Thursday, December 16, 2010
Movie Appraisal: The Objective (2008)
Not that it is a pointless film by any means. It's a decent film with some decent acting, and some very nice filmography for the most part. I guess my problem is it never really blew me away with anything. I could predict exactly what was going to happen from the very beginning of the film.
Soldiers. Fight for survival. Dying one by one. Sand replaces water. All overused ideas. All things easily predicted when the film opens. I complain about these things because it could have been done so much better. There were some VERY good ideas. One of the scenes in particular that stands out in my mind is a scene with binoculars where one character is looking through said binoculars (infrared ones, I believe, or night vision, or both. I really don't know the correct terminology here, so correct me if you see this film and I said something wrong.) and sees enemies charging at him, but he sees nothing with his naked eyes. It was very well done. Very dramatic. It was one of the few times this movie saw fit to really show some tension.
Most of the rest of the movie is... well, kind of boring. There are interesting parts, and some of the characters are quite interesting as well. The movie really wants you to care about the characters, but about half of them seem very empty. And the ones that do exhibit actual emotions and come into their own are soon killed off in radically terrible ways. The deaths in this film are terribly done. One second they're alive and the next second they're dead. It was kind of disappointing. Maybe the director was trying to show that in war things happen quick, but it really came off as sloppy filmmaking in my mind... or maybe a bad script... or not enough of a budget for good visual effects.
Speaking of the visual effects... they're pretty bad. Actually, they're very bad. It took me out of the movie when I saw some particularly jarring examples of bad CGI effects. The soldiers' bits were fairly well done though... as were the shadow effects, but the actual meat of the film, the whole "objective" is a bit of a let down. Well, it was to me. the film turned from a kind of neat, if not well-acted psychological horror film to an "UFO" film in seconds. It was pretty badly done. It would have been better to focus on the psychological horror than the UFOs, but I guess that's because I really dislike UFO films, because they mostly suck.
This film pales in comparison to other better films, but it isn't bad. I thought it was engaging and interesting. I can draw comparison to two movies in particular. The first is actually the movie that led me to watching this one: Sauna, and the other film is Dreamland (2007), which has a nonlinear and hard to follow plot, but for whatever reason reminds me of this movie. I think it's because of the way the films were both shot and the use of military stuff in both... but that's about it. The Objective reminds me of Sauna in very vague ways... mostly about the soldiers on a mission. The differences are that this movie has much worse acting, much worse visuals, and is in English, which instantaneously makes it less classy. (Although there is an Australian, who happens to be the best character in this film in my opinion. So, that classes it up a bit.) But seriously, Sauna is a much better movie in every way and should be watched long before this movie is.
The main character in this film is a particularly good case in point of the bad acting. It's almost painful to watch his performance. But maybe that's just me.
I guess this is the point where I prattle on about the plot. Haven't I taught you already that the plot rarely matters in a movie like this? Fine, I'll do a hasty explanation. The CIA sends in an agent to get some information in a very remote region of Afghanistan. The CIA agent then recruits a few military men and they go off in the desert with only a young Afghani man helping them. They find out eventually their equipment doesn't work. And strange things seem to be following them to their OBJECTIVE. See? Did that explanation of the plot really help explain this movie at all? No. No, it did not, but I included it anyway. You're welcome.
So, in short. This is a completely average film in almost every way with exactly one memorable scene in it. It has no real category of movie to put it in, and it seems to be confused about what it wants to be. Check it out if you're really into weird films that are kind of creepy... sort of... or if you're into anything that has psychological horror at all... but otherwise stay away from this forgettable film.
I will admit one thing though: The Objective is the perfect name for this film. I've never gone out of my way to compliment a movie title before, but this one is very appropriate.