Here we are with another low budget SyFy Channel original film known as 'Earth's Final Hours.' It's a lot of fun to watch these types of movies, as we get to see the other side of filmmaking, meaning the less glamorous world of shoddy CG effects, B-list actors, and an overall sense of "meh." Whether it be an alien invasion, a giant rock heading towards Earth, or a snow globe that causes nature to fight back, we can always rely on the SyFy network to bring us some form of amusing impending doom.
Like I said, these are somewhat fun to watch late at night, however nothing is ever believable or coherent with any of these disaster films. That is until now. Well, at least the most believable I've seen to date. Instead of a giant comet the size of China heading straight towards Earth, we have some sort of debris the size of a softball from a freak radiation storm that is about to make impact with our world. When it does, it acts as a fast and fierce bullet that shoots completely through Earth and comes out the other side.
This causes the Earth to stop rotating, thus leaving one side to burn from the sun's rays and the other side to go back to the ice age. However, the one thin line around the globe that separates both deadly sides seems to be fit to live. The government is trying to select the cream of the crop to live in the only inhabitable small space, whereas a group of scientists and CIA agents are trying to find a way to save all humankind and get mother Earth spinning again. What ensues are people trying to kill each other for their different points of view and survival, and the fact now that solar flares are actually a deadly thing and are obliterating anything and everything when they pop up.
We see this unfold through the eyes of John Streich (Robert Knepper), a federal agent, who, along with his genius level son Andy (Cameron Bright), a scientist named Chloe (Julia Benson), and a guy we meet named Rothman (Bruce Davison), just might know how to save the world. What plagues this movie though is the fact that while it seemed to have a decent set up and story, it didn't know how to get from one plot point to the next. Instead, there are more federal agents chasing people down in cars and shooting at people than there are scenes of survival and asking important questions like "how can we fix this situation?"
This has a decent cast, and everyone puts on a fitting performance given what they have. There wasn't a whole lot of painful dialogue or monotone acting going around, which is very surprising for a SyFy movie. What I actually enjoyed about this flick is that it brought up many important questions as this all seems more viable than any of the other big disaster films out there, and I wonder if this could happen. Maybe not in this same exact way, but something similar that stops this planet from rotating. That's what the film has going for it, and it definitely succeeds in that.
That being said, the giant spaces in between the survival and driving the plot forward don't seem to make any sense and just seem like filler to make this a feature film. I hate to say it, but I actually enjoyed this SyFy original film, even with it's goofy flaws and poor side plots, I recommend watching this with some friends and having some fun discussions after viewing.
'Earth's Final Hours' musters up a decent 1080p HD transfer presented in 1.78:1 aspect ratio. The detail is very sharp with this release. The stitching in the clothing, and facial hairs are very detailed. The nature ambience looks strikingly good and provides a great deal of depth. However, this being a low budget disaster film, the CG effects are less than stellar and cause the image to blur and flash a bit. The colors are bright and vivid and are not overly saturated. Flesh tones look natural and smooth as well here, with the black levels running deep and inky. There was no evidence of artifacting, banding, or image blur. For a original SyFy release, 'Earth's Final Hours' has a solid video presentation.
This release comes with a balls-to-the-wall lossless Dolby TrueHD 5.1 audio mix. The speaker system in my house got an intense and satisfying workout. I couldn't believe that this small SyFy made for television movie had an audio track like this. The dialogue is crystal clear and always easy to understand. It's perfectly balanced on the center channel along with the fronts. The ambient noises of nature sounds and background commotion come through smoothly through the rears and surrounds. The directionality is amazing here, with birds chirping in ever direction and gusting winds blowing all over. The gun battles are strong and you can hear the bullets flying overhead. The dynamics on this release are action packed to say the least. The bass rumbles often and packs a punch. I do believe this audio mix was the best part of the disc.
There are no extras.
'Earth's Final Hours' is by no means good, but it poses some interesting questions and "what if" scenarios. It's one of the better of the original SyFy movies, but not by a lot. You're still getting low grade action scenes with little to no plot and character development. The video presentation is solid, and the audio is very good. However, there are no extras on this release. Rent this first, before buying.