Thursday, October 23, 2008


My foray into the Toronto After Dark Film Festival continues. Last night saw me watching The Mutant Chronicles, starring Thomas Jane and Ron Perlman. Devon Aoki (Miho from Sin City) and John Malkovich were in there too.

First though, the short that preceeded it - Laser Ghosts 2: Return to Laser Cove. Done in faux-trailer style, it was about 10 types of awesome. You can watch it here. It's ultra-low budget, punny as hell, and ridiculous to the nth degree. They take every cheapo early 90's sci-fi concept and use it in 9 minutes. Mucho laughter.

The same cannot be said about The Mutant Chronicles. Based on a pen-and-paper RPG (and tabletop game, and comic books), it couldn't have been more derivative. As my buddy said, "they tried to be 7 different movies." A steampunk/WWII/sci-fi backdrop set 700 years in the future. The world is controlled by 4 corporations, constantly at war. An alien machine once turned a lot of humans into mutants, some guy sealed the machine, and now thousands of years later, war has broken the seal. The order of monks who know of the machine assemble a small team to go and destroy it. World is in danger, team gets assembled, violence ensues.

Except they didn't quite know what they wanted to do. A full half of the movie is spent showing the war, the recruitment, and the explanation. Then they head off, head into a ruined city, talk about faith, and then enter the tunnels. At this point I'm thinking "how long is this movie? It's 90 minutes in and they haven't reached the underground part yet." Then they cut to what seems to be the home stretch, people die, a battle is fought. Then they're at the machine, there are random fire spurts from random moving platforms, and more fighting. The end.

Here's the thing. Each piece individually was pretty well done, but they didn't work well together. They tried to cram too much in. The film was visually interesting - think Sky Captain and the World of Tomorrow with colour and a brown overtone to make it post-apocalyptic and steampunk-futurish. There were odd anachronisms like coal-powered spaceships. 700 years, massive corporations constantly at war, and they're at the same level of technology we are except for the space travel thing, which is powered by guys in a furnace room?? Okay then.

Tonight is Tokyo Gore Police, a BLOODY, violent, ridiculous piece of Japan gore that promises to be at least amusing. Wish me luck.

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