Humanity's End DVD Review
Written by Ilan Sheady
DVD released by Koch Media
Directed by Neil Johnson
Written by Michael Jonathan Smith and Neil Johnson
2009, 84 minutes, Rated 15 (UK)
DVD released on 21st May 2012
Jay Laisne as Derasi Vorde
Rochelle Vallese as Contessa
Cynthia Ickes as Alicia
William Tulin as Sorgon 387
Kari Nissena as Gorlock
Peta Johnson as Sheetak
I’ve got to say I’m impressed. This is the first time a CGI animation showreel has turned up to be reviewed by me and for the first one it’s not half bad. Wait... this is a film? Is it OK if I start over?
The movie begins in 2834, a surprisingly optimistic year for a film called Humanity’s End. In sci-fi terms that’s set 815 years after Bladerunner, 635 years after The Matrix, 379 years after Jason X and 176 years before Battlefield Earth (I’ll let you make your own conclusion to the theory of ‘quality vs year’ ratio).
Humans have been driven to near extinction by an evolutionary superior, technologically adapted, hybrid subspecies: The Nephilim. The protagonist Derasi Vorde (played by Jay Laisne) is a mercenary ex militant cargo transporter who has removed himself politically from either side until he is informed he is the last human male in the galaxy. He is soon introduced to the last surviving female ‘Class A Breeder’ (I kid you not) called Alicia (Cynthia Ickes).
What follows is a gratuitous ego massage (not a euphemism), as Derasi is begrudgingly tasked with repopulating the species and, as the living embodiment of humanity’s last hope, avoiding getting killed. Problem with that scenario is that the anti-hero’s bravery in keeping our legacy alive looks very much like self preservation while getting laid along the way.
Throw in some sexual tension from another female passenger, Contessa (Rochelle Vallese), and give the ship an artificial intelligence that, obviously, has a crush on her captain and you’ve got a film about ‘that guy from school’ who was obviously a complete ‘tool’ but all the girls fancied anyway.
On paper Vorde is written like Han Solo, but with substantially more arrogance and significantly less charm, and while I can’t fault the choice of role models, the execution falls short of anything close to the inspiration. Derasi’s outwardly cold and insensitive nature leaves me with very little to empathize with. Consequently, the only person I can relate to in the entire film is the constantly under-minded and harshly treated, genetically produced, cloned, second mate, Sorgon (William Tulin).
At this point I just want to bring up one more gripe I have with the science of Humanity’s End. I don’t have any letters after my name to support my argument, but I have seen enough from The Discovery Channel to know that it takes more than the ‘last man alive’ and the last sexually active woman to carry on an entire species. Further study suggests that 32 separate genetic codes are needed. That's 30 less than the film has to offer. Humanity’s odds of survival are pretty much written in stone surely.
To director Neil Johnson’s credit, he isn’t a stranger to stretching budgets that would make other directors curl into the fetal position in the bottom of their shower. The flaws in Humanity’s End are more down to the genre as a whole. An original sci-fi is notoriously difficult to produce without a huge budget and Keanu Reeves, however Johnson has made some incredible achievements. The casting is very well done: As much as I dislike Derasi Vorde: Space Git I think Jay Laisne is a great physical actor with some great moments. Actress Cynthia Ickes is all kinds of beautiful, but Rochelle Vallese and William Tulin are given the best opportunities to shine. So much so that both actors appeared together in Neil Johnson’s more recent movie Alien Armageddon and therein lies the secret to Neil’s future success.
Every film Neil makes moves the pieces on the board closer and closer to a huge movie with some of the most incredible talent that anyone has ever discovered. Until then however, we’ve got to allow him the space to make a few more films like Humanity’s End and be grateful for the opportunity to be introduced to Cynthia Ickes.
Video, Audio and Special Features:
Video, audio and special features will not be graded as this was a screener.
Fun Fact: Peta Johnson who plays Sheetak and the voice of the ship Blue Whale also lends her voice to playable character Purna in the zombie survival game Dead Island.