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Region 1 DVD Review

The Planet (Region 1 Edition)


Starring: Mike Mitchell, Patrick Wight, Scott Ironside and Shawn Paul Hastings
MTI Home Video
RRP: $24.95
Certificate: R
Available 10 June 2008

A group of mercenaries are forced to evacuate their dying spacecraft and find themselves stranded on a desolate, barren world Soon they discover that they are not alone, as they battle to survive they begin to fall prey to a malevolent force - a force that turns the souls of their fallen comrades against them. The group has to fight not only for their own survival, but also for the future of the entire universe...

The Planet is an independent British movie made on a shoestring budget and, to be perfectly honest, visually it looks like someone has sunk a serious amount of cash into it. By rights this movie shouldn't exist. The effects, in places, put much bigger movies to shame. But then in other scenes the effects don't look quite finished yet.

But, before I get carried away, in truth it's not a great movie in anything other than looks. The acting is pretty awful across the board - not helped by pretty ropey dialogue. The lines may have looked good on the page, but are almost impossible to deliver convincingly.

In fact, the only actor that seems to be half decent is Scott Ironside who, for the most part, turns in a pretty good performance. Mike Mitchell, as Captain Morgan, is so close to pulling off a believable performance that it's painful. Again, this is mainly down to a poor script - because every now and then he nails a line... only seconds later to deliver some awfully cliched dialogue.

As a whole, this film would have been greatly improved if someone had knocked the lumps out of the script - or at least sat down with the actors and discussed a way of delivering the general gist of each scene without sticking to the script so tightly.

A lot of the plot also makes no sense - the last third for starters. There are other points too, like why were all of the crew wearing camouflage gear? Are they coming from, and going to, a planet that was covered in plant life? And even if that is the case would they need to be camouflaged to transport the prisoner from the ship to his new holding area? And if not, then why camouflage at all? It's strange attire to wear on a ship.

Then there's the odd scene where the captain seems to be unfamiliar with old fashioned projectile weapons (a revolver to you and me). Surely as a captain he'd know what they were. It's a bit like saying a captain in today's navy doesn't know what a knife or a bow and arrow is.

The filmmakers also cross the line of action constantly - and I doubt it was intentional.

The music is also another sticking point. Sure, it's adequate for a low budget movie, but it adds nothing to the movie - other than to serve as an annoying distraction.

While this movie should be championed as a huge accomplishment, sadly I can't really recommend it. Maybe if there had been less dialogue (and I mean much less) and the production had concentrated on letting the characters do their jobs with hardly any talking, then this would have been a much better film.

At the end of the day, I'm torn between slating this movie for not having a very coherent story - therefore totally missing the point of being about entertaining others - and applauding what a remarkable job has been done with tuppence-ha'penny for a budget.

As I mentioned before, can't really recommend this as entertainment, but if you want to see how impressive homegrown computer animation can be, then technically this is great reference material.


Pete Boomer

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