Netflix 'Rim of the World' review: An endearing throwback to alien invasion movies of the '90s
Director McG's action adventure film has all his signature elements -- a mash-up of seemingly disparate genres, underdog protagonists, and curveball action sequences.
'Rim of the World' is a mix of 'Goonies' (1985) and 'Independence Day' (1996) mashed into one. By the way, Rim of the World is an actual summer camp situated in the Big Bear area of Southern California, one that screenwriter Zack Stentz stumbled upon.
The Netflix movie explores what happens when four misfit teenagers - a nerd, a criminal, an orphan and a snob -- are entrusted with the responsibility to save the world from aliens.
'Rim of the World' is part-reality, part-fantasy, and it all starts when 13-year old Alex (Jack Gore) is dropped off at the summer camp by his mom (Annabeth Gish) so that the freckle-faced nerdy kid can learn that there is mofre to life than just sitting in front of a computer and cruising the info highway.
He goes on to meet Dariush (Benjamin Flores Jr), a mini-version of Chris Tucker from 'Rush Hour' and a complete snob. Part of the gang of four is orphan ZhenZhen (Miya Cech) - a mature, yet, an adventure-loving Chinese girl. The first 30 minutes of the film offers some good laughs, but we also get an insight into the teens' fears that they are yet to conquer.
Soon after, all the children from the camp are taken canoeing, and they witness an alien invasion, which reminds you of Roland Emmerich's 'Independence Day' with large objects flashing across the sky, jets flying overhead, cell phones going dead, and some good-old-fashioned pandemonium. They also befriend Gabriel (Alessio Scalzotto) who's escaped Juvie and snuck into the camp.
The battle scene also sees a space pod crash land and a dying astronaut -- played by Lynn Collins -- hand over a key that has to be taken to JPL (Jet Propulsion Laboratory) in Pasadena and which will help fire a weapon, 'Excalibur' - one that would stop the invasion and destroy the aliens.
The four protagonists band together to get through the apocalyptic nightmare and the key to stopping the invasion lies in their own hands - all they have to do is conquer their fears and insecurities in order to succeed.
'Rim of the World' surely isn't a disappointment. The action-adventure film not just has its fair dose of creepy aliens who are a throwback to the 'Predator', but also has a generous dose of comedy, and plenty of pop culture references.
Director McG has a bunch of blockbusters in his kitty, including 'Charlie's Angels', 'Terminator: Salvation', and with 'Rim of the World', he manages to keep the audience glued.
Screenwriter Zack Stentz ('X-Men: First Class', 'Thor', 'Agent Cody Banks') spins an adequate yarn that leaves the kids with nothing but their wit and will to get through the trials in life. Ultimately, the story isn't about saving the world, it's a movie made for kids to realize how to rely on themselves and each other to overcome insurmountable difficulties and at the same time developing friendships that last.
Watching 'Rim of the World' is sure to bring out a sense of nostalgia in you, and if you are in the mood for a throwback to the cars, the clothes and the music of the '90s, this one should definitely be on your watchlist.
'Rim of the World' will be available for streaming on Netflix from May 24.
If you have an entertainment scoop or a story for us, please reach out to us on (323) 421-7515