, but it’s still a snug fit sci-fi arena that’s been played with for years from Doctor Who to Star Trek.
Stonehenge Apocalypse has its moments and I have to admit I’d probably get hooked into this sort of a thing on a lazy Sunday afternoon, but nothing about the orchestration of this movie is at all convincing. From the scientists to the soldiers, from the terrible/obvious CGI stones of Stonehenge to the techy science babble that the makers think legitimise the story. Nothing really gels to make this a good film, even if Misha Collins has the Hugh Jackmans about his lead performance.
Stonehenge Apocalypse has visuals much like a TV show trying to look like a big budget movie but with a minimal budget and as in that situation, it hasn’t got a chance in hell. I already mentioned the terrible effects, but the lighting here makes everything look so damn cheap.
The transfer itself is okay; it’s bright and colourful in all the right places and the image is relatively clean. The darker scenes can get a little grubby but detail is still there and the skin textures and such can look pretty great. Wider shots can look a little duller with the fake CGI Stonehenge stones looking even more out of place but overall Stonehenge Apocalypse looks more like a mid-budget sci-fi TV episode with no established style than it does a movie.
For a 2.0 track the mix is actually quite layered and feels pretty well spread. Of course the sound effects are terrible and just fill up the speakers with little in the way of subtlety but dialogue is clear and well placed and the small blips and bleeps as fake scientists pretend to check their instruments fill the interior scenes and make the low key movie feel a little bigger than the visuals manage to do.
‘Behind the Scenes’ (28:51) is a standard making of with interviews inter-spliced with clips and it’s really trying to sell the importance of the story behind this project, but you can tell everyone involved isn’t quite buying it and the only other feature is the trailer (01:51) which makes the movie feel about forty years out of touch.
The one thing Stonehenge Apocalypse has going for it is that it feels like it’s trying to reach further than its budget enables. The story wants to be epic, it wants to be clever, and it wants to make its audience think. It doesn’t do any of that but at least it’s trying. Same goes for the disc itself which is just about acceptable, but when compared to big budget affairs it just doesn’t cut it.
Review by Marcus Doidge
Suitable only for persons of 15 years and over
Release Date: 28th February 2011
Disc Type: Single side, dual layer
Audio: Dolby Digital 2.0 English
Extras: Behind the Scenes, Trailer
Easter Egg: No
Director: Paul Ziller
Cast: Misha Collins, Torri Higginson
Genre: Drama and Sci-Fi
Length: 87 minutes
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