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Reviewed by Joe Crowe, © 2007

Format: Movie
By:   Gianni Mezzanotte (director)
Genre:   Spaghetti western
Review Date:   June 10, 2007
RevSF Rating:   8/10 (What Is This?)

Westerns and sci-fi owe each other big. Westerns did fistfights and gun battles first. Special effects on Westerns are easier. Westerns know all about the outsider rebelling against The Man.

Planetfall mixes the two stylishly. (Here are a couple of trailers). The gadgets and psionic warriors are sci-fi, but they could just as easily be six-guns and grizzled outlaws. The story is all Western. Bounty hunters seek out a sci-fi style Maguffin, and fightin' and shootin' ensue.

There's little new or groundbreaking about the story or the characters, but that's not a big deal. A flick with sci-fi bounty hunters isn't really the place to obtain perspectives on society. What's here is an old-fashioned Western, dressed up with new-fangledy production.

Planetfall is an independent movie, but it shows unexpected restraint. Some indie directors would just film whatever they want, since they have no one telling them not to. But the lack of a movie board rating and a Pepsi sponsorship doesn't mean the Planetfall creators went crazy with the gore and the nekkidity.

Special effects are expensive, I would imagine. With a teeny-tiny budget, one assumes the best interest would be in not bothering. But Planetfall steps up. It's a sci-fi movie with sci-fi things in it.

Planetfall uses green screen some, but not exclusively. The outside shots are filmed outside. Some shots look green-screenier than others. But the computer-added objects are colorful, and have shape and function. The effects are impressive. My compliments to the chefs.

The best part, though, is the effects aren't the main reason to watch. Planetfall isn't just a demo reel of a guy playing with graphic software. It's a solid adventure story, with some funny stuff and people hitting and shooting each other. Sign me up.

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