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Interesting story, nice visit with some SF friends
I bought the film on disc from writer Walter Koenig's site, and was satisfied with the purchase.
InAlienable is a solid science fiction story which deals mostly with the moral and legal questions of human rights. Does the alien have inalienable "human rights"? The movie plays out like a long episode of the 1990s "The Outer Limits" TV series, so if you are a fan of those stories, then this low-budget film will be familiar territory. I enjoyed catching up with some actors from SF TV and film, like Marina Sirtis (Star Trek: TNG), Richard Hatch (Battlestar Galactica), and Erick Avari (Stargate and Planet of the Apes ). The cameos from other Trek alumni like J.G. Hertzler and Tim Russ were a nice touch.
Although the film was produced on a shoestring budget, there is nothing embarrassingly bad about it, like you might expect from B-movies. The creature effects are fine and handled well, and do not distract from the real story, which is at its heart a morality play.
Striking parallels to Planet of the Apes (1968)
CAUTION!!! Spoilers. Please do not read until you have seen the film !
While watching this film, I was struck by several similarities in plot and scenes that closely paralleled Planet of the Apes (1968). So much so, that I wonder how the similarities could not have been intended.
The general scenarios bear some things in common:
* Edenic tribe living a simple existence is hunted and captured by a more technologically advanced society located in a bizarre, otherworldly city * Captives are used for vivisection, torture, and target practice * One man escapes from the city and is pursued by soldiers * Film climax ends with an apocalyptic (or post-apocalyptic) revelation
Visually, both films feature the city's army hunting captives through a corn field. Both films emphasize the captives' sense of bewilderment in the city, as well as their awe and disgust for what they see. Both films have the captives either as mute (POTA) or as virtually speechless once reaching the city (Apoc). The final sequence of both films features a man on his knees on a beach, awestruck by a hulking image of earth-shattering proportions. The image before the man represents the end of everything he has known in the past.
For me, the similarities between Gibson's Apocalypto and Planet of the Apes are just too great not to have been, at least in part, a nod to the great "fantaisie sociale" by Pierre Boulle.
The Ugly Little Boy (1977)
A real short-film gem
This short film has haunted my memory all these years since I first saw it back in the late 1970s. I finally had the chance to see it again and was surprised to find not only how well I remembered this film, but how well it stood up to my expectations.
The concept is solid, and is based on one of Isaac Asimov's best-remembered short stories. The Ugly Little Boy plays out much like an episode of any of the Twilight Zone series or Outer Limits, and would have been preserved better had it belonged to one of those programs. As it is, this is a rare film with a good SF concept, quality acting, and a touching story that moves one's conscience. Asimov was an influential writer, but so little of his work has been committed to film, or done so well as this caring short story of a nurse's concern for a Neanderthal child wrested from his time into the future.
Also of note is this rarity among Canadian science fiction. In the 1970s, Canada had produced the much-maligned (but occasionally solid) science fiction series The Starlost (1973), and The Shape of Things to Come (1979). None of these are stellar productions. All of them, interestingly enough, starred Anglo-Canadian actor Barry Morse (The Fugitive, Space: 1999). Starlost fans will also notice the cameo by William Osler as Prof. Adamnevsky (protecting his ancient rock specimen!). Osler played the computer interface on Earthship Ark in The Starlost (1973).
Hopefully, this will be re-released some day and made available to a wider audience.
For the SF completist
Worth seeing, if you are into speculative fiction dealing with clones. I agree with the few other reviews here about the merits of this film. The clone concept was original in film, and had been seen on television a year earlier in Boswell's "Timeslip" TV series (1970).
This film is worthy of interest mostly for the ideas presented and because of its descendants in the genre: Coma (1978), Clonus (1979), The Island (2005). I have only seen such poor camera-work done in the worst of B-movies, however. No prizes here for visuals, which are remarkable for their lack of art or ability. Seriously, the average person with a cellphone camera and no training could do as good or better job at framing a scene. The acting is serviceable, TV-style of the period, and fans of Leslie Nielsen will enjoy an early performance from him.
This review is not a raving recommendation. Serious SF fans and film collectors will not be disappointed to have Resurrection in their collections. Others should steer clear.
Film Comparisons: The Next Voice You Hear, Day the Earth Stood Still, Red Planet Mars, Contact
Four speculative films:
The Next Voice You Hear (1950) The Day the Earth Stood Still (1951) Red Planet Mars (1952) Contact (1997)
On three levels, these four films have aspects in common that make them an interesting film study. 1) Contact with a presence from beyond Earth, either from Heaven or somewhere in outer space. 2) Alien or God presents humans with message that cannot be ignored and which throws Earthlings into a certain level of turmoil about the implications of the message for humanity. 3) The contact has religious implications, either overt in The Next Voice You Hear, Red Planet Mars and Contact, or to a lesser degree in The Day the Earth Stood Still.
I doubt that Carl Sagan would be pleased to see his humanistic book-turned-film Contact placed in this grouping, but I have enjoyed all four of these films and feel that they make for interesting comparisons.
Phoenix Diaries (2005)
Almost made me not want to watch the movie!
I came away from this respecting the documentarian, but not the players or director very much.
Director Moore came across as a rather nasty sort, prone to tantrums, and filling his speech with more pointless uses of the F-word than I have heard in many years. If you cut out the number of times he uses this word in the documentary, either as a verb, adjective, adverb, noun, or participle (and yes, he makes ample use of all of these grammatical forms of the word in question) he would actually have had very little to say. Hey, buddy, buy a dictionary or get one of those word-a-day calendars and add to your vocabulary! There's a whole language out there to be discovered.
I was reminded of the documentary that Woody Allen's character makes of Alan Alda's comedian character in the film "Crimes and Misdemeanors," in which Allen makes a warts-and-all film exposing the other side of his subject. If you've seen that film, you will know what I mean.
It was strange to me that so little time was spent with Dennis Quaid in the documentary. Was there a reason? I watched this documentary prior to watching the film, and I was convinced that I would not enjoy a film from this director. I was pleasantly surprised that Flight of the Phoenix was well acted and filmed, and a worthy successor to the original version of 1965.
Good, but would work better as ...
I was happy to see a fully Canadian attempt at a science fiction movie (as opposed to the many Canadian-made American films disguised as made-in-the-U.S.A. films out there).
Cube was a good effort at a classic SF premise. An unknown agent has created a world in which unwitting participants are trapped and must escape from in order to live. Like many others, I was reminded of episodes of Rod Serling's The Twilight Zone (1959-1964) and the later Outer Limits (1995-2002) series.
For me, however, the film did not need to be as long as it was. Cube is a concept story, not unlike the aforementioned Twilight Zone and Outer Limits. Set design by definition is stark and simplistic, and character development is equally nonexistent. That is not a complaint, just the way it is in this story. But it might have worked as well or better in the episode format of one of those TV series, or as a short film. I felt like I got the point about a half-hour into the story. I liked the film, and appreciated the effort, but enough was enough. Recommended SF concept for one-time viewing.
Bowling for Columbine (2002)
Yes, Canadians lock their doors as much as anyone else, Mr. Moore
When film makers or critics of any kind stray too far from home and make generalizations, they need to be very careful. I don't find that Moore is too concerned about making careful observation in general, so I don't think he cares much about stereotyping others.
His trip to Toronto in Bowling for Columbine was laughable, given the statements he makes about "Canadians". Moore suggests that Canada is a safer country because he pulls on a few doors in the city of Toronto and finds them to be unlocked. Moore has a penchant for stereotypes. If he were a bigot for the extreme right, I would be frightened of him. Canada is not just Toronto, no more than New York represents the US. And a few unlocked doors in a city does not make your point.
I actually believe that a country with fewer guns will have less casual gun crime per capita, and I believe that the US has much to learn in that regard from us in Canada.
Unfortunately, I came away from this film more with more distasteful feelings about the film maker than the subject material, which is too bad. To me, this was a film about Michael Moore, Bully. The bullying personality type is pervasive in his work and life story, and distracts me from the serious topics that he wants to side with.
Moore, and us viewers, would do well to remember Woody Allen's cautionary, sarcastic line from Annie Hall (1977) when he said "I'm a bigot, but it's OK, because I'm a bigot for the left."
I have a soft spot for this movie, but...
The idea is great, the book was a good read, and the film ought to have been great as well. I was disappointed, but I still have a soft spot for this story. They expected Congo to be the next King Kong and there were a good deal of toys, action figures, books, stickers, etc. to sell to the expected hordes of fans. The fans did not materialize and the action figures are an easy buy on the internet.
The legend of the city of Zinj is a phenomenal idea to work with for a film. Evolved apes is a sure seller. But this movie did not deliver. There were so many missed opportunities and examples of poor writing. For me the ape researcher on the expedition is a bit goofy to be credible. And he is one of the central characters! We are not given much to believe his knowledge or utility to the expedition or to Amy for that matter. This spoils that character. I liked the African actors in the film and was willing to go along with the hunter and his somewhat distracting phony English accent. But somehow, the film did not deliver what it could easily have delivered: action plus thought-provoking story about animal intelligence.
Magic Shadows (1974)
Another fond fan
I should add my name to the list of those with fond memories not only of Elwy Yost's "Saturday Night at the Movies" feature-length films and interviews, but also his serialized presentation of films during the week on TVO on Magic Shadows. Like others, that theme tune has stayed with me for decades now, and I wish I could hear it again. I never thought of the similarity with Lennon's Across the Universe till another writer suggested it. I like both.
Yost would sometimes go off site and interview outdoors as well as in his projection room. For me, Memorable films presented in this nightly segment format were The Thing (1951), The Brothers (1947), and The (Little) Kidnappers (1953). The end-of-week serials are what got me into the serial craze at this later point in my life, and I likely would not have known much about them without Yost. Particularly memorable for me were the Zorro serials.