Thursday, January 21, 2010

INALIENABLE

Hitting shelves next Tuesday is INALIENABLE (2008), a movie seemingly tailor-made for the programming drones at the SyFy Channel. It's low-budget, fits a two-hour time slot, and is loaded with genre thespians familiar to the net's core audience.

A troubled research scientist (Richard Hatch, both BATTLESTAR GALACTICAs) is infected by a parasitic alien life form found on meteorite fragments. The creature grows rapidly, and soon, the scientist "gives birth" to a vaguely humanoid baby with tentacles growing out of its back. The "baby" is seized by the government for experimentation, and the scientist, overcome with paternal instincts, is forced to sue in court for custody of his "son."

Written, co-produced and co-starring Walter Koenig (STAR TREK, BABYLON 5), INALIENABLE is low key, talky science fiction think piece played out as a courtroom drama. Stuffed to overflowing with actors from the sci-fi genre - Gary Graham (ALIEN NATION), Patricia Tallman (BABYLON 5), John Herd (V), Erick Avari (HEROES), Jay Acovone (STARGATE SG-1), Marina Sirtis (STAR TREK - TNG), Tim Russ (STAR TREK VOYAGER) and others - the movie feels like it was conceived and cast during a slow Sunday afternoon at an under-attended sci-fi convention. The script isn't horrible and has some decent ideas, but it is talky and melodramatic, and the ending is anticlimactic. In fact, the whole thing reminded me of a double-length episode of the 90's OUTER LIMITS show on Showtime, with flat, television videography, limited sets and minimal special effects.

Thing is, I was going with it up until the end. It wasn't exciting, but it was moderately involving. The cast may be gimmicky, but they're all pros - Koenig's written himself a good, nasty role, Hatch's overwrought character lends itself to some energetic scenery chewing, and Sirtis' government prosecutor is nicely bitchy - and the story has potential. I just felt that it was all kind of squandered in the end.

Anchor Bay brings INALIENABLE to DVD with a perfectly adequate 1.78:1 anamorphic widescreen transfer and Dolby Surround 2.0 sound. The only extras are the film's trailer and previews of a handful of other Anchor Bay titles.

Now, I personally found the movie ultimately unsatisfying, but your mileage - as they say - may vary. If you're a fan of the actors involved or the premise intrigues you, then you may want to give it a rental.

BUY: InAlienable