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14 of 14 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Interesting discussions, abysmal production, September 19, 2004
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This review is from: The Gospel According to Philip K. Dick (DVD)
Some day Philip K. Dick may get the documentary he deserves, one that gives us the life and the works; unfortunately, this isn't it. "The Gospel According to Philip K. Dick" is, at best, the first step. And while I appreciate the effort put into making this film, as well as the astute contributions by interviewees, this is a seriously flawed production, and does, indeed, seem like a college project hamstrung by a commensurate lack of funding.

For instance, as the director was unable to use any actual video of PKD, he hit upon the idea of using a cartoon version of PKD to segue from one "segment" to the next, but also to provide the "medium" to present a garbled, and at times, indiscernible PKD speaking in an interview, without, however, the benefit of subtitles. As Elvis Mitchell noted in his review of the movie for the NY Times, the "animated version of Dick behind the typewriter, which suggests a low budget version of the Cryptkeeper...underscores the minimal amount of money the filmmakers had (reportedly about $10,000) to finish the project, which was shot on videotape and feels even more cheaply done than an episode of "Biography" on A&E." (3/2/2001)

To note that mind-numbing repetitions of the same minimalist animation overlaid with an abysmally god-awful techno(?) soundtrack that no one in their right mind should be subjected to would be to belabor the obvious. Suffice it to say that before long I was muting the music, and then fast-forwarding through the un-animated animated segments to locate the next interesting "human" moment.

Insofar as the dvd bonus features package goes, forget about it. The dvd simply recycles the comments already presented in the film. So there is nothing new except for the interview with the director and the definitions of a half dozen key terms in the late oeuvre. Big deal.

Given the fact that some half dozen of PKD's stories have been made into movies (with more reputedly on the way), its high time for a full scale documentary. This "Gospel" may be a first attempt, but PKD deserves more and better. Seriously.

[As a side note: back in the day, when it lived up to its name, The Learning Channel aired a wonderful series (co-executive produced by Walter Cronkite and Goeffrey C. Ward) called "The Great Books." Imagine what they might have done with Philip K. Dick.]
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