Thursday, December 16, 2010

Movie Appraisal: The Objective (2008)

The Objective is a difficult movie to categorize. It could be psychological horror, but it really isn't. It could be about aliens, but... that also doesn't really fit right with me. Is it a thriller? A soldier movie? No, it's not really either of those things... So, my difficulty in categorizing this film really left me asking a lot of questions of what exactly this film was about or why it was about it.

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.


  1. what happens in the end after they touch is forehead? how does he end up in the observation room??

  2. I think it's purposefully meant to be vague and mostly nonsensical. What it seems like is that he was either found after what all happened and is being observed or that it is all some elaborate conspiracy. In a movie like this though there is no correct answer to what the filmmaker meant. It's deliberately vague and hard to understand, which is frustrating. It leaves the watcher searching for answers and the movie gives none.

  3. It is frustrating! I came to this site hoping for an explanation but alas unless you are the filmmaker you don't really know for sure! Agree with everything you had to say though

    1. Thanks!

      This is one of those movies I've heard a lot of people gripe about. It's a movie that seems weird and convoluted for the sake of being weird and convoluted. I really and absolutely wish I could give some concrete explanation for this film... because it is a very interesting little film, but the confusing ending and premise mixed with a sometimes nonsensical and vague plot gives this movie a very mysterious feeling.

      Maybe if I kept watching this movie over and over again I would find some answers in it, but beyond that I get the feeling that only the filmmakers really know what the movie is about. And it's such a small and unknown film that I'm sure not too many people go out of their way to care about explanations.

      And that's pretty awful too. I wish more movies like this would exist... and I wish that they'd be a little less mysterious with their explanations. But I guess that's half the fun and half the frustration of a movie like this.

      I wish I could be more help. I've seen a good deal of people coming away from this one confused and seeking answers... but I just don't have any concrete answers to give since the movie didn't give me any concrete answers either.

  4. I watched and agree squarry... seemed like all potential in plot vanished instantly late in favor of UFO element. Could have done far more with psychological horror aspect.

    While I have no way to know, I suspect that was the actual ambition of the writer/director, especially in light of the final quote... but it could've been more capably explored as things wound down.

    I thought the cinematograpy and the acting was done quite well, save the main character who was quite flat. The plot did hold my attention for some quite some time though, until the UFO stuff. Glad I saw it though for the first 2/3rds of the plot anyway...

    1. Yeah, that's about how I feel about it too.

  5. Perhaps the movie is an excerpt or spin-off from this:

    Even though this article was a few years after the movie was made.

  6. THIS IS GREATER THAT YOU AND I........said the CIA fella using that gadget that could see in a InfraRed Mode all this invisible world......The CIA already knew something beyond their Scientific understanding was going on there, even Alexander the Great mentions those Dijin devils. Whgat are those " TRIANGLES ? " they knew they were there but never tried to destroy them with grenades, explosives, etc.

    My opinion is that all the UFO phenomena comes from another
    " Realm " like those so called Fallen Angels that they have the ability or power to manipulate matter to fabricate anything, even human bodies to communicate with this Tridimensional material realm. They even had intercourse with the earthling females and impregnated them, etc.

    I don't think UFOs are from another planet or galaxy from this dimension. Somehow they know how to open up a " Door "
    or " Window " to come in and out from our Realm to theirs and God knows how many realms are besides ours.

    I liked this movie, very much, puts my mind to work as far as speculating a lot of things. The Bible mentions stuff out of this dimension. Fantastic beings, Vehicles too complicated to describe, etc.

    Well, have fun.


    1. Thanks for the comment, Joe! I will say, all the power to you for liking it. I think my opinion has softened over the years about this film. I remember almost nothing about it, but everything I do remember makes me want to watch it again.

      I do like how much speculation has come out of the movie though. I've had some very interesting discussions about it and have really enjoyed those discussions. This is one of my most viewed reviews, and it seems that everybody who watches this movie has questions that they feel need to be answered.

      I don't know. I wish the movie had been better and/or that I could say more about it. I think it is interesting at the very least. I simply wish it was either less ambiguous (because it is simply *too* ambiguous in my opinion) or a bit more coherent. I might try to watch it again, maybe get a different perspective nearly three years later.

  7. I think the multiple flares towards the end were sent by some terrorists who were actually aliens as their bodies disappear when they die. They did not want the team to continue their mission so they prevented them from getting water and food. The person he saw at last was Mohammed Aban who had contacted aliens.

  8. You sure do not see many, if any, movies that reference vimanas.
    Check out the article “Sources for re-researching the Ancient Alien issue of Vimana-UFOs”:

  9. Whats his last words at the end of the movie ??? Thats the only thing that confused me ??? Lol please help

    1. Thar's exactly what I want to know