Sunday, May 11, 2008

[5th NZ Film Festival] Perfect Creature

Nobody's Perfect

Written and directed by Glenn Standring, Perfect Creature falls into one of those fantasy, alternate universe timelines where because of genetic engineering and the likes, humans now are living side by side with the more powerful vampires with whom have forged a truce, that is, to never feed on the blood of humans, but instead, get their dosage of plasma through religious rites of sorts.

Which serves as an intriguing premises to begin with, except that it had so much going for it, that it failed to capitalize on the wealth of its potential, instead choosing to coast through the expected until a finale made up of standard fare, with too many plot elements than it could handle, with mistrust between the two species of homo sapiens, an influenza virus, and a murderous vampire hell bent on creating havoc by unleashing his own brand of justice to the world.

With movies like Underworld and various other genre incarnations that dwell on super-beings, Perfect Creature at best was on par in terms of the visuals, where the filmmakers have created a stunningly looking dark city, which seemed like a cross between Victorian England, except for the vehicles such as zeppelins which crowd the sky. Special effects was rudimentary, and you can feel the lack of slickness in the movements of the vampires, not so much as they couldn't fly, but their essence of speed wasn't properly brought across, and looked quite clunky.

The story, bared down to the basics, is about how human detective Lilly (Saffron Burrows) has to team up with a high ranking vampire / priest (yes, you read that right) called Brother Silus (Dougray Scott, who walks really stiff here and nary breaks into a smile), despite her and her team's discrimination against the vampire race. And their common adversary Edgar (Leo Gregory) happens to be a researcher of sorts gone renegade, and with blood relations to Silus, puts a dampener on so called conflict of interest.

As an action-fantasy piece, don't expect any award winning acting here, because what thrills are the set action pieces in claustrophobic spaces within dark and dank apartment blocks. However, unlike its contemporary peers, there aren't any fancy gadgets, weapons or moves to wow you, well, maybe perhaps the cool stunt gun that Silus carries which fires off projectile rounds to immobilize his kind. And of course something tells you it's not quite right when the mid-point action sequence trounces the finale which had a distinct lack of excitement.

But on the whole, for its mood, settings, and imaginative spin on the vampire genre, Perfect Creature does deserve a watch.

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