DVD: Area 51
Release Date: September 20, 2011
Director: Jason Connery
Written By: Lucy Mukerjee and Kenny Yakkel
Cast: Bruce Boxleitner, Jason London, Rachel Miner, Vanessa Branch, John Shea
Aliens at Area 51? Not that original. But that’s never stopped the SyFy channel before. So we are treated to yet another movie in the After Dark series. While it doesn’t fare as badly as some of the more horrific renditions that play on our Saturday night television screens, Area 51 also doesn’t have a viable plot with which to commit much attention. But I wasn’t expecting great drama when I tuned in.
The premise is one we’ve seen time and time again. Civilians are allowed entrance to Area 51, hoping to expose some great alien conspiracy and then discover that aliens are indeed real. And, like many alien movies before, the visitors from another world are indeed homicidal maniacs who just want to kill the humans. Yeah, we foresaw that coming from a mile away. The repeated joke from the movie was that even the soldiers didn’t know there was a Level 3, where the aliens were kept. Yes, the government’s even keeping secrets from its own soldiers. But they fall in line and help protect the base, regardless of their lack of prior knowledge, because it’s us against them and we don’t want Earth to lose. And in the end, as always happens, the humans triumph and the world is safe once again from the threat of invasion.
I’ll admit that there were some highlights for me throughout the movie. Lady Death and her son, Little Devil, seemed the same old alien fare, but Patient Zero instantly caught my eye. An alien that can become anyone he touches, down to the voice and action? There’s some great potential there for drama and the character didn’t disappoint. There was enough blood and double-crossing to keep me entertained throughout the movie. I was also drawn to J-Rod, who was one of the “nice” aliens the base employed to help it run daily operations. I was very saddened to learn that he’d been stuck on the base for decades, hoping that one day the government would help him get back home, but all the while oblivious that it would never happen. He did get a chance for vengeance later in the movie, which I appreciated, and in the end remained a good alien who just wants to help others by exposing the truth of what happened at Area 51 that day.
And there was also a nice actress connection that made me love the movie more than I would have. Rachel Miner, who plays Meg on Supernatural, appeared as Sgt. Hannah. She was a strong, take-charge military woman who saved the day in the end. I love it when a woman gets to be the victor in these types of stories.
And then there was the bad, that seems to always follow the good. The green screen graphics at the beginning and end of this movie when dealing with the news broadcasts were horrible. I’m sure they could have spared a few more dollars on these scenes if they tried. It’s just not the best way to lead off the movie. And the more scary aliens, Lady Death and Little Devil, are jerky and out of place in the environment they’re placed. If we were supposed to fear these creatures, the effects missed the mark. I’m still unsure why all the aliens rose up at once. Lady Death and Little Devil are the same species, but Patient Zero is not. Why did all three of them decide to break out and kill the humans at the same time? And how did Patient Zero know how to imitate everyone he became so fully? It didn’t seem like he had enough time to sufficiently pass for the other person in many cases, yet he did. Faulty writing or was he a quick study? Also, his shipmate was lying on the table in autopsy and the body looked fresh. However, Patient Zero’s been on base for 25 years, and I assume his dead shipmate has as well. How was the body still in pristine condition? Good preservatives?
Despite the number of rough spots in the movie, if you’re a fan of SyFy Originals and you love a bit of human versus alien action, Area 51 makes for a nice Sunday afternoon viewing. The world is in a fight for its life and it’s up to a group of unaware civilians and soldiers to make sure we’re safe.
Rating: 3 / 5 Stars