For example, I recently screened 1962’s Journey To The Seventh Planet on home video, a flick that’s almost universally regarded as one of the worst space adventures of its era. The result? Well, I didn’t dislike it, certainly not anywhere near the magnitude that most critical types ascribe to the Sidney Pink film. Despite some obvious plot contrivances, there were parts I found almost zanily wholesome.
Which brings me to Andron …
From the press materials:
In the year 2154, a group of young men and women awake in a dark claustrophobic maze. They don't remember who they are or how they got stuck in the Black Labyrinth of Andron. The group must learn to decipher codes, understand the signals and beat the tests in this mysterious and bizarre place. Out of necessity they struggle to form a bond to survive, while the outside world watches and wagers on their fate.
Despite the presence of some big contenders, such as two of mankind’s biggest and most bitter Liberal blowhards like Alec Baldwin and Danny Glover, Andron is more than a bit of a narrative mess. Writer/director Francesco Cinquemani captured his dystopian tale with lots of herky-jerky camera work and plenty of question sound recording, and he’s figuratively packed it to the gills with every SciFi cliché and/or trope imaginable. In fact, at times I suspect some might question whether or not Cinquemani went out and made his own film or simply purchased countless reels of unused The Hunger Games B-roll and spliced it together.
The biggest problem is that – unlike other recent contenders trying capitalize on the young-adult-novel-adaptation craze – Andron takes too long to really say what all the fuss is really about: the participants of ‘the Redemption Games’ (sound familiar?) are stuck in this ‘fish out of water’ mind game wherein even the audience isn’t let in on what’s fully up until about halfway into the motion picture. Far too much time is invested with actors and actresses walking around some abandoned warehouse, posturing, saying things like “What is this place?” or even the ubiquitous “This place is alive!” (Hint: it isn’t.) By that point, I had completely lost interest in the poorly drawn characters, each of every one of them dulled down with dialogue so bland it may as well not have been said. The upside? They have no memories (kinda/sorta accurate), but audiences will likely have no memory of having watched this languid adventure once it’s over.
Still, I do so love SciFi so very much that I can still appreciate watching a bunch of reasonably good-looking millennials on the run from Alec Baldwin. And Cinquemani does chock his feature full of the kind of ideas fanboys and fangirls do love to talk and think about. As a result, Andron may find an audience – albeit small and maybe even cult(ish) – but I doubt it’ll earn the clout needed to fully greenlit the sequel hinted at in its closing frames.
(MILDLY) RECOMMENDED (for die-hard SciFi folks only).
In the final estimation, Andron isn’t an awful film: it’s simply awfully derivative. On some levels, it’ll likely strike a chord with fans of dystopian Science Fiction (from which it steals shamelessly and often), but the lack of any original idea will more probably deem it to the cinematic dustbin before too long. On that note, I’m not sure any of the cast and crew deserved better.
In the interests of fairness, I’m pleased to disclose that the fine folks at Momentum Pictures provided me with an online opportunity to online screen their film, Andron (2016), for the purposes of completing this review; and their contribution to me in no way, shape, or form influenced my opinion of it.