|Forget everything you think you know about this movie. It is good, but not|
because of the irreverence, rather in spite of it.
I have been looking forward to seeing this film for ages! Ever since I saw the trailers and heard the strapline of "the battle for Earth is gonna get Nazi" I just knew that I had to watch the film and the question was always "how many times?" It turns out that this question was one that I would not be allowed to answer myself and would, instead, be dictated to a small amount by a few factors: my family and the distributors.
Originally the release was slated for 20 April and I was really ready for it. Then it got put back but no one could say when until. First just "May" and then "the end of May". Reviews were not good. People slated it for having poor acting, clunky dialogue, slapstick humour and misunderstanding US foreign policy. People slated it for being a B Movie, for not trying hard enough to be a proper film and for trying too hard to say something different in the same review. It seemed it just made people angry about it.
|This quite accurately sums up the first half of the film but, boy, does it leave|
out the bits that make it a bloody good thing!
It was, therefore, with some trepidation that I spotted it was coming out for one day in the UK: 23 May. I arranged to go and see it but my work stuff was getting particularly bad and I wondered if I would even have the time. Then, on the Tuesday evening, gold! It was being shown a good few miles from where I live on the Friday as well. This had a number of advantages, one of which I shall discuss in another post, but the one that will impact us here was the the fact it was the last day of my exam classes and so I could have the entire evening and a weekend to get some sleep caught up before going back to work.
I had now seen the first four minutes of the film: flimsy acting, crappy CGI in places and a poor use of the green screen to create some great footage of space but decidedly less dimensions used in the characterisation. Dialogue was indeed stilted and the overall impact had left me wary. I was therefore somewhatr prepared to regret my decision to see this film.
There are poor sections of the film and it does miss the awesome nature of its premise. But not for the reasons I read so much about in reviews. Maybe I went in prepared for a film that wasn't a comedy, maybe I'm just the kind of person they were aiming the film at, but I enjoyed it. The plot was what kept me hooked in, from the very beginning it was clear to me that the people that made this film did so as a geekish labour of love. Every little detail had been lovingly crafted and everything in the backgrounds was there for a reason. The characters were old friends to the people that wrote the script and the people playing them had some inkling of this in the way they did the dialogue even when it got clunky. It reminded me of the love and attention that had been lavished on Fifth Element by Luc Besson.
|Awesome CGI. Needed an epsiode all of its own, along with ground troops|
and massive destruction across many characters. I think they planned that, looking
at how it was played in the film itself.
My chief criticism was that this was not a film. It needed to be a mini-series of around seven episodes, all about 45 minutes in length. Too much of the film happened 'off-screen'. Renate's awakening to what her Party actually was, for example, was a key moment and one that needed some time and attention devoted to it - they set that up, but they do not go into detail. One minute she's ready to learn and the next time we see her she already knows. There's the coup by Klaus, we see the culmination and we see the start but the plotting, which the writers clearly know in detail, was missing completely! Then there's the betrayal of the First Fleet, again, so much of that happens off screen that, although my brain filled in the missing bits well enough, I felt that I was missing what would make the film excellent.
The ending of the whole thing was clearly intended from the beginning and it was handled with grace and grim determination. Hollowed a little by the much vaunted meteorblitzkrieg and the devastation implied but never seen (another episode, easily) but still hard-hitting and carefully devised. If they had dropped the two slapstick sequences and the homage to Dr Strangelove then we would have had a very serious film that would not have been at all out of its depth with humorous touches. As it was, they tried too hard to make it a comedy. I want a mini-series. I want the DVD. I want the soundtrack (though sometimes I feel that they overdid that). Do I want to see it again on the big screen? Certainly, but not enough to make it happen in amongst everything else that will be launching in a week.
I recommend the film wholeheartedly, just be prepared for it to be like nothing you've seen in any of the reviews and to see it on its own merits!