Enjoyable tongue-in-cheek look at genre standards within sci-fi alternative universe story lines
bob the moo from United Kingdom
25 February 2008
Be it Buffy, Star Trek, Dr Who, Sliders or Sliding Doors, the concept
of the parallel universe, alternative reality or fragmented creation is
a common one within science-fiction writing. Taking the form of a sort
of "hitchhikers' guide" to the subject, this comedy documentary looks
at some useful pointers for those who find themselves in a bit of
pan-dimensional bother. Whether it is how to spot a parallel world or
how to spot an evil doppelganger (clue: he has a goatee), sci-fi
writers, critics and fans give advice and assistance.
The amusing title drew my eye to it and pleasingly the tone of the film
is perfectly summarised by the rather tongue in cheek title. You see
this is not in any way a serious exploration of the theory behind
parallel worlds but rather a look at how they operate within science
fiction in films and television. As you would imagine, it is incredibly
geeky but mostly it more or less keeps the humour right for the casual
viewer who, for example, enjoys Star Trek but does not dress as Kirk at
the weekend. What this means is that we get a quite cheeky look at the
conventions of the genre and get to poke gentle fun at them.
On the downside, there clearly isn't enough general material to fill an
hour so we do spend too much time looking at, say, one specific episode
of Buffy, which does rather go away from the concept of the film and
ends up talking specifically about that episode. This is a little
offputting if you have not seen that specific episode but is still
distracting enough. Here and there we get some contributions that hint
at how important and serious all this stuff is, but mostly this is kept
in check and the film never goes off rambling about how if you really
understand Kirk then you'll learn all the lessons you'll ever need to
about how to live life etc.
Overall then a clearly tongue in cheek film that will be enjoyable to
most sci-fi fans who are able to laugh at the genre they enjoy.
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