Jimmy Anderson’s first assignment is on the orbital sanitation station Regina, whose function is to keep orbital lanes clear of debris, as an entry level engineer sent to repair the mainframe. Just after his arrival, the station recovers some salvage, including a mysterious device, and the station loses contact with Earth, only to discover that all life on the planet has disappeared. As the crew of the Regina work to make the necessary repairs and figure out what has happened, they find that they are under attack by Gary, a mutating rubber duck.
This highly creative Canadian sci fi/comedy flick is filled with a lesser known, but certainly not lesser talent, cast, well written and executed dialogue, tons of cheesy (intentionally so) effects, a big rubber monster, and fun.
Immediately the audience is treated to cheesy CG with an explanation of the current state of the world typed on-screen. Yes, I am, on occasion, guilty of juvenile rhyming. In this case, during the opening sequence, the pronunciation of “Regina” as in “rhymes with vagina.” Which startled me at first, but this is actually the correct pronunciation of Regina, Saskatchewan. Still, you know it is as intentional as the recurring tripping gag. It sets the tone for film nicely and the audience knows what it is going to get.
Throughout the movie are nods (some subtle, some blatant) to a variety of pop culture favorites. Not necessarily direct quotes or mimicking of scenes, but clever parallels. A few notes of music at just the right moment that suggest a Kubrick classic, a crude rhyme to put the audience in mind of a Cameron film, or saying outright that someone is shitting out the Death Star, and much more.
Our heroes are a rather awkward group of misfits, but the cast has great dynamic that makes the interrelationships work. Jimmy (Robin Dunne), the new guy, not too bright, a bit gullible. Captain Anton (Billy Boyd), the kind-of-skeezy, man-in-charge, with a habit of not wearing pants, who is having relationship trouble with his girlfriend Val. Valentina (Amanda Tapping), the seemingly “normal” one, excepting her inexplicable relationship with Anton… and Gary. Lieutenant Tilda (Kristin Kreuk), small, dark, and mysterious, eager to give Jimmy a bit of a shock. And Gary (George Takei), Valentina’s ex-boyfriend, who is stuck in a trans-dimensional rift and happens to be in the body of a rubber duck.
The soundtrack, by Patric Caird, is enjoyable. And an extra bonus is the addition of “Spaceship Superstar” by Prism. (Little bit of trivia: “Spaceship Superstar” was chosen as the wake up call for the astronauts of the Discovery on the last day of their mission on the International Space Station before returning to Earth on the last mission Discovery would make.)
I gave this 3 1/2 pan dimensional gargle blasters. I liked it. I find that I’m already quoting parts of it and giggling. I like the feeling that if I watch it again I’m going to notice even more nods and references that I missed the first time. I liked the subtle, even dry humor mixed with ongoing physical gags. As always, this may not be for everyone, even people who enjoy cheesy sci fi, but if you picked this up, looked at the cover, read the summary, and still want to watch it, chances are, you’ll be well entertained.