aka Apocalypse Nerd
Director/Screenplay – Aaron Hultgren, Producer – Joe England, Photography – Eric Dove, Music – Kevin G. Lee. Production Company – Last Man(s) Productions
Charan Prabhakar (Kaduche Chidambar Nadarajan III), Brady Bluhm (Wynn Coe), Darin Southam (Marcus), Andrea Ciliberti (Violet/Amanda McCaskey), Rick Macy (The Oracle), Kenlon Clark (Bobby Bobson), Elizabeth Knowelden (Violet the Intern Scientist), Tim Lee (Traffic School Instructor)
Kaduche and Wynn are best friends that maintain a YouTube channel known as The Last Man(s) on Earth where they offer survival tactics for every type of apocalyptic threat. In real life, they work at an indoor rock-climbing centre and have a crush on their boss Violet. They then view a videoclip from their guru, the prophet and conspiracy theorist known as The Oracle, in which he reveals that the world is under imminent threat and he is being held a prisoner. They decide they have to rescue him. Doing so means making a deal with their nemesis Marcus, the estranged son of The Oracle. However, this turns to immediate dislike when they discover that Violet has developed an instant attraction to Marcus. Breaking into the mansion where The Oracle is being held, he convinces them of the deadly threat the world faces. He sends the four of them on a mission to help prevent the end of the world by first stealing a serum that could unleash the zombie apocalypse and then procuring the Nuclear Absorption Missile from the military.
This is a feature film spun off from the web series The Last Man(s) on Earth (2011), which consisted of a series of short clips where Charan Prabhakar, a Mormon actor of East Indian origin, and Brady Bluhm, probably best known for voicing Christopher Robin in various 1990s Disney Winnie the Pooh films, played two characters giving comically over-the-top tips on how to survive various types of disasters. The web series consisted of nine episodes, most running to around three minutes each. Here Prabhakar, Bluhm and series director Aaron Hultgren have gotten together to make a full-length film spinoff of The Last Man(s) on Earth.
After previously watching Angry Video Game Nerd: The Movie (2014) and Lazer Team (2015), I can make the observation that that which makes a popular YouTube channel, usually only a few minutes in length and focused around in-jokey gags, does not necessarily lend itself to a good idea for a film where the creators are forced to attach their gags to a dramatic structure. Given that most of these films are self– or fan-financed as opposed to studio backed, the lack of professionalism tends to produce efforts where the jokes pitched to the fan audience outweigh the normal considerations you ask of a film like an engaging story or drama.
Not too unexpectedly, The Last Man(s) on Earth is never much more than a bunch of assorted jokes occasionally attached to a dramatic plot. To be fair, the film works okay and is not overrun by these. It is not, for instance, a requirement that you be a follower of the YouTube channel in order to get the film. The film obtains undeniable amusement out of its idea of ‘Epic Mode’ in which the heroes and everything around them is suddenly transformed into a series of absurdly OTT action movie poses, even if the gag is repeated more often than it is amusing.
The film is made with a sufficient degree of professionalism that carries it over the lame gags. In the end though, it feels an ungainly beast – a series of short film ideas that have been extruded past their natural length. There is not quite enough plot or anything else there to make it more than that.