Stonehenge Apocalypse DVD Review
Written by TGM
DVD released by Anchor Bay UK
Directed by Paul Ziller
Written by Brad Abraham & Paul Ziller
2010, Region 2 (PAL), 91 minutes, Rated 15 (UK)
DVD released on 28th February 2011
Misha Collins as Jacob Glaser
Torri Higginson as Dr. Kaycee Leeds
Peter Wingfield as Dr. John Trousdale
Hill Harper as Joseph Leshem
Stonehenge Apocalypse is a made-for-television movie starring Misha Collins (Castiel from TV’s Supernatural) as a crackpot conspiracy theorist/radio-host who tries to stop Stonehenge from destroying the Earth. Wait, what? It’s a movie that first aired on the SyFy channel in the States back in the summer of 2010 and was subsequently picked up by Anchor Bay for release on DVD. SyFy original productions are akin to Lifetime movies for dudes. In place of cheating murderous husbands you’ll usually get some sort of mythical or mutated creature (sharktopus, mansquito, or piranhaconda anyone?). Instead of a batshit-crazy nanny stealing your baby you’ll be rewarded with an outlandish natural disaster caused by some fakakta pseudo-science that can only be resolved by a group of B-list actors and poorly rendered CGI. In order to properly enjoy these films, whenever you see the label of “SyFy Original Movie” you should immediately mentally prepare to drop your IQ by about fifty points before pressing that play button. Downing a twelve-pack of beer in under five minutes or three quick blows to the head with a tire-iron should suffice.
The beauty of these movies, is that nobody responsible for its production harbors any pretense that they are making the next Merchant Ivory snooze-fest destined for an overpriced Criterion release. There is usually a refreshing cheekiness to the proceedings with a glint of humor in the eyes of everyone involved, knowing that they are all taking part in their generation’s Ed Woodian spectacle. As mentioned, the CGI is generally third-rate, the set pieces are sparse, the lead acting is over-the-top (and downright atrocious from the supporting cast), and the plots are inane with holes large enough to drive a dump-truck through. Yet despite all of this, SyFy Originals are usually fun as hell to watch once in the right state of mind.
Unfortunately, even considering such liberal and generous criteria, Stonehenge Apocalypse still falls woefully short. Let’s face it, the best part of SyFy movies are when somebody gets bitten in half or torn apart in a fury of terrible CGI blood splatter. While many (read: millions) people die in Stonehenge Apocalypse, it’s mostly implied or done with some sort of hackneyed disintegration fade effect that would make Captain Kirk proud. The first two-thirds of the movie is rather dull, unless you get off on staring at computer screens full of Commodore 64 era graphics and televisions showcasing stock footage of natural disasters. Nothing ratchets up the suspense like watching someone else watching something else. The action does pick up a bit during the last act, but by that time you’ve either passed out or changed the channel.
There is, however, one fantastic throw-away scene in Stonehenge Apocalypse that summarizes the ridiculousness of the plot: Half-way through the movie, our hero uses this ancient stone relic, thought to be the only key to Earth’s salvation, to repeatedly bash in a guy’s face. He seemingly does it without contemplating the consequences of what would happen if the artifact shattered into a dozen pieces. You’ll wish it had… I know I did.
Look, I am usually a fan of SyFy originals, and if watched in the proper frame of mind they can often be quite entertaining in a “turn your brain off for 90 minutes” sort of way. Personally, I enjoy watching them on a Sunday morning with a strong cup of coffee in a vain attempt to ignore my wife and kids. With that said, I was disappointed by this particular offering, yet eagerly await the next SyFy Original production involving other homicidal national monuments and B-list celebs. In fact, I am currently working on a script called “Mount Killmore”, a thriller about Mount Rushmore being sprayed with radioactive pesticide which makes it comes to life. Who wouldn’t want to see the gigantic stone head of Theodore Roosevelt take a bite out of Richard Dean Anderson or Tom Wopat?
Video and Audio:
Overall the anamorphic video is clean and serviceable, but don’t be shocked that the overall look and feel is of a made for TV movie, which of course it is. I’m fine with the audio only being 2.0 channel as I can’t imagine a spectacular 5.1 or 7.1 mix adding much to the experience.
There is trailer and a half-hour behind-the-scenes featurette that will likely only be watched in its entirety by Stonehenge enthusiasts or invalids who cannot reach the remote.