Tuesday, November 19, 2013

Lexx 2.0: Super Nova

At the end of I Worship His Shadow the crew of the Lexx, Stanley (Brian Downey), Zev (Eva Habermann), Kai (Michael McManus) and 790 (Jeffrey Hirschfield), had defeated His Divine Shadow and escaped into The Dark Zone to look for a new home.

In the second of the four made-for-cable Lexx features, titled Super Nova, Kai informs the others that he is running out of protoblood, the substance that keeps him reanimated, and he will die (again) without it. The crew seeks out Kai’s home world, Brunnis, hoping to find a way to bring him back to life permanently. They find the planet abandoned and on the brink of being destroyed by a nearby sun that threatens to go supernova if not kept in check by technology left behind by the Brunnen-G. The only remaining entity is the hologram Poet Man (Tim Curry) and he has sinister plans for his unexpected visitors.
This follow-up is not as psychotically paced as its predecessor, nor is it chock full of non-stop exposition. This one settles back and takes its time to further develop the central characters, especially Kai. We learn more about his people, the Brunnen-G, who we only saw briefly in the opening scene of I Worship His Shadow. We find out they were a race of warrior poets who loved to fight as much as sing and dance. They're like Klingons, but with beehive hairdos instead of forehead ridges. His Divine Shadow wiped them out to prevent the prophecy about a lone Brunnen-G ending his reign which came to pass in the last film.

We also get to spend more time with my favorite character from these films – Giggerota the Wicked, played with so much devilish glee by Ellen Dubin. She strikes a deal with His Divine Predecessors to steal the Lexx for them, and in return they will lead her to, and I quote, “The Planet of the Milk-Fed Boys”. Due to her insatiable hunger she takes a bite of everything she sees, going so far as to attempt to eat 790 (“Pail head will tell Giggerota, or Giggerota will eat CANNED food!”), one of the Moth shuttles (“Shut up, flying meat!”) and one of His Divine Predecessors, which are disembodied brains (“Ugh! Too salty!”). Her character cracks me up and is a hell of a lot of fun due to some great writing and Dubin’s awesome performance. It saddened me that this was the last time we would see Giggerota, at least in this incarnation anyway.
The regular cast are great as always for the most part, Downey and McManus being the best of the bunch. Everyone has a wonderful chemistry together, but I have to say that Eva Habermann stands out as looking a little lost for the entire film. I have a sneaking suspicion that she was hired for her looks more than her acting abilities because she doesn’t seem to be able to say her lines without an odd grin on her face, almost like she’s embarrassed to be reciting them aloud. I really like the character, but as I watched these films again I kind of wished they cast someone else in the part. Once again 790 steals the show when he insults Stanley or recites a dirty limerick to Zev (“Oh, universe of heartbreak!”).

Guest star Tim Curry looks like he’s having a blast playing the enigma-like Poet Man. At first he acts like a Brunnis tour guide, but as the story moves forward his intentions become clear. He’s is pissed he was left behind due to him being passed out drunk during the evacuation. He died hundreds of years ago leaving behind a holographic representation of himself just in case anyone ever came back. His hologram went a little batty over the years and now he wants to repopulate the planet with his own seed; at one point he tries to inseminate poor Stanley. He also tricks the others into taking part in the “Burst of Light”, which requires them to be sawed in half vertically and their memories stored on disc in a library. His character is funny and kind of creepy at the same time, his agenda not making a whole lot of sense since he’s a hologram. I will admit it was amusing seeing the look on Stan’s face when he realizes Poet Man wants to jam a sperm filed hypodermic needle into his taint. Curry is one of those actors who can make even the most ridiculous line sound like Shakespeare, and he shows off that talent for pretty much the entire runtime (“Mystery?! Ha! Life is the sweetest misery!”).
The design of Brunnis is interesting as they were a technologically advanced race that used insects as flying vessels. Sure some of the interiors are simple and cheap looking, but the exteriors where the CGI runs rampant look quite cool. On the flip side, the more we see of Lexx’s inner working the more perverted they get. Case in point: the penis shaped shower nozzle that spews all over a naked Zev. Some of these designs amuse me and others baffle me. This one made me chuckle like a little kid watching his first porno.

Unfortunately the pacing is once again a big problem. There doesn’t appear to be enough story to fill out the runtime of the film so we are constantly treated to overlong scenes that drag on and on, sometimes with repetitive visuals. Case in point is when Kai is to be sawed in half for the “Burst of Light”. It takes FOREVER for that damned saw to even make it to him, let alone when he’s actually being cut open. That whole sequence feels like its five minutes long when it should have been a minute tops. There are whole scenes like that just to pad the runtime.
On the whole Super Nova is a fun follow up to I Worship His Shadow that advances the characters and gives further insight into the universe they live in. It’s a bizarre place, but I’d be lying if I said I didn’t find it interesting in the extreme. The writers really came up with some cool ideas and situations regardless if they were pulled off well or not. This one is another winner.

4 out of 5

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