Wednesday, 2 March 2011

Review - in 'Stonehenge Apocalypse,' the end of the world can't come soon enough

An archaeological dig in Maine, USA reveals a hitherto unknown site of an ancient civilisation. At the exact some moment that the chamber is opened, a massive electromagnetic surge rushes all the way over to Stonehenge, at which point the stones of the famed monument shift and send out a huge blast of energy, destroying all life forms in the vicinity. As the clock ticks, the army bites its lip and scientists stroke their chins, similar cataclysmic events occur at all the world's most famous ancient pyramids, prompting everyone to ask just what is going on... and can it mean anything other than the end of the world as we know it?

Yet the most prevelant question on the lips of all viewers will likely be... why? Why does this film exist?

A SyFy Channel production, Stonehenge Apocalypse would appear to be an attempt to cash in on the territory Ronald Emmerich has long been the king of; the apocalyptic sci-fi disaster movie with a foot in the realm of new age conspiracy theory (bit of Chariots of the Gods in Stargate, bit of Mayan shit in 2012). But here's the thing... those were megabudget productions, with top of the line special effects; their visual spectacle more than made up for the mumbo jumbo that made up much of the plot and dialogue. Take away that visual spectacle, and you have nothing but mumbo jumbo left, looking all the more absurd. And that, my friends, is the long and short of Stonehenge Apocalypse.

If you've ever heard the term 'SyFy Movie of the Week' applied disparagingly and wondered why, one viewing of this will answer all your questions. We've got a cast of D-list TV actors (the only one I recognised being Hill Harper from CSI New York), special effects and production values about on a par with an episode of Xena Warrior Princess, dialogue and characterisations that are beyond infantile, and plot devices that even M Night Shyamalan would dismiss as utterly stupid. And perhaps the worst crime of all; the whole thing is played utterly straight, as though all concerned actually believe they're making a good movie. Which they're not. Not by a long, long, long, long way.

Those with a strong love for truly bad movies may take some pleasure here. Me, I've endured enough godawful crap in my time as a web critic for the joke to wear pretty damn thin. Call it paracinema if you will; I'll stick to calling it a bag of wank. I recommend you avoid this film at all costs. But hey, if you're a sucker for punishment, be my guest.

Stonehenge Apocalypse is released to Region 2 DVD on 28th March 2011, from Anchor Bay Entertainment.

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