Sunday, February 21, 2010

Swedish Sci Fi Movie Not As Good As Their Meatballs

Storm (2009)

Sweden is famous for a few things: supermodels, bikini teams, IKEA, and meatballs. One of the most incredible modern horror films, Let the Right One In, also came from Sweden. But science fiction seems to not yet be in their wheelhouse, at least based on this turkey.

The blurb on the DVD case said this was a movie in the tradition of The Matrix. Obviously the blurb writer has never seen The Matrix.

DD (Eric Ericson), a slacker who resembles Michael York, meets a mysterious orange-haired woman, Lova (Eva Rose), who gives him a cube (sadly, it’s not the Lament Configuration, which could have sent this movie straight to Hell). A dude with slick hair (Jonas Karlsson) and several bald hench-thugs want the cube and so pursue first the woman, then DD. Then DD apparently dreams – or something – and wanders around abandoned streets and buildings and old memories too. Then the orange-haired chick falls off the roof of a building.

What. The. Fook?

Good production values and a solid cast do not compensate for poor storytelling. I am not a huge fan of “dream imagery” or “surreal landscapes” – they’re easy crutches when the filmmakers aren’t sure of what they are saying or doing. “We’re stuck here…I know, let’s have him wander around an empty leaf-strewn street looking confused. Then he can meander through abandoned buildings and rooms with peeling paint. It will speak so much to the character's ennui and bourgeoisie state of mind and the limitations that a capitalist society places upon the individual.” Either that or it will just come across as boring.

This is one of those movies where you spend more time watching the DVD counter and thinking to yourself, "Only 30 minutes have passed?! The box said it's 110 minutes long. Jesus, this is taking forever and I have no idea what is going on... Say, are the neighbors fighting again? Man, that one chick sounds shrill."

The mention of The Matrix is hugely misleading. DD picks up a comic book, the panels follow events we’ve seen, then the panels become animated (looking like a cross between MTV's Aeon Flux cartoons and that auto insurance company’s girl spy series of commercials) and the animation then segues to a live-action version, obviously shot on green screen and looking like a cheap sci fi web-series. But The Matrix it is not. Instead, the movie had the vibe of some of the more confusing and dull parts of the Nightwatch movie series.

But at least Nightwatch has some cool visual effects to keep you awake, and not bored out of your skull wishing you had picked up some Swedish bikini models, an IKEA coffee table, and an order of meatballs, instead of this duller-than-a-butter-knife Swedish sci fi movie.

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