Saturday, April 24, 2010

Earthling- He said

Texas director, Clay Liford, is a huge sci-fi nerd, as evident in his film, Earthling. As a festival favorite with much hype, it is the tale of a history teacher, Judith, who learns she might not be what she thinks she is. I had very high hopes for this movie, giving that I love sci-fi in all of their serious and campy iterations, and this movie did not disappoint, even if it has its weak points.

The movie starts with a shot of the spore making its way towards the International Space Station that contains three astronauts. When it gets closer to the station, you can see one of the astronauts Sean (Matt Socia) being affected greatly by it. We see that they managed to get the spore inside and quarantine it, but Sean ends up being the only survivor after the spore comes inside, and he returns to earth comatose. Thanks to a pulse sent by the spore, Judith crashes her car, where she loses her 13 week old. The movie shows Judith waking up and dealing with grief and changes she’s experiencing after the crash. All of this comes to head when she meets Abby, a strange new student that has an apparently been drawn to her and was also affected by the pulse. The movie proceeds to show Judith’s unraveling quest to find out more about herself and those newcomers in her life. I had high hopes for this to be Texas’s “District 9”, and even thought it comes close, it misses on a few key points.

You can tell that Liford is a great sci-fi nerd, and that passion comes off across on the screen in the story detail and performances. The story itself is familiar but, thanks to Liford‘s writing, feels new. I was impressed by Rebbeca Spence in her performance as Judith; her desperation and pain come across fantastically. But the star of this fim is Amelia Turner as Abby in an emotive and expressive performance. Knowing more than she lets on, Abby was a great source of intrigue and frustration. She would answer every question except the ones you really wanted to know.

Here’s where the movie runs into problems. The pacing was the most frustrating aspect. It became a loop of Judith being frustrated, asking Abby something, and then Judith freaking out over what she just learned. I feel that the movie’s 115 minute run time could have been cut down. Lastly, some of the special effects were slightly goofy to the point I thought it was an homage to a B movie; however, in the context of the movie, it feels cheap.

Overall, this is the best Texas based movie (apart from Skateland ) I’ve had the pleasure of seeing. The movie is not revolutionary but well deserved of the hype it has been receiving. Director Clay Liford has talent, ambition and enough imagination to keep on making interesting films for a long time, and I am proud to tell people he is a Texan.

No comments:

Post a Comment