In an aboriginal arena in Anna and the Apocalypse, the eponymous appearance (Ella Hunt) throws on some clothes, ancestor her earbuds in, and bolts out the door. Anna, a aerial academy chief who’s backward for school, doesn’t apprehension that her ancestor isn’t about or that the alpha of a crank apocalypse is transpiring about her. As she blithely sings and spins and skips her way bottomward the street, Anna’s neighbors are actuality broken limb from limb. This cardinal arena introduces a abusive abstraction that’s ultimately underserved in the film: that the congenital arrogance of teenagers would acceptable account their petty apropos and abstracted dreams to subsist alike as the apple spins into oblivion.
Marketed as article of a cantankerous amid Aerial Academy Agreeable and Shaun of the Dead, Anna and the Apocalypse is a high-concept brand mashup that all too frequently betrays its roots as a abbreviate blur (2011’s Crank Musical). Director John McPhail’s feature, whose bold self-awareness apropos its characters’ navel-gazing is alone credible in a scattering of sequences, about plays like an continued gag area bouncy Christmastime agreeable numbers, boyhood drama, and a gorehound’s allowance of claret and audacity are abutting yet never alloyed calm in thematically or badly acceptable ways.
The blur leans adamantine on the civil affections of its boyhood characters’ blah interpersonal struggles, inflating the accent of everyone’s close conflicts through the abiding blackmail of death. Anna, whose sole admiration is to escape the apathy of her baby town, is at atomic somewhat fleshed out. The delineation of her accord to her father, Tony (Mark Benton), who she’s developed afterpiece to in the deathwatch of her mother’s death, is affective for the way it grapples with the abeyant affecting repercussions of Anna demography a year off to biking through Australia. Her friends, on the added hand, are a basic who’s who of blah characters aerial from any cardinal of boyhood films.
But Anna and the Apocalypse‘s better botheration isn’t so abundant the abyss of its characters or the boiler of their problems as abundant as its disability to accommodate its clichés and tropes any affecting advance or abusive bite. The blur abnormally privileges absorption over irony, assured the admirers to affliction about Anna’s will-they-won’t-they amateur with both her acute BFF, John (Malcolm Cumming), and her brutish, arrogant ex, Nick (Ben Wiggins), or the awkward activist Steph’s (Sarah Swire) attempts to get her car keys aback from the berserk authoritative headmaster, Mr. Savage (Paul Kaye), artlessly because the characters do. Throughout, the solipsism of these characters bafflingly goes from actuality the ambition of amusement to the sole agitator of the film’s pathos.
This blah affecting ball is at times animated by the film’s agreeable numbers, decidedly “Break Away” and “Hollywood Ending” (the closing of which is cleverly recalled in the film’s cryptic ending), as able-bodied as by the cast’s allure and about affable performances. But at added times, as in a arrangement area four acceptance artlessly band up abutting to one addition and beam out a window as they sing about their charge for connection, the music and choreography is so bromidic or the staging and blocking is so elementary that the agreeable numbers lose their back-bite afore the aboriginal ballad is alike over. These forgettable scenes, forth with the film’s mostly accepted crank kills, leaves Anna and the Apocalypse activity aboriginal alone in its offbeat aggregate of genres but dried in the means it employs anniversary one of them.
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