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Film / Rim of the World

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The Goonies meets War of the Worlds as a group of kids away at summer camp find themselves in the middle of an Alien Invasion. They have to work together, despite their differences, to get to the Jet Propulsion Laboratory after a wounded astronaut crash lands and gives them a crypto-key with data vital to defeating the aliens.

A Netflix Original Movie that premiered on 24 May, 2019. Directed by McG, intended as an homage to the kid adventure genre of movies that used to be big back in the 80s.

Rim of the World contains examples of the following tropes:

  • Adults Are Useless: Mostly because every adult that tries to help the kids ends up being killed during the invasion, but best summed up by the jerkish camp counselor who manages to be too blackout drunk to notice either the invasion or the entire camp being abandoned around him.
  • Always a Bigger Fish: The Purge Mask gang is about to kill the kids to steal and sell their key, and it's clear that the kids have no way to get out of the situation. Then the alien comes along and wipes out the gang in a few minutes.
  • Appeal to Familial Wisdom: Alex invokes some advice from his dead father to excuse his decision to let the gang leader out of jail.
    Alex: Sometimes you do the right thing and it doesn't work out. Doesn't mean it wasn't worth doing.
    Dariush: Who the hell told you that?
    Alex: My dad. [beat] Never knew what it meant until right now.
  • Bald of Authority: General Khoury, the head military official shown in the movie, is a bald, African-American man.
  • Bittersweet Ending: While the kids manage to destroy the alien ship and save the world, there isn't much world left to be saved as the aliens had already wiped out most of Europe and Asia, and presumably other continents as well. Even if most of the population managed to evacuate and hide, there are still millions of casualties at minimum.
  • But What About the Astronauts?: Very pointedly averted: the first scene of the movie focuses on the astronauts in the International Space Station frantically trying to warn the Earth of the incoming alien vessel before they are overwhelmed.
  • Chekhov's Gun:
    • Alexander carries around a Rubik's Cube for most of the movie. In the climax he throws it at the alien's head to draw its attention away from his trapped friends.
    • Alexander is obsessed with the work that JPL does, and mentions early on the solid-state rockets they are testing and how hot they burn. The alien that stalks them through the entire film finally meets its end at the back-end of one of these rockets, set off by Alex.
    • Alexander's wristwatch, which belonged to his deceased dad, comes into play during the finale when he gives it to ZhenZhen, who needs to flip several levers with specific timing to activate JPL's emergency generators.
  • Family of Choice: A major theme. Discussed when Gabriel shares his backstory about being sent to juvie and losing support from his mom.
    ZhenZhen: You can't choose your family. But you can always make a new one.
  • Foot Popping: Alexander gets a kiss and does this.
  • Healing Factor: The aliens have a very potent regenerative factor. The one stalking the kids survives being shot by a fighter jet — its flesh simply pushes the bullets out as it regrows — and frees itself from being trapped under a crashed car by simply tearing itself in half, leaving its legs under the car and simply regrowing its lower body. Not to mention pulling itself from a pool after one of the kids lures it onto the cover; possibly only hoping the water would damage it.
  • Hollywood History: Despite the discussion referenced under Meaningful Name below, Alexander the Great and Darius the Great were never rivals, as they lived 150 years apart. Alexander the Great's chief opponent was Darius the Great's great-great-great-great grandson, Darius III, who definitely did not inherit his ancestor's greatness and was easily outclassed by Alexander the Great at each of their encounters.
  • Hope Spot: The kids meet some soldiers who offer to take the key to JPL. They put the kids on a bus to safety, and it doesn't end well.
  • I'm Dying, Please Take My MacGuffin: Major Collins lives long enough to get the crypto-key to Earth, but is forced to entrust a group of kids at summer camp with it before she dies.
    • Then it happens again after the Hope Spot with Captain Hawking.
  • I Will Only Slow You Down: Major Collins is already badly hurt when she meets the kids. She gets killed moments after convincing them to leave her behind.
  • Kill It with Fire: The aliens' Healing Factor is seemingly negated by fire — the alien "dog" is roasted by the landing pod's rear jet, and the alien itself dies when Alex sets off a test rocket when it's standing in front of it.
  • Kill Sat: Project Excalibur, a Cold War-era series of satellites armed with nuclear weapons. The Plot Coupon is a Crypto-Key with data necessary to target the alien's mothership with the satellites.
  • Meaningful Name: Alexander and Dariush eventually have a discussion about how they are both named for historical figures who were rivals with each other.
  • Multi-Armed and Dangerous: The aliens have four arms.
  • Pet Gets the Keys: A human variant when the incarcerated gang leader asks Alex to bring him the ring of keys across from him on the wall.
  • Plot Device: The Crypto-Key. The kids would be just as happy to let the adults take it off their hands, but the adults they meet never live long due to the alien attack. And that's not even considering that the adults aren't all trustworthy.
  • Ragtag Band of Misfits: By their own admission, the four preteen kids who found themselves having to save the Earth are a nerd, a criminal, an orphan and a joke brought together by pure chance.
  • Reasonable Authority Figure:
    • When General Khoury is introduced, he orders Collins to evacuate while she still has time. When he calls the facility and finds only the kids there, he's willing to send an evacuation unit before being convinced to help them use Excalibur, which he does ably before sending forces to evacuate them again afterwards.
    • Captain Hawking doesn't brush off the kids when they tell him about the key, thanking them for the discovery and moving to evacuate them. When he is injured, he insists that the kids take the key rather than risking their lives and vital time trying to rescue him.
  • Repetitive Name: Zhen Zhen.
  • Schizo Tech: The computers at JPL that control Excalibur look to be from the 70s or 80s. Then again, Project Excalibur was active mainly in the 1980s. The kids' mobile phones, meanwhile, appear to be the very cutting edge of early 2000s technology, in a movie that prominently features Lockheed-Martin F-22 Raptors, which wouldn't reach Full Operational Capability until 2007.
  • Soul Brotha: The two black camp counselors speak like stereotypical Eighties characters. They actually mention at one point that it's because the camp pays them to, but they keep talking that way even when they lampshade it.
  • Summer Campy: The "Rim of the World" summer camp is loaded with jackass camp counselors, crappy activities, and crappy everything. And then the Alien Invasion happens.
  • Ungrateful Bastard: The gang leader; the kids save him from jail and certain death at the aliens' claws and he repays them by trying to kill them in order to steal and sell the crypto-key.
  • Villainous Rescue: The kids are saved from the "Purge Mask" gang when the alien attacks; then the gang's leader, already badly wounded, distracts the alien from the kids long enough for them to escape.
  • Voice with an Internet Connection: General Khoury fills this role for the final act, providing the kids' context and instructions about using Excalibur over the computer from his far away military bunker.
  • We Hardly Knew Ye: Captain Hawking: is only around for about five minutes before being dispatched in an alien attack.
  • World of Jerkass: The counsellors at the Rim of the World camp.