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Without Warning

Without Warning (1994) Movie Poster
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USA  •    •  100m  •    •  Directed by: Robert Iscove.  •  Starring: Sander Vanocur, Jane Kaczmarek, Bree Walker, Dwier Brown, Brian McNamara, James Morrison, Ashley Peldon, James Handy, Kario Salem, Spencer Garrett, Gina Hecht, John de Lancie, Patty Toy.  •  Music by: Craig Safan.
       A television program is interupted by a news network announcing that three meteors have hit the United States, France and China. At first it seems natural but after interviews by scientists and eyewitness seems to suggest that it is not. Three more meteors are coming and the various Earth governments combine forces to stop them.

Review:

Image from: Without Warning (1994)
Image from: Without Warning (1994)
Image from: Without Warning (1994)
Image from: Without Warning (1994)
Image from: Without Warning (1994)
Image from: Without Warning (1994)
Image from: Without Warning (1994)
Image from: Without Warning (1994)
Image from: Without Warning (1994)
Image from: Without Warning (1994)
Image from: Without Warning (1994)
Image from: Without Warning (1994)
Image from: Without Warning (1994)
Image from: Without Warning (1994)
Image from: Without Warning (1994)
Image from: Without Warning (1994)
Image from: Without Warning (1994)
Screen and theater acting techniques may bode well toward establishing a sense of drama within a realm where clearcut emotions, facial expressions, and unnaturally fluent speech patterns may enhanced form of medium clearly intended toward entertainment value, but in terms of attempting to emulate real-life behaviors, these methodologies almost always fall flat.

Thus, therein lies the essence of the problems with this movie, notwithstanding the problems with its storyline, in that the melodramatic clichés, overemotional expressions, unbroken sentence structures and laughable bits of overacting send this movie's pretensions toward realism crashing to the ground with greater impact than the "asteroids" that serve as its subject matter.

Notice how the news anchors maintain persistent eye contact with the camera, never glancing downward to look at their notes, as they are clearly reciting lines from a perfectly memorized and persistently rehearsed script. Seeking the all too recognizable imperfections of everyday conversation, such as "um"s, "yknow"s, apprehensive pauses or even so much as a broken sentence? You won't find it here, as "Without Warning"s depiction of "real life" clearly emits within an alternate universe where every bit of every day conversation is uttered with stringent adherence to grammatical correctness, exaggerated fluctuations in tone clearly designed to emphasize the character's ever present mental status and overzealous emotional expressions, lest the content of one's speech fail to properly clarify one's state of mind for the intellectually impaired.

One will also notice on-site news broadcasts lacking the characteristic confinement of audio cues emitting solely from a microphone, as the camera's seem to pick up background noises and surrounding ambiance with unbelievable clarity.

Minus the expressions, the behaviors of each and everyone involve serve as further reminders to the audience that they are in fact watching a movie. When spotting a girl who appears to have mysteriously been deposited at the center of a meteor impact site, the anchorwoman proceeds to "check on her" by immediately shoving the microphone in her face to record an odd verbal pattern which ultimately serves as one of the movie's preposterous "twists". No examining her. No inquiring as to whether she's okay. No muttering impressions that the child obviously appears to be in shock. Simply setting the immediate stage for a metaphorical "speech" that was clearly all too staged from the get go. At one point, an air force general holds a press conference with which to inform the public as to a series of facts which have already been established by prior broadcasts, then at the first sign of queries, holds an all too obviously "stunned" expression for several seconds, before declaring "no more questions", a gesture that practically screams out, "Yes, I'm definitely hiding something". A) Nice overacting, and B), why hold a press conference if you're essentially not going to say anything that people didn't know already?

One of the most laughable bits that boasts further credentials as to the movie's propensity for melodramatics and lack of logic depicts one of the news anchors on site of the impending impact zone of another "asteroid" amidst the military's plan to demolish it before impact. As the screen brightens, he proceeds to stumble around in the midst of an hysterical panic, questioning his colleague at the news room "WHY AREN'T THEY SHOOTING AT IT???!!!!" A) A one-way ticket to the Royal Hospital For Overracting for you, sir! (consult Monty Python's Ypres sketch for more information) and B) You're colleague is a news anchor; how the F would he know?

Clearly, one would need a twenty-series encyclopedia just to document every instance in which the movie's execution registers anything but the documentary-like impression that the filmmakers were striving for, but the storyline contains enough problems as it is.

One scientist's perfect deductions concludes that the first two "asteroids" were deliberately deposited in sparsely populated zones in preparation for guiding the third "vehicle" to its destination, the latter of which was destroyed by what he considers our "overzealous" use of an anti-satellite missile.

If these aliens needed "beacons" to land their welcome wagon, how did they manage to land the preceding probes with such precision?

The scientist proceeds to berate our "aggressive" behavior as having "declared war" on an alien species, and thus the remainder of the film proceeds to further "document" their revenge. So, this intellectually superior race of extraterrestrials tossed two over-sized rocks at our planet, killed quite a number of people, yet couldn't even contemplate how a civilization on the receiving end might perceive these gestures as a threat? Kudos to the movie for conceptualizing by far the dumbest technologically advanced race ever to permeate the universe.

Other illogical fallacies include the military's decision to transport the scientist in question (from within the country I might add) via F-16 (in order to naturally speed up the ETA). Clearly, given the distance traversed, the use of a fighter jet wouldn't make much of a decisive difference to merit this gesture, while the movie's ostensible implications that the jet would be cruising to its destination at top speed downplays the lack of fuel efficiency accorded the process of proceeding anywhere for considerable lengths on full afterburner.

With its overpopulation of plot holes, clichés, and innumerable little cues in the field of acting that completely foil any impressions to the public that what they're seeing is "real", this pretentious attempt to cash in the mock-documentary genre couldn't have been executed more poorly if the filmmaker's had planned it that way.


Review by dl43 from the Internet Movie Database.