Wednesday, May 7, 2008

Savage Planet (2006)



Or giant prehistoric bears, to be exact. And not very convincing ones, either.

I actually watched this awhile ago, and I'd've given it three-and-a-half stars. But since it definitely wasn't a FOUR star movie, three'll have to do.

The REASON I'd've given it three-and-a-half stars is not because the acting, effects, plot or filming deserved three-and-a-half stars, but because I thought - in spite of all these things being so blatantly sub-par - the movie had heart.

And by "heart" I mean that somebody - the actors, maybe a director and a crew member or two - decided they were gonna play it straight and play it hard and do what they could with what they'd been given (which wasn't much).

The actors' lines were insipid, but they were delivered earnestly; the special effects were laughable, but someone had worked hard to make them the least-laughable possible.

And besides, the film was unintentionally funny. I smiled a lot and laughed more than a little. That gives it points right there. Definitely low-grade B-Movie fodder, but... well, I kind of enjoyed myself with it.

It had all the cliche scenes for a teleport-across-space-and-time movie: the "Man Materializes Part Way Inside Tree" (or wall or ground or whatever) scene, the "I Can't Believe The Tech Gadget We Need To Get Home Is Busted" scene, and so on.

And the BEARS! Oh man, they were classic. It was stock footage (3 or 4 bear shots that the producer doubled by using them once and then reversing the film so bears could come in from opposite angles. Tricky.)

And there was, I think, one real bear on set, but it was kind of a short, overweight, friendly looking bear (think if I was a bear - it looked like that). When it growled and menaced the cast, it just looked like it was begging for a peanut.

Here's a little hoo-hah on the plot:
Planet Earth has been rendered inhabitable due to decades of toxic pollution and ecological disaster, and as a brave team of scientists venture out into space in search of a new home, they discover that the only habitable planet in range is home to a carnivorous, man-eating mutant. Mankind has abused their planet beyond the point of no repair, and now Mother Nature is wheezing out her final, strained death rattle. Perhaps if space explorers could just find a planet with a similar atmosphere to Earth, there would be hope for mankind yet. Upon landing on a planet lush with abundant foliage, it appears as if the human race will indeed continue on. But the deadly secret lurking just beneath this otherworldly paradise is enough to make their scorched home planet look like an island resort. Suddenly forced to choose between returning to a dying planet or fighting for their lives in the farthest reaches of space, the crew struggles to make a decision as the ranks begin to thin and hope starts to dwindle. ~ Jason Buchanan, All Movie Guide
It's funny 'cause that almost makes the movie sound kind of good.



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