March 2002 Damnaliens DVD Review by Steve Sawicki
Note: order the films from Amazon by following the hyperlinks to buy  junk food for the aliens and keep them away from the dog.)

March comes in like a producer and goes out like a star lacking an Oscar nomination.  Thatís right, Oscar season is nigh upon us and we can bask in the glow of the best that hollyweird can produce.  After the forced deadness of Jan and Feb we finally are rewarded with the crŤme-de-la-crŤme.  Even the B movies get an A this month.  And since itís way too early to start nailing your bunnies to your trees in celebration of Easter what else have you got to do?  So, call in sick, skip school, lock your protesting (parents/spouse/kids) in the basement, stuff the microwave with popcorn and fire up the DVD player.  

Itís a mad movie marathon month.  And itís not too late to nominate!!  No, not for the Oscars since only members of the Academy can do that, but for SFRevu as deserving of a Hugo in the webzine category.  Vote soon and, as we say in Chicago, vote often.  

(Gosh Steve, you're right! SFRevu is eligible for the 2001 Additional Category (Web Site) Hugo, and If you had a membership at the Millennium Philcon, or hold a membership for this year's Worldcon (ConJose) you can pop over to ConJose Hugo Nominations Form and make your vote count! But read Steve's column first. - Ern)

Recent Releases    /    Classics    /    SFTV    /     Anime

Recent Releases  - and the award goes to A.I....in our dreams.

A.I. deserves a number of awards but this dark Spielberg/Kubrick vision will go ignored.  Everyone wanted Spielbergís cuddly aliens and Kubrickís vision.  Instead we got Kubrickís depression and Spielbergís wandering story.  The film is long, itís dark in places, the story meanders a bit and itís perhaps a bit too highbrow for most Hollywood movie goers.  Itís also the best SF film of the decade.  Hands down.

Legends shouldnít be messed with, especially if the messing is simply for the purpose of story line and flash.  Blade takes the vampire legends and crosses them with werewolves so that now the evil blood suckers can be killed with silver as well as through more traditional ways.  Ignoring that, however, and the few other huge plot holes, this Wesley Snipes vehicle moves with the fast pace of a severed artery.  Kung fu fighting and blood sucking lead to world domination in this comic book come to life.  Fun, flashy and out in time to get you primed for Blade 2.

My vote for a flick in the category of greatest waste of film, time and talent goes to: 2001: A Space Travesty.  Besides being totally unfunny, this thing reeks of self importance, bad writing and terrible directing.  Itís a primer on how not to do film.  Avoid it as you would an aging starlet who has not yet realized the decay has set in.

Classics - so, do they give Retro-Oscars?

The directorial debut of Sam Raimi was a thing of beauty, assuming you think dismemberment, gore, blood and body parts splashed with humor are beautiful. The Evil Dead (Book Of The Dead-Limited Edition), makes a fine entry on anyoneís ballot except the film came out in 1983 and itís a little late now.  This is a fine flick, a bit grainy (but thatís intentional) and a bit frantic and a bit on the ridiculous side, but all the elements which Raimi would continue to refine and use again in later films are there.  A definite must see for those of you unfamiliar with the series and probably time for those of you who havenít seen it in a while for a revisit.  The DVD has many extras which will keep you busy almost as long as the flick itself.

Compared with the above, Night of the Living Dead does not hold up.  Itís got camp value but thatís it.  Itís tedious, ridiculous, slow moving, poorly acted and, worst of all for today, in black and white.  Ignore this re-re-re-release for the decaying piece of trash that it is.  My vote for the worst release of the month.

Creepshow tried to blend moves and comics and succeeded fairly well, assuming you enjoy the old EC comics of the fifties.  George Romero shows that he really can direct and along with Stephen King brings us a series of fairly creepy and comedic vignettes. 

SFTV - when you can't bear the awards anymore, there's always SFTV...

Sometimes we cross formats so that we get TV movies or anime television.  In this case we have Samurai Jack which was and is seen on the cartoon network.  Itís an oddball of a thing, part Chuck Jones and part anime done in a stylized, minimalist fashion.  Either you love it or you hate it.  While I hate it I thought it worth mentioning here, especially since those of you without cool cable systems can now get it on DVD.

And the winner in the category of most reinvention for a regular series goes to Star Trek: The Next Generation.  This is the complete first season and well worth picking up.  Itís great to watch the characters develop and to spend time once again with those who went on to better things.  (Denise, you did go on to better things, didnít you?  And I donít count playing a Romulan as better.)

Not every series can be a winner but if we were giving out awards for some original thought then weíd have to give something to Farscape.  This is #11, Bone To Be Wild and Family Ties.  These two episodes are simply great science fiction television.  Great writing and super visuals make these must haves for any collection. 

Anime - there may be an anime category at the Oscars...but will a Robot give the acceptance speech? 

(Actually, since Steve brought it up, this is the first year that there is an Animated Feature Film Oscar category, and all three nominees are SFRevu favorites: Jimmy Neutron: Boy Genius, Monsters. Inc., and Shrek - Ern )

Robotech, The New Generation: Legacy 7 Collection is a 3-disc collector's edition with Genesis, Hollow Victory, and the final installment in the Elements of Robotechnology extras series.  A must have for those involved in the series but probably not a good choice if youíre just stumbling about, looking for a mumbling robot or two to watch.

 No robots in sight in this Legend Of Crystania: The Chaos Ring.  Part of the Record of Lodoss War series, this feature presents enough intrigue and anime mystery to keep you on the edge of your seat.  Evil lurks in the kingdom and only the king can find the true way.  If only he had a robot this would have been a much shorter series.

-- Steve Sawicki

 

The aliens are loose!! Read Steve's novella, "Invisible Friends," in the Spring 2001 issue of ABSOLUTE MAGNITUDE (http://www.dnapublications.com), 
make plans to read his column FAR HAZE AND DISTANT THUNDER, the best short fiction review column on the planet, appearing monthly in SCIENCE FICTION CHRONICLE (http://www.dnapublications.com), 
and while you're at it check out his short story, "Call Me Tandeleho," appearing in the current issue of Transversions (http://www.salmar.com/transversions/)  Order copies today!!
For more insight, visit Steve's web page: (http://www.geocities.com/soho/lofts/5240

 

© 2002 Ernest Lilley / SFRevu