24 January 2012 | onelegobuilder
I wanted to like this movie, but in the end I only admired it.
"Apocalypse, CA" is not a bad film, it's actually quite good, but it's only good on your first viewing. Once you've seen it and you know all the surprises, you're likely to grow less enthusiastic on subsequent viewings.
The plot of the film is very interesting. If you combine "Deep Impact" with "Freaky Friday," "Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas," "Cloverfield" (wink, wink, nudge, nudge), and a small nod to "Attack of the 50 ft Woman," you have "Apocalypse, CA." There are five days left to the end of the world, where a massive asteroid will strike the earth. There is a small group of twenty or thirty-somethings trying to gain their last pleasures out of life before they die--with sex and drugs. Apparently when it's five days till doomsday people will completely forget that bomb shelters exist.
The biggest hurtle for me to get over is the main characters aren't very likable. They do change and develop over the course of the film, mind you, but for some the damage may already be done.
There is a subplot revolving around a 300 foot woman on a rampage in downtown Las Angeles. She has no dialogue and we never see her face. She isn't on screen for very long, which is unfortunate, because I wanted the filmmakers to expand her screen time and show us firsthand what she's going through. It would have been fascinating and maybe even poignant if they went in that direction. I guess the director Chad Peter wanted it a mystery till the end of the film, but with a cast of characters this small you can easily predict who the giantess is.
I must say the visual effects while sparse are very impressive, even by indie film standards. They feel three-dimensional and they stay consistent throughout. The effect for blowing up that woman to 300 feet tall is particularly good.
I have mixed feelings about the ending. Without spoiling it there is another surprise out of left field. Chad Peter does give us a tiny element of foreshadowing, but it's told in passive conversation that you'd think it was irrelevant the first time around. You'll have to make up your mind for yourself. Overall a decent film for a first time director.