One of the very best end-of-the-world films was made in New Zealand: the 1985 feature “The Quiet Earth,” which offered a stunning, artistic and wholly unpredictable story of the last three people left on the planet. Somewhat surprisingly, one of the very worst end-of-the-world films was also made in New Zealand: the more recent “Operation Chloe,” a completely incomprehensible slam-bang overstuffed home movie pretending to be a real feature film.
“Operation Chloe” is designed to show off the talents of one Chloe of Wainuiomata, a Kiwi punk singer making her film debut. With her platinum mane and helium-high voice, Chloe is aiming to fill the stereotype of the ditzy dumb blonde…however, the poor lass is a bit too mature and too rough-edged to successfully pull it off properly and Chloe comes across like Debbie Harry doing a very bad Jayne Mansfield imitation.
Chloe opens the film by landing a much-sought-after job as a TV newscaster. But as luck would have it, Chloe’s on-air job coincides with the start of World War III. However, in the world of no-budget Kiwi films, World War III seems to be less about nuclear warfar and more about circumstances that unleash the idiot in everyone.
Much of “Operation Chloe” is clogged up by hyperactive twentysomethings identified as world leaders who yell at the camera that they are only interested in trade and not war. There are also endless scenes of supposed secret agents running around while blaring noise (which may or may not be music) pollutes the soundtrack. Chloe eventually sings a tune and then takes it upon herself to save New Zealand from a French atomic bomb. Or at least this is what seems to be going on, as “Operation Chloe” is so hopelessly incoherent that it is nearly impossible to determine what is happening. The film cannot take credit for a non-linear story line…there is no story line, just a lot of chasing about and raised voices, with a pinch of punk rock to numb the ears. Rarely has a film spent so much time, energy and fury with so little to show for the effort.
In fairness, filmmaker Neil Foord and his band of merrymakers are clearly not trying to create a serious production. Characters are given inane names like President Dingo Barbecue, Guru Bagofwind and Ace Agent Kewpie (Foord himself turns up as Doug D******d) and the cast is clearly having too good of a time yelling at the camera and each other. Chances are that Foord rehearsed his actors by running endless Tex Avery cartoons and instructing the actors to simulate the unsubtle action for his camera. The resulting film may have been a blast to create, but it is not all that much fun to sit through.
“Operation Chloe” has yet to see a release outside of New Zealand. Film Threat readers are urged to be on the lookout for this film and to alert the proper authorities in the event “Operation Chloe” arrives in their countries.