Tuesday, October 19, 2004


* (out of four)
Seen 17 October 2004 at the Brattle Theater (Boston Fantastic Film Festival; projected video?)

One hopes the Sci-Fi channel doesn't give much consideration to how Darklight fared on Sunday when weighing their future sponsorship of the Boston Fantastic Film Festival, because (A) there were, by my count, three of us there and (B) we didn't much like it. Well, okay, I can't speak for the other two, but the lack of any sort of visible reaction other than getting up for a bathroom break certainly suggests a lack of affection.

Now, I suppose I could write this review by going to the IMDB's entry for this movie and simply running down the list of everyone involved, saying how each and every one of them did poor work. But what good end does that serve? Writer/director Bill Platt is unlikely to come upon this review and think "God, I suck. I honestly thought I was producing a quality movie but now I see that I'm a complete hack!" And that wouldn't even necessarily be true; it's his first feature-length movie - the title of "hack" requires a certain consistency of output.

I would, instead, like to remind my brother Matthew, currently studying theater at Northeastern University, that if he, in five or ten years, has the opportunity to take a role on a sci-fi series, he should turn it down. Even if it's a case where some studio has offered me a chance to produce my interplanetary freighter series and a little nepotism would put food on the table, remember - nobody remembers the acting from those shows, so you'll just wind up with what is effectively a hole in your resumé, and you'll wind up either on the convention circuit or taking roles in low-budget half-baked Sci-Fi Channel/direct-to-video crap, and that will just prolong the situation, won't it?

I mean, look at the cast for Darklight - Shiri Appleby (Roswell), Richard Burgi (The Sentinel), and John de Lancie (Star Trek, Legend) all are familiar faces to sci-fi fans, yet here they are, in Bulgaria, reciting dialog like "what do you know about biblical curses?", showing no indication of the charisma that at one point made someone at a major communications company say "yes, people will want to tune in to see this person every week." They just seem resigned to B-movies, and it's sad. I get it - I've had situations where I'm not particularly fond of my choices for my next job or roommate, but the rent needs paying. But to just put it on national television - "I had no better options than Darklight during the summer of 2003" - has to be humiliating.

At some point, someone should have said "hey, I kind of like the whole 'ancient evil is captured and turned into a force for good' plotline, but shouldn't there be a scene in here about just exactly how this 'The Faith' group was able to brainwash Lilith?" Or "you're sort of implying end-of-the-world stuff here, but I'm not getting any sense of scale". Or even "does this whole longevity research thing make any sense whatsoever?"

Some might say that my disgust at this movie is a waste of energy. It's just a TV-movie, after all. But then again, so was Duel, and that movie's director managed to get himself noticed based in part on his work there; Tommy Lee Jones opened eyes with The Executioner's Song. There's never any excuse for doing less than your best.

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