Saturday, May 19, 2012

Aliens vs. Avatars (2011)

Like you all know I rarely review movies I dislike. Very rarely. And no, I don't dislike Lewis Schoenbrun's Aliens vs. Avatars either. The only thing I'm getting sad over is that we don't have this industry of cheap, silly, DTV movies in Europe. Not only would it generate more jobs inside the film industry - for actors, technicians and for bloggers to whine about - it also would create a much more fun environment for us creative's out there. AVA (which also is the name of one of the characters I realize now) probably didn't have much money at all, but they still have pros working in front and behind the camera. So what the hell is all this about? Let me give you the rundown...

A dangerous alien, a monster called Scythe crashes in some park area outside LA and the only one who can stop this creature is Ava, a blue-tanned female alien who transfers herself into the avatar of a human - see, if you do it the opposite way it can be really cheap! She also sends down a ROBOTAR (it's impossible to not write that name with small letters), a very old-school rocket-shooting robot who can kill the monster. In the middle of this is a gang of 35 year old-ish high school students who's out camping! And did I mention that this movie started with two women showing their boobs? Maybe not for me, but I'm sure a lot of other fans out there would like to know that. And yeah, that's it.

This is cheap. This is very cheap. I guess it's one of the cheapest movies I've seen recently. And I'm 100 % sure how funny it's supposed to be, because even if everything that happens in it is extremely absurd - most of the dialogue and actors are doing it completely straight. And yes, that might be why I actually found it entertaining. I never really cared for actors doing that whole twinkle-in-the-eye job when working in cheapie movies, I appreciate it them more if they do it seriously and doing what they can to make the story engaging. Amazingly enough it works here. Sure, the pre-credits are a bit ironic - with very simple computer graphics and corny music, and for a while I was afraid that was the actually special effects in the movie. But don't worry, the space-scenes that comes later are okay, seen worse.

What works less good is the practical effects, for example the monster-suit and the character of ROBOTAR. Here the low budget really shines through but also fits the corny atmosphere and gives the whole movie a playful feeling. It's not meant to take seriously, but the nudity and cheap gore makes it still more adult than the normal backyard-epics being produced all the time. The gore... it's primitive, but bloody. A nifty ripped-off arm gives us a lot of blood, so also poked-out eyes and no less than two decapitations (using the same fake-head I suspect). It could have used more. Why not toss in a group of scouts for the sequel?

My biggest complain is that ROBOTAR isn't in the movie more. Just the last couple of minutes. He's awesome - in rubbery, cheap, tacky way - and I could see him shoot rockets all day long. He needs to come back to the next epic from director Lewis Schoenbrun - or what the hell, give him his own franchise! I rather see him than Transformers.

Aliens vs. Avatars is a surprisingly entertaining cheapie. Way more charming than I expected it to be.

Now if someone can send me a screener of The Amazing Bulk...


Anonymous said...

"And did I mention that this movie started with two women showing their boobs?"

Sounds like my kind of movie.

"I never really cared for actors doing that whole twinkle-in-the-eye job when working in cheapie movies"

Well...I´m different...I always liked tongue in cheek type films.....different taste, that´s all.

Ninja Dixon said...

Well, that to me is a different thing. I mean actors who stars in silly movies and can't act seriously because they're afraid of embarrass themselves. I strongly believe that if the movie isn't suppose to be a comedy or parody or satire the actors should act like he/she always act, in a serious matter.

I have no problem with tongue-in-cheek movies :)

Anonymous said...

Ninja: Ok...yeah...when they are trying to distance from the film or the material...I get it.

Hollie said...

That Asylum company that releases all of those "When A Killer Calls" or "Transmorphers" or "Snakes on a Train" is almost as brilliant as Roger Corman when it comes to stretching your dollars and making money on films. While it's almost painful to sit through the movies, they're almost sort of fun.

Richard had to really butter me up and convince me to go see Avatar, he basically had to beg, if he wanted to watch Aliens vs Avatars on DVD, I probably wouldn't have put up much of a fight.