Monday, February 19, 2007

Planetfall (2005)

The worlds of sci-fi and the spaghetti western film collide in Planetfall, a new feature film being released by Heretic Films.

Two female bounty hunters compete to find a mysterious military crate on a war-torn planet. More parties become interested when it is discovered that the crate holds the last supply of an illicit psychic power enhancing drug Psylenol, which is to blame for the destruction of the planet. Can the two bounty hunters find the crate before it is used for evil?

When I received this film, I was intrigued…combining the swagger and Old West locations of a spaghetti western with sci-fi gadgets and action? Sounded pretty sweet to me! Unfortunately, what looks good on paper can turn into a big ol’ mess. Planetfall is chock full of great ideas, but they fall flat once on-screen.

The first problem is with the story. From the beginning it’s confusing and never gives a clear picture as to what’s going on. Sure, it’s easy enough once to figure out once the story gets going, but it’s less than cohesive. The story jumps around too much without clear transitions and lacks clarity. Some of the characters are introduced sloppily, so their motivations aren’t clear from the get-go. The characters themselves come off as underdeveloped and their backgrounds aren’t ever developed to their full potential. This lead to me not really caring about what happened to the characters, except for bounty hunter Wendy (Leitha Matz) who is a joy to watch on screen. She was spunky, funny and had a background that was more developed and gave her more depth than the other characters. Actress Leitha Matz delivers a stand out performance as Wendy, especially considering this was her first feature film. The rest of the acting ranges from just-plain-bad to mediocre, with most of the cast overacting.

It doesn’t aid the story that the special effects look horrible, even for a low budget production. The bad effects distract noticeably from the story and while I realize that low budget films don’t have the money for professional special effects work, you just don’t shoot something if you don’t have the budget to make it believable! Low budget filmmakers sometimes have to alter a script to make the budget fit, and that’s what Planetfall should have done. I was so busy grimacing at the videogame background the actors were plopped into that the story got lost in the bad special effects.

Planetfall started with some good ideas of mixing the genres of the spaghetti western with sci-fi, but unfortunately doesn’t succeed because of a disjointed story, bad acting and horrible special effects. It was just painful to watch so many good ideas be so horribly misused.

Available on Amazon!

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