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Sumuru was great fun. It was shot in South Africa and the cinematography makes great use of the exotic location. It feels very alien and strange and makes use of some sort of filter outdoors to make the atmosphere seem unearthly.
I was rather worried given the subject matter of a woman-ruled planet, generally such films manage to be very insulting to women but somehow Sumuru managed to avoid that cliche. The woman were portrayed as humans who had reacted as "humans" would to their situation, not as "women" who only reacted that way because they were female and thus were somehow lesser than men.
Sumuru is a low budget film that doesn't try to pretend it is anything else. They don't attract attention to that fact by attempting a lot of fancy special effects they couldn't afford to do right. There is just a tiny bit of cheesy but fun CGI, otherwise everything looks "lived in" and like it could actually exist. Sumuru also does not make the mistake of sinking into self-mockery but instead has humor, sincerity and commitment in the performances of it's actors.
This is especially true of Michael Shanks, who proves himself a more than capable leading man and raised the performances of everyone around him. They all just seemed to act better in scenes with him. I was very pleasantly suprised. His performance showed a deft touch that was both light and sincere. As the lead, a lot rested on his shoulders and he set just the right tone. Great comic timing but esp. effective and convincing in the quieter, more emotional scenes. His Adam Wade was sympathetic, handsome despite the odd facial hair and masculine but without any of the silly macho posturing typical of such roles. Here's to hoping he gets more opportunities to display his versatility in higher class films that will earn him more notice in the industry.
Alexandra Kamp as Sumuru, though clothed in costumes that could not have been comfortable in such terrain, came across as very regal but also approachable. Her Sumuru was curious and intelligent with the courage of her convictions but was not so stuck her ways she refused to see past them if they would harm her people. She's not the actor her leading man is but she portrayed her character's story arc quite effectively. Sumuru is very likeable Queen.
Another good performance was Terence Bridgett as Jake, Adam's friend and partner in this venture. I'd be love to see prequel about his and Adam's past adventures. He also had some rather odd hairstyling but he was funny and a good foil for Adam. He and the young boy Will developed a nice rapport as did Will and his older sister Dove. The actress who played Dove was pretty and also has a very good fight scene near the beginning of the film.
The villainess Taxan played by Simona Levin is played over the top but it very much fits the role. She chews the scenery entertainingly and seems to "hiss" her lines out in a manner fitting for her role.
If someone is looking for lighthearted but earnest b-movie entertainment--this is a good film in that vein.
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