Directed by: #McG
Written by: #ZackStentz
The summer camp movie gets an alien invasion with this #Netflix original movie, Rim of the World. Written by Zack Stentz and directed by McG, this coming of age story is full of action, adventure, and pop culture film references.
Jack Gore plays Alex, a young lad afraid of his own shadow but super smart. He's being packed off to summer camp in the hope it will bring him out of his shell. Other camp cohorts include the forebodingly silent but formidable ZhenZhen (Miya Cech), the lone but furious Gabriel (Alessio Scalzotto), and the silver-tongued and silver-spooned Dariush (Benjamin Flores Jr.). Unlikely pals in the real world but when their camp comes under heavy attack (think Independence Day meets Battle Los Angeles) the foursome become fearsome friends and may just be humanity's only hope.
Bereft of any originality, Rim of the World is unapologetic for the films it rips off or even the ones it throws glancing references at. Making a Netflix movie in 2019 is basically a free-for-all a #filmmaking excess whereby the less-is-more rule is eschewed for gratuitous content creation on a production line scale. The setup of this Netflix original follows a similar structure to their big TV hit, Stranger Things, with sweary kids getting involved in an "other world" adventure that only they seem to be able to solve. It's a recipe that seems to hark back to classic kids adventure movies (E.T., The Goonies) with thrown in dashes of era-specific name dropping, such as a rather funny John Wick reference.
There were some nice moments in the script where the humour diverted from the predictable punchline the audience were expecting. The character arcs were also somewhat satisfying, such as the rich kid with a secret, or the kick-ass empowerment of women (ZhenZhen for president). However, the 15 certificate means this film is going to be aimed at viewers who will already be familiar with so many of the themes and clichés. This film has been done a lot and McG doesn't seem compelled to inject anything more than his Netflix contract stipulated.
Summer camp movies are a genre laden with coming of age tropes, promiscuity, adventure, and finding oneself. It seems adding an alien invasion element is not enough to make the film even appear original. What you do get with Netflix's Rim of the World is a mildly diverting #disastermovie plot that isn't afraid to spend its budget at the expense of engaging quality.