An intergalactic bounty hunter is sent to earth in order to capture a hostile alien intent on gathering intelligence and then destroying the world. We review Joseph Villapaz’ latest short Tragic Consequence.
Sci-fi is a genre that seems to always be in a constant state of flux. Every year there are a number of additions to the catalog but you can never be sure of their quality and if they will prove popular with audiences or not. For every Star Wars, ET and Avatar, there are many more ‘Zardoz’s’, ‘Mac & Me’s’ and ‘John Carter’s’. Yet despite the numerous changes in filming techniques and special FX over the decades, at its most basic storytelling level, Sci-fi remains very much the same.
Of course, what can sometimes help is having a large budget at your disposal to create the sweeping images and iconic looks that all Sci-fi filmmakers and fans long to see in their movies. However, science fiction, along with horror, is a genre that can also benefit from little-to-no investment, where the people involved have to create something special by using nothing more than their imagination. This has led to a lot of classic sci-fi movies in which a wealth of ideas has more than made up for their lack of financial clout.
Joseph Villapaz’s twenty one-minute short sci-fi film Tragic Consequence falls into the very low budget category and as such it causes itself more problems than it should and leaves us all feeling a little confused.
The second story from Villapaz’s franchise The Magnate Journal, Tragic Consequence starts promisingly enough with an exciting and intriguing opening credits sequence and decent, if somewhat rare, special FX including a Star Wars-esque opening crawl. We are told that after thousands of years of searching for an energy source, a hostile race of aliens known as Stygian Reapers have discovered a way to cross space and time and use this ability to gather information on the different planets that they intend to invade and destroy.
Suddenly, intergalactic bounty hunter Cappra (a mean and moody Christine Bermudez) is beamed down to present day earth in order to track down the rogue life form. So far so Terminator. We then cut to Skylar Zane, a meek and paranoid young lady played with an unnerving innocence by Ursula Anderman. Having recently moved to the big city, Skylar is convinced that she is being followed or stalked by someone and takes her concerns to the local police detective Raj Clarion (a wistful Trarell Rogers). He’d like to help but his station is in transition and he doesn’t have the manpower. Meanwhile, Cappra tracks down her enemy.
Screen Critix has reviewed a few earlier projects by Villapaz and, as I was reading back through them, it seemed to me that the criticisms then are pretty much the same as they are now. The problems all derive from the technical aspect of the film, a few sound issues meant that certain sentences couldn’t be heard and the camera shots were all pretty much static and still. Editing also seemed to be at a premium because, although the actors gave it their all, there were a lot of long takes and it was difficult to keep an interest in the dialogue.
Again, because Villapaz does the admirable job of doing literally everything technical on the film himself, this causes certain aspects of his vision to fall down a little. It would be well worth his time to draft in a few more people to help him put what he wants to see on screen because, although we do get to see his personality on show within the film, it would be far more beneficial for him to bring that out even more.
That said Tragic Consequence is an interesting take on some well-worn sci-fi tropes and, if you have a spare twenty minutes, it offers just enough to keep most sci-fi fans watching.