Saturday, July 19, 2008

War Of The Robots

War of the Robots is a touching tale of how power corrupts, virtue and honor triumph over evil, true love prevails and in the future everything will look terribly unrealistic and everyone will wear one piece jump suits for no reason.

Since this film was made in 1978 I'm going to make sure I don't dwell on poor quality special effects, since it was most likely beyond the filmmakers capabilities to do better, and instead I'll focus on the shit acting, poor script and abysmally vomit-inducing camera work.
Actually fuck it, I couldn't help but get caught up in the shit effects. They used the exact same (shitty) shot of a (shitty) model floating around in (shitty looking unrealistic) space about 500 times.
Did they only have the budget to fling the model through their shit space-colored backdrop once?
Couldn't they have done it a few times and shot it from different angles to change things up a little bit?
Would it have been too much to ask for them to just not show the ship at all?

Anyway... I guess the special effects aren't what makes a movie truly bad... what does that is a ridiculous plot that doesn't make any sense.

Basically what happens is a ship full of, what must be the deep-space future version of, electrical repairmen is sent off to get a satellite up and running again but when they get there the creepy (evil) scientist who was living there has inexplicably been kidnapped by Nazis from space.
Rather than just forget about it and go home, this hapless bunch of repairmen set about to try and rescue him only to find themselves confronted by a planet full of the space Nazis.

Science Fiction shenanigans ensue.

Science Fiction writers ought to be about a million times more careful with their stories than any other kind of writer because I, for one, and I'm sure I'm not the only one, can't help but pick through any and all flaws that the film may contain...
Yes, there are the usual dumb ideas that somehow mans advancement will lead him to believe that laser guns will somehow be more effective and commonly used than regular projectile weapons and the misconception that somewhere along man's evolution he will lose sense of fashion altogether so that everyone in the known galaxy is wearing exactly the same outfit. Usually overly laden with needless shoulder pads, turtle necked tops and sparkly bits. And let's not forget the military issue low-cut model for the better looking among the female crew members.

No, what I couldn't get past in this film were the following disastrous points.

Directions - They kept using the directions North, South, East and West in space. Surely even someone with the most basic of knowledge of... well, anything, would be able to realize with just a minor amount of thought that these directions pertain to relative directions on Earth! (Or presumably any other planet) But in the reaches of deep space saying "The enemy is 1000 miles North of us commander." is about as useful as a condom dispenser in a nunnery.

Lasers - lasers will not become weapons in the future. Maybe in space battles they'd become useful, but even still doubtful. This is a point that bugs me in any sci-fi movies though, of course but in this movie the thoughts were exasperated when one hapless character was trying to man the laser guns from the ship (This hapless character, by the way, has lived in a cave with no light or any signs of civilisation up until the moment about 15 minutes prior that he was picked up by the ship, so why they were having him man the weapons was completely beyond me.) but was having no luck hitting anything. "I'm fed up!" he declared like a 10 year old brat, somehow forgetting he's in the middle of an epic space battle, and was told by the head honcho guy to "Aim a little in front of your target and you'll do better!". Wise advice if you're firing a fucking regular gun but, surprise, lasers travel at light speed, I dunno if you know how fast that is but it's pretty fucking amazingly so-fast-you-don't-need-worry-unless-your-a-gazillion-million-trillion-miles-from-your-target fast. What? If you're going to use lasers as weapons in your shitty sci-fi film, at least check into what a laser is and how it might function.

Gravity - a quick Gravity lesson. The bigger something is, the more gravity it has. If we step on any surface that's a lot larger or smaller than the Earth we're likely to notice the effects of this by either being crushed into a puddle or floating away as soon as we try and leap out of our space craft. But no, somehow even when on an insignificant asteroid (Which somehow sustains a small population of freaks) everything is just tickity-boo. No problems breathing or remaining on the ground. Amazing!

Texan Accent Guy - There was this one guy who was declared as coming from Texas in the film. I have no idea why, because it was never a plot point of any kind. He didn't save the day by rounding up cattle or successfully landing them in his ranch that he knew like the back of his hand. He didn't even have any sort of Texan sensibilities. Whatever they might be. So you may think that it was only brought up to explain some poor actors uncontroloably strong Texas accent! That would make sense! But no! The actor was so unbelievably not from Texas that they would have been better suited asking me to play the part and telling me just say "shucks" and "y'all" a lot.

Space Fights - space fights are lame unless you really have a budget to make them awesome. In 1978 the only person capable of that was George Lucas. Notice that in any of the Star Trek movies the space fights are largely subdued and boring? I did, and fuck all y'all that disagree. But, if you must have a space fight at the very very least what you could do when the good guys ship is hit and you have to do that "Shaking the camera while everyone flails around pretending the ship is shaking" thing, at the very very least you could make sure that everyone flails in the same direction. Otherwise it's like... what the fuck is happening here? Is the ship being shaken in all directions at once? Is this some weird space-time anomaly that makes gravity and the pulls of space act differently on each individual? No, it's a director who didn't think before he picked a camera and said "Sci Fi! That's the genre for me!".

Robots - Hey, if you're going to make an army of killer Aryan robots, why not make them good enough to be able to face a group of about 7 people armed with flashlights without being slaughtered by the hundred?

I dunno why we were meant to be surprised when it turned out the weird Nazis who spoke monotonously, all looked pretty much the same and were dressed in aluminum foil were robots! I mean the movie's called war of the robots, and they were the only ones doing any fighting... perhaps the movie had a different title initially and the studios came down and made them change it. Maybe it was called "Attack Of The Shitty Script" or "Stuff Happening In Space You Couldn't Give A Flying Fuck About".

Fuck me, this review is long.


Anonymous said...

Since I've only watched the beginning of this a couple of times, I'm curious as to if the woman who had a metal detector coming off the ship had it at all through the rest of the film? And if she found any watches or coins?

Spike Vicious said...

She didn't! She clearly realized that what she had was just a metal detector covered in foil...