Customer Review

21 of 26 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars Proxima? Not Even Close, December 7, 2009
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This review is from: "PROXIMA" - Simple Edition (Amazon Instant Video)
Description: Science fiction video store owner and fan Tony (Oriol Aubets) fails at both his business and his relationship with his girlfriend Natalia (Karen Owens), but, after a trip to a science fiction convention to see author Félix Cadecq (Manuel Solàs), Tony comes to believe he is part of small cell of people who know the world will end in a year and are expecting an alien fleet from Proxima Centauri to arrive. Is it true, has he been brainwashed or is he insane? Can he really travel to Proxima Centauri using the power of a hypnotic CD? Is there a planet less interesting than Earth? Will Tony's detachment from reality ever have a practical use?

Review: Make no mistake. This is not a good film. I stumbled across this film on Amazon VOD because of its high rating and was sorely disappointed. This is a zero budget science fiction fan-centric labor of love from Spain. I'm always on the lookout for undiscovered gems and this isn't one of them. Although my description reads like the storyline from a comedy, this film is played straight. The movie doesn't really move into science fiction territory until the second half and that's when the glacial pace of the first half gets even slower. The storyline has the quality of filmed fanfic and even though the dialogue is heavy handed, it's not quite good enough to be a good "bad" film. The subtext, what there is of it, is flimsy, there is the obligatory rote attack on religion and the film contains a random hodgepodge of shallow half-baked tin foil hat ideas.

Another reviewer elsewhere on Amazon mentioned the influence of Philip K. Dick on Proxima and I think that's being overly generous. Although the film makes obvious and not so obvious references to both Philip K. Dick and his work, the film attempts (and fails) to borrow credibility by referencing credible science fiction rather than providing a true homage. The trappings are there, but not the substance. The deep thought that Philip K. Dick brought to his work on the topics of the nature of reality and paranoia is nowhere in evidence.

The overall quality of the photography is somewhat muted, like a poor quality VHS transfer. Locations include a carwash, a sci-fi convention that looks more like an insurance conference, a rundown video store, a rundown apartment, a dusty road and field, a crumbling church, a rundown warehouse and a dusty strip mine. In other words, if you were a college student you could have taken your parents home video camera out for a weekend and filmed this yourself, probably with higher production values. The one star is divided between maintaining a somewhat coherent narrative throughout the film (half a star for not being incomprehensible) and another half star for having the stones to actually release this as a film.

I'm a total science fiction geek who watches a ton of both American and foreign genre and non-genre films. Between the outdated detached from reality sci-fi fan stereotype, the lack of serious development of any of the science fiction ideas, special effects that have the quality of an early 1970's Canadian made for TV movie and the deus ex machina ending, I can't figure out who the intended audience for this film is. My recommendation is to save two hours of your life that I wish I could get back myself and miss this completely forgettable film.

For a better recent film featuring science fiction fans as protagonists, see Frequently Asked Questions About Time Travel (2009).
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