In what could have been the tradition of Star Wars and Star Trek comes Wing Commander, a hopelessly cliche and trite sci-fi thriller from director Chris Roberts.
The problem with the movie does not lie in the plot or the acting. Freddie Prinze, Jr., the star of the movie, does a rather good job, and he is joined by Matthew Lillard, who, though obnoxious in his role, does a decent job. Nevertheless, the characters are cliche. Blair's (Prinze) father was an excellent fighter, and that relationship has been used in countless stories, and also possesses the unnatural ability to navigate without a computer (remind you of a movie that Mark Hamill was in?). Second, Lillard plays the natural bozo sidekick who purposely makes a fool of himself time and time again.
Wing Commander is based on the line of computer games, which, coincidentally, stars Mark Hamill as Blair. He's not in the movie, unfortunately, and not many other things translated over as well. I'm not too knowledgeable of the games, but I know they are better than the movie. Even if some of the things were relayed to the movie from the game, they might not look as good as they do on a movie screen. The Kilrathi, the aliens in the movie, are horribly cheesy and unscary, but things get worse. The spaceships in Wing Commander are awful. The fighter jets that are the feature of the movie look horrible, and the big starships look like naval battleships, only worse.
The graphics aren't bad, at least texture wise, but the motions are sloppy and unrealistic. There is no sense of movement when watching the space battles (nothing like Star Wars, which was released over twenty years ago).
Furthermore, every single scene is a pathetic copy of some movie. There is one scene where they are hiding in a crater and the enemy ships are passing nearby, and they all quiet down to listen to the radar as the beeping becomes faster. It was a direct rip-off of a submarine movie.
Wing Commander is not a bad movie, but it is a collection of scenes that have already been scene. There is no reason to see it because it has already been seen, and the graphics, plot, and battle scenes are inferior. It has better acting than Starship Troopers (two stars) but fails in the important areas such as those listed above. See something else.
Review by Erik Samdahl unless otherwise indicated.
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