May 12, 2009

Justify My Netflix: Android

(Like many Netflix customers, I too can get quite lax with the timely watching and returning of my movies, which of course defeats the entire purpose of having a flat-rate rental plan in the first place. To combat that, I am now writing standardized mini-reviews of each and every movie I end up watching through Netflix, both instantly and on DVD. Don't forget, all previous 'Justify My Netflix' reviews can be found on CCLaP's main movie page.)


Today's movie: Android, 1982 (IMDB | Netflix)

Why I added it to my queue: Because this is yet another of those so-called "forgotten cult classics" I'm such a sucker for, in this case an early-'80s science-fiction thriller concerning the limits of artificial intelligence. Because it stars Klaus Kinski, slumming it here near the end of his career; and I've been on a bit of a Klaus Kinski kick this year, after deciding to finally watch the half-dozen films he made with notorious German New Wave director Werner Herzog throughout the '70s and '80s.

The reality: So the more of these supposed forgotten cult "classics" I now watch (thanks mostly to the growing amount of them available through Netflix's "instant movie" service), the more I'm starting to realize that the vast majority of these films have been forgotten for a very good reason, with Android being no exception. Oh, sure, it has an intriguing premise at its core, which is why it still has passionate fans to this day -- Kinski plays a mad scientist out in space named Daniel, who has successfully created a working yet highly naive cyborg named Max 404 (Don Keith Opper, who also wrote this movie's script), and who is now working on a robot bride for himself, plans for which go all to hell when a group of violent fugitive space criminals show up, and Max finally meets his first live human female and promptly gets an android woody ('metaly?'). But unfortunately all of this gets heavily overshadowed by the almost non-existent budget for the production, back when special effects were prohibitively expensive to begin with, as well as the atrocious acting that invariably always seems to come with such low-budget films; because let's face it, when you're a SF filmmaker with very little money on your hands, if you don't start with an extra-smart script you're simply bound to get laughed right out of the theatre. (Take for example 2004's exquisite Primer, one of my favorite genre films of all time but that doesn't contain a single effects shot -- now that's how you do no-budget science-fiction.) Despite the breathless comparisons among fanboys at IMDB to the legitimate low-budget classic Dark Star, in actuality Android falls far short of being worth your time.

Strangest piece of trivia: Brie Howard, who plays the human woman Max goes crazy for, was at the time also the drummer of infamous early-'80s all-girl I.R.S. band American Girls.

If I had watched it when it first came out: It would've undoubtedly been during a midnight screening at a SF convention.

Worth your time? No no no no no

Filed by Jason Pettus at 10:38 AM, May 12, 2009. Filed under: Movies | Reviews |