November 20, 2007
Rated: unrated Runtime: 88 min Rating: 1 out of 5 stars
There seems to be a lot of television executives out there who operate on the simple rule that you never spend more on your original productions than they can bring in through ad revenues. This is a great idea, in theory, especially if you make your living as a bean counter. The problem is that if you cut your budgets significantly, your audience (or whats left of it) will notice and you will lose more of them…which means that you have to cut your budgets again…etc..etc..
This is, as best as I can tell, what happened with the Sci-Fi Channel. The good thing for them (or at least their bean counters) is that there is a small core of science fiction fan-freaks who will watch *anything* sci-fi. Once the budgets for their movies get down below the revenue generated by this small hardcore knot of sci-fi fandom, they can once again turn a profit.
Meanwhile, mainstream sci-fi fans everywhere have long since abandoned the network that once provided quality programming but that now can only offer horrific dreck on most nights. But, they’re turning a profit, right? That’s all that matters, right? Yes, but only if you’re a bean counter. Before I rant further, please note that I’m not including the Sci-Fi channel’s original series or mini-series here; just their movies. Despite some controversial decisions and even some budget tightening, their series offerings and mini-series are still pretty good, as a whole.
And thus we are lead to Manticore. This movie, for lack of a better (worse?) description, stinks worse than rancid, moldy horse piss. The bean-counters thought they’d be clever and grab up some actors from older, much loved sci-fi shows and movies and use them to draw us into their web of feces. Such sci-fi icons (sic) as Robert Beltran (Star Trek: Voyager), Chase Masterson (Star Trek: DS9) and Jeff Fahey (Lawnmower Man & a couple dozen other B-rate flicks) dazzle us with their uncanny ability to distract us from the horrible script and special effects by use of their abominable acting skills.
Oh, and lets not forget Heather Donahue, the snot-nosed (literally) girl from The Blair Witch Project. She’s probably the pick of the litter here, acting-wise, and I’m sad to say this is a low point for her after having done the much loved Spielberg mini-series Taken. I really liked her in that but here…not so much. But I’ve ranted enough and should talk about the movie now.
First of all, as alluded to above, the dialogue and the behavior of the characters was beyond bad. The ultimate example of this would be the TV reporter. One moment she is holed up in the back room of a building, terrified beyond belief of the monster thats running around. But then, when U.S. Army soldiers arrive, she suddenly springs into action and has an urge to accompany them as they go to face the monster even though she has seen what it can do and knows that they likely can’t kill it. Yeah, that’s what a real person would do.
The acting was even worse. You’d probably have to do a documentary about a factory that makes cigar store indians in order to get more wooden figures on the screen at once. And the special effects? Just horrible. The first time I saw the monster on screen, I half expected Wallace or Gromit to step out from behind a corner and throw a hunk of cheese at it.
I can’t really continue this review as I’m about to run out of all my hyperbole for awfulness. Just suffice to say that everything about this one is just really, really bad. Don’t watch it. Don’t buy it for anyone except your worst enemies…and even then if you’re sure they can’t trace it back to you.
Popularity: 59% [?]
Seen it? How many stars do you give it?