This Movie Drags…. ons
Alien Convergence (2017): 2 out of 10: A group of disabled veterans working with DARPA testing drones controlled by the mind (Think Pacific Rim’s Jaegers but with regular drones) find themselves the only hope against an alien invasion of dragons from Mars.
The Good: Caroline Ivari is cute. The guy who played her dad (Stephen Brown) was pretty good. You won’t have to worry about plot spoilers for Alien: Covenant, which Alien Convergence is supposedly a mockbuster for if one uses that term about as loosely as one can.
Having the entire cast be disabled is an interesting touch that the movie plays with. It really makes little sense but compared to the other dross going on…
The Bad: Look, I understand that picking on Asylum movies for bad special effects is like shooting three headed sharks in a barrel.
The monsters are horribly rendered and designed. They are dragon-like creatures that breathe lighting, toxic waste and fire, It is supposed to invoke Ghidorah, the Three-Headed Monster but the special effects and the portly design of the dragons actually makes it them like a dead ringer for Puff the Magic Dragon combined with Elliott from Pete’s Dragon. When your antagonist looks like a poorly drawn pot smoking dragon from a seventies children’s movie, you have issues.
There are other special effect failures, the usual suspects with The Asylum. There is some pretty awful green screen going on. Also, there is an air force base with a command center that comprises a couple of screens and a desk with one chair. But since the air force base only seems to have two people working there, I will allow it.
Apparently, the dragons are borrowed from another Asylum film, Dragon Crusaders, which goes a long way in explaining why the aliens from Mars look like… well, cartoon dragons. So an alien invasion film with space dragons from Mars. How much screen time do you think we get having the dragons attack cities? Well, let’s see, Alien Convergence is an 87 minute movie. I think about a minute of dragon attacks is appropriate.
I am being somewhat generous with the blink and you miss them dragon destroys Santa Monica Pier shots. In fact, the dragon’s total screen time is well under five minutes, even if I include sleeping in a cave dragon. This is simply unacceptable. You would not make a Friday the 13th movie and only have a minute of Jason Voorhees. (Yes, I know the original Friday the 13th only had a minute of Jason Voorhees, but stay with me here.)
Okay, let me put it this way. Let’s say you rented Emmanuelle 2. How much of the movie should consist of Sylvia Kristel naked and how much of the movie should be Hong Kong travelogs and people talking about how good Sylvia Kristel looks naked? (Smart readers steeped in seventies erotica will notice I am using Emmanuelle 2 as my example because the original Emmanuelle has enough issues to ruin this rant. Though admittedly Sylvia Kristel being clothed is not one of them.)
So what do you get with a slasher film where the slasher is barely in the movie or an erotic film that is all tea parties in former British colonies and no actual sex? You get Claire of the Moon without the awkward sex scene at the end. In other words, tedium.
The characters in Alien Convergence spend the entire movie talking about how bad it is out there. Alien Convergence is all tell and very little show. While this technique can work in a serious drama or a more serious hard sci-fi. (10 Cloverfield Lane) It does not work in a monster movie with space dragons on the cover.
One has different expectations of The Age Of Innocence and, say, #1 Cheerleader Camp. Nobody expects Michelle Pfeiffer to get her tits out for a shower scene with Winona Ryder as Daniel Day-Lewis is hiding in the rafters. And #1 Cheerleader Camp has a notable lack of formal dress parties. One’s expectation of Alien Convergence, as low as that might be, I don’t know, an actual alien attack of some sort.
The Ugly: Alien Convergence is easily one of the stupidest movies I have ever seen. Yes, even by The Asylum standards.
The character decisions take the cake. We need to find proof of this monster Caroline Ivari tells her team. So they hobble over to where the creature is hiding, very conveniently about 500 yards from where they are, and enter the creature’s cave. As they accidentally waken the creature (of course) and flee the cave our leader realises that one of her associates (Ishiro, missing a hand) stepped in some goo from Prometheus and his dirty boot is the proof she needs to prove the creatures are real and to commandeer an air force plane.
You know what else would have been proof? Just spitballing here. Any one of these six Einsteins taking a video of the sleeping creature with thier phone. I can’t go into a restaurant without somebody snapping shots of thier meal but these yahoos don’t think “hey maybe we should videotape the creature”. As Servo says in Beginning of the End (1957) “Hey, Diane Arbus, why don’t you take a picture?! You’ve got a camera…“
The stupidity goes so deep here. The monsters apparently can flap their wings in such a way top blur themselves and confuse the pilots. Of course, they are the size of buildings and the pilots are using guided munitions, so I am not sure how effective that would be. Our hero figures out that the helmet she designed to remotely fly planes solves the blurring issue. So the idea is to get the helmet to the current pilots? No, of course not, it is to retrofit the planes so they can be remotely flown by the cripple squad.
The girls farther is a retired pilot who is in therapy due to a car crash and is old and now wears glasses and hasn’t flown in years. And of course her father will lead the squad because he is also in a wheelchair since the accident and that is why he is depressed and in therapy. This might be just what he needs to get him out of his funk. Never mind a dragon is burning down Dallas Fort Worth. We have father daughter issues to work out.
So they put on the magic DARPA helmet. get in the plane and fly it remotely… wait what???? They can only fly the plane remotely from inside of the cockpit. The scriptwriter does know what the word remotely means, yes?
In Conclusion: That is it. I give up.. stupidest movie ever.
You know Alien Convergence, I would have done a lot more with a guy in a wheelchair going into a gravel pit with a hidden monster. You make it way too easy for him. Easily could have been played for a lot more tension or even a lot more laughs. At the very least, send a red shirt with him. This is more believable (Really, he parks his truck and wheels himself over uneven ground to the monster pit?) And it’s an early opportunity for a monster munch.
On second thought, perhaps it was for the best that Alien Convergence didn’t have that many disaster movie style scenes. Somehow, they managed to get the camera to focus on exactly nothing on the screen.
Well, at least this terror is a little more in focus. Probably could have had the monster destroy some large structures in the back rather than start some beach bonfires.
Stephen Brown has had a hundred and thirteen acting gigs as of this review. He really does put in a solid, competent performance.
Well, we have a NASA poster. Apparently, the filmmakers were unable to get a DARPA poster.
No worries, though the word DARPA is about 20 percent of Caroline Ivari’s diolog.
Great, now I am having KatieBird flashbacks.
Or you know you could just send armed drones.
I wonder why Caroline Ivari has not made more films? Her only other movie was In Echo Park, which is one of those Intersecting Story Drama films (think Crash) that were all the rage about fifteen years ago.
The Nevada Desert is looking quite verdant
You are in the Nevada desert are black tents really the best choice for your hi-tech remote control Jaeger seats. How the hell do you prevent either the equipment or the pilots from overheating?
Here are our Jaeger units. Colored lights in helmets that match the coloring of the stripes on the drones in a surprisingly fashion forward move by the military. Less progressive is that the girl drones are pink and the boy drones are blue because apparently you cannot escape pink and blue gender-coding when fighting dragons from Mars.
Davis–Monthan Air Force Base is home to the famous aircraft boneyard, where our stalwart heroes head to get an aircraft to fight the dragons. An aircraft they apparently not just have to not get up and running but also have to make handicap accessible. A task that seems would take a bit too long while cities are being burned (Electrocuted, radioactively splooged).
Unmarked generic greened screen jets ready to go, sir.
Strangely much is made about how Caroline Ivari is a former Thunderbird Pilot (First woman to do so etc) so one would think she would head to Nellis Air Force Base which is not just home to the Thunderbirds and contains ready to go attack aircraft and munitions but, being a few miles outside of Las Vegas, is a hell of a lot closer.
I may be overthinking Alien Convergence, considering this is the bad guy.
Here is the blur effect that manages to both explain why the air force cannot defeat this portly foe and save a ton on special effects.
And our beast as seen through the magic helmet.
The tail on our beasts gives them an unfortunate French bulldog vibe.