Friday, August 5, 2011

Interplanetary (2008)

I usually tend to tip my hat when a horror comedy movie tries something different. In Chance ("Hide and Creep") Shirley's "Interplanetary", the usual broad, over the top humor that pervades no-budget films like this, instead going sticking largely with a more dry, observant humor. Does it work? Well...sometimes, though the end result is a movie that should have been better.

In Mars Base 2 (technically, it's Mars Base One, but the company decided to change the name), strange goings on occur after Martian fossils are discovered. Now, the crew and scientists working are faced with something worse than the usual office politics...

Though it sounds like it, "Interplanetary" isn't exactly "The Office" or "Office Space" set in space with a murderous being. It comes close at times, but the movie is more of a social satire than an office comedy, with rips on the nature of corrupt corporations, clueless political maneuvering and what Science can (and sometimes maybe shouldn't) do. The low budget effects present actually help, making the movie look at times like a 16mm version of those old Sci-Fi shows from the 60's. The humor is also sometimes funny, with amusing gags (profanity filters in the spacesuits) managing to keep the audience laughing. Oh, and I really like the retro-tastic score, which perfectly evokes the likes of John Carpenter's "Dark Star" (which is clearly the main influence.)

At the same time, the movie suffers some serious pacing issues, with moments that are either supposed to be funny failing or at worst ending up being boring. Also, the sexual humor falls flat, as gags revolving around a slutty worker and sex toys are meant to tickle the funny bone, but they don't. They just annoyed me. Then there's the fact that nothing seriously bad happens until nearing the conclusion. I'm usually all for movies that make you wait, but there's nothing here that's really menacing. As the cliche goes, mixing the comedic with the horrific is hard, but when nothing is horrific and the humor sometimes faulters, the viewer may find themselves being frustrated.

As a whole, I'm 50/50 on "Interplanetary." It's available on Netflix streaming, and it's worth watching some of it during a slow day, but don't be shocked if it doesn't win you over at the end.

Rating: 5/10

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