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Tuesday, December 6, 2016

'The Quiet Earth' BD: The Thinking Man's 'The Last Man on Earth'

Film Movement Classics provides an awesome example of cerebral scifi films (including the David Bowie cult classic "The Man Who Fell to Earth") of the '70s and '80s regarding the December 6, 2016 Blu-ray release of the classic 1985 New Zealand post-apocalypse film "The Quiet Earth." This film essentially sweeping the 1987 New Zealand Film and TV Awards states a great deal about its quality.

The first impression that modern sitcom fans get regarding this movie about a man who wakes up to find that the lights literally are still on but that there equally literally is no one home is that the current Foxcom "The Last Man on Earth" is a direct homage to "Quiet." The common elements include both "Quiet's" Omega Man Zac Hobson and "Last Man's" Phil Miller spray painting their address and telephone number on billboards in an attempt to connect with any other survivors, moving into now-vacant luxurious homes, and amassing a valuable art collection.

The epic divergence regarding reveling in the impression of being a sole survivor includes Hobson proving the adage that (belief of) absolute power corrupts absolutely. Appearing on a balcony before an audience of world leaders is only the surface of this delusion.

Additionally, both Hobson and Miller soon surprisingly meet a small band of survivors. In the case of Hobson, this leads to intelligent discourse regarding the common element that apparently distinguishes them from the rest of humanity. In true quality scifi fashion, discovering this attribute leads to more questions. A sociological aspect comes in the form of the interaction among this small group of "castaways."

An even more cerebral element exists regarding a possible relationship between the apparent wiping out of humanity and the work of Hobson, His project involves creating a world wide web of electric power. The goal of this innovation is to allow jets to fly around the earth without needing to land to refuel.

Good drama comes in the form of the effort of Hobson to prevent an "after shock." His plan is a good one, and the execution of this scheme has enough hiccups to keep things interesting.

The filmmakers also do a great job creating an ending that makes sense but is adequately ambiguous to satisfy fanboys and to create hope for a sequel.

The extras include the standard (but well-above average) Classics booklet with an insightful essay (including cultural context) on "Quiet." We further get audio commentary by real-life science superstar Neil deGrasse Tyson.

Anyone with questions or comments regarding "Quiet" is strongly encouraged to either email me or to connect on Twitter via @tvdvdguy.