Yes… The answer to your first question is, yes, it is as bad as it looks – but, somehow ‘The Dawnseeker’ is still somewhat watchable!
Ahead of this summer’s release of ‘The Predator’ comes a ‘mockbuster’ of universal proportion. Set in space, a team of soldiers must defend themselves and face off against the galaxies most feared hostile – The Dawnseeker.
The synopsis: “2245, the Earth's sun has dwindled and no longer provides the energy needed to sustain human life. Five hired mercenaries travel to an uncharted planet to collect a rare mineral known as stardust to replenish the dying star. After their spaceship crashes on the alien planet, they are stalked and hunted by a creature far more advanced than anything they have ever encountered before.”
So, merging the concept of the original predator movie and ‘Predators’ we have a less than (inter)stella copy. There are some nice little touches here and there to beef up the plot a little more, adding in some different governments, conflicting organisations and different groups of mercs, but ultimately, it comes down to a couple of pitched ‘battles’ and then a final confrontation with the titular beast. Still, in the first half an our there are some cool CGI-space and space station shots which look good, certainly outclassing the films practical effects, and it was quite a refreshing change to see that for a low-budget sci-fi action film, there is quite a lot of action, not just in the first half either mind you, but throughout.
However, before you consider yourself spoilt…
The acting, at its best ‘ok’ and at its worst – well, worse. Kudos to lead actress Franziska Schissler, who brings the ass-kicking heroine Fenix to life with conviction, but honestly, some of the supporting cast looked more bemused by the whole affair than I did. The script is as you would expect, and in all honesty, there is something cathartic about the cliché and benign babbling, so overall, no complaints from me there.
Where you will hear me complaining is the creature design, and combat effects.
Displayed proudly on the box-art is the creature in question. As snippets of out of focus shots he could be quite imposing, however, when shambling around in broad daylight, he isn’t. Quite daft in fact. He is cited as lower threat than others in his species due to his inexperience with combat scenarios, but seriously, is he still learning to run!
One can only assume it was for practical reasons – i.e. the actor could not see in the suit, but it doesn’t help with the intensity of the fight scenes as he shuffled around amidst the CGI lazers. He doesn’t hunt as such, although there are a couple of shots of the ‘alternative vision’, he just shows up at appropriate breaks in the dialogue, walks between his victims and subsequently dispatches the witless commandos one at a time. He doesn’t seem to have a cloaking device, so it’s even more surprising that most of the soldiers appear to shoot wildly, often in the wrong direction, and indeed let the creature get close enough to them to engage them in melee combat. The deaths are a bit of a let down too as this film is almost devoid of blood and gore.
Overall, its not so much that it is a shameless cash in, as it has just enough of its own lore to stand alone, but more that the creature encounters which is the films biggest shortcomings. Oddly, everything around them is enjoyable to watch, if nothing spectacular. If the creature had been designed, or at least shot less clumsily with an appropriate amount of violence this could have easily gotten another star. As it stands, watch the trailer, you will know if this movie is for you or not.