Saturday, May 14, 2016

Phil's Sci-Fi Theater: BATTLE FOR SKYARK (2015) from Lionsgate - May 11, 2016

Starring: Caon Mortenson, Taylor Coliee, Garrett Coffey, Charlene Tung, Luke Davis, Riley Jane, Chantal Thuy
Written by Simon Hung, Guy Malim
Cinematography by Hiroyuki Haga
Edited by Chris A. Peterson
Produced by Simon Hung, Peter Huang, Guy Malim, Igor Kovacevich, Wayne Lau, Wen-Han Shih
Directed by Simon Hung
Released by Lionsgate

Welcome once again to another thrilling installment of Phil's Sci-Fi Theater! Today I'll be reviewing a very interesting indie science fiction film that tries to be more than its generic cover artwork appears. With its themes of abandonment, destiny and fighting for the common good, BATTLE FOR SKYARK is another fine example of an exceptional indie movie that sets out to accomplish more than the films coming out of Hollywood.

The film's official synopsis: When a mysterious race of creatures takes over a desolate Earth, humanity must take refuge in SkyArk, the city in the sky. After the rebellion against a corrupt leadership fails, the wealthy doom the rebels' children to live on the ruins of the old Earth. The rebel leader's son, Rags, must lead his fellow exiles against the monsters in order to have a chance to return to SkyArk, but he soon finds that he has a much greater purpose in saving humanity.

What I love about independent films is that they ignore the Hollywood cliches and stereotypes that have plagued the world of cinema since its inception. They sometimes take more risks and chances to tell their story and some cases the envelope gets pushed to its limits. With this film, with its notacibly low budget, the filmmakers make they most to what's available and concentrate on character development and story structure. Although the special effects look fantastic considering what they had to work with.

Promotional Movie Poster (2015)
Director Simon Hung makes his feature length debut after making some short films for the past five years. He makes the most of his cast, his crew and his locations. He, along with co-screenwriter Guy Malim, keeps the story very tight and specific, having events unfold to as they should be without giving away too much of what will happen next, especially with its unique and solid ending. His set-ups, pacing and framing are well executed and is an example of a director having a vspecific vision of how and what the film should look like. A major new talent to keep an close watch on!

As for the actors and actress, the major stand outs for me are Caon Mortenson, Taylor Coliee, Garret Coffey and Charlene. All four bring a freshness and depth to their respective roles. Mortenson's Rags is our lead hero, but is lacking on how to be both and must learn fast. Coliee's Lily is sweet, lovable and brave and isn't afraid to show her anger. Tung's character Ash is simply a bad ass chick you can easily kill you before you realized that you're dead. With Coffey's character Rusty, he is both leader and mentor but it doesn't go well for him during the film, leading to a confrontation that Rags wasn't prepared for. 

The film is obviously geared more for teens who are into franchises like THE HUNGER GAMES series, THE MAZE RUNNER series, and the INSURGENT series. However, this film looks more real and genuine. These actors and actresses aren't pretending to be young kids and teenagers. They really are young kids and teenagers which lends to the film a feeling of authenticity. Now it's nowhere near perfect or polished and it's very low budget and needs some fine tuning, but overall it's a film that has a lot of heart and passion in it.

BATTLE FOR SKYARK is an entertaining film that is worth your time and attention. For fans of independent films, sci-fi movies and teen action movies, this very well might right up your alley. Go watch this movie. 3 out of 5 star! Worth the viewing!

BATTLE FOR SKYARK is currently available on DVD at your local retailer. It's also available on Redbox as well as on iTunes, Amazon, Netflix, Google Play and Video On Demand.

Thanks for reading, and enjoy the show!

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