ABC Film Challenge – Sci-Fi – L – Lifeforce (1985)

Director: Tobe Hooper

Writer: Dan O’Bannon, Don Jakoby (Screenplay) Colin Wilson (Novel)

Starring: Steve Railsback, Peter Firth, Frank Finlay, Mathilda May, Patrick Stewart, Michael Gothard

 

Plot: A race of space vampires arrive in London and infect the populace.


Tagline – In the blink of an eye, the terror begins.

Runtime: 1 Hour 56 Minutes

 

There may be spoilers the rest of the review

 

Verdict: Clever Sci-Fi Film

 

Story: Lifeforce starts when an international space mission to research Halley’s comet finds a mysterious artificial object, they investigate finding three human like bodies around bats, bringing the bodies back Dr Bukovsky (Gothard) unintentionally lets the female space girl (May) escape the facility.

With the girl on the loose and bodies starting to pile up Col Caine (Firth) and returning from space Col Carlsen (Railsback) must race to stop her spreading the infection around London.

 

Thoughts on Lifeforce

 

Characters – Col Carlsen is one of the astronauts that located the strange vessel in space, the lone survivor from the mission and tormented by the events, though eager to make sure he stops what she has spreading. Col Caine is bought into finding out what is going on and cleaning it up before it is too late, he must work with Carlsen which shows the difference between the two as he is calmer in the investigation. Dr Fallada and Dr Bukovsky are both trying to solve the case from a medical standpoint both learning from each incident that happens. The Space Girl is the gorgeous woman from space that uses her beauty to seduce the men into giving them her lifeforce.

PerformancesThe performances in the film are good throughout, Steve Railsback shows the panic required and Peter Firth keeps everything looking calm through the film. Mathilda May looks stunning in her role which mostly revolves around her walking around naked for most of her screen time. An early role from Patrick Stewart is nice to see here too.

StoryThe story follows the idea that man had been enter space and never knowing what was out there, this plays into the horrors of what we could find in space, a virus, an infection and species that could take over our lives. We ask the question, ‘what would happen if we bought it back?’ this obviously shows the worst case scenario and one scientist would warn people about. The story keeps everything feeling interesting as the truth comes out and by the end of the film you will also be happy to have the conversation about space travel.

Action/Horror/Mystery/Sci-FiThe action in the film comes from the chaos caused trying to contain the spread, which is military style. The horror comes from what the vampires do when they suck the lifeforce out of their victims, this is a wonderful set of scenes to watch. The mystery keeps us guessing to what the main intentions the vampire shave by coming to Earth, we watch as this is getting solve through the film. the sci-fi side of the film explores the ideas that we could find unknown threats in space that cause chaos back on Earth as we continue to learn about the space around us.

SettingsThe film is set in and around London which is nice for the horror scene, we see iconic location destroyed too.

Special EffectsThe practical effects are wonderful as they look like a blink of an eye to where things go, the CGI moments are not the best though.


Scene of the Movie –
The effects between the mummified sides.

That Moment That Annoyed Me The end does feel rushed.

Final ThoughtsThis is a clever sci-fi movie that shows the weaknesses in going into space which could bring horrors to Earth, the effects are wonderful, and the acting is strong throughout.

 

Overall: Sci-Fi film for fans of the genre.

Rating

 

 

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David Lynch Weekend – Dune (1984)

Director: David Lynch

Writer: David Lynch (Screenplay) Frank Herbert (Novel)

Starring: Kyle MacLachlan, Virginia Madsen, Francesca Annis, Sean Young, Sting, Everett McGill, Patrick Stewart, Max von Sydow

 

Plot: A Duke’s son leads desert warriors against the galactic emperor and his father’s evil nemesis when they assassinate his father and free their desert world from the emperor’s rule.


Tagline – You are about to enter a world where the unexpected, the unknown, and the unbelievable meet.

Runtime: 2 Hours 17 Minutes

 

There may be spoilers the rest of the review

 

Verdict: Ambitious Sci-Fi Film

 

Story: Dune starts as we learn about a single planet in the universe which contains a substance known as ‘Spice’ which is the most important item in the universe as it aids in space travel, four planets have plans to take control of the planet but the residents of the planet that remain a mystery to all.

Paul Atreides (MacLachlan) becomes the key to the peace between the planets, he heads to the planet after preparing for every known obstacle that could get in his way. The evil Baron Vladimir Harkonnen (McMillan) is planning to kill the Duke, Paul’s father and take control of Dune, can Paul fulfil his destiny and be the one to protect and save the people from this evil ruler.

 

Thoughts on Dune

 

Characters – Paul Atreides is our hero, he is the son of the Duke of the family that run by the planet of Dune, he is learning about the secrets of the planet and becomes the one person that can lead the defence from the enemy waiting to take over the planet, ending the peace. Doctor Kynes is he man that understands how the planet works, one of the resident of the planet, but he does understand how to make the best of the spice. Feyd Rautha is one of the generals set to kill the Atreides’ by Baron Harkonnen, he has swagger while enjoying the kill. Lady Jessica is the mother of Paul, she has the power of controlling minds even though she has gone against the desires of the family by having a son. Gurney Halleck is the man that has trained Paul in combat for years preparing him for any enemy attacks he may face.

PerformancesThe performances here work for the film Kyle MacLachlan is the leading performer and makes for a good leader in the film, the rest of the cast do embrace their characters well without looking out of place.

StoryThe story does give us a lot to take in during the first hour, we must learn who is on whose side, what their plans are and just how big the world we are entering is. This can take time to process which does make for a weaker start to the movie. The second half of the film does become a battle preparation which is a lot more interesting even if a large portion is set in montage scenes. This does feel like a story that needed more time to make it easier to follow, but for a one off viewing you can see the confusion placed on parts of the film.

Action/Adventure/Sci-FiThe action side of the film comes from the battle sequences which are highly sci-fi based with the laser guns and explosion, this is an easy part of the film to watch. Diving further into the sci-fi side of the film we have an intergalactic battle for the rule of a planet which holds the key to everything.

SettingsThe settings put us on the planet of Dune, it shows us the bleak vision of the planet but the importance of what it holds.

Special EffectsThe effects for the time would have been great, while they have dated they are worth praising for how they re-defined cinema.


Scene of the Movie –
Taming the Worm.

That Moment That Annoyed Me There is a lot to take in.

Final ThoughtsThis is a sci-fi film with ambitious that is just too much for the ideas behind everything. this is a film that can be enjoyed unless you have read the source material where you might feel disappointed.

 

Overall: Sci-fi ambitious not reaching the levels.

Rating

 

 

Vintage Franchise – Star Trek IX: Insurrection (1998)

Director: Jonathan Frakes

Writer: Rick Berman, Michael Piller (Screenplay) Gene Roddenberry (Characters)

Starring: Patrick Stewart, Jonathan Frakes, Brent Spiner, LeVar Burton, Michael Dorn, F Murray Abraham, Donna Murphy

 

Plot: When the crew of the Enterprise learn of a Federation conspiracy against the inhabitants of a unique planet, Captain Picard begins an open rebellion.

 

There may be spoilers the rest of the review

 

Verdict: Best of the New Generation Films

 

Story: Star Trek: Insurrection starts as Data (Spiner) goes rogue against the Federation who are monitoring a seemingly primitive group of humans on an unknown planet, Picard (Stewart) must take the Enterprise to this planet to solve Data’s problem only to learn the planet knows and has travelled the universe.

When Picard investigates Data’s malfunction more he learns that Admiral Dougherty (Zerbe) and Ru’Afo (Abraham) have plans for the planet and the people living on it, leaving Picard to rebel against the Federation.

 

Thoughts on Star Trek: Insurrection

 

Characters – Picard continues to be strong leader who challenges his authority while defending his crew and the rights of the people on the planet from Federation law. Data uses his programming to make himself a threat to the Federation showing his loyalty to Picard. Ru’afo is the leader that wants control of the planet because of what the planet possesses and he will do what he wants to make it possible to work with the Federation.

PerformanceThe performances across the board are the best from the main cast of the crew in the franchise to date with the addition performances all coming off good through the film.

StoryThis is the first of the new generation Star Trek films that follows the characters on an adventure which feels original and not part of the television series, this helps us enjoy this movie because it shows our trusted crew doing the right thing, defend the peace in the galaxy from a new threat. The story also feels like what the point of Star Trek would be, to go in peace to new worlds to defend the people on the planet.

Adventure/Mystery/Sci-FiThe adventure part of this story brings our crew to a new world, one that is off the grid in a battle against the people they are meant to be working with, which brings us to the mystery which circles around just what is going on with the two sides interested in the planet.

SettingsThe settings show us just what the Federation will fight for, they have the technology in their ships but the peaceful planet is what the people want.

Special EffectsThe practical effects used through the film are good but the CGI ones end up looking cheaper than they were.

Scene of the Movie – Magic trick.

That Moment That Annoyed Me We lack the use of the supporting crew enough in this film.

Final ThoughtsThis is easily the best of the next generations film, it has an original story that feels like a movie over an extended television moment which the previous films have felt like so far.

 

Overall: Entertaining addition to the franchise.

Rating

 

 

Vintage Franchise – Star Trek VIII: First Contact (1996)

Director: Jonathan Frakes

Writer: Rick Berman, Brannon Braga, Ronald D Moore (Screenplay) Gene Roddenberry (Characters)

Starring: Patrick Stewart, Jonathan Frakes, Brent Spiner, LeVar Burton, Michael Dorn, Gates McFadden, James Cromwell, Alice Krige

 

Plot: The Borg travel back in time intent on preventing Earth’s first contact with an alien species. Captain Picard and his crew pursue them to ensure that Zefram Cochrane makes his maiden flight reaching warp speed.

 

There may be spoilers the rest of the review

 

Verdict: Struggles to Make Impact

 

Story: Star Trek: First Contact starts as Picard (Stewart) is having nightmares of being capture by the Borg (This must have happened in the television show, so I have no idea), this stops him going into battle against the Borg but like all Enterprise captains he goes against these orders finding the ship going back in time following a Borg vessel that has changed the past.

The Enterprise crew goes back in time to the time before First Contact by Zefram Cochran (Cromwell) is made before the Borg Queen (Krige) destroy the moment and take over the Earth.

 

Thoughts on Star Trek: First Contact

 

Characters – Picard is haunted by his past having been captured by the Borg on the television show, he must lead his crew in a mission which needs to stop the change of human history. Borg Queen is the leader of the Borg, they all work for her with her power and now she wants to take out human history before they can get into the space race. Zefram Cochran is the man who made intergalactic travel possible and makes first contact with the Vulcans, he turns out to be a drunk and the crew must work to get him ready for this mission.

PerformancePatrick Stewart did become a good captain and easily people’s favourite and it shows why here, Alice Krige brings us a villain which works well while Cromwell seems to enjoy being the drunken history maker.

StoryThe story here gives us a chance to see how the first contact happened which is nice to see, but the problems in the story comes from bringing in an established villain that has a past with Picard which was a problem for last film too. We have the same peril you would come to know but mostly just entertaining for the fans of the television show.

Adventure/Mystery/Sci-FiThe adventure takes out crew back in time, which is what has worked before in the franchise, the sci-fi comes from the idea of time travel because saving humanity is what the Enterprise does.

SettingsThe settings are disappointing mostly, we have the ship and random location in the woods on Earth, we don’t get somewhere to fight for and the Enterprise gets destroyed yet again.

Special EffectsThe effects do continue to improve through the film with the Borg looks terrifying at times.

Scene of the Movie – The Borg Queen introduction.

That Moment That Annoyed Me We don’t know the back story for Picard and the Borgs enough.

Final ThoughtsIf you were a fan of the television show you will find yourself enjoying this one because you need to know some of the back story but as a singular sci-fi film it is fine.

 

Overall: Simple Franchise filler.

Rating

 

 

Vintage Franchise – Star Trek VII: Generations (1994)

Director: David Carson

Writer: Rick Berman, Ronald D Moore, Brannon Braga (Screenplay) Gene Roddenberry (Characters)

Starring: Patrick Stewart, Jonathan Frakes, Brent Spiner, Malcol McDowell, William Shatner, Michael Dorn, LeVar Burton

 

Plot: Captain Picard, with the help of long presumed dead Captain Kirk, must stop a madman willing to murder on a planetary scale in order to enter an energy ribbon.

 

There may be spoilers the rest of the review

 

Verdict: Entertaining But Confusing

 

Story: Star Trek Generations starts when the Enterprise is having its first outing without Kirk (Shatner) as the captain, he is there as a guest for the grand launch along with the press who take the ship on a small galaxy tour only to find themselves needing to respond to an emergency call, do the best he can Kirk saves the day but is believed to have been killed in the incident.

78 years later, Picard (Stewart) is now captain of the Enterprise with his new crew including Riker or Number One (Frakes), Data (Spiner), Geordi (Burton) Worf (Dorn) and Beverly (McFadden) who answer another distress call from Soran (McDowell) a survivor from the opening incident. Soran has a plan to destroy a star to head back to Nexus a place where his people were taken from and only Picard must stop him from cause a devastating effect on the galaxy.

 

Thoughts on Star Trek Generations

 

Characters – Picard is now the captain of the enterprise, he is less flamboyant that Kirk but equally as strong in a leader role, but the problem with everything involved Picard and his crew is that unless you have seen the series most elements just seem to be continuing life aspects we learnt from them. Kirk only gets involved in the opening and final moments of the film, this gives us a chance to see the big leaders a chance to be on screen together. Soran does seem to become the most intense villain since Khan, he is a broken man wanting his peace in life but it will cost millions of lives to get.

PerformanceThe performances from Stewart and the rest of the crew are good even if Brent Spiner is trying too hard for comedy. Malcolm McDowell makes for a good villain with a constant look of menace in his eyes through the film.

StoryThe story does feel like an extension of the Voyager television show, we have the new established crew taking on a villain who wants to put his personal gain over the lives of the many. The idea works fine if you are a fan of the television show but if you have never seen the show you will be left wondering why Data acts the way he does, why suddenly Picard has a family he is caring about and a few other dynamics between the crew.

Adventure/Mystery/Sci-FiThe adventure the crew goes on does take the crew to a new species of aliens in the galaxy to save but otherwise it is more of the same, the mystery comes from what Soran wants from the Enterprise crew and his great plan in the mission.

SettingsThe settings once again offer us nothing new, spaceship and dusty planet, been here seen this.

Special EffectsThe effects have improved since the last outing and actually look like part of a sci-fi film now.

Scene of the Movie – The Nexus vision for Picard.

That Moment That Annoyed Me Not understanding the characters personal backstory.

Final ThoughtsThis is a good addition to the franchise that is mostly for the hardcore fans of the show and films though.

 

Overall: Clash of captains worth watching.

Rating