The Quiet Earth – DVD Review



Geoff Murphy


Bruno Lawrence……….Zac Hobson
Alison Routledge……….Joanne
Pete Smith……….Api

Anchor Bay Entertainment presents The Quiet Earth. Written by Bill Baer & Bruno Lawrence & Sam Pillsbury. Based on the Novel by Craig Harrison. Running Time: 91 minutes. Rated R (for some language and nudity). Originally released in 1985.

The Movie:

Zac Hobson, a scientist who we later learn was working on something called Project Flashlight, wakes one morning at 6:12 A.M. to find he’s the last man on Earth (or is he?). The first hint of this come when there is nothing on the radio. The second hint comes when he goes to the gas station and there is no one there. He goes into the city to find it completely empty. There is a plane crash. He finds some seats still intact, the seat belts are buckled but there is no one in there. All people didn’t die they just aren’t there anymore, and not only people, but all the animals are gone too.

Zac does all things one might do when put in this situation. He goes to a radio station and records a message saying where he lives, hoping someone is still alive and will hear it. He drives a car around a mall taking whatever he wants including a stuffed moa (an extinct New Zealand bird similar to an ostrich). He plays a game of pool with himself. He moves into a mansion, and why not. Then the solidarity starts to get to him and he dresses like a woman, shoots the TV with a shotgun then proclaims himself president to a bunch of cardboard cut outs of celebrities and political leaders including the likes of Bob Marley and Hitler, to who he says “I haven’t got time to talk to you, I’m a very busy man. Besides, you’ve had your turn.”

Zac tries to find other survivors.

“Alright, where are you? If you don’t come out, I’ll shoot the kid!” He proclaims in a church as he opens fire on a statue of Jesus on the cross with a shotgun. “Now I am god.” He then says then gets a tractor and starts destroying the city.

He moves into a new home only to find a woman living there, Joanne. Together they go searching around the city for more survivors at first they only find dead bodies, people who survived “the effect” but died afterwards and eventually they stumble upon Api. Api tells how he was in a fight and being drowned in a river, when “the effect” happened the man he was fighting vanished. While the three of them wax theoretically about what may have happened (each of them was near death when “the effect” happened, Zac uses his scientific know how and some equipment he took from the university to try and figure out exactly what’s happening to them and the world around them.

See, the idea behind Project Flashlight is that an energy grid could be placed around the world so that planes would never have to land, they could stay in the air forever. Problem is it some how effects the sun. “The effect” keeps happening, getting worse and worse. Can they figure out how to stop it before the entirety of existence is wiped out?

What’s truly amazing about this film is that the first half hour of the film is just Zac running around, it’s so interesting you hardly notice and that’s not easy to do. It’s such an intriguing and compelling film you hardly notice there are only really three characters in it. As the winner of 8 New Zealand academy awards, one has to wonder why films like this don’t get recognized in America.


The final stunning image of The Quiet Earth.

The DVD:

The Video:

The film is presented in Anamorphic Widescreen 1.85:1. This is a great transfer.


The Audio:

This film is presented in Dolby Digital 2.0. John Charles beautiful score is fantastic and sounds great.



Audio Commentary by Producer/Co-Writer Sam Pillsbury: You get some interesting insights like who if so much as a bird flew by in a shot they had to re-shoot it as to not ruin the illusion of there being one living things left. Another interesting tidbit is that for the plane wreck they used the remains of a real crashed plane. This is pretty much just for hard-core fans of the film.

Eight Page Collectible Booklet: If you buy the DVD you get a little essay writing by Richard Harland Smith which talks about the history of the Last-Man-On-Earth movies and also talks a little bit about Bruno Lawrence.

Original Theatrical Trailer

This DVD release tries to make up for lack of special features with real fancy packaging. It comes in a nice aluminum case. However, they should have spent more time on the special features than on the packaging.


InsidePulse’s Ratings for The Quiet Earth
(OUT OF 10)