This is a movie that has the same sort of low-budget TV look as a Blakes 7 episode from the 1970s and lots of very low res, barely shaded CGI graphics. And I do mean lots of them.
If any of this matters to you, you should stop reading this review now.
It would be fair to describe On the Shoulders of Giants is an homage to the great SF films of the Fifties. However it avoids the usual traps of these sorts of films and avoids being being either a silly parody (like The Lost Skeleton of Cadavra) or a mere rip-off with nothing new to offer.
It bears a strong resemblance to Forbidden Planet: they find a missing scientist who is the lone survivor of a lost expedition, and a mysterious planet which hides the secrets of a lost race. There is enough new material to distract us from the resemblance -although it also recalls other films, including a certain Disney film from 1979.
It’s a bit talky – particularly in the early part of the film – but it doesn’t matter much, once ones things get moving. The acting is fairly good, as is the script. At times one might almost think it was some lost BBC pilot, with its emphasis on plot and ideas.
There’s quite a nice robot, and a shuddery surprise reveal which, by then, we were all suspecting. Still, it’s a nicely done visual moment that still manages a frisson of shock.
It isn’t exactly brilliant or epic, but for those of us who can’t get enough classic Who, it’s a welcome minor addition to the world of British SF. Hopefully those involved will decide to make more films like it.
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