Tuesday, December 18, 2012

Screamers (1995) Review:

It's hard for filmmakers to adapt stories to the screen, especially when they resemble stories that have been previously told. Turns out though director Christian Duguay evens out the story and though it still recalls other movies before its time, it still has elements in it that make it have a quality worth watching.

The story of Screamers is loosely based off of Second Variety, a short story written by Philip K. Dick, the novelist of Blade Runner (1982) and Total Recall (1990). Dick is a very prestigious science fiction writer. His work has multiple twists and it always was a pleasant read. I also read Second Variety and much of it was fairly close to this movie. I actually enjoyed the film adaptation more than the story itself.

Andrew Lauer (Jefferson) & Weller (Hendricksson) start
their latest mission
Peter Weller is Joseph A. Hendricksson, an eccentric commander of an alliance bunker located on a planet known as Sirius 6B. Years before on Earth, there was nuclear fallout between two major groups; the N.E.B. (New Economic Block) and alliance workers over a special mineral that could change energy usage for transportation. So the fighting was moved to Sirius 6B where there has been a "Cold War" ever since. For the alliance to defend themselves, they created the Autonomous Mobile Sword or better known as, the screamer.

The screamer is a mechanical life form that was equipped with a razor sharp blade so it could kill its enemy. But like all man made robots, they become self-aware and are now deciding for themselves who they should kill. Strangely enough, they are always updating their software, even making screamers that look like humans. So from there, audiences might make the connection of these traits between Skynet from The Terminator (1984), and characters not knowing who's real and who isn't from the novel Who Goes There, by John W. Campbell Jr.

But for those few relations, Screamers can hold it's own as an entertaining sci-fi horror movie. It does not contain a lot of blood but it can be very suspenseful. Weller's performances are always a welcome to the screen. His ability to make his character sarcastic as is serious is a great touch. Andrew Lauer plays a innocent rookie named Ace Jefferson who tags along Hendricksson to meet with the N.E.B. command. The N.E.B. group these two visit is lead by the lovely Jennifer Ruben as Jessica Hanson. And with her is Roy Dupuis, who looks like Matthew McConaughey's distant cousin, who likes bugging another soldier who has some serious patience issues.

One of the screamers seen above ground.....sure it resembles
a few other creature ideas but it's still cool
The special effects are definitely dated. And it's really obvious when the camera is focused on the screamer itself but hey, the creature looks cool enough to look at. I think the most baffling part is how the machine keep upgrading their models. It makes you wonder, “What’s going on down there”. The set design is also something to see. A lot of does have the same color like from the movie Soldier (1998) but it at least looks real. The backgrounds actually resemble Chernobyl; which is eerie. Normand Corbeil composed the soundtrack and it also another strong point. When Hedricksson runs into a homeless child, the music makes the scene so heartbreaking. It's emotional and soft on the ears.

The film variation of Second Variety does borough ideas from previous movies, but it's put together in such a way that it won't matter to the audience. The music is good and so is Weller's performance as a tired out war veteran.

Points Earned --> 9:10

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