18th Feb2020

’5 Galaxies’ DVD Review

by Alain Elliott

Stars: Pom Klementieff, Cynthia Kirchner, Neil Jackson, Eric Roberts, Nelson Lee | Written by Nelson Lee, Harry Assouline, Brian O’Carroll, Peer Gopfrich, Kristen Hilkert | Directed by Nelson Lee, Harry Assouline, Kristen Hilkert, Amir Reichart, Vitaly Verlov

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Low budget sci-fi is an interesting sub genre. There’s not too much of it about and it’s hard to get right. With sci-fi people always think flying spaceships and futuristic-looking cities but with no money this is very hard to pull off. So often the best way to go is with clever, future set ideas that don’t need big visuals. Being an anthology movie, 5 Galaxies kind of covers all of these.

The films first segment shows a world that is over-populated and to sort out this problem is culling people on their 40th birthday. The short focuses on one person about to ‘celebrate’ that birthday. It is a more dialogue based segment and is all the better for it. We see his friends and family say his goodbyes while he wonders what happens next and what if there might be a way out.

I really enjoyed this, it felt like an original idea, acting performances are good and it looks futuristic without going down any obvious route for that. It does end with many unanswered questions (this is a common problem with 5 Galaxies so more on that later) but the climax actually works here.

The second segment follows a woman who is going to leave her relationship, family and friends, all to follow her dreams and join a secretive space program. Like the first short this is more dialogue heavy and the space program is the only thing that makes it ‘sci-fi’. Again though, this 100% works and it’s another enjoyable short. Mixing scenes of the female’s life and her job interview for the space program, it’s a nice contrast. The lead actress is good and although the pace is slow even for a short, it is still one of the stronger segments.

Next up we see a much more familiar and sci-fi- looking segment. We follow a group of survivors in a post apocalyptic world who are heading for the one place that will be key to their survival. The CGI of the world is actually decent and not overused. The short itself though goes through a few ideas that viewers will have seen before if they have watched any similar-themed movie. The group get into the odd disagreement, there’s a sudden surprise, death is usually close-by. Unfortunately the acting isn’t quite as strong when the script asks for more emotion, so despite its faster pace, it’s the most disappointing segment so far.

The fourth short covers something that many low-budget sc-fi goes for in time travel. There’s plenty of original ideas that can be used with the subject but here things are kept pretty simple as a man tries to head back in time to send an important message before he is caught by his boss. It’s pretty well acted and moves along at a decent pace but there’s not a whole lot to it and it just kind of ends and that’s that. The short will probably be best known for a very brief cameo from Eric Roberts. An actor who has ’starred’ in so many movies and TV shows you will definitely recognise him.

Last up is the action-packed, most sci-fi segment of them all. Here we get spaceships, the futuristic-looking city, flying cars, all sorts of new technology and a lot of UV coloured clothing accessories for some reason. Unfortunately the acting and dialogue isn’t great and the fight scenes do nobody any favours. That said, the CGI is pretty good again, so it is the best-looking short and it’s pretty non-stop. It does have some cool ideas but like several of the other shorts its ending leaves a lot to be desired. This one is just really open and feels like it’s a full feature length that someone has taped over and we’ll never get to see what happened!

So 5 Galaxies is a decent if not great sci-fi anthology. All five directors do very well with such a small budget and there’s plenty of original and interesting ideas. Worth a watch for science fiction fans but you’ll probably be left wanting more and not in a good way.

*** 3/5

5 Galaxies is on DVD and Digital now from Uncork’d Entertainment.

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