The man from earth: holocene

David Lee Smith, Vanessa Williams và Michael Dorn star in "The Man From Earth: Holocene," Richard Schenkman"s sci-fi sequel.

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One of the more original sci-fi indies of the 2000s gets an unexpected sequel in The Man From Earth: Holocene, director-writer-producer Richard Schenkman’s intriguing but underwhelming follow-up khổng lồ the microbudgeted mindblower The Man From Earth (2007). Once again starring David Lee Smith as an ordinary-looking dude who is actually some 14,000 years old, this second installment works best when it adheres to lớn the talk-heavy template set by the original, written by respected Star Trek and Twilight Zone contributor Jerome Bixby.

The enduring sleeper/cult status of the first picture will guarantee a measure of attention in nibịt theatrical & fantasy-oriented festival play, but this fitfully engaging affair only really passes muster as a potential pilot for small-screen continuations. Having premiered at Los Angeles’ Dances With Films festival in June, the film opens Friday in limited engagements in Pasadena và Thủ đô New York.

Familiarity with The Man From Earth is a definite advantage in getting khổng lồ grips with the philosophical và practical elements of Holocene, which never manages to explain how the individual here calling himself “John Young” (Smith) has managed khổng lồ survive from the Cro-Magnon era. Such crucial aspects are discussed at considerable length in the first movie, a 90-minute gabfest phối almost exclusively in a single room populated almost exclusively by academics, and which was aptly described by one critic as the “My Dinner With Andre of the sci-fi world.”

Schenkman, again handling directorial duties (and also collaborating on the screenplay with the late Bixby’s son Emerson), tries to “open up” the proceedings with extremely variable results.Holocene ironically inverts the usual critique leveled at sci-fi escapades, in that the chat-dominated scenes work much better than anything remotely resembling action.

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When we first see Young, he’s a very popular teacher of comparative religion at a community college in Chiteo, California. Admired by his trùm Gil (Michael Dorn), he’s seemingly content with his girlfriover Carolyn (Vanessa Williams). But our ruggedly handsome anh hùng adheres strictly lớn a long-standing regimen by which he severs all ties và moves on roughly once per decade, thus minimizing the chances of his Big Secret being discovered. He’s preparing for his next flit when four of his students — Isabel (Akemi Look), Tara (Brittany Curran), Liko (Carlos Knight) và Philip (Sterling Knight) — gradually piece together various clues & stumble toward an unbelievable truth.

The religious aspects of John’s 14-century existence, which involves both Jesus Christ and the Buddha, prove particularly traumatizing for Philip, a straight-arrow, devout Christian. The strongest sequence in Holocene is the one most reminiscent of the original Man From Earth, an extended two-hander in which the distraught Philip interrogates John about certain theological matters & their problematic implications.

But where the first pic operated audaciously on a purely cerebral cấp độ throughout, the sequel indulges in melodramatics, histrionics và plot contrivances which work consistently against its strengths. Williams, Star Trek alumnus Dorn and the returning Katt nevertheless cope reasonably well with underwritten roles, while the standout aước ao the somewhat grating Nancy Drew-like younger quartet is Look as the smart, energetic Isabel.

But the real roông chồng upon which the film is built is once again Smith, who nimbly walks the shaky lines of plausibility which underpin (và sometimes undermine) the screenplay. Charismatic but unassuming, Young wears his quasi-immortality with beguiling insouciance. The actor has visibly aged in the interyên ổn, of course, which requires some explaining given John’s previous immunity to lớn the ravages of time. Schenkman và Bixby junior come up with quite a nifty solution to this problem, laying the groundwork (via a clunky, overlong mid-credits “tag”) for possible future updates.

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As with the first film, technical aspects are blandly functional. Mark Hinton Stewart’s score is strictly cookie-cutter stuff, near-incessantly deployed and especially distracting in a production which plays strongest as a vehicle for verbal exchanges. It’s a shame, given the fact that juvenile-oriented, effects-driven extravaganzas are if anything even more crushingly dominant than a decade ago. Science fiction has arguably never been more in need of a franchise which — in the manner of the genre’s golden-age television typified by Bixby Sr. — unapologetically foregrounds concept and intelligent debate over empty spectacle. Back to lớn the future, indeed.

Production company: Falling Sky EntertainmentCast: David Lee Smith, Akengươi Look, Vanessa Williams, Sterling Knight, William Katt, Michael Dorn, John Billingsley, Brittany Curran, Carlos KnightDirector: Richard SchenkmanScreenwriters: Emerson Bixby, Richard Schenkman (story by Eric D Wilkinson, Richard Schenkman)Producers: Richard Schenkman, Eric D. WilkinsonExecutive sầu producers: Emerson Bixby, Jaông xã Hanan, Isaac Hanan, Adam HananCinematographer: Richard VialetProduction designer: Sally CourtoisCostume designer: Katherine HegartyEditor: Bobby K. RichardsonComposer: Mark Hinton StewartCasting director: Shannon MakhanianSales: Falling Sky Entertainment, New York

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