Sunday, January 6, 2013

Virus (1999) Review:

Although many agree that films that use or recycle elements from successful previous franchises, end up not being entertaining or appealing, there are always a few that go against the grain. An example of those kinds of movies is like Leviathan (1989) and Screamers (1995). Well, Virus (1999) is not much different from those.

The movie is based off of a series Dark Horse comics written by Chuck Pfarrer in the early 90s. The story is about how the crew of a tugboat stumble upon an abandoned ship. Inside, they discover that an electrical alien lifeform has taken control of the ship and has been using parts of the ship and its crewmembers to create robotic creatures to do its dirty work. Now its up to the crew to figure out how to rid the ship of this "virus" before it docks on dry land and takes control of other computers. So it's like Alien (1979) mixed with The Terminator (1984), ok so? It is not like Universal Studios was trying to out match these films, each film must be treated for what its worth and not as who's better than the original.

The crew.....look at those reaction faces...XD
William Baldwin, horror heroine Jaime Lee Curtis, Donald Sutherland and Joanna Pacula are just of the few actors that star in this film. I'd say that not many of these characters were memorable, but they do share good sarcastic lines, quirky reaction faces and fierce retaliations. I did laugh a lot at the character of Capt. Robert Everton played by Sutherland. Even though it probably wasn't intended to be funny, Sutherland is able to make his character come out with deadpan lines and  a sadistic sense of humor.

My question is, how did any of these characters come together as one group in the script? Screenwriter Pfarrer wrote the dialog like they hated each other from the start. What kind of crew is that? I'm surprised anything was accomplished with how much bickering took place. However, this didn't happen all to often because soon they had to work together. Surprisingly, this is one of the things I didn't realize. It took about until half way before the pace started to increase and that may make viewers restless.

One of the robots they run into.....creepy no?
The gunfire and blood is there. The actual gore may be a bit low for gorehounds but it is still enjoyable. Not to mention there are also some "boo" moments too and that may catch audiences off guard even if most people won't find it frightening. Adding to the creepiness of the setting's atmosphere is composer Joel McNeely's orchestral score. It may not be extraordinarily inventive, but simplistically, it gets its point across in making the scenes work with the music to enhance the viewing experience.

Finally, I have to give the most credit to director John Bruno. To say the film didn't work because a visual effects supervisor was given a chance to direct doesn't mean squat. Bruno is a talented man and his ability to make Chuck Pfarrer's vision come to fruition was done professionally. One of the scenes I found the most astounding was the sweatshop room where two of the crew members run into an area where numerous amounts of robots are being made by robotic arms. It was done surprisingly well, almost too well because of how realistic it was. Bruno should be given more credit for this reason alone.

Like many other movies, Chuck Pfarrer's Dark Horse comic adaptation reuses elements from other movies. And although its story is not creative, it is still fun, especially for its special effects, cast members and musical score.

Points Earned --> 8:10

No comments:

Post a Comment