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so i'm covered in all this makeup, and all you have to wear is a fake beard??

so i'm covered in all this makeup, and all you have to wear is a fake beard??

PG-13

Dennis Quaid, Louis Gossett Jr.

Jeriba: Do you not remember what you say about Shismar!?
Davidge: Yeah, well maybe you forgot what you said about Mickey Mouse!!

In the distant future, humankind is at war with an alien race over what parts of the galaxy is owned by which race.  Willis Davidge (Quaid) is a pilot who shoots down one of the aliens on an unexplored planet, but Davidge himself crashes there as well.  At first, the two survivors try to kill each other, but eventually bond as they help each other survive while waiting for rescue.

The first thing that jumped out to me about this movie was the lackluster special effects.  I know it was 1985, but when the Star Wars movies had just come out years before, it’s hard not to notice what a step down these effects are from Star Wars.  The sets are also pretty cheap looking, and I never had the sense that I was watching anything but a movie filmed on a Hollywood set.

That would all be okay if the story and dialogue were top notch, but I wasn’t too impressed with those either.  The acting is alright, though Gossett is buried under so much makeup that it doesn’t really matter who played the part of Jeriba, or “Jerry” as Davidge nicknames him.  It’s all by the numbers storytelling of two opposites bonding under trying circumstances.  It also seemed a little contrived that the other humans from his space station wouldn’t immediately go searching for Davidge.  I mean, the planet was right there.  They only find him much much later when it’s convenient to the plot.

The narration by Dennis Quaid is a little awkward, as is the narration by another random guy out of nowhere at the end of the movie.  That seemed like a cheap, late addition designed to help audiences understand what was going on at the end.

There were a few good moments here and there, and as I mentioned, the actors did their best.  I just didn’t think there’s a very interesting story here, and it’s definitely not saved by the visuals.

10 – 2 for by the numbers story – 1.5 for poor special effects/sets – 1 for bad/unnecessary narration + .3 for good makeup = 5.8