Tuesday, November 10, 2009

Outside of the Box

When I started this blog, I was intending on watching "good" and "important" movies. But lately I've been watching a lot of crappy sci-fi and horror. Whatever, it's my blog. I'll get around to watch some good movies eventually. In the meantime I picked up two films that are sort of throwbacks, modern movies in the style of old B thrillers.

The Lost Skeleton of Cadavera (2001) tells the story of a scientist who goes to a remote location to study a meteor said to contain high amounts of a rare element, atmospherium. An evil scientist wants to steal the meteor and use it to resurrect a skeleton and rule the world. Into the mix are a couple space aliens who need the atmospherium to repair their ship. Also, there is the matter of an escaped space mutant.

Lost Skeleton is less an hommage and more a spoof. The filmmakers went out of their way to recreate the cheezy props, bad acting, and awkward dialog. It is a screwball comedy with a B-movie premise. What they didn't recreate is the atmosphere of the old films. It was filmed digitally then the color was removed in post production. The end result looks nothing like an old movie. It was way too sharp. Also, there is something about how it was shot that makes it hard to confuse it with anything but a modern movie. I can't put my finger on it.

That said, it did have it's funny moments. The dinner scene was hilarious. My boys still hoot about it. The redundant and terse dialog was interesting, but was taken too far. It became an annoyance after a while. It was fun loving and funny and that made it worthwhile, but I wish it took itself a little more seriously. There is a sequel and I may see it.

Alien Trespass (2009) does take itself seriously. A scientist witnesses what is assumed to be a meteor crash and goes to investigate. Turns out it was a flying saucer. In the crash a space monster escapes and threatens the world. Wait, didn't I just hear something like that?

Clearly made with a larger budget, Alien Trespass is more entertaining, more visually appealing, and faithfully recreates the feel of an old Sci-Fi movie. The color was slightly washed out like the old technicolor movies. The sets were (for the most part) accurate and attractive. Great attention to detail.

The space ship commander (sort of a space-federal marshal) borrows the body of the scientist and goes hunting for the ghota. Some teenagers have seen the monster but the cops don't believe them. A diner lady thinks the scientist has flipped his wig, and nobody seems to know what is going on.

Clearly not breaking new ground, but it wasn't meant to. What it meant to do it did exactly. Pitch perfect. An old style Sci-Fi with an interesting story and enough hidden jokes for modern ears.

Rating these two, I'll give Lost Skeleton a 3.5 and Alien Trespass a 4.

No comments:

Post a Comment