21st Jul2015

‘Atlantis Down’ Review

by Richard Axtell

Stars: Michael Rooker, Dean Haglund, Greg Travis, Travis Quentin Young, Kera O’Bryon, Mae Flores, Darla Grese,Tony Ware | Written by Max Bartoli, Sam Ingraffia, Doug Burch | Directed by Max Bartoli


2025 – the Shuttle has been relegated to glorified taxi. On a routine mission shuttle Atlantis encounters bursts of light shutting down its instrumentation leaving it adrift in space with Rookie Astronaut Travis Black. The rest of the crew find themselves in the middle of a barren, desert wasteland. Crewmembers begin dying in bizarre ways. Travis comes to realize that he has been chosen to compete in some sort of galactic chess game with an Alien entity.

Now, I don’t want to give reviews based on the quality of special effects. Not every film studio has as much money as the big blockbusters so you know they are going to have to go for slightly less impressive graphics. Unfortunately, if you are going to make a film about a space ship crew, you are probably going to need a space ship in there at one point. So when the CGI in Atlantis Down looked a little dated, I decided to give the film the benefit of the doubt. After all, it’s story that counts right?

The story begins quite well, strange technological failure and bright lights lead to the crew of the Atlantis being set down on a strange planet. They have no idea where they are, they don’t know what dangers are about and weird things start to happen. I liked it. I was hooked for the first thirty minutes or so as danger seems to stalk them from every angle. One thing I will point out here is that scientific accuracy is not something you’re going to find here. You just have to go with it.

And go with it I did! Atlantis Down grew stranger and stranger as more impossible things happened to the crew and I tried to deal with it. There is a point in the film, however, where you start to think to yourself ‘hang on, wouldn’t they have figured out by now that running away from each other is not the smartest idea? And why isn’t the ‘Doctor’ who is trapped with them trying to figure any of this out?’ Your eyes narrow as you start to realise that perhaps this story isn’t as good as you first thought and as it builds towards the climax the number of questions you have increases and the number of answers decreases.

But, again, I gave it the benefit of the doubt. After all, it was obviously building towards something. ‘The big reveal’ would answer all my questions. I waited and waited. I watched and watched. Then the film ended. I was left, staring at the rolling credits with a bucket full of questions and nothing revealed to me. Why did this happen? What happened to everyone? Why was there a point in the film where one character could talk normally on the space ship and the rest of the crew could hear him on the planet despite having no communication equipment? Why, why, WHY?

Overall, I’m disappointed. I wanted Atlantis Down to work out and I really rooted for it, but leaving me without any questions answered put me in a bad mood.

** 2/5

Atlantis Down is released in the UK on October 19th, courtesy of High Fliers Films.


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