Star Wreck:
In the Pirkinning

Dir: Timo Vuorensola
Star: Samuli Torssonen, Atte Joutsen, Antti Satama, Janos Honkonen

Stumbled across on the local college TV channel one Saturday afternoon, this is a legitimate Internet phenomenon. Spoofing both Babylon 5 and Star Trek universes, it took a bunch of complete amateurs seven years to put together, and was downloaded 1.5 million times within two weeks of the film's official release as a download. It starts with the vain, megalomaniacal Captain Pirk (Torssonen) stuck on modern-day Earth and utterly fed-up: with his colleagues Dwarf and Info, he succeeds in becoming Emperor of Earth, though the planet remains over-crowded and resource-starved. A 'maggot-hole' to an alternate Earth provides a possible solution, but when Pirk leads his forces through he finds the Babel 13 forces, under Captain Johnny K. Sherrypie (Joutsen), who won't give up their space-station without a serious fight, despite Sherrypie's fondness for long, meandering speeches of dubious relevance to the situation. Cue said serious fight, which takes up most of the second half.

On a technical level, this is simply jaw-dropping, with effects that would shame many TV series, and not a few movies, which have budgets several order of magnitude greater. That's despite being made in a two-room apartment, on a total cost of about ten thousand quid: it was kept so low, because there were no sets built, with the starship bridges, for example, digitally composited. A bit of lino was used as a backdrop for blue-screen effects. The humour is largely based on twisted wordplay of features from the SF universe: photon torpedoes become "light balls" which means basically the same thing, but sounds much sillier. I sense a chunk does get lost in translation, and some of the performances are, to be honest, as amateur as you'd expect from...well, amateurs. Still, you could dub it into English, re-title it Space Movie, and it would kick the arse of the dismal spoofs Hollywood churns out.

[The entire film is available for download from the Star Wreck website; there's also a DVD version, with bonus features - including Klingon subtitles, of course]

[November 2008]

The final frontier
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