gozer: Made by Mary Crawford (Dalek Mice)
[personal profile] gozer
I have Syfy's Ferocious Planet, starring JFlan, on Tivo. I watched two minutes of it, then realized that when ComicbookMan gets home, I'll be forced to watch the movie all over again, so I stopped. I suspect a nice glass of wine & someone to snark it with should make it quite an enjoyable viewing experience.

MY REVIEW OF THE FIRST TWO MINUTES, NO SPOILERS (I mean, come on, it's only the first two minutes; how could I possibly spoil you, right?)

It felt like one of those made-for-TV movies from the late 70s/early 80s. It opens with stock footage of Washington DC and an establishing shot of the headquarters that the opening scenes are going to take place in. Industrious, very-important-background-music plays throughout the stock and establishing shots, the kind you'll remember from "The Six Million Dollar Man", "Buck Rogers", and/or The Planet of the Apes TV series. Or the original late-70s Battlestar Galactica when the crew and pilots would run around getting the Vipers ready to launch, remember that music? Let's call it "Official Srsly-SciFi" music. The mood is: THIS IS SERIOUS PENIS-RELATED BUSINESS, SCIFI FANS! PAY ATTENTIONS AND BE IMPRESSED!

Then we cut to a 60 second long intro of JFlan's character, Col. Sam Synn*, and it is very odd. We come upon him at his dusty, crappy desk, and it's shot head-on, from behind a set of shelves that appear to be on or in front of the desk. I know right? So weird! Plus, it's shot in a single take! Adding to the oddness is that the opening shots' background music doesn't fade out like you'd expect it to.

Let's break this down, music first. You'd get this on those old shows, too--they didn't have the time or cash to let their music-editor tailor the music to suit the mood of the scene, so the editor would just lay in a track of that Srsly-Scifi action music, and it wouldn't really comment on what was going on, it would just kinda *be* there throughout the scene. As was often seen in those cases, in this case the music was pretty much at-odds with the non-exciting, non-actiony things going on.

Flanigan's character's intro is a languid sixty-second-long take, medium close up, no edits, in which not a lot happens. I don't even want to spoil you guys to the extent of saying exactly what happens, but mostly he just futzes around his desk. The joy of it was that Flanigan kept making these Flan-faces, the sort of faces Sheppard used to make when he reacted to things that didn't please him but didn't make him homicidal. Oh, and he had the woven bracelet that his kid made him on his wrist. It's the one you always see him wearing in con photos and was hard to miss. I know the Flan loved to subvert the idea of the square-jawed action hero and sometimes made Sheppard very eccentric and weird, so the question is, is he doing it again here?

He stood up at one point and the camera followed him up to the next (dusty) shelf, then it drifted back down as he sat, always keeping his face in frame. It seems non-intuitive to start the film in this somnolent, non-actiony way, with the action movie-music playing, though I'm sure it saved money as they didn't have to set up the lights and cameras for various takes, making editing a snap. Very little to edit!

Please, please let this have been meant to be a retro-parody or salute to TV Movies Past.

I suspect Flanigan didn't take this film any more seriously than we ought to. I enjoyed (though was flummoxed by) the retro-silliness of the big two minutes I watched, I loved the scrunchy-faces, but could someone please get this man a TV series or something that we can all watch and enjoy and maybe take a little more seriously? Please? The tiny bit I saw reminded me why I thought he'd have been a fabulous Jim Rockford.



*And yes, he was very hot, even with the grumpy faces.



When I watch the rest of the movie, I'll do a real review.

June 2011

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