THIS GIANT PAPIER-MÂCHÉ BOULDER IS ACTUALLY REALLY HEAVY

PrintE-mail Written by Martin Unsworth

Sometimes films of a low budget just have to make do with what they have at hand when it comes to props, locations, and whatnot. It’s one of the reasons there isn’t many sci-fi films made at this level. What This Giant Boulder (let’s just call it that for now) does so well is take this necessity for economy to the logical level and craft the whole story around it.

Tom (Nicolson) and Gavin (Roscoe) are persuaded by their friend Jeffrey (Pujol) to attend a sci-fi convention against their better judgement. While Jeffrey’s having the time of his life, the others are less than enthused. Going in to see a screening of an old black and white film, they are suddenly sucked into another dimension - one that takes place in the world of the low budget clichéd movie. Although this may seem like something completely unbelievable, the friends shrug off the ludicrous scenario and throw themselves into the surroundings. That is, until the evil Lord Froth (Wycoff) takes a dislike to them and threatens to pursue them across the universe.

Landing on a nearby planet, they pick up two allies, Emmanor (Niederer) and Bruce (Tito), and set about getting back to their own reality while avoiding the usual array of adversaries.

There’s so much joy and passion in This Giant Boulder, not to mention a genuine love of the genre it’s spoofing, that it’s hard not to get swept along with the fun on screen. Full of little touches (everything in the space world is constructed from everyday items, from Fruit Shoot lids as buttons to potato mashers and old hairdryers) and an attention to detail that many of the ‘big boys’ would overlook, there’s so much to take in that a second viewing is essential.

Writer/director/star (heck, he even provided the song that accompanies the obligatory ‘romance’ scene) Nicolson is easy to watch; an instantly likeable lead, he’s self-effacing and charming and plays off against the other characters well. Even the more ‘kooky’ characters such as Jeffrey - an OTT interpretation of a regular sci-fi geek - are not too far ‘out there’ that they can’t be related to. Equally, Sez Niederer is utterly enchanting as the ‘Princess’ (we’re not going to go into too much detail of the plot, as it would spoil the fun of the reveal), Tansy Hayden’s buck-toothed, scarily mono-browed henchwoman Fralligay is strangely endearing, but the scene stealer is surely Wycoff as the Vader-esque Lord Froth, literally chewing the scenery with delicious practically ‘tash-twiddling villainy.

There are so many fantastic moments it’s hard to single some out, but we’d certainly say watch out for the space market (with plenty of background characters worth watching out for), the encounter with the Skaer, a Welsh-voiced felt puppet who is definitely not a Muppet (“that proud race is long extinct”), and Froth and his army attempting a silent approach on our heroes.

With such lo-fi special effects, This Giant Boulder could have easily fallen on its arse as a pathetic pastiche, but the references (both verbally and visually) are so spot-on that it just wouldn’t have worked with a massive budget for believable ships and planets where you can’t see the wires holding them up.

If we had to make any criticism, it would be that at just under two hours, it’s a little long, but we’d be hard pushed to think of anything that could be cut without being missed.

This Giant Boulder has already been screened at several festivals in the UK (including the STARBURST International Film Festival), and if it happens to play anywhere near you, don’t pass up on the chance of seeing it. Seriously, you’ll be missing out on your next favourite cult movie.

THIS GIANT PAPIER-MÂCHÉ BOULDER IS ACTUALLY REALLY HEAVY / CERT: TBC / DIRECTOR: CHRISTIAN NICOLSON / SCREENPLAY: ANDREW BESZANT, CHRISTAN NICOLSON / STARRING: CHRISTIAN NICOLSON, SEZ NIEDERER, DANIEL PUJOL, LEWIS ROSCOE, JOSEPH WYCOFF, TANSY HEYDEN, JARED TITO / RELEASE DATE: TBC

Expected Rating: 6 out of 10
Actual Rating:

 


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