Wednesday 25 July 2012

Y Sci Fi (2011)

Director: Martin Doyle
Stars: Peter Halpin, Hester Ruoff, Femi Houghton, Rebecca Keane and Roger Wright
This film was an official selection at the 8th annual International Horror & Sci-Fi Film Festival in Scottsdale in 2012. Here's an index to my reviews of 2012 films.
There's a lot in Y Sci Fi in the way of imagination, pure science fiction posed as questions by an unseen narrator. It posits that space, as Douglas Adams famously stated, is big, really big, and we're both tiny and relatively new in the grand scheme of things. So, if someone or something is really out there, what would it be like, beyond not being remotely like us? At least, it initially felt like a high concept science fiction piece, these questions addressing the definitions of concepts like time, scale, evolution and, most obviously, intelligence. Yet visually, it's a lot more generic. We're tasked with watching a trio of conspiciously diverse young adults being chased through a forest by mysterious lights in the sky. They only get throwaway dialogue because there's no real story to speak of, just the chase and some visual and creature effects to keep us interested until the narrator gets to his point. It's obvious that he's who we should be listening to.

We do play along for a little while, wondering what these aliens are going to look like when they come out from behind the lights and what they're doing. The lights are cool, beams that appear to have numbers within them. When the aliens arrive, they look interesting, not quite like we've seen elsewhere but with many similarities, both those running the show and the creatures they bring with them. I especially liked the effects as these creatures bounded through leaves. The early views of the aliens are well shot too, keeping suspense alive by bathing them in darkness or light. But, in the end, we realise that this isn't a science fiction short at all, not really. It's not here to ask questions, it's here to answer them and how it does that feels more like propaganda than science fiction. The fatal flaw isn't the message itself, which is valid, it's the fact that the message is the entire point and the film itself is nothing but a thirteen minute underline.

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