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If you love movies for movies' sake, then you must tremble with joy when you get to see something creative, simple and so honest, even if the work in itself is technically imperfect due to a micro budget. You are left wondering what the film could have been like with an adequate budget and how Hollywood can keep churning out so many $80M pieces of poo. I felt like that recently with films such as Savage Island, Jesus Christ, Vampire Hunter or Coronado. In all those cases, the lack of any meaningful budget is compensated for with a big heart and an obvious love for film making.
Except for the critically acclaimed Aki Kaurismäki, Finland has not been really known for its great movies. But Samuli Torssonen, born in Finland in 1979, had a dream. Since the early 90's, barely a teenager, he had been playing around making short spoofs of Star Trek. Between 1992 and 2000, he made 6 of those Star Wreck shorts. Then one day, he decided to start a big adventure and make a full length movie. After 7 years of production, and a continual feel of "we'll be done within 6 months", the movie finally came out in 2005. The result put Finland back on the map so to speak, with a very successful film.
Captain James B. Pirk (Samuli Torssonen himself), Info (Antti Satama) and Commander Dwarf (Timo Vuorensola who also directed the film) found themselves stranded on Earth, present time, after a botched time-travel mission. They lost their crew, and do not know where their ship is anymore. Life is not good. Dwarf works in a small-time hot-dog stand, and Pirk is stuffing himself with hamburgers. Info's whereabouts are unknown. The timeline being wrecked beyond repair, Pirk decides to take fate into his own hands. He finds out that the Russians have the ship, makes a deal, pulls the fleet back together and takes over as emperor of the world. But the people of earth are not happy. Famine and over-population are on everybody's mind and so Pirk decides to go explore the universe and expand humanity's reach into space. But there, he finds himself facing an unknown ennemy, the inhabitants of the Babel 13 space station (a spoof on the Babylon 5 sci-fi series) and all hell breaks loose.
This film is so light-hearted while at the same time poking fun at the sci-fi genre without any respite and making some rather cynical comments about our society. The only way i can describe this film is by calling it a goofy sci-fi dark comedy spoof. The writing is really good,with laugh-out-loud moments and inside jokes for all Star Trek and Babylon 5 fans. In the more serious moments, the film also fares surprisingly well, with battle scenes that are a fan's dream come true. There is amplitude, tension, great action, and it goes on for more than 30 seconds. The cast is also very good with moments that are bound to become classic. Timing, eyes, expressions all work so well most of the time. Technically, the cinematography really shines, with great visual effects for this budget. On a small TV screen, i really couldn't tell the difference with big budget films. However, as soon as iplayed the movie on my projector, i could see the lack of resolution and some of the artifacts. It wasn't enough to distract from enjoying the movie though because of all the other elements that made it so much fun. Finally, the music is also really good.
One cool thing about this movie is that you can actually download a DIVX version of it completely legally on the Star Wreck Home Page. You can also buy the DVD which obviously will deliver a better quality. You can also get more information on Wikipedia here and here. This is a fun movie, that ended up being done in a completely credible way, with great humor, creativity and a genuine love for films and Sci-Fi. If you like sci-fi, like the Star Trek franchise and have a good sense of humor, download this film and give it a try. you'll have a good time.
- Laurent Hasson