Rim of the World Netflix  Review – A childish throwback to the 80s
Rim of the World is available to stream on Netflix.
Joseph McGinty Nichol, popularly known as McG, returns to his second Netflix movie, Rim of the World. It’s a throwback to 1980s teen adventure that packs a plethora of pop-culture references and has a vibe of Netflix’s Original ‘Stranger Things’ to its narrative. ZhenZhen (played by Miya Cech) spitting out Gladiator famous dialogue “What we do in life, echoes in eternity,” the scene in the industrial kitchen inspired from the famous sequence in Jurassic Park where Tim and Lex are pursued inside the kitchen, and frequent references to the GenZ’s popular movies make its way in the film that rides on nostalgia.
Drawing the comparison strongly with ‘Stranger Things’ and mildly with ‘Stand by Me’ will be inevitable. In fact, it could be very possible that the characters in ‘Stranger Things‘ might have crossed their path with the four characters during the camping in ‘Rim in the World.’ Even the vibrant colour palate and zany cinematography further solidify the tone of it.
‘Rim of the World’ is a coming-of-age story of four diverse and misfit kids, meet at the camp having their own agenda until the alien invasion (pays homage to Roland Emmerich’s ‘Independence Day’) team up them together for a herculean task.
A ‘fear for everything’ nerd Alex (Jack Gore) is interested in space (convenient for the plot progression as it deals with an alien invasion); a dashing, dyscalculia Gabriel (Alessio Scalzotto) on a run from a juvenile detention centre; a quiet Chinese orphan ZhenZhen and ‘know it all’ snob Dariush (Benjamin Flores Jr.) are in mix to save the world from an alien invasion. The first act of the film has issues with its writing – the background characters feel unusual but the film offers some good laughs and insight into the teens’ fears as well.
‘Rim of the World’ explores the theme of friendship, unity, interpersonal relationships while each character gets to fight their inner demon as well. It’s ultimately the film about realising how to work together in spite of differences to overcome the insurmountable task. It has ‘look and feel’ of 1980s-style adventures, like the road trip on the bicycle reminiscent of ‘E.T’, poorly VFX aliens chasing teens has the vibe of ‘The Goonies.’ “There were a couple of them every summer, and they were great, and I loved them. They were emotionally important to me,” says Zack Stentz, who wrote Rim of the World. “And Hollywood stopped making them.”
The fundamental issue with the film lies in its character who should be endearing and lovable, alas they feel like a caricature exchanging insipid dialogues to take the done to death plot forward. Even the chemistry between the teens lacks zeal and goofiness that worked wonders in such generic films, except for Dariush who gets stealer lines.
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The mise en scène of the action sequences is cartoonish like a video game – vehicles’ explosions, jets releasing beaming lights like a lightsaber and city destroyed by the alien. ‘Rim of The World’ is ultimately the film about realising how to work together in spite of differences to overcome the insurmountable task. It might work with the kid, but it doesn’t have enough juice for adults to hang on it.