DVD REVIEW: DARK PLANET / DIRECTOR: FEDOR BONDARCHUK / SCREENPLAY: EDUARD VOLODARSKIY, MARINA DYACHENKO, SERGEY DYACHENKO / STARRING: VASILIY STEPANOV, YULIYA SNIGIR, PYOTR FYODOROV / RELEASE DATE: OUT NOW
Based on the writings of the Arkadiy and Boris Strugatskiy, two renowned Russian authors, Dark Planet (aka The Inhabited Island or Obitaemyy ostrov) is boundlessly action-packed. A science fiction film overcast with the murky dealings of war as repressed citizens fight against a tyrannical power. It may not sound so original for space fiction, but writer Eduard Volodarskiy has adapted a unique world with monsters of all forms.
“There’s an uprising in deep space”. It’s the year 2157, our young hero Maksim (Stepanov) hails from an ideal earth, free from war and poverty. The best part of it all is that they have managed to gain powers of super human strength and healing. In order to seek adventure, he takes his ship for a ride in the depths of space but he crashes on an unfamiliar planet. Met with hostility and taken to a city which although has futuristic sciences, is run by a medieval mind set. After breaking free from his imprisonment, he meets a young woman, Rada (Snignir) and her brother, he decides that the only way to truly survive is to cause a revolution against this oppressive government which uses a form of mind control to regulate its citizens.
Although slightly caricature, Dark Planet is filled with interesting and spirited characters, the actors’ performances are extremely energetic with added humour. Villainous leaders, cave-ridden mutants and shabby rebels, Russian director Fedor Bondarchuk has ticked all the boxes for a worthy space odyssey. He has created timeless characters and, with plenty of experience in directing explosive action scenes, he has made it apparent with this film by adding dynamic imagery with vast and beautiful scenery. The set designs are wonderfully elaborate; there are also great make-up effects and costume designs delivering colourful aesthetics. Some of the special effects are not the best, but are certainly watchable and put to their best effectiveness by some great cinematography. A very entertaining watch and an essential for the hardcore sci-fi movie buff.