East of Constantinople, West of Shanghai

Another War of the Worlds: Revolt (2017)

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As part of my plan to milk the Amazon Prime Video subscription for all it’s worth, and as a way to take a break from the rowers’ bench to which I’ll be chained for the next twenty days, I dug into the science fiction offer of Prime and came up with the very generically titled Revolt, from 2017.

And what the heck, this is a nice little SF movie, that looks and plays a lot better than the official budget of 4 million dollars might lead us to expect.

In a nutshell: aliens have invaded Earth, bombed our cities, deployed armies of drones, and are harvesting our population for unknown but obviously sinister motives. In civil-war torn Africa, an amnesiac American soldier teams up with a French doctor to try and reach a US Signal Corps installation 500 KMs away. A lot of stuff happens along the way. Because the aliens seem to be invincible, but humans are fighting back.

Once again, we get adventure as geography – the characters have to go from A to B across a beautifully photographed African landscape (the cinematographer is the same guy that worked on Independence Day) in which the remains of industrial exploitation serve perfectly as the bombed-out remains of an invaded Earth.

The cast includes a string of not-exactly-top-tier names – Lee Pace, as the nameless soldier, has been in a few MCU flicks; Berénice Merlohe (the doctor) is a popular french TV actress and was a Bond Girl in Skyfall; Jason Fleming is a fine British actor with a lot of credits, and has a brief but noteworthy role as a war photographer.
The rest of the cast is composed by African actors, that are as good as they are unknown.

The end result is not overly original, but pretty smart, and at 87 minutes does not overstay its welcome. There are a few derivative situations, but it’s OK. It’s a movie about alien invaders, you know what to expect.

All in all, it’s been a good way to spend an hour and a half. Also, I liked a lot the fact that the production companies used a solidarity campaign as a publicity stunt – as they were filming in Africa, they launched a fundraiser, matching donations dollar for dollar. In the end, the 30.000 dollars collected were used to build socially useful structures in the “bombed out” areas were the movie was filmed.
It’s been the first time something like this happened, apparently.

So, not a movie that will change the course of cinema history, but good entertainment, beautiful to look at, and it did change something where it really mattered. Highly recommended.

Author: Davide Mana

Paleontologist. By day, researcher, teacher and ecological statistics guru. By night, pulp fantasy author-publisher, translator and blogger. In the spare time, Orientalist Anonymous, guerilla cook.

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