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Cloned Wars: Hunter Prey

August 2, 2011

I don't, actually.

Imitating the look of Tatooine Mos prec-Eisley.

(It's the music from the Twin Suns bit in Star Wars.)

I was suffering, you see, from a sleep-deprived desire to watch a terrible sci-fi movie. (Significantly, not a SyFy movie, which – for all my objections to the station’s moronic rebranding – renders this a far easier distinction to make, so bully for that, then. Not that “Señor DinoSquid vs Shark B. Excellent” wasn’t a quality production.) I forget precisely how I settled on Hunter Prey, but settle on it I did.

It was disappointingly good.

Not actually good. Not really. The story’s a bit of a mess (one character’s arc is basically thus: “I’m gonna kill him. There he is! Oh, I won’t kill him. Maybe, though, I should kill him. Nah. Damn, should have killed him. Now I’ll kill him. But… Oh no! Too late. Next time I’ll kill him. Unless… No, I should probably shoot him. Oh, bother and drat.”), and I likely won’t remember it in a month or two from now for anything besides its shameless lack of a single smidgeon of originality, but it certainly beat watching another episode of Deep Space Nine about how Worf isn’t getting along with some lunatic fifth cousin of his, or why Chief O’Brien is drunk in the Jeffries Tubes again, or whatever. And I can prove it with words.

For one thing, it steals almost all of its props and ideas and settings from the good Star Warses. Three good Star Warses isn’t enough good Star Warses, so any tolerable movie resembling said Star Warses is always appreciated.

"Hello, readers. I'm a vaguely plagiarised character design."

(It must be reiterated though, that the pilfering is astonishingly blatant. The entire movie is set on a vast desert with Tatooine’s skyline in the background, Tatooine’s sand dunes in the foreground, and even the pounding percussion soundtrack that played whenever the Sand People appeared pops up. There’s even a whale-type skeleton as an analogue to the Krayt Dragon skeleton in Star Wars. Meanwhile, all but two of the movie’s characters wear Boba Fett’s armour. It’s more like Comic-Con nerd hero worship more than creative emptiness, I think, but it does distract at times. It’s a bit like if someone made a movie set in a grimy metropolis, based on a guy who dresses up in black body armour and a pointy cowl and a cape to fight nebulous crime, but then said it was set in Havepork City, and anyway, look over there – a distraction!)

Most endearing is the fact that it was all made for less than $500,000, and still manages to be quite comfortably a better sci-fi movie than the three Star Wars prequels combined. Due to not being able to afford special effects, director Sandy Collora (and the brilliance of a guy named Sandy directing this movie should be lost on nobody) can’t afford to rely on special effects. So everything possible is done with physical props, without cheap CGI interfering and looking like a cheaper episode of Babylon 5 – or worse, any episode of Andromeda. It makes Lucasfilm’s claim of making a live-action Star Wars TV show being “too expensive” seem ludicrous, until you remember most of that budget would have been spent on inserting as much computer-generated battle droid comic relief into each scene as possible, and then filling the rest with blue screen drivel. Bah, etc.

Best of all, Hunter Prey doesn’t outstay its welcome. Much. It’s not even ninety minutes long, and even though it manages to feel about five to ten minutes too long at that length thanks to the untidy plotting, you could still watch it five times in the time it takes to watch the three Transformers movies.

Not that anyone should ever be dumb enough to do either of those things.

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