Pressing this science fiction space adventure to the limits, new feature director puts on a good show with ample CGI and special effects in Scavengers. The story may be a little trite, but the acting is up to par with a lot of action to work around. Now on DVD for the first time, sci-fi enthusiasts should like the design work of the space craft and the galaxy neighborhood in which it takes place.
The film opens with the star ship Revelator waiting for a battle to end during a Trillion war. Their job is to scavenge power sources from the defeated ships for resale. Captain Wake (Roark Critchlow) jumps into his space vehicle aboard the Revelator and darts out to one of the ships detected as having a strange power source that may be very valuable. As he arrives at the disabled ship the Glutter, a rogue space vessel commanded by Wake’s arch rival Jekel (Sean Patrick Flanery) and mercenary, enters the area from warp speed chasing a blowing away a scavenger ship.
Wake works his way to the power source, grabs the device and starts to leave. On board the Revelator the crew chief contacts Wake to tell him that Jekel has locked onto the vessel he has been searching and must get out of there. Wake gets his prize back to the Revelator and finds he has a chaos generator that when coupled with two other parts holds the knowledge of the universe. When Wake makes a dash to search out the other elements, he finds himself running for his life and the safely of his crew.
While I found the story to be a bit trite (think The Adventures of Buckaroo Banzai) the action, although not Star Wars or Star Trek, plays out pretty well. Writer director Travis Zariwny keeps the progress of the arch enemies moving in their pursuit of the chaos generator. Not boring to say the least, but sometimes kind of comical, especially Jekel who can’t seem to get a leg up on Wake and shows his disdain by killing off his crew.
The biggest thing going for first time director Zariwny shows up with the look of his film. Being a noted production designer with a lot of credentials having worked on over 39 titles he uses this knowledge to craft the sets and transporters. In Scavengers he makes space very realistic looking and then adds some very cool space vessels, space riders and clothing that in some cases outclass a number of the big productions that have come along in recent times. His CGI of the battle scene, detailed sets depicting ship interiors and special green screen effects are surprisingly good.
The downside here doesn’t really have to be if you take some of the dialogue with tongue in cheek. The Jekel character certainly needs up grading being depicted with a raspy voice that’s very hard to understand (luckily with DVD you can rewind or pop on the English subtitles if you can’t understand his dialogue). The women who are running the Space Ship Glutter are wicked, and they are always in a cat fight about almost anything. This detracts from the film, but if you consider that their leader’s also as crazy they sort of fit into the whole scheme of things. Either way the film needed some comic relief anyway.
The video quality is rather good on the DVD with a clear and clean presentation. But, my big bugaboo of letterbox does come into play with the 2.35:1 aspect ratio. Otherwise the CGI does wow and special effects are pretty good, especially the exploding crew member. Some of the dark interior space ship scenes are a little murky but it may have been the intention of the director.
Sound quality played through television speakers is very acceptable, but if you have an upgraded sound system you will have a much better presentation. Having a Blu-ray player and using it to show your film will also ramp up the sound.
Scavengers has not been rated by the MPAA but does contain violence, brief nudity, adult situations and gore. Be cautious when deciding to allow the immature see the film as these scenes may be very inappropriate for young children.
Specifications and additional film information:
Cast: Roark Critchlow, Jeremy London, Sean Patrick Flanery, Louise Linton, Kelley Whilden
Directed by: Travis Zariwny (long time production designer, novice director)
MPAA Rating: Unrated
Genre: Sci-fi / Fantasy, Action / Adventure, Space Adventure
Running Time: 1 hr 34 min
Video Release Date: September 3, 2013
Original Film Release Date: March 21, 2013
Audio: Dolby Digital 5.1
Video: Widescreen letterbox 2.35:1 Aspect Ratio
Subtitles: English SDH (Access by TV only)
Number of Discs: 1 Disc
Distributed by: RJL Entertainment