On The Beach Review

On The Beach has to be one of the most boring titles that I’ve watched. Seriously that’s the only issue with the film which is that it drags on and on for a super long amount of time. At no point in the adventure are you having a lot of fun. Now this is a very serious title so fun was always going to be tricky but then you have to have really likable characters to root for or something. Instead the film is really about everyone facing their imminent doom and how they deal with it.

The movie starts rather mysteriously. The world seems rather empty and there is a group in a boat just sort of drifting along. They are looking for something…but what is it? The film keeps this suspense up for a while but basically it turns out that World War III happened and the world is dying of nuclear fallout. It seems that there is no safe place in the world but Captain Dwight is trying to find some possible shred of hope. It just isn’t appearing though and slowly but surely he is watching everyone start to fade away. His family is likely dead as well but he’s not sure if he wants to rebound with a lady named Moira quite yet. There’s also another guy, Julian who likes her but with the end of the world coming in quick there isn’t a whole lot of time for that. How will these characters spend their last days?

In this film everyone is already defeated. There is seemingly no way to survive the radiation and after a point nobody even wants to try. The government is even handing out murder pills which will destroy you in an instant and a lot of people start taking them. Others start to end themselves in more creative ways like locking themselves in a car with the engine on or running off the road and exploding. That’s really where the film starts to lose you because after a point it’s really just a bunch of people committing suicide and that doesn’t make for the most engaging experience.

I would have liked the characters to have kept fighting until the bitter end. I know this film is quite old but surely someone could come up with a protective suit or something like that. Something to just keep them going a little longer and buy some time. Dying of radiation would certainly be a rough way to go so I get it. It’s why if we did ever have an end of the world event during my lifetime I’d want to be in the epicenter so it’s over quickly as opposed to getting dragged out. The reactions in the film are realistic so I’m not saying otherwise but it doesn’t make for great TV.

This movie is just made to be rather depressing all the way through and it succeeds in that. It just means that there are no real positives to enjoy either though. Then the first half is just slow as the heroes inspect different areas looking for radiation. They have to move really slowly through the ocean or while on land so they don’t trip. Because of this even a simple walk can take a very long time to get through and all the while you’re waiting for some excitement. Something to break the status quo and get some new energy in there. It doesn’t happen though.

Then the romance is also really weak. So Moira likes Dwight but part of the issue here is that Dwight did have a family. They are almost certainly dead by this point but he is really ready to move on so quickly? I just don’t like that. It seems like a pretty fast turnaround and it’s the end of the world. Why even start a new relationship when you are going to die shortly anyway? The ending just underscores this as they are not going to be together anyway so there was no point in even starting this. At best it just passes some time but then you’re paying a heavy price for that.

There are a lot of other areas we could have gone with this film that would be more enjoyable. It’s a classic prompt to ask someone what they would do if they knew they only had a few days to live. Of course that is usually assuming that you’re in a normal world so you say that you want to eat a lot of good food or things like that. In this case mostly everything is gone since most people are dead but you could still have some fun events. Like the quick race we got, that was fun enough. I’m not saying the film has to be upbeat but there are a lot of fairly lighthearted things you can do with this premise before going all grim dark at the end. That would have made the film a whole lot more enjoyable and definitely would have ended up being more fun.

Instead the only real dialogue we get here is characters debating the pill. Naturally it was a very controversial conversation for one family since that is a stressful choice. I think the wife and kid should have just gone with the father on the ship though. By this point do the usual formalities really matter? Moira went on the ship as she pleased until the end where she had to stay (Which didn’t make any sense). So just go on and at least be together until the end. I don’t really get the logic of splitting up when the end is so near but I guess it ups the drama.

Overall, On the Beach is a film that I highly recommend avoiding. It is always interesting to see how far back people had been thinking about the possibility of World War III. It’s something that will likely always loom over our heads but so long as everyone has nukes, at least we can have mutually assured destruction which beats this kind of apocalyptic setting. There isn’t really any reason to watch this one though because it doesn’t have any fun with the premise and if you wanted to see an abandoned world with the characters having nothing to do….well then I guess you can watch this film. Otherwise there is really no incentive here. It just drags on forever.

Overall 2/10


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