Wednesday, December 12, 2007

Android (1982)

Kind of tying in with my recent post about Blade Runner is this 1982 Low Budget SF Film Android, that I've always had a soft spot for.
Directed by Aaron Lipstadt over a 4 week period on a $½m budget, Lipstadt used some sets left over from the Roger Corman produced Forbidden World. The film itself uses minimal settings but the ones that are seen are quite effective, also the handful of Visual FX shots in this film that were shot on a $20,000 FX budget, are quite nicely done and do the job required. I've seen people criticize FX in low budget movies like this but often they're working with what's at hand or what can be scrounged, and when you consider the main miniature of the 'Nostromo' in Alien cost tens of thousands of dollars then they don't do bad. Some of the set designs were done by James Cameron who'd just returned from directing Piranha 2, he'd had a bad time on that film and was broke so he needed the work.

Plot Summary:
In 2036, on space station ULC53 far from earth, Dr Daniels a scientist, and his human-like android are at work on the "perfect" female robot. Unknown to android Max, the scientist plans to replace him with the new model. But the arrival of three escaped convicts interrupts their work, complicating the doctor's experiments and the android's planned visit to the earth he's dreamed of but never seen.

There's for the most part only 5 characters in the movie, Max 404 played by writer Don Opper, Klaus Kinski as Dr. Daniel, and Brie Howard, Norbert Weiser and Crofton Hardester as the escaped convicts Maggie, Keller and Mendes. They all do a pretty good job especially Opper as the main character. The film has echoes of Blade Runner, Metropolis, although unlike Blade Runners 'Replicants' Max is actually an Android in the true sense of the word, it always bugs me when I see Roy Batty listed in polls of favorite robots or Androids. We learn of a rebellion on earth which has outlawed Androids and that groups of them are in hiding. For a Roger Corman produced movie it's a real cut above the Galaxy of Terror, Forbidden World type SF that he was making at the time, but he was happy for Aaron Lipstadt, who has gone onto direct primarily TV shows, go his own way with this film. Back in the day when this was shot it was seen more as a low budget Corman movie, these days it could be classed as an Independent movie and would probably receive a better reception by critics, saying that it did get some praise and was nominated for a Saturn Award for Best Low Budget film of that year.
It's a fun movie, and the Anchor Bay DVD has a commentary track by Aaron Lipstadt and Don Opper.


Moonwatcher said...

I seen this years ago on a very dodgy VHS copy at a mate's house, we'd all had a bit much to drink but I remember liking what I seen of it.

Andrew Glazebrook said...

It's worth a look. I have this on VHS too somewhere, when my mates video shop closed down many years ago I got the original rental copy off him.

Eduo said...

Funny that it also stars the only one to appear in all the Critters films.

Andrew Glazebrook said...

They also used the Visual FX from Android for Critters 4.

Matt J said...

CRITTERS!! Masterpiece! Talking of ropey sci-fi I recently watched SOUND OF THUNDER-has all the requisite Z-movie ingredients-wooden acting, cheap CG fx, plodding direction, Ben Kingsley!
However I was surprised to see Syd Mead credited for vehicle design & Crash McCreery for the creature design.

Andrew Glazebrook said...

A Sound of Thunder was an 80 Million Dollar movie that made around $8m at the Box Office, it was plagued with problems all the way through. Most of the FX shots still look in an unfinished state.

Matt J said...

THAT was the budget?!!! It's certainly not on the screen-what a waste. It was an interesting premise dealt with ineptly!