June 2003
© 2003 Ernest Lilley / SFRevu
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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.)   Want a second opinion? We suggest www.imdb.com - Ernest

Recent events have raised my concerns about the entire DVD format. I recently settled in to view a copy of one of my favorite flicks, Dead Cheerleaders In Space, when, to my horror, amazement and sense of wonder, it wouldnít play. I vaguely remembered using it to scoop up some dirt from the kitchen floor but surely that could not have been the problem. I mean Iíve been using VHS tapes for things other than viewing for years without consequence. Surely this DVD technology, which is a step up, should be even more better. So I did some random tests. An evening under a glass of water did not distort the playback too much. Coke or Pepsi however had more deleterious effects, rendering much of the blood in Revenge Of The Spacebound Cheerleaders an odd pinkish hue. Boiling a copy of Bars Trek: Cheerleaders Reloaded produced even worse results although if you float the disk in front of a bright light and slowly rotate it you get some interesting colors. Iím afraid my broiling experiment didnít go well at all. Perhaps it was the type of disks I chose? Letís see if we canít find more worthy subjects.

Recent Releases / Classics / SFTV / Anime

Recent Releases

I suppose it was inevitable that this would happen, that some director somewhere would figure they could make a second boatload of money by releasing related material at the same time as they release a feature. Animatrix, 9 short films commissioned by the Wachowski brothers, is just such a beast. All of the films are set outside the Matrix story line so thereís no cross over or story difficulties. All of the films are set in the Matrix universe, or should I say the Matrix virtual reality. You neither need to have seen the Matrix nor desire to see the Matrix to understand whatís happening here although knowledge is certainly the first step to added pleasure, as any cheerleader will be pleased to tell you. Not a bad idea although I wonder what would have been produced if these 9 creators had been given their heads.

Hollywood canít seem to get over itself. It makes and remakes itself over and over and over again often using the same materials just in a different place. Edward Scissorshands epitomizes this trend. Here we have Frankenstein, albeit with cheerleaders as neighbors, but the created monster none-the-less. Instead of crazed villagers we have cheerleader moms brandishing Tupperware picnic utensils instead of pitch forks. If you havenít seen Frankenstein then this is all new material for you and not badly done at that. If you have seen the big green guy, although some would insist itís gray, then this is one more chance to revel in things that man is just not supposed to mess around with.

Everyone said that when David Duchovney left X-Files to make movies that he would finally run head first into the truth. That truth being that heís not that great an actor. Well I embraced that idea only to discover that heís at least able to pull off an expensive B scifi romp. Evolution is not a bad flick even for all the things it simply gets wrong (giant plot holes and not enough cheerleaders even though they use a suburban mall for a big scene). Fun, if only in a really not serious way.

Whatís better than Cheerleaders? Why female wrestlers of course. Doctor Of Doom / Wrestling Women Vs. The Aztec Mummy, is almost good enough or old enough to be considered a classic. But, because I know so many of you ignore the classic section of this column Iím putting it here. Okay, The Doctor Of Doom has already made a half man-half ape named Gomar. And yet the mad doctor's attempts to do the same with a female brain have all ended in failure. Why? Because the brains all come from cheerleaders or other, similarly uneducated women. So, the Doctor decides that only a female wrestler would be strong enough or smart enough to prove successful. In the process the doc gets acid thrown on him, which , of course, only intensifies his desires.. So, he takes the brain out of Gomar and puts it into the body of a female wrestler and sends that thing off to do in another female wrestler in the big climax of the film. Oh, yeah, thereís a second flick here which is almost as good as the first. More women wrestlers and a mummy! It just donít get any better.
 

Classics                                    

Sometimes itís amazing whatís considered a classic. Conan The Barbarian actually fits that definition now. Watch and learn. This is a classic flick based on Howardís Conan character brought to life by Arnold Terminator Schwarzenegger. And what a great match. Muscles, barely comprehensible speech and a giant sword. Thereís even cheerleaders, although theyíre so wrapped in fur that it makes you wonder why they were put in at all. Probably friends of the Producer. In any case, a classic flick which you should own and the beginning of the big guy's career for real.

What do ex-cheerleaders do when they cheer no more? Make French films of course. Barbarella is Jane Fondaís excursion into comic book escapism. Iím wondering a bit as to the timing of this release since weíre so involved in ignoring everything French. Of course the film was pretty much ignored (except for the nearly nude Fonda zero-gravity scenes) when it first came out so maybe the studio just wanted it to feel at home.

SFTV

Itís easy to make mock of something thatís been around for a while, especially if it has a cheerleader or cheerleaders as a basis for its mythos. Buffy, The Vampire Slayer, The Complete Fourth Season, is just out on disk and for you completists, itís a must have. This is not the strongest season of the bunch but thereís no denying the influence that the series had on television. How many other series can you name that are based on a strong, teenaged, cheerleading, female character who actually is a heroine? Well, sure there was that German Cheerleaders of the Luftwaft series but thatís dated and not to the point anyway.

At some point theyíll let you order DVDs of television series by the episode. This way you get only the cream and none of the crap. And since not everyone likes everything the same the studios will still be able to sell off their dogs. I mean, even the best cheerleader squads has that one uncoordinated member on the end just for balance. Star Trek-Deep Space Nine, The Complete Third Season, would be a great place to start that trend. There are close to a gazillion different episodes now if you add in all the different series and it would be great if you could mix and match your own best of DVD. Until then youíll have to make due with the ones the studios produce, like this one which is a compilation of some of the better episodes done in this series.

Star Trek is best known for its ability to just make things up on the fly and act as if it were all perfectly normal. Stargate SG-1 Season 3 continues that fine tradition of ignoring important stuff and just making it up when needed. The difference is two fold. No cheerleaders in Stargate and a tongue thatís so firmly in cheek that sometimes the characters talk with a lisp. Still, itís often pretty to look at and that usually lets you ignore the obvious gaffs and holes.

Anime  

Bounty hunters seem to run through Anime like fleas through a dog or like a cheerleader runs through pom poms. Cowboy Bebop-The Movie, glories in expanding what should really be a twenty minute television episode into an hour and a half flick. No cheerleaders although they would have helped distract from the poor animation and lack of story.
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