Review: Interplanetary

Written by guest contributor Brian Roe

“Dying is easy. Comedy is hard.”

In the world of independent and low budget movies it is often far easier to create great horror effects than to create actual comedy. When someone tells you that “You’ve got to see this movie! It’s hilarious!” they’re usually talking about laughter at the expense of the filmmakers or actors, the magic difference between laughing with and laughing at. I found myself laughing quite a bit during Interplanetary, right along with it.

Interplanetary starts with a couple of schlubby spacemen entering a cave on Mars while having a discussion about a recently discovered native fossil. The timing of the scene while Ed (Nick Crawford) tries to convince Wil (Chuck Hartsell) of the importance of the find is a good start to things. Things get bad quickly for our two bubble-helmeted fellows as an unknown assailant comes in. The whole sequence, which take less than three minutes, sets up the overall themes of the movie as well as pointing out just what kind of people are currently living and working on Mars.

This is followed by a clever bit of exposition in the form of a 1950s style corporate training film called “Welcome To Mars Base Two” which again provides a quick burst of necessary technical background about the said base as well as providing some good site gags and forced, stilted acting of the kind found in the majority of industrial films.

Interplanetary Poster 0With these two bits of exposition to get things started Interplanetary goes right into its odd mix of corporate bureaucracy, ancient evil, and oddly unrestrained sexuality. There seems to be a lot of leeway when it comes to relationships in Mars Base 2 and the implication is that most people are willing to do anything, or anyone, to alleviate boredom.

Several of the characters are worthy of note. There’s Lisa (Mellisa Bush), the bureaucratic Facility Manager who is dangerously clueless about the reality that surrounds her and her overly eager to please Head of Security Kevin (Kevin S. Van Hyning), who crushes on her so badly that even being shoved into a closet at gunpoint seems to make him happy as long as he’s locked up with her. Kevin is a David Cross character if there ever was one, Van Hyning’s performance would have been right at home on an episode of Mr. Show.

There’s also Jackson, the pragmatic and tough cook, who seems to be the only person on the staff with any real concept of the situation the crew find themselves in. And his experiences with “The Texas Mafia” make him the go-to tough guy for Mars Base Two.

Overall Interplanetary is a fun little movie that outperforms its obviously small budget by keeping things in perspective. The majority of the performers are solid, the gore effects are well done, and the action scenes hold together. But the real joy of Interplanetary is the way it shares the feeling that most us wage-slaves have had about where we work and the people we work with. Gone are the days of astronauts as perfect human specimens, the Interplanetary Corporation seems happy enough to have some warm bodies that don’t ask for much and don’t take up too much space, and the banter between the Mars Base Two inhabitants will strike a familiar chord for anyone who’s ever worked a low paying, dead end gig.

Score: 3/5

Available on Amazon Instant Video

Director: Chance Shirley Studio: Shock-O-Rama Cinema Run Time: 83 mins