Rim of the world – a coming of age story amidst alien invasion.
Three kids find their paths cross as they reach their way to summer camp, where they stumble across an outsider… An alien invasion follows and the adventure begins.
The initial set up establishes the four leads really well. It utilises their personal issues, doubts and fears brilliantly, creating conflict between three of the characters as one strives for dominance over the other two. Interestingly enough, it’s the girl who says nothing for the first quarter of the film but eventually comes into her own and settles the boys, bringing balance and unity to the dynamic in the group. By the time the action kicks in we know enough about the characters to have connected with them (and care for them) while leaving room for further development.
Alongside the pop culture references – nods to Cujo, Alien, Gladiator to mention a few – there are several homages throughout the film. The first of which is, not so much a homage but a direct lift, from the Velociraptor/kitchen attack scene in Jurassic Park. At this point it feels like a bit of steal. But as the movie progresses it does return to paying homage to rather than nicking scenes shot for shot. A perfect example, without giving too much away, is the nod to Star Wars: A New Hope where Luke, Leia and Han and Chewie are battling the stormtroopers in the prison cell block before diving into the unknown. I won’t spoil it, but it’s an alternate, modern day take on the trash compactor scene.
The films real strengths are its direction, writing, dialogue and it’s four lead characters. The characters are flawed but all are likeable. Amidst the action we discover more about their histories and their problems with life. The dialogue is written so well there isn’t any point in which it jars. It’s realistic. Both serious and fun. They speak how kids speak today but still makes it relatable to the child in us all – whatever age we may be.
These slower paced scenes are well plotted in among the action. One of the nicest moments in the film is set in a shopping mall and allows a moment for the kids to be kids and have some fun. And enjoy being children. Because that’s what kids do.
Toward the end of the film each of our heores are facing their demons and the final climatic scene is pumped full of emotion.
There’s a brilliant scene where the children are faced with the dilemma of sharing beds. It starts out as potentially funny – a near the mark moment (without ever being crude or vulgar) demonstrating just how young teenage boys talk. But another acknowledgment to the film’s quality of writing is how the scene turns from being potentially crass and comdedic and into a very sweet, innocent and tender moment.
The premise to this story is simple but excellent in its execution. Watch this film alone for its writing and direction and, strong performances from all four of the young actors.
For those who like the nostalgia factor/feeling, this film has the pace and feel of the 80s Spielberg classics and is definitely worth a viewing on a Friday or Saturday night.
4 out of 5 stars.