Shitty Movie Sundays: Colonials

Science fiction movies in the 21st century don’t get much more bargain basement than Colonials, from writer (with Cyrus Cheek), director (with Andrew Balek), and producer (with far too many people to name) Joe Bland. That’s Bland as in, I shit you not, Bland Productions. That’s the name of his company. Lean into it, Joe.

Using techniques pioneered by George Lucas, Bland didn’t need any fancy sets, or even a full complement of actors. Like the worst sequences in the Star Wars prequel trilogy, Colonials uses CGI for just about everything. Spaceships and their interiors. Space stations and their interiors. Ground level in a destroyed megalopolis. A moon base. An earth base. Random hallways and rooms. Even the movie’s bad guy. It takes a full twenty-two minutes of running time before any member of the cast is shown in real surroundings, and that’s just a small location somewhere in the hills of Los Angeles.

Bland seems to have decided to embrace the promise of CGI. No money to design and build a set? No problem. Except that the CGI is some of the cheapest one will ever see in a movie. Think of the worst CGI one has ever seen in movies or television, from all the way back in the late 1980s until today, and the CGI in Colonials will be inferior.

The CGI would be easier to handle were it not pervasive. The majority of the movie features one or two, maybe three, cast members doing their thing, shooting lasers or expositing, in rooms and chambers that do not exist. If one cannot get over that very large hump, Colonials will be an impossible movie to watch. Anyway…

It’s the future! Mankind has split into three factions. There are the titular Colonials, who have created a utopian society on Mars; the Exiles, who were once upon a time Colonials with sociopathic ambitions; and the poor folks left behind on Earth, too timid or too broke to participate in the great human expansion into outer space.

The Exiles are warring on Earth, trying to do there what they couldn’t do on Mars. A Colonial expedition is on the way to assess the situation, with the film’s protagonist, Silas (Greg Kriek), aboard. He’s a typical swashbuckling sci-fi hero mixed with innocent idiocy. Colonials movie posterThe expedition’s spaceship is destroyed, but not before Silas crashes a space fighter down on Earth. There, he hooks up with resistance fighters Zoey and Thomas (Jamie Bernadette and B.A. Tobin) to take on the evil Grom (voiced by Mike Ferguson), the leader of the Exiles.

Seen any movies before? Then one will know how this flick will play out. What makes this flick remarkable at all is that CGI. It pummels one’s eyeballs for scene after scene. The contrasts between bright lights and darkness will cause long-lasting afterimages. And it all looks fake. So, so fake.

I just can’t get over that CGI. It’s the defining feature of the movie. It takes a flick that would have otherwise been a slog through barely dressed rooms and hallways into something, and I can’t believe I’m writing this, ambitious.

I’m having a hard time thinking of another movie in the extensive annals of Shitty Movie Sundays that is so unwatchable, and yet I couldn’t look away for fear of missing what was next. I have nothing but praise for filmmakers who get their movie done. It’s an accomplishment that no one can ever take away. Colonials still stinks.

Despite being a somewhat spectacular train wreck, Colonials falls into the nether reaches of the Index, displacing Bela Lugosi and Scared to Death at #428. Normally flicks down here are stay-aways, but Colonials is worth a peek just to see some of that overwhelming CGI. I can’t wait for the sequel, which is currently in development.

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