We’re living in a world where deepfake videos are getting harder and harder to spot. Hell, even video game graphics are getting so good that games are starting to look almost too real. However, I don’t care how good computer-generated images look, they’ll never be a match for solid practical effects. I would rather watch a bunch of folks in costumes covered in dyed corn syrup than any CGI circle jerk. That’s why movies like Alien Planet really tickle my pickle.
Alien Planet Delivers Visually
Honestly, I couldn’t remember what this flick was about when I clicked play. However, it didn’t matter. The moment I saw the insane prosthetics, makeup, and puppetry in the opening scene, I was hooked. The alien characters looked amazing and the set design was top-notch as well.
Alien Planet didn’t just deliver some killer makeup effects. This flick also offered some great blood and gore. A BTS featurette said that they used a total of 11 gallons of fake blood when filming the movie. I’m pretty sure we see every drop of it on the screen. I’m a longtime gorehound and have been itching to see something good and bloody. With gushing stab wounds, explosive bullet holes, and dismembered alien bodies, this flick scratched my itch.
There’s no way I can talk about this movie and not mention Giree. She’s a cat-like creature that can heal almost any wound by barfing on it. When I tell you that this sassy space cat puppet was my favorite part of Alien Planet, I mean it. Naiia Lajoie really brought the character to life with her puppeteering.
My hat is off to makeup department head Alexys Paonessa and her team as well as the team at Illusion Industries that created the prosthetics for the film. It’s clear that everyone came together and brought their A-game and a ton of passion for the project with them.
More Than a Pretty Face
Alien Planet wasn’t just fun to look at, it also packs a solid plot. It’s about two alien races that once shared a planet. After a bloody planet-wide war, one species left the planet in search of somewhere to live in peace. A member of the dominant race shows up on this new planet to take the magical McGuffin to save his quickly-dying world and all hell breaks loose.
It’s more than a story of two individuals putting aside years of interspecies tension to work toward a common goal. The plot also features some solid and subtle social commentary. For instance, there’s the depletion of natural resources by an invading, dominant culture. Then, there are the systemic societal problems that elevate one group by constantly and systematically grinding another into the dust. While more than once I thought to myself, “Damn, these are some racist-ass aliens,” I never felt like Alien Planet was trying to preach to me.
Big shout out to the leads Alexandra Bokova (Lock) and Hunter C. Smith (Brocheet) for knocking it out of the park and breathing life into their characters.
The Verdict on Alien Planet
I had a ton of fun watching Alien Planet. The story, performances, and special effects were enough to keep me hooked nearly from the beginning. In all honesty, the first few minutes of the movie are packed with fairly clunky exposition. But once that’s over, we’re dropped into one helluva ride. The rest of the movie is good enough to more than balance out its rocky start. As an added bonus, we get an incredibly satisfying gut-punch ending that left me wanting to see more from writer/director Alan Maxon.
If you’re in the mood for something that will scratch your throwback sci-fi itch and your gorefest itch at the same time, this is the movie for you. More than that, it is a testament to what a dedicated group of people can do with a ton of talent and a shoestring budget.