17th Feb2017

‘Moontrap: Target Earth’ DVD Review

by Phil Wheat

Stars: Charles Shaughnessy, Sarah Butler, Damon Dayoub, Cara AnnMarie, Niki Spiridakos, Jennifer Kincer, Steven Dutton, Chris Newman | Written by Robert Dyke, Tex Ragsdale | Directed by Robert Dyke

Moontrap-2-4

OK, I’ll admit it. I have a soft spot for Robert Dyke’s 1989 sci-fi horror Moontrap. I have ever since the weekend I rented it and 1990′s The Dark Side of the Moon and was blown away by both space-faring terror tales. Which is probably why I own multiple copies Moontrap; well that and the fact there hasn’t been a perfect release of the film on DVD or Blu yet… So when a sequel was announced decades after the release of the film, it’s safe to say my interest was peaked. In fact we first wrote about the sequel, titled Moontrap: Target Earth, way, way back in 2014. Then things went all quiet on the sci-fi front. Until last month. Out of the blue, it seems, Sony announced they had picked up the film for DVD release in the US.

But what of a UK release you ask? Well surprise, surprise, Gilt Edge Media, purveyors of direct to DVD fare – who have an exclusive distribution deal with Asda – dropped Moontrap: Target Earth on an unsuspecting UK supermarket audience this week!

Once again written by Tex Ragsdale and directed by Robert Dyke – the duo behind the original film – Moontrap: Target Earth sees an ancient spacecraft discovered on Earth, apparently left behind by an advanced human civilization some 14000 years ago, pre-dating history as we know it. Sharon “Scout” Turner (Butler) and her partner Daniel (Dayoub) are hired by the mysterious Richard Kontral (Shaughnessy) to investigate it. Whilst studying the ship Scout suddenly finds herself transported to the Moon, to confront the gigantic machines that guard the secrets of those long-ago lunar voyagers.

Whilst I had high hopes for this long-awaited sequel, the very fact we had waited so long – both for any sort of official sequel announcement and then between initial announcement and release, did fill me with dread. As we all know, delays – especially with low budget independent productions – don’t usually bode well for the finished product. And it seems my fears were well founded. Structurally, the film is confusing. For the majority of its running time it’s like watching a fevered dream: the line between what is real, what is a dream and what is a message from the ancient race as seen in the mind of Scout, is forever moving; you never know what is an actual plot point and what is random, if strangely creepy (and sometimes erotic), imagery. You have to wonder if the film was shot piecemeal, when funds became available, because that is the only logical explanation for Moontrap: Target Earth‘s chaotic nature.

On the plus side – for those, like me, who remember the 1989 film, you’ll be glad to hear the killer robots seen in that film are back, only this time  redesigned and piloting the ancient vessel back to the moon. There is a scene of 2 ‘bots engaging in a badly envisioned, albeit brief, fight but the less said about that the better. And don’t get me started on the DVD boxart, which shows robots that aren’t even in the movie!

Speaking of piloting the vessel, there’s a throwaway line in the film where they say its “quick to get to the moon”, in the spaceship; however the same cannot be said of the actual film – which takes its sweet time in actually getting there… Though stick with it when it does, because like all good tales, Moontrap: Target Earth saves the best, including some grotesque imagery reminiscent of the original film, for last. Astonishingly, for a film called Moontrap, it’s almost an hour(!) before Scout steps foot on to the planetoid and by that time I can see audiences already tuning out of this films story. Though to be fair if you’ve read Erich von Däniken’s Chariots of the Gods or seen the 70s Doctor Who tale Pyramids of Mars, you know exactly what Moontrap: Target Earth has to say!

Out now, Gilt Edge Media’s UK DVD of Moontrap: Target Earth is completely bare-bones with not even the trailer for an extra (there are more extras available on the films YouTube page than the UK DVD). You can pick it up exclusively in Asda.

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