13th Jan2020

‘Ellipse’ Review

by Alain Elliott

Stars: Josiah Authier, Grant Martin, Michelle Medoff, Jack William | Written by Grant Martin | Directed by Joe Bland, Grant Martin

ellipse-art

Low budget sci-fi in many people’s minds are films featured on (unsurprisingly) the SyFy channel. Usually filled with poor CGI and ridiculous storylines. But for every SyFy original there’s a Freaks or The Endless (check these movies out if you haven’t already), so I always go into these movies, like almost most movies, with a very open mind.

Unfortunately it is clear from almost the very start of the movie that this is low budget. We get a poor CGI spacecraft at the forefront of things but if I’m honest, it never affected my enjoyment of the movie. The spacecraft features quite a lot but once I got over the initial fact that it doesn’t look great it went to the back of my mind and that was it. Thankfully there’s not too many big CGI moments in Ellipse because it just isn’t needed.

What we do get is a guy and his dog stuck on a volatile, oval-shaped planet where time, weather and gravity are all very different to what we know. We see gravity do very strange things (water travelling upwards in a ‘waterfall’) and we do clearly see that time is going a lot faster and this is a big problem for our lead character and his canine companion. He needs to get off of the planet as soon as possible.

I can’t say for sure – I’m not scientist – but I think some of the science is a bit off in Ellipse.I’m sure if you really want to look into it and think too much about it this might ruin the movie a bit for you but I was happy just to take things how they were and go with it. The film is much more about the problems of alcoholism and how he is dealing with the loss of his fiancé and maybe even more so about his relationship with his dog. Surprisingly Ellipse is a sweet story about a man and his dog. Not what you expect from low budget sci-fi. But when the lead character has nothing, his dog means everything to him. It doesn’t quite hit the emotional highs it might aim for but I enjoyed seeing the relationship, it’s one many people can relate to.

As a one man (and dog) show – because that’s literally what Ellipse is, it’s pretty good as a showreel for lead actor (and director) Grant Martin. He’s good in the lead role, generally likeable and watchable even without anyone to work alongside. And as a first time director/writer it’s an impressive debut. Don’t get me wrong, it’s far from perfect but there’s lots of good ideas here and plenty are pulled off.

Ellipse isn’t the kind of sci-fi that will make you think too hard but if you’re a fan of the genre and want to sit back and turn your mind off, it’s a pretty decent option.

*** 3/5

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