Dont Forget

Dont Forget by Jeff Schwartzbauer


Sci-Fi December: Solaris (USA)

Solaris USA illustration by Jeff SchwartzbauerSolaris (USA) – 2002

Dir: Steven Soderbergh | Starring: George Clooney, Natascha McElhone, Jeremy Davis

Year: Not too distant Future

Review: The plot is the same as I had detailed in yesterdays review of the USSR film, and I am not positive if Soderbergh is re-making that film or is basing it off of the book, but I would assume its a remake since 2002 was the 30th anniversary of the Russian film. The main plot points are the same, however in this version of the story several things are glossed over and skipped altogether to advance the plot and get the Psychologist into space much faster than Tarkovsky’s telling. That portion of Tarkovsky’s film is one that could have used some trimming so its not an unwelcome change. However the rest of the film is where you’re going to have to decide for yourself the superior way to handle the drama of this situation. This version gives you a lot more explanation and flashbacks and drums in their exact feelings and intentions, while Tarkovsky wants you to read into things and is slower on peeling back the curtain and creates far more mystery and a haunting experience. Tarkovsky doesn’t implement much heart string pulling, and Soderbergh is much more willing to enter that area. Jeremy Davis is maybe the highlight performance from these two films and his character that overlaps with the Russian film is a tad more intriguing in this version. I enjoy and think its a worthwhile viewing and much more “fun” in the science fiction arena. However, watching them back to back, I would say Tarkovsky’s is a superior and a more satisfying experience.

Sci-Fi December: Abraxas – Guardian of the Universe

Abraxas illustration by Jeff SchwartzbauerAbraxas: Guardian of the Universe – 1990

Dir: Damian Lee | Starring: Jesse Ventura, Sven-Ole Thorsen, Jim Belushi

Year: 1990

Review: Abraxas (Jesse Ventura) is a 10,000 year old intergalactic policeman called a “Finder” who is hunting down another 10,000 year old “Finder” named Secundus who had has landed on Earth and impregnated a woman (wish his hands) who after a few minutes gives birth to some sort of ultimate being who is expected to grow up and answer the “Anti-Life Equation”.  Abraxas captures Secundus and banishes him to a prison planet, but then several years later Secundus escapes and returns to Earth to find his child, Abaraxas follows and hilarity ensues! This is a modern day B-Movie that has gained some notoriety as a cult film to be viewed for the sake of its awful dialogue, performances, and terrible plot. Every moment of conversation is painful to watch and since two of the main characters are trying their hardest to be the next Terminator everything just drags on and on. Ventura delivers his lines as if each word is being presented to him on its own individual cue card, plus, you know, its Jesse Ventura saying these things so you can imagine how much worse it is. The movie also seems to have been filmed in the late summer and then picked up after a blizzard occurred but is supposed to be taking place for a majority of the film within a few days. Every bit of action is these laboring fist fights with the camera about 2 feet away. The only moments where any sort of futuristic alien technology is used is via this robot voice that tells them things from their “Talk Box” in their arms, i.e. they will stick their arm into a car and the voice will say “I AM INSUFFICIENTLY CHARGED TO START THIS VEHICLE.” Meaning he needs to find some keys to start the car. There is a few intergalactic police managers who talk to Abraxas now again from what appears to be a cable access TV production studio with most of the lights turned off and every now again these is some wormhole travel that looks like recycled 2001 Space Odyssey footage. If none of that sounds like reason to watch there is also a special cameo appearance from comedy legend, Jim Belushi! He plays one of the single dumbest Elementary School Principals in cinematic history. So If you enjoy watching movies because of the errors and miscues this is right up your alley, its pretty funny.