2015 / Director. Simon Hung.
Review by Glenn Cochrane.
I don't quite know how to approach this review. Despite having just watched BATTLE FOR SKYARK I am still uncertain about its intensions and targeted demographic. Was it made for television and pitched at adolescents? In which case it has a lot of merit... or was it made for theatrical or DTV? I do know that its budget was a measly $3M and that director Simon Hung definitely got bang for his buck. He has created a highly stylised science fiction film that plays out like MAX MAX 3 meets ELSYIUM. Interestingly he is a fellow alumni of the Vancouver film school, which Neil Blomkamp also graduated from. The film's set-up is simple. Earth has all but been destroyed by a vicious Alien race and the wealthiest survivors sought refuge in a giant floating city. The underclass were left on Earth to face inevitable slaughter. The few who survived were mostly kids and they protect themselves in a fort-like compound built from debris and wreckages. Whenever a law is broken on the Skyark the culprit is banished to Earth. And so the film sees the groundlings exploring ruins and facing off against barbaric mutants and other sinister forces. The set design is impressive, the costumes are great and the post-apocalyptic atmosphere is captured well, however it is too polished for its own good and has a television quality about it. I felt like I was watching an episode of Farscape. The score and sound design are also decent but yet continuously undermined by an inconsistent tone. Made for adults one minute and clearly kid orientated the next. It's a shame that one direction wasn't chosen over the other because BATTLE FOR SKYARK could have been a wonderful low budget sci-fi adventure. Throughout the process of writing this review I have kept mulling the demographic over in my mind and I am coming to the conclusion that it plays well as a kids film. If you have tween or teenage kids with a tolerance for scary and/or challenging imagery then they will probably get a kick out of it. Most adults wont...