While sci-fi is heating up theaters and VOD, streaming has been slacking like a mothership. I guess with the Fourth of July happening last week, streaming websites thought everyone would just be watching Independence Day on repeat while shooting off Roman Candles. They know what they’re talking about. Let’s Cross the Streams into the past for a trio of oldies but goodies before somebody blows an eyeball out.
Innerspace (Amazon Prime)
We were just talking about Joe Dante’s Innerspace the other day, and now Amazon Prime has made it available for your Martin Short-viewing pleasure. Inspired by Fantastic Voyage, this film features Dennis Quaid as an aviator taking part in a microscopic scientific experiment. He is miniaturized and eventually injected into the body of the unassuming Short, who soon finds himself the target of an evil mastermind. Adventurous hilarity ensures, and even if the film wasn’t a silly good time, Dante and his effects team make this film a must-see.
Dan O’Bannon (Alien) co-wrote this dark dystopian tale of an interplanetary civil war that inspires the creation of autonomous, self-replicating machines who identify victims by heartbeat before killing them. Director Christian Duguay (who directed two direct-to-video sequels to Cronenberg’s Scanners), and O’Bannon were obviously inspired by a wealth of sci-fi that came before, particularly Blade Runner and The Thing once the plot starts relying on the “Who’s really a Screamer?” mechanic. I’m definitely not one of them. (high-pitched squeal) That was just my stomach.
The Fly II (Netflix Instant)
Speaking of David Cronenberg sequels, this unneeded sequel was directed by special effects and makeup artist Chris Walas, who only went on to direct one more film, the comedy horror The Vagrant. I’m not saying it had anything to do with this film, which would have been shades better had it not been preceded by one of the sci-fi/horror classics. Luckily, the effects here are really fucking nasty and awesome, and I have absolutely no problem with watching Eric Stoltz, as the son of the original Brundlefly, suffer for large sections of a film. It does fall victim to the usual “sequel curse,” and probably ratchets up the stakes a tad too high, but it wouldn’t have made this list if it wasn’t still better than a plethora of other awful shit out there.
Starship Troopers 2 (Netflix Instant)
Just kidding. This is an awful sequel.
Age of Dinosaurs (Netflix Instant)
This is also an awful movie, as it comes from micro-budget ripoff kings The Asylum. But whereas many of The Asylum’s movies riff off already terrible horror flicks, this one takes its cues from Jurassic Park, albeit 20 years after the original. To compete with the 3D re-release? Perhaps. Using flesh-regeneration technology, a company creates a bunch of dinosaurs for a museum exhibit, but things soon get disastrous. I mean, it’s that way from square one, but you know. This is definitely not a movie to watch alone with any intentions on having a great time. This is meant to accompany a social gathering of like-minded friends who love ripping apart shitty CGI, which this film is full of. But somehow there still isn’t enough.
Lunarcy! (Netflix Instant) and Hybrid World (RedboxInstant)
For those looking for beyond-the-norm documentaries, these should fit the bill. Lunarcy! is Toronto filmmaker Simon Ennis’ sometimes funny, sometimes head-scratching doc that introduces viewers to a group of unaffiliated people for whom the moon is more than just a passing fascination. Christopher Carson, whose sole purpose in life appears to be making it to the moon and colonizing it, forms something of a backbone for this story, but Ennis also talks to Apollo Astronaut Alan Bean, NASA moon rock specialist Joe Gutheinz, and others about why they think the moon is so important. The guy who made a fortune selling moon property also shows up. Hybrid World: The Plan to Modify and Control the Human Race, meanwhile, uses a genetically modified buttload of scare tactics to freak viewers out over advancements in what they call “transhumanism.” You know how medical achievements involving genetic manipulation already get people in a tizzy? This film will turn that tizzy into a tantrum. Medical achievements? What I meant to say was “super-secret government experiments.” That said, it’s actually pretty effective in doing what it set out to do, and it isn’t entirely propaganda. I mean, it is, but it’s not all coming from a single viewpoint.
Maybe if Netflix and Hulu had genes, we could alter them so that they would give us a more constant flow of sci-fi. Wait, did I say flow? I meant stream. See you next time and thanks for reading!