Monday, February 13, 2012
Science Fiction, Double Feature
The 'found footage' movie is almost (but not quite) played out as a genre. From the minimalism of Blair Witch to the blockbuster scale of Cloverfield, pretty much everything has been done in one form or another. In one of the curious quirks of Lovefilm's queuing system, two films in this vein landed on our doormat this week.
Apollo 18 takes the premise that the very last mission to the moon was a classified military operation to install some sort of missile warning system and that the true events that transpired were never revealed. The footage is superbly produced with a mix of grainy black and white video and 'home movie' style kodachrome being very evocative for anyone who remembers watching the events on TV forty years ago. The plot edges into claustrophobic horror with a sci-fi twist and is a touch on the slow side with the film feeling stretched out even though it only lasts for less than ninety minutes. OK, but nothing out of this world, so to speak.
In contrast, Trollhunter is a low budget Norwegian film that happily acknowledges its debt to Blair Witch, with a bunch of students making a guerrilla documentary about the eponymous troll hunter of the title. The special effects are a little cheesy in places - the dead bear that is used as a scapegoat to explain away a troll attack will make you chuckle - but some sections are very well done, particularly a troll hiding under a bridge being lured out by a tethered billy goat and the final scene being rather epic and a good work out for the surround sound with much stomping and roaring. It's tongue in cheek, and well worth seeing before the inevitable Hollywood remake.