icons-02 icons-01 Instagram Black Logo - normal size


Movie news, reviews, features and more thoughts coming soon...

By midlandsmovies, Nov 25 2019 09:03AM

Midlands Review - Invasion Planet Earth

Directed by Simon Cox


Invasion Planet Earth

Alpha Star Creative Productions

A number of children in the 1980s recreating their favourite TV show ‘Kaleidoscope Man’ (this film’s previous title in fact) opens new sci-fi feature Invasion Planet Earth from Midlands director Simon Cox.

This clever parody is a fun way to start a feature that contains more than its fair share of disaster and peril. We then move to the present as a couple Thomas (Simon Haycock) and Mandy (Roxi Drive) are shown to be ready for a new start after the death of their daughter whilst Mandy shares the news that she is pregnant again.

Like all good disaster films the feature moves deftly between different characters at its beginning and lets the story build up without giving away too much of the impending attack to come.

Heading to his job as a doctor Thomas has strange premonitions of an alien Armageddon – but so do some of his patients Harriet (Julie Hoult), Samantha (Sophie Anderson) and Floyd (Danny Steel). The four characters are then abducted by a visiting alien spaceship and are trapped in pods in a strange state of stasis.

Invasion Planet Earth does contain many end-of-the-world and disaster movie clichés. The cross-cutting between character stories helps set the scene and the constant presence of background media reports provide information on the global repercussions of the events.

The check list also includes vulnerable children and the “mad” guy (hello Randy Quaid in Independence Day). But you know what? It doesn’t really matter as it cleverly uses a host of film techniques that raise it above its obvious low-budget roots.

The CGI effects are rather spectacular – digital of course but used wisely given the film’s scope. Other techniques such as shot choices, editing, camera angles and coloured filters shows that the film can handle story beats and excitement without the money of a Roland Emmerich production.

A few religious motifs such as stained-glass windows, a church graveyard and the Ark Bible story attempt to give the film a little more depth which mostly work and great cameos from Toyah Wilcox and Ian Reddington added a bit of stardom to the acting roster. Unfortunately, the super clichéd dialogue is a slight weakness and tends to be so on the nose it may as well be a Groucho Marx costume kit.

That said, I was more impressed by the use of locations and scale of the whole production. Good choice of settings from a school, a church, a gallery and even the sea and coast keep the visuals varied and is a fantastic example to Midlands filmmakers that moving from a terraced house can reap huge rewards!

The slightly confusing narrative continues when it becomes apparent that many scenes are in fact the characters living out each others’ past, dreams and nightmares whilst still in their pods.

Yet some very impressive crowd scenes filmed in Birmingham give the film some cinematic sheen and although the feature trips up a little when the fully-rendered CGI environments are used, that’s my same gripe with Hollywood movies.

The film barrels towards an inevitable CGI action finale with the aliens finally attacking New York (!) and beyond. The striking scale continues when the military show up with tanks. And Thomas’ past heroic actions with his father come back into play as he hopes to save his wife and unborn child from the horde of alien ships.

Overall, the film therefore ends up being an impressive achievement. A few genre clichés aside, it’s amazing to see such a fantastic feature hail from the Midlands. But it goes beyond that. Ignoring geographical limitations the film doesn’t hold back by tackling global issues and inserting well-handled action sequences and a dash of drama into its narrative. Check out Invasion Planet Earth if sci-fi is your thing and for others, bask in its remarkable ambitions which aim for the sky but actually hit the stars.

Michael Sales

By midlandsmovies, Nov 14 2019 12:35PM

Independent sci-fi Invasion Planet Earth Cast and Crew to appear at MCM Comic Con Birmingham

Originally titled Kaleidoscope Man, much of Invasion Planet Earth was shot in the Birmingham area over the 2000s and now the cast and crew will be leading a panel and a workshop on 17th November at MCM Comic Con Birmingham ahead of the film’s release.

It took two years and seven campaigns for filmmaker Simon Cox and his team to raise a significant amount of money which enabled them to shoot around a third of the movie.

Including some spectacular scenes in central Birmingham where nine hundred extras turned up to be blasted by aliens in an epic, War of the Worlds style battle scene.

Taking place as a special panel on the MCM main stage, the gang will be taking the audience behind the scenes of Invasion Planet Earth. And following this, Simon Cox (director, co-writer, editor, as well as supervisor and producer of the vfx) and Chris Jones (guerilla filmmaker) will be leading a free workshop on Creating Special Effects on a Budget.

Invasion Planet Earth tells the story of Tom Dunn who after the death of his daughter is a broken man. When his wife falls pregnant again, he cannot believe their luck. However, his joy is short lived, as on the very same day, the people of Earth become plagued with terrifying visions of the end of the world.

When a gigantic, all-consuming alien mothership appears in the sky and launches a ruthless attack on Earth’s cities, chaos and destruction follow.

Tom must find the strength and wisdom to save his wife and unborn child. However, first he must confront a shocking truth. A truth which threatens the key to the survival of the human race.

The story of the production of the film is a remarkable one. A true passion project, Invasion Planet Earth has taken twenty years to make from inception to release.

After years of pitching to the UK film industry and private investors, a small amount of money was raised which Simon used to produce a pilot and for concept art to be created. However, it soon became apparent that funding this movie in what was then, the traditional way, was not going to happen. In 2012, Simon took the bold decision to crowdfund the film using social media.

Simon then found some investors who financed the rest of the movie. However, this took time and once the live action scenes were finally shot, the special effects took another two and a half years to complete. In total, the movie was in production for seven years with ten years before that in development. Such was the multitude of generous donors and patrons of this project; the film lists over 100 producers on IMDb.

A theatrical release date of 5th December has been set and the film will be released on Digital Download on 16th December, shortly followed by the DVD release on 30th December.

For more info check out https://www.invasionplanetearth.com

RSS Feed twitter