RIM OF THE WORLD (2019, 15) is a teen science-fiction disaster come apocalypse melodrama with a tired and predictable plot, which adds little to nothing to an oversaturated genre. The premise being that four young teens face off against aliens – which are reminiscent of Ridley Scott’s ‘Alien’ (1979, 15).
We have the typical characters: The hero – a science come sci-fi “nerd” whose father died in a fire (perhaps through our hero’s in-action, but whatever the cause we have our reluctant cowardly hero. Next up we meet our female heroine, Chinese and on a quest to the isolated kids titular summer camp, based in the mountains above Los Angeles, California. This camp of course comes with the tired typical counsellors – the over friendly counsellor; and the alcoholic womanizing counsellor – aside from the latter’s predictable toilet demise, the friendly and other counsellors aren’t seen again after the initial 10 minutes. She for some unknown reason becomes the ‘love interest’ of our need-hero – the inclusion of this romantic storyline detracts and morphs this filming places it doesn’t need to go – they’re thirteen not fifteen – girls are still a bit icky at that age to boys, and boys are to girls all The more for than teen stink – but the formula is followed even into these unnecessary divergences.
The next of our teen protagonists is the spoilt sex-obsessed rich Lothario who has a heart and a sob-story. His sob-story is his families call from wealth, resulting in prison for Lothario-Snr. Added nicely to our quadruplet is the bad-boy “I escaped from Juvi” to hide in the mountains lad with a heart – who also adds one of the most original features of this movie – he appears to suffer from dyscalculia – dyslexia with numbers. But this is not a justice for dyscalculia sufferers, it’s to aid the plot and further the character development of our teen lothario.
Added to this tired plot are the supporting characters – the fallen astronaut, whose final words are the “quest” and “objective”. Then there’s the unreformed murderer released by our nerd-hero from the local sheriff’s jail which not too long later backfires, though not so drastically as to prevent our heroes continuing, but does seen the unreformed murdered die, typically allowing our heroes escape. Then there’s the kindly soldier, who for all of these minutes relieves the burden of the astronaut’s only-way-to-save-the-world key – and yes, he dies, predictably.
They arrive at their final destination only to find the military scientist they thought was alive (repeating of a Morse code signal), is dead, the signal is his blood drilling into the old-style telegraph sounder. Then in this dilapidated military building, where they find the dead scientist, they receive a video call, on electrical systems that don’t work, from a dismissive but kindly General. Cue rousing speech by our nerdy hero and the General is convinced: four tweens can save the world – eye-roll.
Other moments and locations serve the typical genre issues of this movie: the deserted mall, the spooky fairground; the open highways; the L A River’s concrete channels (also filmed here: Grease; Terminator 2; Drive and a ton more).
Once we get passed all this we then have to question the movies ad-hoc pacing, and times it’s a little too fast with moments of “what just happened “; and the next moment we have sickeningly slow lingering looks – why?
So having thoroughly rubbished this movie, what redeems it – not much to be honest- our four principals start strong, but acting school did its job and bullied the genuine out of them before the final set-pieces. And our primary female did well when silent – only to have an American accent when she opened her mouth and spoke in English – so not Chinese, why the heck did she struggle at immigration. There are issues of type-casting with regards to race, and wealth – cause all black rich kids either where a suit, or as in this case, silk tracksuit – a speak like they’re from the hood.
However, the films greatest strength is it’s length – 99 minutes: it’s just short enough to hold and engage your attention without to much of a drag. And whilst the plot is tired and predictable, it’s still a fun journey. So go in with very low expectations and don’t take the movie too seriously. 2/5 stars.