May 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.)

Recent Releases    /    Classics    /    SFTV    /     Anime

May is the time for renewal.  Renewal a the fitness club to get rid of all that fat we gained from all the butter that was slathered on all the popcorn weíre forced to intake in order to keep to our hectic review schedule.  The only real saving grace is that May is also an incredibly big DVD month.  So, while youíre waiting online for your Spider-Man tickets you can be watching one of these fabulous features and wondering how could George Lucas manage to get it all wrong again, especially since someone showed him the error of his ways the last time.

Recent Releases  -

Sometimes you just have to sit back and wonder what things would really be like if some of our fantasies were true.  For example, what if reviewers garnered the acclaim that they truly deserve and were treated like movie stars?  Mystery Men , is a great flick that tries to do just that.  This is what the second tier of superheroes probably does.  Fly out now and rent this one.

Ever wonder what would happen if you went back in time?  Well, it probably wouldnít be to fall in love with a psychiatrist who breaks pretty much every ethical and moral and legal rule at the drop of a hat.  12 Monkeys gives us Bruce Willis traipsing through the past in his baldheaded splendor.  Frankly there just werenít enough monkeys in it for my liking.  At least they could have sat in the plot holes to distract us.

So, what do you do when youíre a nudge security guard with a life that most losers would consider ideal?  What do you do when the super secret research facility youíre guarding gets broken into leaving you in one of the labs with a dead partner on your hands?  Why, itís so predictable as to be practically not worth talking about.  Earth VS The Spider  shows us what any of you reading this column would do--youíd inject yourself with the super secret serum derived from spiders that gives you super powers.  Of course not everything from super secret guvment labs you inject into yourself has only good effects.  This we learn the old fashioned way, through much pain and agony.  The protagonist also goes through pain and agony before the whole thing comes crashing to an end.  If only Peter Parker had seen this flick.

coverIf you like nudity, gruesome death and corny jokes (and who the hell doesnít?) then youíll just fall in love with The Toxic Avenger Part III, The Last Temptation of Toxie. You donít have to see the first two of this trilogy (soon to be four) to understand the story line.  Since there isnít one you can just focus on all the good stuff, the intestines, the breasts, the arm stumps, the breasts, the mother in law jokes, the breasts, the open chests and the breasts.

Just when you think itís safe to walk the darkened streets of 19th century London out comes a DVD to make you ponder your nightly excursions.  From Hell, is yet another retelling of Jack the Ripper this time from the perspective of the Scotland Yard detective whoís doing the investigating.  The setting is first rate.  If only they had some writing and acting to go with it.  No one seems to really care that thereís a madman ripping the throats out of people so thereís no buildup of fear or terror like there should be, especially in London at the time. I mean, they arenít talking about last week in New York.

Is it real or is it simple something thatís happening in the Matrix?  Vanilla Sky, attempts to answer that question but without really giving us an answer.  I hate when they do that, give us all the clues we need to come to the wrong conclusion and then leave us gasping at straws since they donít know themselves what the hell theyíre doing.  A waste of a pretty boy.  Oh year, Tom Cruise is in it as well.

Yes, sound the trumpets, blare the horns the time has come to watch the movie based on the book that won the Hugo for best science fiction novel.  Thatís right, Harry Potter and the Sorcererís Stone, is out.  Hereís your chance to watch it again for all the scientific elements which made it such a contender.  Watch as Harry Potter wields his technologically based magic powers to right the world and save us all. 

Classics -

In 1951 the planets seemed too far away and at the same time imminently reachable in the near future.  Flight To Mars gave us both a reason for going (scantily clad Martian women) and a reason to stay home (Martian men set on domination of Earth).  Why canít we all just get along?  Shot when movies were movies (71 minutes long) and color was in technicolor.  Many copied this first foray which just makes you wonder what would have happened if it had been better.


Before the plots got hackneyed and before they fell into the old pattern of having someone cobble something together on the spur of the moment to save everyone there were episodes actually worth watching.  Star Trek; The Next Generation, The Complete Second Season Gift Set.  Watch all the good old boys go through their paces saving themselves and the galaxy (well, mostly themselves) from alien monsters and the occasional misguided juvenile life form.

The truth is out there but by the time this set of episodes rolled around it was pretty watered down and unexciting.  The X-Files, Complete Fifth Season brings us all the episodes we love to love.  Thereís the one about the alien monsters and then thereís the one with the alien monsters and my favorite is when Scully gets face to face with the alien monster and has to be saved.

Anime -

I was going to spend some time talking about a phenomena thatís on television regularly and with episode 232, Dragon Ball Z-Majin Buu; A Heroís Farewell, just released on dvd the time appeared ripe.  However, after watching the episodes in question I realized just how stupid this series really is.  The animation is very choppy, consisting of a series of static figures in front of moving backgrounds interspersed with face shots evidencing shock or surprise.  The story is so convoluted and purpose driven by the episode that itís worse than Star Trek.  And, to top it all off, they ignore the fine Anime tradition of having a giant robot or two every third or fourth episode.

-- Steve Sawicki


The aliens are loose!! Read Steve's novella, "Invisible Friends," in the Spring 2001 issue of ABSOLUTE MAGNITUDE (, 
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 (, 
and while you're at it check out his short story, "Call Me Tandeleho," appearing in the current issue of Transversions (  Order copies today!!
For more insight, visit Steve's web page: (


© 2002 Ernest Lilley / SFRevu