A Patriot’s Movie Review: AmeriGeddon

 

AmeriGeddon opened in theaters nationwide May 13th, 2016.  Directed by Mike Norris (son of Chuck Norris), produced in collaboration with Gary Heavin.  Co-written by Norris and Heavin.  Featuring Dina Meyer, India Eisley, Diane Ladd, Marshall R. Teague, and Spencer Neville.  See AmeriGeddon’s official website and movie trailer at amerigeddonthemovie.com.

The official website describes AmeriGeddon as: “Showing what happens when a not-so-future U.S. government conspires with the United Nations to stage an attack on the energy grid, AMERIGEDDON depicts a country ruled by martial law in which citizens are stripped of their constitutional rights and their guns. A group of patriots fight back and rescue the country from slipping into irreversible chaos.”

AmeriGeddon photo

I took my 12-year old son to see AmeriGeddon this weekend. (It’s a family-friendly movie.)

First of all, BIG thank you to Harkin’s Theaters for releasing this movie in my state Arizona. I understand the initial release of AmeriGeddon was very limited.  Then widely released.  I was pleased Harkin’s offered this movie in a beautiful full-size auditorium-seated theater on a HUGE curved screen in amazing Dolby surround sound.  Harkin’s is an Arizona based family-owned company.

I’m gonna hit you with the bottom line right up front. Bottom line: This is not a good movie; however, I’m glad I saw it and I don’t feel cheated at all about paying for two tickets.  Go see Captain America, go see Nice Guys, and then go see AmeriGeddon before the summer blockbusters come out.  Pay matinee prices and go with limited expectations. Like-minded patriots won’t feel cheated.

Now to explain.

My gut reaction.  Is it really that hard to make a good movie?  Really?  Is it really that hard to find good screenplay writers?  Talented new writers will do this for FREE, for FUN, and for a good cause just for the price of movie credits!  I know this is low-budget film, but really, I’m always wary when a film is written by the same guys who produce and direct the movie.  VERY few people—even in Hollywood’s deep talent pool—have the talent to write, produce, direct, and/or act in a movie.  And it proves true once again in this movie.

Please, to all producers and directors out there, DO NOT write your own screenplays! We writers—and audiences—can smell bad dialogue before our second handful of popcorn.  Yes, you can guide the storyline, but leave the writing to writers for goodness sakes.  At LEAST the dialogue!  Without a compelling plot, developed characters, and natural dialogue, the biggest mega-budget films flop; low-budget films are doomed.

The idea for AmeriGeddon is strong. The timing of the movie’s release is strong.  But this movie is weak.  It wasn’t even smart. Countless missed opportunities. Please, explain the mechanics of an EMP explosion to the audience.  This takes, what, an additional 30 to 60 seconds?  This movie was a wonderful MISSED opportunity to explain how vulnerable America is to EMP attack.  How about the aftermath of an EMP attack?  Much more information was begging in this movie.  Again, two minutes of dialogue would have nailed it.  Would’ve nailed it!

Another missed opportunity was teaching the audience a thing or two about our Founding Fathers and Constitution. If Americans are going to be shooting Americans in this movie we had better damn well have good reason to justify it!  AmeriGeddon does not invite our Founding Fathers and Constitution into this movie to any intelligent degree.  The Founders and Founding documents are authoritative sources screaming to be heard in a movie like this.  Instead, we get a movie asking us to rely upon the movie-maker’s watered-down notion of modern conservative nostalgia to validate the decisions and actions of our protagonists.

The CGI is terrible. Right up there with Sharknado (2013).  If we had a compelling story I could overlook that fault and chalk it up to budget limitations, but we don’t.

AmeriGeddon is not a vast sprawling epic motion picture, and it doesn’t bill itself as one. (Actually it does a little bit, but I chalk that up to marketing over-reach.)  It’s a story set in a small corner of Texas.  Nevertheless, given the epic nature of any EMP attack on the U.S., I expected and hoped to learn more about what’s going on around the country in the aftermath.  Millions of Americans are dying, can we learn more about that?  What are other patriots doing?  We get some info about Chicago, but very little overall.  This is just lazy writing.  I felt cheated!  Again, dialogue could have nailed this.  Dialogue is a WIN-WIN for low-budget films—it’s fast and cheap.

Authenticity was sorely missing. State senators for example do NOT get chauffeured in limos.  State senators are not so consequential their families are targeted. Too many military standards and operating procedures were traded for story-telling convenience.  Civilian helicopters do not fire missiles.  And never EVER CGI (simulate) gun fire in front of THIS audience—you will never get away with it.  These are simply bad decisions.

The music, sound, sound effects, lighting, and editing were professional. Much of the directing was quite good.  My only complaint about the camera work was the overuse of tight shots common to low-budget films used as a technique to hide budget limitations on expansive scenery, complex sets, number of actors, and props.  The acting was fine with only a couple cringe-worthy moments isolated to the lesser talent.  (Closer editing would have improved the awkward acting/dialogue.)  But, I’ve seen worse acting in BIG budget movies!  (Three mega-budget Stars Wars prequels come to mind.)  The acting is not this movie’s problem.  It was well produced.

AmeriGeddon has its merits and many people will enjoy this movie. It covers an important subject matter. I expect to see many re-runs of AmeriGeddon on cable tv where it will enjoy regular popularity.  Good and evil are clearly defined in this movie.  I cheered for the good guys and jeered the bad guys.  I like happy endings.  I like action.  The good guys were depicted as smart, reasonable, caring, God-fearing patriots.  It was fun seeing Alex Jones of InfoWars.com play a small role.

AmeriGeddon is not a bad movie, it’s just not a good movie. I’m glad I saw it.  I hope AmeriGeddon inspires other patriot film makers to improve on the genre—before it’s too late.

eStamp

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