Films Within Films: Helix

What films are the denizens of Dimension X watching? Why do we think them so strange, when our own universe has hatched Howard the Duck. This week: The Anna Scott vehicle Horse & Hound gave 4 stars to (one deducted for lack of horses and hounds).

Stars: Anna Scott, Clarke Peters, Arturo Venegas, Mischa Barton
Genre: Science-fiction
Precis: A beautiful astronaut protects her mission from a psychopathic flesh-eating robot.
Review from Dimension X: Released at the height of Anna Scott's popularity and, more accurately, notoriety, this SF film doesn't quite know what it wants to be. Is it 2001: A Space Odyssey? Director Roger Michell tries hard to capture the aesthetic. Is it Alien? Screenwriter Richard Curtu evidently wrote it in that vein. The result wastes the talents of Arturo Venagras in a non-speaking role, and fetishistically leers at Scott as if she were an objet d'art.

But perhaps this reviewer is responding too harshly to the film's pretentiousness. The villain of the piece, a mechanical monster that, for whatever reason, eats human flesh is reflected in the spinning cuisinart designs of the spaceship called Helix, and meant to represent the threat faced by humanity as it goes out to the stars, relying on technology which may fail at any time. We get it, valiant try. Except it's been done before, and other clichés abound - the precocious child with all the answers, killing off a black character first... Science fiction needs to continually renew itself, not wallow in past traditions. Unfortunately, Helix fails to be that renewal.

Final rating: 2½ stars
Would see if it were made: Would probably go the way of After Earth and Oblivion, i.e. eventually agree to let Netflix play it in the background one day, maybe.


Andrew Gilbertson said...

No 'clips of it have filtered in via...' entry? Now you have me curious...

Siskoid said...

There's not enough of it to show on YouTube, so I neglected it. The source is Notting Hill. :)

Michael May said...

We're eye-to-eye on this one, too. Bring on the Henry James!


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